International education policy transfer - borrowing both ways: the Hong Kong and England experience

Katherine Forestier, Michael Crossley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
1143 Downloads (Pure)


This paper analyses how the impact of international student achievement studies and the recent economic crisis in Europe are influencing the development of educational policy transfer and borrowing, from East to West. This is contrasted with education reform movements in East Asia, which have long legacies of borrowing from so-called ‘progressive’ discourses in the West. England and Hong Kong are used as case studies. Since 2010, England’s coalition government has prioritised its determination to look to jurisdictions like Hong Kong to inspire and justify reforms that emphasise traditional didactic approaches to teaching and learning. In contrast, Hong Kong’s reforms have sought to implement practices related to less pressured, more student-centred lifelong learning, without losing sight of strengths derived from its Confucian heritage culture. Conclusions highlight factors that underpin English interest in Hong Kong education policy, values and practice and point to the need for further attention to be given to these multidirectional and often contradictory processes by researchers concerned with the study of policy transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-685
Number of pages22
JournalCompare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2015


  • policy borrowing and transfer
  • Hong Kong
  • England
  • education reform
  • international student assessment

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