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Title: Egerton Ryerson and educational policy borrowing : aspects of the development of Ontario's system of public instruction, 1844-1876
Author: Cohen, Jessica E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 2677
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Literature within the field of Comparative Education often cautions against the transfer of foreign policies from one context to another. Despite this warning, Ontario’s public education system is said to have been based on an eclectic mix of foreign examples: teacher training institutes replicating Prussian Seminaries, school financing and the role of the chief superintendent and board of education as in the states of Massachusetts and New York, and using the Irish curriculum. This study conceptualises the manner in which these foreign elements became part of the 1846 school law and the reaction of stakeholders in and outside of government. The period covered by this study, 1844 – 1876, corresponds to Egerton Ryerson’s time as Chief Superintendent of education in Ontario. Extensive archival research of incoming and outgoing correspondence from the department of education, district council meeting minutes, newspapers, and local superintendent, inspector and trustee reports revealed contrasting opinions. On the one hand, sources indicated favourable results: increased pupil attendance, number of facilities and money raised to fund schools. There is also evidence that many foreign educationalists not only requested resources from Ontario’s board but aspired to emulate features of the province’s reformed education system in their own nations. This study’s finding of a ‘reverse cross-national attraction’ is a new contribution to Canadian historical studies. However, many resented features of the school bill. Critics called the superintendent and board’s method of organisation ‘Prussian despotism’ in Canadian schools; others argued the injustice of property tax to fund free schools and the cost burden of importing Irish textbooks. An original conceptual framework has been produced to review the manner in which Ryerson defended the new bill and the internalisation of these foreign policies and practices. This framework may serve as an analytical device for those engaged in researching educational policy borrowing.
Supervisor: Phillips, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Comparative and international education ; History of North America ; Educational Policy Borrowing ; Comparative Education ; History of Education ; Canadian Historical Studies