Education Studies: an international perspective

Education Studies in the UK emerged as an independent subject in the late 1990s. Initially it was introduced in just few universities as an ‘’ideal subject as preparation for teaching and other careers’’ and in combination with other subjects (Simon, 2019, p.2). It is now present in most of the universities, in different forms, with different titles and mainly associated to faculties or departments of education (Bartlett and Burton, 2016). However, it is still difficult to discuss outside UK what Education Studies means. In an international forum, the representation of education studies is more elusive, takes multiple forms and presents its own epistemological trajectory associated to the particularities of each context. This paper aims to discuss diverse conceptualisations, practices and views associated with education studies from an international perspective to facilitate the communication, understanding and presence of the education studies community in a global context. The study provides an original insight that brings together reflections, quotes and stories from people involved in education studies, equivalent areas or programmes of study from different parts of the world. More specifically, we present ideas that emerge from an open discussion between academics and students from a diverse array of international higher education contexts, including voices from the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Canada and United States. This discussion is articulated around four elements that we explore through informal focus group discussions:

  1. Common features or views (e.g. multi-professional possibilities, openness to different forms of education that include exploring formal/informal/non-formal aspects or settings, interest on the study of the multidisciplinary nature of education)
  2. Differences (e.g. curriculum design, course organisation, contextual differences and traditions that influence research and academic practices)
  3. Challenges (e.g. employability issues, respond to global concerns, resist internal and external pressures to instrumentalise knowledge, social sciences and higher education) 4. Possibilities (e.g. innovative approaches to teaching, learning, research and curriculum design, ethical internationalisation: international collaborations and the development of the education/al studies global community).

We discuss how education study looks in different international contexts. Finally, we open the discussion to explore the possibility-impossibility of developing a common international framework for Education studies.


Bartlett, S. & Burton, D. (2016). Introduction to Education Studies.  London: SAGE.

Simon, C.A. and Ward, S.  (2019). A Student’s Guide to Education Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.