Urban Education in Asia Pacific: Section Editors'Introduction

  • Allan Luke
  • Masturah Ismail
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 19)

The field of urban education has its origins in the nexus of urbanization, industrialization and compulsory state education in North America and Europe over a century ago. Yet its key theme – educational equality and universal provision – is relevant in other places, spaces, political economies and cultures where the “urban” has quite different histories, shapes and locations. The city is a work in progress in the Asia Pacific. The modern city tended to be located along the supply lines of empire (Innis, 1951). In the Asia Pacific, the region’s major centers were established in relation to coastlines or rivers, with the lines of kinship, capital, migration and cultural exchange, language and information flowing along communication/transportation links.

Issues of centre/periphery, urban/hinterland, mainstream/minority, indigeneity/diaspora have been framed by the forces of colonialism and empire, by ongoing population movement and cultural contact, and resultant linguistic, religious and cultural heterogeneity, and, of course, by distinctive constraints of geography, space and place. Cities in Southeast Asia, for example, historically arose as colonial administrative centres, rather than manufacturing and resource sites as in the West (Ooi, 2004). In China and India, what counts as the new economic hinterland may be regional centres larger than major North American cities. In the South Pacific context that Puamau and Teasdale (Chapter 14) document, larger island villages of tens of thousands have become sites for classical urban education issues. There schools face new youth identities, generational challenges to tradition, the supplanting of traditional and subsistence economies by systems dependent on tourism and overseas aid, and new conditions of risk for families’ and individuals’ health and welfare. Across the region, as Yang’s (Chapter 12) analysis of post-1949 Chinese education illustrates, the disparities in educational funding and provision between urban and rural hinterland are a persistent problem.


Religious Education Private Tutoring Creative Industry Asia Pacific Journal Urban Education 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allan Luke
    • 1
  • Masturah Ismail
    • 2
  1. 1.Queensland University of TechnologyAustralia
  2. 2.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore

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