The International encyclopedia of education /

Other Authors: Husén, Torsten, 1916-, Postlethwaite, T. Neville.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: [Oxford, England] : New York : Pergamon ; 1994.
Edition: 2nd ed.
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Review by Choice Review

An ambitious and generally well executed project, this work reflects the world of professional education as defined by leaders from university schools of education and ministries of education. More than 1,400 articles by experts from more than 100 countries cover topics in the following six areas: human development, educational planning and economics of education, the conduct of education, evaluation and research, systems of education, and humanistic and social science disciplines that influence education. A particular effort has been made to include ``areas of special concern to the Third World'' (p. xii). The Encyclopedia clearly reflects the concerns of the education establishment; perspectives and topics that are of little interest to that establishment are either noted briefly in passing or ignored. Although the editors warn that some writers from ministries of education may present ``officially sanctioned'' (p. xx) views only, emphasis on views (semiofficially sanctioned?) held by the elite of the education profession can be found throughout the work. For example, the preface notes a turning away from the positivist tradition in education, but the work itself and the background of its editors, editorial advisory board, and contributors overwhelmingly reflect that tradition. The major impact of the reform movements of the 1960s seems to be in a curious ``add-on'' technique, which allows the traditional view and practice to continue, while acknowledging that there are some who doubt their impact. For example, the ten-page article on ``Gifted and Talented, Education of,'' includes about half a page on ``Some Special Areas of Concern'' that points out the underrepresentation of the general school population in programs for the gifted. The issues of equity and social stratification are not considered, and no reference is made to the articles on ``Social Stratification and Education'' or ``Grouping: Instructional Purposes.'' Although several articles on women's interests, such as ``Sexism in Education,'' are included, many that could be enriched by a gender perspective, such as ``Social Class and Education: Comparative Studies,'' barely mention women or girls. Some major topics are omitted: one looks in vain for a discussion of the role of intercollegiate athletics in American higher education. There is no article on athletics or sports. This reflects less the reality of American higher education than the interests of an educational elite. Technically, the Encyclopedia is excellent. Lists identify editors and contributors; the latter have their articles listed but unfortunately not their first names. Access is expedited by a ``Classified List of Entries,'' which groups related articles, and by subject and author indexes. Also included are lists of authors whose works are cited in the Encyclopedia and compilations of major education journals. Although numerous tables and graphs are used to good effect, the omission of maps from a work so international in scope is a mistake. The volumes are generally readable and durable, but the interior margins are too narrow and the lettering on the binding deteriorates rapidly with normal library usage. This work will be useful in any library serving the education community.-S. Hildenbrand, SUNY at Buffalo

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.