Postgraduate taught 

International & Comparative Education MSc

International actors and global education policies EDUC51061

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces students to key actors involved in education internationally through the critical review of their policies and practices. Participants will learn how international organisations work, how they are governed, how global education policy agendas are constituted, and how they influence national education reforms. The focus will include multilateral aid agencies, UN organisations, philanthropists, international and regional non-governmental organisations, and bilateral aid agencies. The course provides a solid theoretical foundation to make sense of the relationship between global governance and education policy, looking at how globalization has altered the way we think about and study education policy. The course will particularly focus on the role of international actors in the dissemination and transfer of education policies to different world locations.



Excluded Courses





There are two summative assessments.


The first will involve an individual 10-minute presentation and submission of accompanying materials (e.g., PPT slides, handouts) focused on a particular international actor or organisation (e.g., UNESCO, World Bank). The accompanying materials will comprise approximately 1,200 words (+/-10%, excluding references). It will comprise 30% of the total marks.


The second will be an analysis how a specific global education policy has emerged, spread, and/or been recontextualised. The essay will be 2,800 words (+/-10%, excluding references) and due after Week 11. It will comprise 70% of the total marks.

Course Aims

■ To create knowledge of and appreciation for the importance of international actors for the study of education policy.

■ To develop a thorough understanding of the multi-dimensional relationship between global governance and education policy.

■ To familiarize participants with a variety of globalization and policy transfer theories and their implications for the analysis of processes of education reform.

■ To develop skills to engage and critically analyse the policies and practices of international actors in education.

■ To stimulate interest in further study of the global education arena and awareness of the ethical implications of doing work in the education policy field.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate awareness of key debates in international education policy, particularly those concerning the mechanisms of influence of international actors in education policymaking.

■ Critically analyse the influence of international actors and global education policies on education systems from a social justice perspective.  

■ Apply the course content in individual and group assignments on global education policy related topics.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.