George Z. F. Bereday (1920 - 1983)


Short Biography & Significant Contribution

George Z. F. Bereday is deemed to be one of the greatest figures in modern comparative and international education. Bereday was born in 1920 in Poland and died on Oct. 22, 1983 in the United States, the country in which he spent most of his career. He was one of the key founders of the Comparative Education Society (now known as the Comparative International Education Society - CIES), the field's first professional association. Bereday showed a broad vision in comparative education with research covering East Europe, East Asia and Latin America as well as an even broader comparative framework.

Bereday held positions as an exchange or visiting professor in many universities around the world. Getting his bachelor's and master's degrees in Britain, Bereday started his career as a comparativist when he pursued his doctoral degree in comparative education at Harvard University. He began teaching comparative education at Teachers College of Columbia University, where he spent most of his career. His contribution to comparative education was not limited to authoring foundational works and ideas but also included instructing renowned scholars in the field. Even so, he is probably best known for being the founding editor of plausibly the most influential journal in comparative education, the Comparative Education Review.

Bereday was author and editor of 34 books, among them The Changing Soviet School, Comparative Method in Education, American Education through Japanese Eyes, and Universities for All. He served as joint editor of the World Year Book of Education for 11 years. He was the author of some 100 articles in journals covering such diverse fields as education, sociology, history, law, and political science.

In 1964, Bereday published his most eminent work in comparative education, Comparative Method in Education, which has been a classic work in this field. In this work, he stated that the aim of comparative education is to deal "with the imminent general forces upon which all systems are built" (Bereday, 1964, p.23). He contended that comparative education is multi-disciplinary and comprehensive. His thoughts on comparative education have influenced a generation of his students at Columbia University and beyond.

Bereday spent much of his career opening up comparative education as a field of study in the United States. He had a gift for defining areas of research for others to move into. To memorialize Bereday's work in comparative education and his role as founding editor of the Comparative Education Review, the George Bereday Award was initiated in 1981 by the Comparative and International Education Society to reward the most outstanding article published in that journal during the previous volume year. Bereday, with his scholarship and versatile leadership, had nurtured the field of comparative education, and his role in establishing comparative education as an academic field in the U.S. was profound.

Educational Background

B.A. & M.A. in History, Oxford University

B.S. in Economics and Sociology, University of London (1944)

Ph. D in Sociology and Comparative Education, Harvard University

Doctor Juris Degree in Law, Columbia University

Professional Background

Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University (1955-1983)

Exchange Professor at Moscow University (1960)

Fulbright Professor at Tokyo University (1961)

Exchange Professor at Moscow State University (1961)

Visiting Professor at University of Hawaii (1962-63, 1969-70, 1972-73, 1979)

Fellow in Law and Political Science at the Law School of Harvard University (1963-65)

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

Member of the First United States Government Cultural Mission to the USSR (1958)

Director of the Seminar on Soviet Education at the Institute for the Study of the USSR in Munich, Germany (1958)

Ford Fellow to Poland and Visiting Professor at the University of Warsaw (1959)

Selected Publications

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1957): Some Methods of Teaching Comparative Education, Comparative Education Review 1:3-4

Bereday, G. Z. F. & Brickman, William W. & Read, Gerald H. (1960): The Changing Soviet School, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company

Bereday, G. Z. F. & Pennar, J (1960): The politics of Soviet education. New York: Praeger

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1964): The Western European Idea in Education. Oxford: Pergamon

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1964): Comparative Method in Education, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston Inc.

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1964-1966): Reflections on Comparative Method in Education, Comparative Education 3(3)169-187

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1967): Educational Planning, Harcourt Brace & World, Inc.

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1969): Essays on World Education. London, New York, Toronto, Oxford University Press

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1973): American Education Through Japanese Eyes, University of Hawaii Press

Bereday, G. Z. F. (1973): Universities for All, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers

Bereday, G. Z. F. & Bereday, Jaan (1976): The Politics of Soviet Education, Greenwood Pub Group


Created: 4/10/2010

Updated: 5/3/2010

Contributed By: Aiya Mei, Loyola University Chicago