David N. Wilson (1938 - 2006)

Wilson David N

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Dr. David N. Wilson was a well known figure in the field of Comparative Education. He was the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES) President from 1996 to 2001 and the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) President in 1993. He was born in the United States and grew up in Syracuse, New York. After graduating with a Ph.D. from the University of Syracuse, he went on to become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Planning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. He remained a faculty member there until 2003 and taught many courses including courses on Educational Planning, Research Methodology, Third World Education, and Adult, Comparative and Higher Education. He was widely published in Comparative Education journals and books. Most of his publications centered on Comparative and International Education, Information and Communications Technologies and Third World Educational Development. He was especially interested in Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET). In an article titled 'Comparative and International Education: Fraternal or Siamese Twins? A Preliminary Genealogy of Our Twin Fields' he explored a task which he believed had not been undertaken before, that is that of examining the evolution of Comparative and International Education at the macro level. In his viewpoint Comparative and International Education were twin fields and their marriage had "produced a hybrid offspring, whose orientation and activities have significantly changed the 'parent' fields".

According to Wilson, John Dewey's influence on the field of Comparative Education was undeniable. Dewey was seen by Wilson as today's role model of an academic practitioner and was credited for paving the way for the activities of international educators at bilateral and multilateral agencies. Wilson stressed the importance of including international societies and journals in comparative educational analysis and felt that there was room for multiplicity since each society of the WCCES afforded a different and fresh perspective.

Wilson traveled quite a bit and went to Malawi for fieldwork. Among his countries of interest were Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela and the Caribbean nations. He was a member of the CIES since 1964 and of the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada (CIESC) since 1969. He was also part of the Australia & New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society from 1980 to 1981 and served as Vice President of the Canadian Bureau for International Education. Wilson served twice as UNESCO Field Staff, once as ILO Field Staff and as a Project Officer - TVET with the Asian Development Bank. He wrote many books and articles on TVET, Comparative and International Education, Educational Planning, Non-Formal Education, etc. He also worked as a Visiting Professor at the UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Bonn, Germany from 2000-2001. His writings mainly focused on TVET and TVET reform in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela and the Caribbean nations.

His influence and expertise in TVET are clearly visible in the many articles he wrote. He was also interested in looking at post-independence developments in developing countries that had once been colonies of European nations and talked about the re-conceptualization of vocationalizing secondary education. Wilson undertook the comparative examination of the reforms of the Malaysian and Indonesian TVE systems.

He was the editor of the 'International Handbook of Education for the Changing World of Work: Bridging Academic and Vocational Learning' along with Rupert Maclean. This handbook was instrumental in providing up-to-date information on developments in research, policy and practice in TVET, hence helping practitioners in the field by enhancing their knowledge. The book's topics include TVET policy and reform; financing TVET systems; TVET teacher education; assessment in TVET and TVET research and curriculum development among many others. In another one of his writings, he explored the future prospects of Comparative and International Education in terms of globalization. He felt that the changing nature of technology meant that comparative perspectives and their significance had elevated for people across the world.

Wilson was working on his book which had yet to be published when he felt seriously ill. In September 2006 he was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer. He died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 8, 2006 at the age of 68. He is survived by his wife Susan and his children, Sharyn, Michael, James and Dianne. David's presence in the field of Comparative Education will always continue to live on in spirit.

Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Syracuse

Professional Background

Assistant Professor - Department of Educational Planning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto.

Professor of Higher Comparative and International Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto.

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), President (1996-2001)

Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), President (1993); member since 1964

Comparative and International Education Society of Canada (CIESC), member since 1969

Australia & New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society, member (1980-81)

Selected Publications

Maclean, R., Wilson, D. (2009). International Handbook of Education for the Changing World of Work: Bridging Academic and Vocational Learning. New Jersey: Springer.

Wilson, D. (2005). UNESCO-UNEVOC Book Series: Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects. Dordrecht: Springer.

Wilson, D. (2005). International Perspectives on Education and Society. Bingley: Emerald Group.

Wilson, D. (2003). The Future of Comparative and International Education in a Globalised World. International Review of Education, 49(1-2) 15-33.

Wilson, D. (1996). Reform of Vocational and Technical Education in Latin America. In Inter-American Dialogue. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from http://www.thedialogue.org/PublicationFiles/PREAL%202-English.pdf

Wilson, D. (1994). Comparative Study of Reforms in Post-compulsory Education and Training of Young Adults. Comparative Education, 30(1), 31-37.

Wilson, D. (1991). Reform of Technical-Vocational Education in Indonesia and Malaysia. Comparative Education, 27(2) 207-221.

 

Created: 7/19/2010

Updated: 7/20/2010

Contributed By: Hina Mithani, Loyola University, Chicago