Proposal preview

The Impact of Globalization on the Rise of Mass Schooling

Has globalization on net promoted or impeded the rise of mass schooling throughout the world?
Insofar as globalization has promoted economic opportunity and has been associated with forces of modernization, one would expect its impact on popular education to have been positive. However, insofar as globalization has been associated with economic divergence and with unequal socio-economic power structures, its educational influences may have been adverse.

This session would build on two previous WEHC sessions, one at the 2012 Stellenbosch WEHC on “Financing the Rise of Popular Schooling in the Developed and Developing Worlds” and one at the 2015 Kyoto WEHC on “Diverse Routes to Schooling for All.” These two previous sessions gave attention to barriers and impediments to schooling as well as to positive factors at work. In keeping with the theme for the 2018 Congress, the proposed session will focus on global forces at work in promoting as well as possibly impeding the rise of mass schooling.

The global influences to be considered in the session include those arising from core or imperial agency in influencing the spread of schooling in periphery regions. Such agency includes direct colonial rule and those of religious missionaries. The role of labor migration will also be considered; both immigration and emigration can influence both origin and destination demand for schooling.

Another contrast affected by global forces is between centralized versus decentralized policies in facilitating universal access to schooling. Processes of modernization associated with globalization can be seen as influencing top-down, centralized campaigns to promote universal schooling. Today, the Millennialand Sustainable Development Goals aim to strengthen education across the world. While most policies are implemented at the national level, global forces strongly shape the response of each school system to the incentive provided by public intervention. Much has been made in recent literature of the impact of land-ownership distribution on school provision. Globalization has almost surely been associated with changes in land-ownership distribution in the old and new worlds with direction of causation proceeding in both directions which in turn has likely had implications for local public school finance.

This session will bring together scholars working on the global dimensions of the political economy and institutions that made the adoption of modern education during the nineteenth and twentieth century proceed at such varied paces both across the developed and the developing worlds. It will include scholars who participated in the previous two WEHC sessions on the rise of popular schooling as well as others.

The proposed session aims at broad geographical coverage, including studies of North and South America, Eurasia, and Africa. It also aims at broad chronological coverage including the early modern and modern periods through the twentieth century.


  • David Mitch, University of Maryland, Baltimore County,, U.S.A.
  • Gabriele Cappelli, Universitat Autonoma de Barclona,, Spain and Italy
  • Sun Go, Chung-Ang University,, South Korea

Session members

  • Pei Gao, New York University Shanghai,
  • Myung Soo Cha, Yeungnam University,
  • Bruno Witzel, University of Gottingen,
  • Bogdan Murgescu, University of Bucharest,
  • Peter Foldvari, Amsterdam School of Economics,
  • Katalin Buzasi, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development,
  • Matei Gheboianu, University of Bucharest,
  • Andrei F. Sora, University of Bucharest,
  • Melanie Meng Xue, Northwestern University,
  • Yu Hao, Peking University,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Latika Chaudary Hartmann, Naval Postgraduate School,


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