Towards East Asian Dialogue: Thinking Through the Policy Contradictions of Equity and Excellence in East Asian Education

  • Keita Takayama
Part of the Education Innovation Series book series (EDIN)


Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan, the cities and countries featured in this section of the book, were some of the top performers in the last few rounds of OECD’s PISA wherein they, along with Macao and South Korea, dominated the top rankings of the global league tables. Their success stories in demonstrating how both excellence and equity can be achieved together have swept through the English-language media and policy discourse, prompting prominent political figures in Australia, the UK and the USA to learn from ‘East’ (Sellar S, Lingard B. Comp Educ 49(4), 464–485, 2013; Waldow F, Takayama K, Sung Y. Comp Educ 50(3), 302–321, 2014 ), though much of the learning from East call was based on a highly selective reference to East Asian education policies to legitimize long preferred policy agendas (You Y, Morris P. Compare J Comp Int Educ 46(6), 882–905, 2015) or on reform advocates’ nostalgia for a more didactic approach to teaching, which was presumed to be still alive in East Asia (Forestier K, Crossley M. Compare J Comp Int Educ 45(5), 664–685, 2015). Regardless of whether this ‘learning from East’ trend is genuine or phony, the infatuation with East Asia in the Anglo-American education policy circle is likely to stay for some time particularly against the backdrop of Asia’s rising economic and political influences. Part of the responsibilities of scholars researching East Asian education today then is to provide more contextualised accounts of their success stories to pre-empt any unintelligent form of policy learning and borrowing from East.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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