Centre for International Education (CIE)


Teachers and Quality

Research in this theme explores how the construction and delivery of the curriculum and classroom pedagogy can include - and exclude - the most disadvantaged learners in the Global South, and in the contribution that language of instruction makes in these processes. The theme also seeks greater understanding of the roles that teachers, their education, development and conditions of service play in increasing quality and equitable outcomes of the learning experience for all learners.

Members of CIE have engaged in several research projects that fall within this theme. These include the longitudinal impact evaluation of Speed Schools for Out Of School Children in Ethiopia funded by Geneva Global, the collaborative development and impact monitoring of a Certificate in Inclusive Education for all Primary School Tutors in Uganda, the Reading to Learn Network across Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda, a systematic literature review on strategies to enhance the classroom performance of untrained and undertrained teachers in development countries funded by Australian Aid, a rigorous review on Pedagogy, Curriculum, Teaching Practices and Teacher Education  funded by DFID and  Teacher Preparation and Continuing Professional Development in Africa (TPA) funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which looked at how the initial and continuing education of teachers impacts on teaching mathematics and reading in the early years of schooling. The study was carried out in six African countries to identify examples of good and promising practice and to make recommendations for high-quality and cost-effective approaches for teacher development.

See Publications for more details.

Governance, Finance and Planning

Research on the governance of education systems, policy analysis and finance have developed from studies undertaken for the World Education Conferences at Jomtien (1990) and Dakar (2000) and from national planning commissions in Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. This research initially focussed on primary education, but has been complemented by cross-national studies of secondary school financing, by associated studies on strategic resource planning, and on costs and financing of teacher education. Attention is also being given to the skills development agenda - in particular the reform and governance of public technical and vocational education and training institutions.

One of the key areas that has dominated debate in the field of international education and development has been that of guaranteeing access to education for the world's children and the barriers to that goal. While the concern about access to education is a cross-cutting thematic area, it has particular governance, planning and financial implications - both for national governments, international agencies and bi-lateral donors. Work has been carried out on the financial implications of expanding access and the related responsibilities of local, national and international actors. We have also carried out research on the implications for secondary schooling of the widening expansion of Universal Primary Education and the need for the international community to not neglect the key role of secondary education to national economic growth and social wellbeing. Similarly, the governance mechanism of the decentralisation of education has been a key concern of several CIE members and their research. The changing relationship between the public and private sector in education is an equally pressing issue and research has been conducted on Public Private Partnerships; and also on the role of Non-State Providers of Education.

Another broad area of research is one associated with international aid and national policy processes which explores the implications of international and national education targets and changes in aid modalities associated with achieving these targets.It also explores the influence of international agencies on policy and practice in developing countries - in the context of global political, social and economic forces. Important insights draw attention to the inappropriateness of benchmarks that have been set as part of the Education for All fast-track initiative, and the neglect by such a global approach to countries most in need of support ('fragile states'). It also addresses issues related to asymmetries in donor/recipient relationships and the risks of global approaches to external assistance in diverse contexts.

See Publications for more details

Access and Equity

Access and equity are central dimensions of education and development. Universal participation in basic education of quality leading to learning outcomes that are valued, is part of the definition of development - as well as a means to achieve greater wellbeing and poverty reduction. Development does not take place unless equity improves. Enhanced access to formal and non-formal means of acquiring knowledge, understanding and skill is essential to sustainable long-term improvements in productivity, health and nutrition; as well as reductions in the inter-generational transmission of poverty. It is also essential for greater social participation and voice, good governance, the empowerment of marginalised groups, gender equity and reductions in income inequality.

The Global Monitoring Report identifies over 60 million primary age children out of school. Many more are silently excluded through combinations of entering school late, being over-age in grade, having low levels of attendance and achieving more than two years below national norms. If these factors are recognised, there are likely to be more than 250 million children whose right to a basic education is being denied. In much of Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia less than 40 per cent of children complete lower secondary school successfully, and higher education enrols less than 10 per cent of the age group.

The research within this theme focuses on educational inclusion and the acquisition of knowledge and skill across the continuum of levels from pre-school to higher education. Poverty remains the greatest excluder, with many other factors playing a role in different ways at different levels. Early childhood under-nutrition and sickness can compromise later achievement. Social practices and child labour may discourage enrolment. Poor quality schools and rising opportunity costs may result in failures on the demand side. Costs are often a factor, especially at higher levels. And higher education is often finded in socially regressive ways. The state will always be the provider of last resort, and for the poorest is likely to generate the only opportunities for social mobility out of poverty. Provision has to be more, rather than less, equitable so that it can lead to greater horizontal and vertical equity across and within social groups.

A variety of research methods are used within this theme to explore changing patterns of access and their consequences for development. These include mapping the situation within and across countries using large data sets, eg. household surveys, EMIS, census data and examination performance. These generate analytic insight into inequality and their causes, and include both cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis. School-level studies depending on interviews and observation explore the dynamics of access and inequality at local levels, illuminate interactions between schools and the communities they serve, and within schools as social institutions. Other research uses case study analyses of local social and cultural relations and contexts and is directed towards understanding how and why inequalities persist and how many factors may intersect and inhibit meaningful access. The outputs of research are used to inform policy dialogue and contribute to the development of the political economy of education and development.

The Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity (CREATE) is a major international research initiative within this theme. This large-scale programme of research set out to analyse policy and practice designed to reduce educational exclusion and expand access to basic education for school aged children across four core countries. The research was supported by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and led by Professor of Education, Keith Lewin with formal partnerships with BRAC, Bangladesh, the National University of Education, Planning and Administration (NUEPA), India, the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and the Universities of Winneba and Cape Coast, Ghana. The research, conducted over a six year period involving 22 doctoral students, tracked over 16,000 children, surveyed approximately 18,000 households, commissioned research papers across 12 themes and developed high profile,national analytic reviews. It has developed well known conceptual tools, including its six 'zones of exclusion', the expanded vision of access, silent exclusion and techniques for exploring changing patterns of access over time - and linking these to the political agenda of Education For All. The website has over 100 research publications available for download, podcasts and a searchable database.

Other studies on access and equity are being undertaken alongside CREATE. These include the UNICEF-funded Regional Situational Analysis for Out-of-School Children in Eastern and Southern Africa. This cross-national study analyses patterns of access; undertakes quantitative analysis of the influence of wealth, gender and location (rural/urban) on participation; explores national policies and strategies; and identifies key social groups (eg. nomadic people, disabled, rural communities) facing educational exclusion.

The Adamawa State Primary Education Research (ASPER) project was a collaboration between the Adamawa State Universal Basic Education Board and CIE. Situated in north eastern Nigeria, Adamawa State was the country's highest performing state following a national education audit in 2010. Despite this, and considerable progress towards Education For All goals, a 'state of emergency' in education was subsequently declared. Between January 2011 and June 2013, the research team conducted an exploration of access, education quality and outcomes in primary schools, with specific reference to gender. Both qualitative and quantitative data was gathered from different zones across the state to explore the factors that influence access. An executive summary and final report are available to download on the project's web page.

Geneva Global, a philanthropic donor, has funded Speed Schools  programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa designed to enrol out-of-school children and provide accelerated learning programmes to bring them back into main stream schooling within a year. CIE is evaluating, through pre and post test methods using control groups, how successful the schools are in raising levels of achievement. 
Another growing concern is to make inputs into the recasting of the Milennium Development Goals (MDGs) as they relate to education, since these will be re-profiled after 2015. A developing strand of work is, therefore, initiating engagement with the majot bi-lateral, multi-lateral and national stakeholders who will generate the frameworks within which the MDGs will evolve.

See Publications for more details

Identities: Citizenship, Gender and Youth

National and religious belonging, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, caste, socio-economic status, location, lifestyle and experiences of migration and displacement all impact on the provision and uptake of education in societies around the world.

Understanding how identities interact with power relations is central to the analysis of educational and social exclusion. In turn, these dynamics are fundamental to active citizenship, which is vital to democratisation and social cohesion. Youth citizenship in particular is now an area of critical concern to national and international policy-makers, given the demographic significance and highly precarious livelihoods of youth in many countries across the Global South.

Research in this theme focuses on identities, gender, citizenship, rights, equality and multiple forms of social and educational exclusion, with a particular interest in youth identities. Most of this research is informed by sociological and anthropological perspectives, and draws on feminist, postcolonial and poststructural theoretical frameworks.

Alongside innovative statistical analyses, it uses intersectional analyses of qualitative data to explore diversity and difference, contextual relations and social constructions of identity; hegemonic practices and the production of subordinated and dominant groups; patterns of educational and social participation, as well as the social and affective influences of recognition and identity affiliation.

Current CIE work in this theme includes:  

- Troubling Muslim Youth Identities: Nation, Religion, Gender
This research explored the production of Muslim youth identities with respect to nation, religion and gender in Pakistan, Senegal, Nigeria and Lebanon. As Muslim-majority, post-colonial states with significant youth populations, these countries offer critical case studies for the exploration of the different grammars of youth identities, and ‘trouble’ the perceived homogeneity of Muslims in local and global imaginaries.

