Exploring the relationship between education, research, policy and practice

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Sun Dec 12 2021

Author: Guest contributor

Springer Nature's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Programme aims to connect the researchers who are tackling the world’s toughest challenges with the practitioners in policy and business who desperately need those insights to achieve their goals in improving the world, by making our publishing activities more visible to our key communities through a variety of channels. Our newly launched SDG4 hub focuses on Quality Education.

In honor of International Day of Education (January 24) we reached out to some of our authors, editors, and researchers, asking them to reflect on how we can work towards equality and quality in education and how they are helping in the ongoing mission to achieve SDG 4, and how we, as a scholarly publisher, are helping to contribute to these goals by publishing and distributing their research. In this interview we hear from Fernando M. Reimers.

Sign up to the newsletter

Please tell us about the nature of your work

My research focuses on understanding how to transform education systems so they support students in developing the breadth of skills necessary to advance the UN SDGs. At present, I advance this research leading the Global Education Innovation Initiative, a research-policy and practice collaborative with colleagues in several universities around the world. We conduct applied research, informed dialogues and develop curriculum and other practical tools. In terms of applied research we have conducted a number of comparative studies of system level reform, curriculum reform and teacher professional reform, aligned with the development of the breadth of skills necessary to achieve the SDGs. Springer has published several of these books. In terms of informed dialogues, we have published several books which make visible knowledge from leaders of policy reform and practice. In terms of curriculum development, we have developed several comprehensive, interdisciplinary and project based curricula aligned with the SDGs.

Does your work intend to directly address ways in which we can work towards equality in education, either locally or globally?

Certainly, my work focused principally on how to transform public education systems as the main avenue to democratize educational opportunities so students gain the competencies essential to participate, civically and economically in a world in flux. Since March 2020 I have focused all of my research and work in understanding how COVID-19 has impacted educational systems, and in generating knowledge that can support building back better, systems which are more inclusive and equitable.

What are the short and long-term goals of your work?

To contribute to the global transformation of education systems, in line with the vision articulated by UNESCO’s Commission on the Futures of Education, just published. I was a member of this commission. This vision proposes that education systems should become more relevant and more inclusive, and equip students with the competencies essential to achieve the SDGs.

What do you think is the most productive way that researchers can engage policy makers? What has your experience been with policy engagement?

The relationship between education research, policy and practice has been the focus of my work for over three decades. I develop a theory about how to articulate such relationship published in my book Informed Dialogue. This theory has been the basis of many of my engagements supporting education reforms around the world, and it is the intellectual underpinning of the global education innovation initiative. This theory is also the basis of the approach to changing education proposed in UNESCO’s recent Futures of Education work, which I contributed to write, and it is the foundation of the graduate program in international education policy I have directed at Harvard over the last 23 years.

What does public engagement look like in your field and how important do you think it is for researchers to make a societal impact with their work?  

Based on my theory of Informed Dialogue, it is essential that academics take on the task of translating research for a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies, in order to democratize access to knowledge and to make it possible for research based knowledge to contribute to educational change. I engage actively in multiple forms of public engagement.  

What progress would you like to see next towards equitable and inclusive education worldwide (or locally)?

The progress we articulate in the report ‘Reimagining Our Futures Together. Towards a new social contract for education’ published by UNESCO’s Commission on the Futures of Education. The systemic transformation of educational ecosystems so they provide all people, at all stages of life, opportunities to continually learn and gain the competencies essential to participate meaningfully in society.

Visit Springer Nature's SDG4 hub now

About Fernando M. Reimers

Fernando M. Reimers, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education. Author of Educating Students to Improve the World and editor of Primary and Secondary Education During Covid-19, Implementing Deeper Learning and 21st Century Education Reforms, University and School Collaborations during a Pandemic, and Audacious Education Purposes.


Author: Guest contributor

Guest Contributors include Springer Nature staff and authors, industry experts, society partners, and many others. If you are interested in being a Guest Contributor, please contact us via email: thesource@springernature.com.

Related Tags: