Congress of the World Council of Comparative Education
Societies (WCCES) Havana,
Cuba, 25-29 October 2004
12th Congress of the WCCES, held in Havana,
was the largest in the history of the WCCES. It attracted
nearly 1,000 participants from 68 countries.
The Congress was being held for the first time in the
Caribbean and in a Spanish-speaking country, and it
was particularly successful in promoting the field of
comparative education in Latin America. During the Congress,
a new Mexican Comparative Education Society was admitted
to the Council, bringing the number of WCCES constituent
societies to 32. In addition, the foundation was laid
for a new Ibero-American Comparative Education Society,
and advances were made in the development of comparative
education in such countries as Argentina, Chile and
The core theme for the Congress was ‘Education and Social
Justice’. In addition to the main focus, 12 thematic
groups addressed such matters as theory and method in
comparative education, literacy, higher education, and
new technologies. All plenary sessions had simultaneous
translation for Spanish, English and French.
Among the memorable features were inspiring keynote
addresses. The Cuban Minister of Education presented
an opening plenary address on the theme ‘Cuba: A Profound
Educational Revolution’; and Anne Hickling-Hudson presented
a vivid account of postcolonialism in education during
her Presidential Address. Other keynote speakers were
Madeleine Arnot from the United Kingdom, and Salim Vally
from South Africa.
The participants greatly appreciated the warmth, hospitality
and enthusiasm of the Cuban hosts. Intensive preparations
had included events in each of Cuba’s 14 provinces which
had explained the nature and value of comparative education
and which had included competitions for papers to be
presented at the Congress. International participants
were able to visit Cuban schools and other educational
institutions, and to learn about the major achievements
of the Cuban people in the domain of education.
The new WCCES president is Mark Bray, of the University
of Hong Kong, who will hold office for three years.
Mark Bray had previously been the WCCES Secretary General
and, before that, Assistant Secretary General.
Further details on the Congress, and on other dimensions
of the WCCES, can be found on the website www.hku.hk/cerc/wcces.