Digital Education Governance Beyond International Comparative Assessment

Online, May 25, 2022

Virtual Meetup

An examination of recent paths of development, current enactments, and possible trajectories for education policy and governance.


About this event

Digital Education Governance Beyond International Comparative Assessment: Complex histories, contested presents and contingent futures.

25th – 26th May 2022



International organizations have driven large-scale comparative assessments and quantification as the basis of policy influence, development and diffusion since the mid-20th century, and have been instrumental in shaping education discourse since the turn of the 21st century. A growing body of research, however, has begun identifying the influence of new ‘digital’ actors and methods in the ways education systems, schools, teachers and students are governed and how educational policies are developed, diffused and enacted. Schools are underpinned by digital systems for management and pedagogy, while official agencies employ data infrastructures to formulate and assess policy interventions. The education technology industry, with political and investor support, has introduced new algorithmic capacities of learning analytics, artificial intelligence and automation into classrooms through digital platforms. Global technology corporations such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon have extended their powers in education too, expanding the reach of their cloud architectures, digital platforms, and data mining into schools, colleges and universities worldwide. At the same time, the most powerful governing organization of the last twenty years, such as the OECD, World Bank and UNESCO, have begun ‘digitalizing’ and ‘datafying’ their practices and methods.

The online conference ‘Digital education governance beyond international comparative assessments: complex histories, contested presents, and contingent futures’ provides an opportunity to examine and discuss recent paths of development, current enactments, and possible trajectories for education policy and governance in a time of intensive digitalization and datafication. ‘Digital education governance’ signifies three major interrelated transformations: a structural shift in the organizations, actors and expertise involved in the governance of education; new techniques to govern, control, steer, enable or constrain education systems, institutions, populations and individuals; and changing forms of agency and authority, which make governance more pervasive and challenge the relationship between public and private. The conference will bring together researchers to build a collective knowledge base for future research, theory generation, and critical intervention on digital technologies in education governance.