Tag Archives: Heike Jöns

Mapping Education

by Benjamin Sacks

As pupils, teachers, and parents head into the final weeks preceding the winter holiday, education remains a perennial and hotly debated issue. In the last week alone, Education Secretary Michael Gove urged Lancashire primary schools to increase their standards and testing results, commentators discussed raising university fees on the Isle of Man and, while on a trip to India, Boris Johnson railed against declining numbers of foreign students attending British universities. These stories come on the heels of several years of upheaval in the British education system – ranging from the introduction of high tuition fees to reforms in primary and secondary care.

In the most recent Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Sarah L Holloway and Heike Jöns (Loughborough University) headlined a thematic issue focusing on changing geographies of education. The articles, as well as Holloway and Jöns’s summarisation, featured at the Second International Conference on Geographies of Education, held 10-11 September 2012 at Loughborough University, and presently form a 14-article ‘virtual issue’.

The authors begin their analysis with a discussion of the vital role states play in the successful implementation of educational policy at every level, from ensuring that regions meet appropriate national testing regulations, to provide local medical, nursery, and food assistance. In so doing, they highlight at least two key, but uneasy partnerships: the state and parents; and the balance between public and private responsibilities. These balances appear to be in nearly constant flux; demanding education reform that’s attune to the needs of different constituencies.

Sociologists and geographers of education are increasingly cognizant of the rapidly changing nature of education itself or, as the authors concisely described, ‘[W]hat is learnt’ (483). Several important themes are highlighted:  interdisciplinary studies; the importance of informal education, or education that does not take place within the traditional classroom (e.g., field trips, active citizenship and volunteering); introduction to and engaging in national and international issues, and conceptualising different ‘spaces of learning’ that can be tailored to maximise opportunities in various environments (484-86). Geographers of education must also engage with the ‘complex networks’ and the ‘diverse flows of knowledge, information, capital and resources’ that are becoming increasingly global in the age of internet communications. As a final call to action, both authors suggest that British debates on education geography and policy engage with non-British sources, incorporating ideas and priorities from the Americas, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

 Sarah L Holloway and Heike Jöns, Geographies of Education and LearningTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers NS 37 482-88.

 Michael Gove: Lancashire primary schools need to improveBBC News, 23 November 2012, accessed 26 November 2012.

 Isle of Man students to pay more for universityBBC News, 26 November 2012, accessed 26 November 2012.

 Boris Johnson warns that UK is losing foreign studentsBBC News, 26 November 2012, accessed 26 November 2012.

Student Visas: International Education and Migration Policy

By Catherine Waite

Two weeks ago it was announced that the UK Border Agency had taken the decision to withdraw London Metropolitan University’s sponsorship licence, leaving them unable to recruit and teach students from outside of the European Union.

The following week the government’s Business, Innovation and Skills Committee published a report on ‘Overseas Students and Net Migration’. The report outlines the conflict between the government’s wish to reduce net migration, whilst still allowing universities to continue to attract and educate overseas students. The findings indicate that it would be beneficial for overseas students to be excluded from net migration figures, as their stay is only temporary whilst they complete their studies. Such a policy change would be in line with the USA and Australia’s classification of international students, but the Home Office argue that current policy reflects UN definitions in which overseas students are considered to be migrants.

Many of the issues underlying these debates have been subject to geographical research. Holloway and Jöns (2012) introduction to the recently published virtual edition of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers on the Geographies of education and learning provides an initial insight into some of these issues. These insights are then addressed in more depth in articles such as ‘World Class? An investigation of globalisation, difference and international student mobility’ by Findlay et al. (2012), that are included in the virtual issue. Similarly the debates about how best to classify student migration and the lived experiences of international student migrants are highlighted in Collins (2012) paper ‘Researching mobility and emplacement: examining transience and transnationality in international student lives’ which was published in Area earlier this year.

Holloway, S.L. and Jöns, H. 2012 Virtual Issue: Geographies of Education and Learning Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers NS37 482-488

Findlay, A.M., King, R., Smith, F.M., Geddes, A. and Skeldon, R. 2012 World Class? An investigation of globalisation, difference and international student mobility Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers NS37 118-131

Collins, F.L. 2012 Researching mobility and emplacement: examining transience and transnationality in international student lives Area 44:3 296-304

UK Border Agency criticised over student visas The Guardian

Exclude overseas students from migration count, say MPs BBC News


Content Alert: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Volume 37, Issue 4 (October 2012) is Available Online Now

Cover image for Vol. 37 Issue 4

Volume 37, Issue 4 Pages 477– 657, October 2012

The latest issue of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers is available on Wiley Online Library.

Click past the break for a full list of articles in this issue.

Continue reading