- Rural Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A mixed-methods study
This joint three-year project explores the complexities of rural youth employment and migration across six countries of Sub-Saharan Africe. Youth make up more than 60% of the population of this region, but very little is known about rural youth’s expectations and desires, what contribution education makes to these, and how this is gendered. The project is led by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) with the Centre for International Education as partners, and centrally involved in the qualitative research into rural youth perspectives in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda in particular.

- Adamawa State Primary Education Research 
The ASPER project focused on the ways that gender intersects with other dimensions of identity (religion, poverty, location) to influence the uptake of education and in the social relationships and processes within and between schools, their local communities and education administration in educational provision. An executive summary and final report are available to download on the project's web page. 

Youth as Active Citizens 
YAC with Oxfam Novib was a three country study (Pakistan, Palestine and Senegal) focusing on ways that marginalised youth might be encouraged to claim their rights to education and/or sexual and reproductive health rights. The involvement of youth as novice researchers was integral to this research.  

- Home and Away: Stage 2
Research on the ways that ethnic minority children's identities develop in education drawing on work from the Home and Away project.  

- Out-of-School Children Review 
This UNICEF-funded project identified children of internally displaced people, migrants, refugees and nomadic groups as being particularly vulnerable to being out-of-school. 

Hidden Histories: Migrants in Brighton and Hove
A participative project, exploring the life stories and experiences of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers living in the city.

Indicative Publications

  • Dunne, M., Durrani, N., Fincham, K., & Crossouard, B. (2017). Troubling Muslim Youth Identities. Nation, Religion, Gender. London: Palgrave.
  • Crossouard, B., Dunne, M., & Durrani, N. (2017). Silencing youth sexuality in Senegal: intersections of medicine and morality. Gender and Education. ISSN 0954-0253
  • Delprato, Marcos, Akyeampong, Albert and Dunne, Máiréad (2017) Intergenerational education effects of early marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Development, 91. pp. 173-192. ISSN 0305-750X
  • Delprato, Marcos, Akyeampong, Albert and Dunne, Máiréad (2017) The impact of bullying on students' learning in Latin America: a matching approach for 15 countries. International Journal of Educational Development, 52. pp. 37-57. ISSN 0738-0593
  • Crossouard, B., & Dunne, M. (2015). Politics and youth citizenship in Senegal: the policing of dissent and diversity. International Review of Education, 61(1), 43-60.
  • Dunne, Mairead and Adzahlie-Mensah, Vincent (2015) Subordinate subjects: the work of the hidden curriculum in post-colonial Ghana. In: Wyse, Dominic, Haywood, Louise and Pandya, Jessica (eds.) The SAGE handbook of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. Sage, London, pp. 216-230. ISBN 9781446297025
  • Dunne, M., Durrani, N., Crossouard, B., & Fincham, K. (2015). Youth researching youth: methodological reflections from a multi-country study of youth claiming rights to education and sexual reproductive health. In S. Bastien & H. B. Holmarsdottir (Eds.), Youth at the margins: experiences from engaging youth in research worldwide (pp. 299-316). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Webb, R., & Crossouard, B. (2015). Learners, politics and education. In D. Scott & E. Hargreaves (Eds.), SAGE Handbook of Learning (pp. 169-178). London and New York: Sage.
  • Dunne, M., Durrani, N., Crossouard, B., & Fincham, K. (2014). Youth as Active Citizens Report. Youth Working Towards their Rights to Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health. University of Sussex: Oxfam Novib, The Netherlands.
  • Dunne, Máiréad, Durrani, Naureen, Humphreys, Sara, Dauda, Moses, Kaibo, Jiddere, Sankey, Swadchet, Akogun, Oladele and Ezegwu, Chidi (2014) Operational research study of the UNICEF GEP3 female teacher trainee scholarship scheme. Project Report. Edoren
  • Dunne, Máiréad and Ananga, Eric Daniel (2013) Dropping out: identity conflict in and out of school in Ghana. International Journal of Educational Development, 33 (2). pp. 196-205. ISSN 0738-0593
  • Leach, Fiona Elizabeth, Dunne, Máiréad and Salvi, Francesca (2014) School related gender-based violence.. UNESCO, New York.
  • Dunne, Mairead, Humphreys, Sara, Dauda, Moses, Kaibo, Jiddere and Garuba, Ayo (2013) Adamawa primary education research: executive summary. Project Report. University of Sussex:, Falmer, Brighton.
  • Dunne, Mairead, Humphreys, Sara, Dauda, Moses, Kaibo, Jiddere and Garuba, Ayo (2013) Adamawa primary education research: final report. Project Report. University of Sussex:, Falmer, Brighton.
  • Leach, Fiona, Slade, Eric and Dunne, Máiréad (2013) Promising practice in school-related gender-based violence(SRGBV) prevention and response programming globally. Project Report. University of Sussex.
  • Dunne, Mairead, Sabates, Ricardo, Bosumtwi-Sam, Cynthia and Owusu, Andrew (2012) Peer relations, violence and school attendance: analyses of bullying in senior high schools in Ghana. The Journal of Development Studies. ISSN 0022-0388
  • Qureshi, K. and Zeitlyn, B. (2012): British Muslims, British Soldiers: Cultural citizenship in the new imperialism, Ethnicities, (in Press)  
  • Zeitlyn, B. and Mand, K. (2012): Researching Transnational Childhoods, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(6), 987-1007. ISSN 1369-183X 
  • Dunne, Mairead (2010) Women's education in the developing world. In: Elliott, Geoffrey, Fourali, Chahid, Issler, Sally, Unset, Unset and Unset (eds.) Education and Social Change: Connecting local and global perspectives. Continuum International Publishing Group, London & New York, pp. 38-50. ISBN 9780826444097
  • Dunne, Mairead, Humphreys, Sara and Leach, Fiona (2010) Violencia de genero nas escolas de paises em desenvolvimento. In: de Paula e Silva, Joyce Mary Adam and Ferreira Salles, Leila Maria (eds.) Joven's Violencia E Escola: Um Desafio Contemporaneo. UNESP, San Paulo, Brasil, pp. 23-53. ISBN 9788579831096
  • Durrani, N. and Dunne, M. (2010): Curriculum and National Identity: Exploring the links between religion and nation in Pakistan, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 42(2), 215-240 
  • Durrani, N. (2008): Schooling the 'other': Representation of gender and national identities in Pakistani curriculum texts, Compare, 38(5): 595-610 
  • Dunne, M. (2008): Gender, Sexuality and Development: Education and Society in sub-Saharan Africa (Rotterdam, Sense Publishers). ISBN 978-90-8790-470-8
  • Fincham, K. (2017). Syrian Youths’ Perceptions and Experiences of Higher Education Opportunities for Refugees. MENA Regional Summary. British Council.
  • Fincham, K. (2016). Establishing Higher Education Scholarship Schemes as a Pathway of Admission for Refugees to Europe. UNHCR
  • Fincham, K. (2015) Factors Affecting the Education and Retention of Girls in Primary Education in the Red Sea State of Sudan: perspectives from Port Sudan, Hayya and Tokar. SOFRECO/European Union.
  • Fincham, K. (2013). Constructions, Contradictions and Reconfigurations of 'Manhood' among Youth in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon. International Journal of Educational Development, 37: 48-56.
  • Fincham, K. (2013). Shifting Youth Identities and Notions of Citizenship in the Palestinian Diaspora: the case of Lebanon. In D. Kiwan (ed) Naturalization Policies, Education and Citizenship: Multicultural and Multi-nation Societies in International Perspective. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Fincham, K. (2012). Nationalist Narratives, Boundaries and Social Inclusion/Exclusion in Palestinian Camps in South Lebanon. COMPARE: a journal of comparative and international education, 42(2): 303-324.
  • Fincham, K. (2012). Learning the Nation in Exile: constructing youth identities, belonging and ‘citizenship’ in Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon. Comparative Education, 48(1): 119-133.
  • Fincham, K. (2010). The Construction of the Palestinian Girl: voices from south Lebanon. Girlhood Studies, 3(1): 34-54.
  • Fincham, K. (with Smith, R.L.). (2010). Transforming Policy and Practice for Gender in Education: a review of the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report using an equity and inclusion lens. UNICEF/ UNGEI.
  • Fincham, K. (with Smith, R.L.). (2009). Transforming Policy and Practice for Gender in Education: a gender review of the 2009 EFA Global Monitoring Report. UNICEF/ UNGEI.
Education, Conflict and Displacement

Since the mid-1990s, the relationship between education, conflict and international development has risen up the policy agenda of international organisations, NGOs and bi-lateral development agencies, and has produced a vibrant sub-field within the area of international and comparative education. The focus on education in conflict-affected states was initially prompted by a realisation that reaching the international “Education for All” targets was impossible without addressing conflict-affected states where it was believed 50 per cent of the world’s out-of-school children lived. There was also recognition of the particularity of delivering education in conflict-affected states, requiring new policies and approaches. This impetus was further consolidated after the events of 9/11 when powerful northern governments became increasingly focused on the relationship between zones of conflict, insecurity in low-income countries, the (in)security of their own citizens and weak education systems in conflict-affected states.

