Scientific article
Open access

Building an “international code for public education”: Behind the scenes at the International Bureau of Education (1925–1946)

ContributorsHofstetter, Rita
Published inProspects, vol. 45, no. 1, p. 31-48
Publication date2015

The founders of the International Bureau of Education (IBE) in Geneva were convinced the best way to develop understanding between peoples was by disseminating knowledge: collecting pedagogical materials from around the world, making them accessible to all, and enriching them through collective studies and conferences where attendees could engage in reflection to ‘‘resolve global problems in education''. This article goes behind the scene to study how the IBE ‘‘armed itself'' to overcome rivalries, reach across borders, and promote international understanding. It focuses on its first two stages— as a private institution and an intergovernmental organization—before it became linked to UNESCO in 1946. It describes how the IBE positioned itself during the interwar period in relation to its first sponsors, continually adapting itself so it could safeguard the viability, durability, and legitimacy of its concept. Resolutely scientific, its mission was to make comparative education—joining the local and the global, the particular and the universal—the basis for circulating knowledge free from centrifugal and hegemonic forces, so it could develop a ‘‘charter of aspirations for global education''.

Citation (ISO format)
HOFSTETTER, Rita. Building an “international code for public education”: Behind the scenes at the International Bureau of Education (1925–1946). In: Prospects, 2015, vol. 45, n° 1, p. 31–48. doi: 10.1007/s11125-015-9336-3
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0033-1538

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