Institute of Education

Research & Expertise to Make a Difference in Education & Beyond

IOE Experts Speak at 2018 WERA Congress in South Africa

On August 3–5, South Africa’s Cape Town welcomed over 500 leading academics from 62 countries for the 2018 Global Congress of World Education Research Association (WERA), the largest international venue for multidisciplinary educational scholarship and networking. IOE researchers Pavel Sorokin, Sergey Kosaretsky and Roman Zvyagintsev were also presenting at this year’s WERA event.  

In 2018, the forum’s agenda centered on how education can help better address modern-day societal challenges and foster socio-economic development at different levels.     

A Congress presentation by IOE Senior Researcher Pavel Sorokin aimed to share insights into how Russian education has correlated with the national socio-economic environment. “My report is based on the research project that Isak Froumin and I have been carrying out at the HSE Institute of Education. This study seeks to explore the so-called ‘paradox of Russian education,’ which can be described as follows. For one thing, in accordance with the human capital theory, Russia’s high share of university degree holders between ages 25 and 64 suggests that the national economy should have performed at overall higher rates. But on the other hand, if we consider the Russian context under the theoretical framework of new institutionalism, then it could be inferred that having such a significant proportion of highly educated population should have prompted a societal model more similar to the Western type. While these two theoretical concepts are broadly conjectured as clashing or irreconcilable in many respects, we argue for a synthetic approach to them as well as for the need to rethink the human capital theory by resorting to certain key postulates from the framework of new institutionalism.”                

According to Pavel Sorokin, as part of WERA sessions several accomplished academics from the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany and Malaysia confirmed their intention to join this research project, which should unlock sound prospects for effective cooperation in exploring new and deeper perspectives within this study area.     

A country where social inequalities have been among the most acute on a global scale, South Africa views education as the key remedy to this problem. Considering how similar the Russian and South African contexts are, I believe this WERA forum will bring multiple opportunities for building far-reaching and sustainable academic collaborations

Pavel Sorokin 
IOE Senior Researcher

A talk by IOE experts Sergey Kosaretsky and Roman Zvyagintsev focused on Russian evidence for organizational and academic strategies that allow principals at disadvantaged schools to effectively counter inequality constraints and to deliver strong educational outcomes. Such resilient schools are able to create L&D environments where students have more equitable chances for high academic achievement despite various adverse factors of underprivileged socio-economic background that may confront them. As part of the study, IOE experts have identified what primarily implicates in enabling such strategies of resilient schooling. Specifically, the expects argue it is such facets as enriching and diversifying the learning environment, boosting student L&D engagement through competitions and extracurriculars, as well as high professional expectations and personal effectiveness of school leadership that are of principal importance to building resilient schools.            

The concept of resilience holds particular relevance to modern education inequality studies, and the fact that much of this year’s WERA discourse was focused on various aspects of resilience only further confirms this assertion. By the way, Dr. Liesel Ebersöhn, who is currently WERA’s Secretary General, also heads the Center for Resilience Studies at the University of Pretoria. During the forum’s sessions, Liesel and our IOE team held several meetings to draw up a blueprint for joint R&D

Sergey Kosaretsky  
IOE Senior Researcher