Recognition that protracted conflict  and record levels of forcibly displaced people require development support, and not just short-term humanitarian responses, has given rise to a growing focus on refugee education. Migration to the global north  has further extended the interest in the education/conflict relationship, with issues such as radicalization, de-radicalization and integration coming to the fore in the developed north.

Research within this theme explores the complex relationship between education and conflict:

  • What role can education systems play in contributing to both war and peace?
  • What role does education play prior to the outbreak of conflict, during conflict, in the immediate aftermath of conflict, and in long-term post-conflict reconstruction?
  • What roles do state, non-state, national and international actors play in the global governance of education in conflict affected states - and how can we ensure that they contribute to long-term, sustainable peacebuilding?
  • How can we strengthen the voice of civil society in conflict-affected contexts to promote peace with social justice – in and through education?
  • How is education for refugees and IDPs funded, organised and implemented?

Since 2010, this had led to a series of research projects on the relationship between education and peacebuilding, supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in collaboration with UNICEF. This has included detailed case studies in Pakistan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Lebanon and Nepal. We have also undertaken studies of the role of teachers in peacebuilding and social cohesion, funded by ESRC/DFID, in Rwanda and South Africa. Other research has focused on the securitization and militarization of aid to education in conflict affected contexts (funded by the Open Society Foundations) and more recently, we have secured a major grant from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, to carry out research on Social Movement Learning and Knowledge Production in the Struggle for Peace with Social Justice, with case studies in Colombia, Nepal, South Africa and Turkey.

We also have a strong focus on Refugee Education. Up until recently, this was centred on refugee resettlement and structures of exclusion in the north. ‘Optimising Refugee Resettlement in the UK. A Comparative Analysis’ [www.sussex.ac.uk/migration/refugeeresettlement] is an ESRC funded project (2014-18) which explores the outcomes for refugees resettled to the UK in 2010 or earlier. A distinctive feature of this theme to date has been the attention to perspectives and experiences of refugees themselves - ‘Cultural Values from the Subaltern Perspective: A Phenomenology of Refugees’ Experience of British Culture’ was funded by the AHRC in 2014. ‘Hidden Histories: Migrants in Brighton and Hove’, an EU funded participative research project, explored the life stories and experiences of refugees and asylum seekers. However, recently we have begun to do research on refugees and education outside of the Uk with two new projects. The first is led by Professor Yusuf Sayed, on Refugee Education in Ethiopia and Somalia (funded by the European Union) and the second, led by Dr Linda Morrice, on Refugee Education in Jordan (funded by the Queen Rania Foundation).

Research projects have focussed on refugee resettlement and structures of exclusion in the north. Optimising Refugee Resettlement in the UK. A comparative Analysis is an ESRC funded project (2014-18) which explores the outcomes for refugees resettled to the UK in 2010 or earlier. A distinctive feature of this theme to date has been the attention to perspectives and experiences of refugees themselves - Cultural Values from the Subaltern Perspective: A Phenomenology of Refugees' Experience of British Culture, was funded by the AHRC in 2014. Hidden Histories: Migrants in Brighton and Hove, an EU funded participative research project, explored the life stories and experiences of refugees and asylum seekers.

This research theme is co-led by Professor Mario Novelli and Dr Linda Morrice, with engagement from Professor Yusuf Sayed, Dr Sean Higgins and other colleagues in CIE. We also have a lively and critical mass of doctoral researchers carrying out research in this important field.

Recent major research grants awarded in this area include:

2018-2020: Learning and Knowledge Production in Social Movements in Conflict Affected Contexts: Case Studies from Four Conflict-Affected Contexts. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. £450,000
January 2018 – January 2020

2014-2017: ESRC/DFID Engaging teachers in peacebuilding in postconflict contexts: evaluating education interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone (£453.000) 
September 2014 - November 2017

2014-2016: UNICEF East & Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) A Comparative Country Study exploring the nexus between Education Sector Governance, Inequality, Conflict and Peacebuilding’ in South Sudan and Kenya,(US$325,000) 
September 2014 - September 2016

2014-2016: UNICEF Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding (RECEP). Consortium Co-Director and Sussex Principal Investigator (US$3.800,000)
July 2014 – June 2016