International Perspectives on Education


About this course

This course focuses on studying education from an international perspective. We examine how global or international developments affect teaching and learning across continents and countries. Furthermore, we compare the educational policies and practices of different countries about specific themes. As an overarching framework, we will focus on the complex interplay between economic, political, historical, social, and cultural factors, and how these factors affect national educational policies and practices. There will be lectures from international guest lecturers who will talk about education in their home countries.

Specific topics that may be addressed during the course include:

  • Cross-cultural perspectives on education

  • Pros and cons of large-scale international studies examining students’ academic performance (e.g., PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS)

  • Comparison of educational policies and practices about themes such as gender

  • The role of international organisations such as the OECD and World Bank and how their policies affect international and national decision-making regarding national policies and practices

  • Internationalization of higher education

About the group assignment and the exam:

  • In the group assignment (50%), you will conduct a comparative study in a group of approximately four students. You will focus on a specific topic in the field of education and together with your group mates, you will compare the educational policies and practices concerning this topic in two different countries.

  • Your knowledge and understanding of the content of the lectures and the literature are assessed in a written exam (50%).

Learning outcomes

After the course, students will have achieved the following learning goals:

1. Knowledge and understanding of :

  • Cross-cultural perspectives on education and cross-cultural differences in teaching and learning
  • Comparative research and its impact on educational policies and practices
  • How and why different nations have structured their system of education
  • Current global developments and (reform) trends in education
  • The complex interplay between economical, political, historical, social, and cultural macro-level factors and how these affect national educational policies and practices
  • How supranational organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank affect education and training on the national level.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding :

  • Critically analyzing and evaluating how economic, political, historical, social, and cultural macrolevel factors are associated with educational policies and educational practices.

3. Skills:

  • Searching for and reporting relevant scientific literature, policy documents, and data from international databases
  • Conducting an international comparative study based on policy documents, databases, and scientific literature
  • Forming a substantiated opinion based on critical analysis and comparison of different sources of information

Note: A limited number of places (60) is available for the course International Perspectives on Education. Admission will take place in the order of registration.

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Utrecht University.


  • Start date

    22 April 2024

    • Ends
      28 June 2024
    • Term *
      Period 4
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Enrolment period closed
  • Start date

    21 April 2025

    • Ends
      27 June 2025
    • Term *
      Period 4
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      4 Nov, 08:00 - 22 Nov 2024
    Enrolment starts in 163 days
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven