chapter  6
Philosophy and comparative education
What can we learn from East Asia?
Pages 19

This chapter begins with some reflections on philosophy and comparative education. The philosophical ideas of East Asia are taken as an 'other', from which to look comparatively at some of the fundamental values that underlie educational thought in the West. Given the history of European colonization, and the attraction European models had for modernizing countries that were never colonized, these values became the foundations for modern systems of education. Brian Holmes suggested the use of ideal types as a way of identifying contrasting values about society, knowledge, and the human person. In his 1981 textbook, he sketched out ideal types for comparing European, Soviet, and American education by summarizing the views of Plato, Karl Marx, and John Dewey on these three subjects. The main direction of the post-war reforms in Japanese education was to reduce central control over the education system, and give greater autonomy to teachers and greater responsibility to local educational authorities.