Begin the begin

I started this blog in order to collect my thoughts on education, especially now while I’m wrapping up my MSc in Comparative and International Education at the University of Oxford. Here’s more about me.

The funny thing about doing a postgraduate degree, as opposed to working full-time in my previous life, is that suddenly there exists this immense mental space to reflect* on what I have observed and experienced. I figured there is some good in explicating the thoughts arising out of this often solitary practice, so that sometime in the future, I am able to look back and see how my thinking on education has developed over time. I also hope a few more people beyond my parents will also read them, too.

So I begin with this wonderful quote from the esteemed scholar in Comparative and International Education, the late George Bereday–he was a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, where I studied from 2012 to 2013, and passed away before I was born, so here’s to posterity! I came across this quote–which inspires the name for this blog–at the beginning of my time here in Oxford; it was a gem amidst the waves of academic reading that I was trying to adjust to at that time:

Education is a mirror held against the face of a people. Nations may put on blustering shows of strength to conceal political weakness, erect grand facades to conceal shabby backyards, and profess peace while secretly arming for conquest, but how they take care of their children tells us unerringly who they are. 

(Bereday, 1964, cited in Kubow and Fossum, 2007, p. 13)

These are exciting times for education, particularly in the Malaysian context. With the recent change in government–also in the ways of governing by early observations–there is a renewed sense of hope in the great promise of education and how it will be delivered. The rakyat are watching and anxiously waiting to see how this new nation, #MalaysiaBaharu, will, in Bereday’s parlance, ‘take care of their children’.

As someone involved in the study of education as a social practice and a vital component of nation-building, I look forward to seeing a new reflection–a more holistic reflection–from education as a mirror held up against the face of the rakyat.

*Note: In retrospect maybe this isn’t exactly a choice, given the bombardment of readings and the requirement to produce coherent essays as part of the course. I hope to share some of those essays in this blog.


Kubow, P. K., & Fossum, P. R. (2007). Comparative education: Exploring issues in international context (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

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