Clive R. Harber (1951 - )

Harber, Clive R

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Clive Harber is Professor of International Education at the University of Birmingham, UK, where he was the Head of the School of Education from 2003 to 2006 and has been a key faculty member in the fields of Political and International Education since 1980. Dr. Harber was born in 1951 in Papua New Guinea, where he spent the first three years of his life - a beginning that may have contributed to his return in later years to cultures and places far from the United Kingdom. As an adult, he studied in England at the Universities of Reading and Leicester before obtaining his doctorate at the University of Birmingham. His dissertation, based on field research on the political socialization of school children in the northern Nigeria state of Kano, launched a long and distinguished career as an expert on schooling in Africa and on social and political education generally.

Before becoming the Head of the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, Harber served as Head of the Social Sciences Division and is a key member of the school's Centre for International Education and Research. In addition to the important role he has played for over 25 years teaching and shaping international and political education in the UK, Harber has also served on the faculty of African institutions of higher education. In northern Nigeria he taught government and politics at Kano State College of Higher Education and in South Africa served as the Head of the School of Education of the University of Natal in Durban, where he became involved in the overhaul of education following the end of apartheid. Harber has also provided technical assistance to organizations including the Commonwealth Secretariat on headteacher training in Africa, the British Council on guidelines for aid and education for good government, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for their "Politics and You" television series, UNESCO on school effectiveness and education for non-violence, and the Department for International Development (DfID, UK) on a number of subjects including education system management and decentralization.

Harber is known in the field of comparative and international education for his seminal work on schooling and political development in Africa, with a host of research to remind us that "democracy is not genetic" but rather must be learned and therefore taught. His research has taken him across the African continent and since the early 1990's it has focused specifically on the new emphasis on democracy in Africa and the potential role for education in making this political change sustainable. In particular, Harber has drawn important connections between education, democracy, and poverty reduction, illustrating the interplay between the three and demonstrating that developing education for democratic citizenship and better governance depends first on the democratization of teacher education, curriculum development, and the organization and management of the education system itself. His peers have recognized him not only for the content of his scholarship but also for the methodology; in collaboration with a number of other key members of the field, Harber has lent particular import to qualitative approaches that emphasize the participation of teachers and students in knowledge creation about education and the sharing of knowledge from the global South to the global North. The latter is demonstrated clearly in his comparative work on the UK and South Africa.

A prolific scholar, Harber has authored countless articles for journals including Comparative Education, Compare, andEducational Review and has served on the editorial board of the International Journal of Educational Development for over twenty years. In addition to his academic articles, reviews, books, and book chapters, he has also produced a number of practical guides for teachers and reports to inform the technical and financial partnerships between international agencies, NGOs and developing country governments. Most recently, Harber's research has begun to focus on the school as a context for violence and as a source and cause of violent behavior.

Faculty Website

Educational Background

BA Politics (Upper Second), University of Reading, UK (1972)

Postgraduate Certificate of Education (Social Science), University of Leicester, UK (1973)

MA European Politics, University of Leicester, UK (1974)

PhD, University of Birmingham, UK (1982). Dissertation: The Political Socialisation of School Children in Kano State, Northern Nigeria

Professional Background

Part-time tutor in Modern History for the Workers' Education Association (1973-74)

Teacher at Brune Park Comprehensive School, Gosport, Hampshire. (Social Science teaching and development of political education.) (1974-77)

Head of the Department of Government, School of Preliminary Studies, Kano State College of Higher Education, Northern Nigeria. (Teaching of government and politics at 'O' and 'A' Level.) (1977-79)

Research Associate at Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria, including lecturing in public administration in the Department of Political Science. (1978-79)

Lecturer in Social and Political Education and then in International Education, School of Education, University of Birmingham. (1980-91)

Lecturer in School of Education, University of Birmingham. (1989-91)

Senior Lecturer in International Education, School of Education, University of Birmingham and Co-Director of the International Unit. (1991-95)

Professor of Education and Head of the Department of Education, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. From 1997 also Head of the School of Education. (On leave of absence from the University of Birmingham)( 1995-99)

Reader in International Education, University of Birmingham. (1997- )

Professor of International Education, University of Birmingham. (2001- )

Head of the School of Education, University of Birmingham (2003-06)

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

British Association of International and Comparative Education (Chair, 2004-2006)

Member of the Editorial Board of: International Journal of Educational Development (1983-present), Social Science Teacher (1984-1989), and Compare (2004-2006)

Referee and Book Reviewer for, among others: Educational Management and Administration, Journal of Education for Teachers, Journal of Curriculum Studies, International Journal of Educational Development, Comparative Education, British Educational Research Journal, Educational Review and the Journal of Modern African Studies.

External Examiner of taught courses at: University of York (1986-1989), University of Wolverhampton (1986-1989), Leeds University (2006-present), London Institute of Education (2006-present)

External Examiner of doctoral theses (1989-present): (In the UK) Cambridge University, University of London, University of Bristol, University of Sussex, University of Huddersfield, University of Brighton, Oxford Brookes University; (in South Africa) University of the Witwatersrand and University of Durban-Westville; and (in Botswana) the University of Botswana

Selected Publications

Authored Books

CR Harber. 2001. State of Transition: Post-Apartheid Educational Reform in South Africa. Oxford: Symposium Books.

ML Davies, CR Harber, M Schweisfurth. 2002. Democracy Through Teacher Education: A Guidebook for use with student teachers. Birmingham: Centre for International Education and Research.

CR Harber. 2004. Schooling as Violence: How Schools Harm Pupils and Societies. London: Routledge/Falmer.

CR Harber. 2006. A Sociology of Educating (Fifth Edition). London; Continuum.

Edited Books

M Schweisfurth, ML Davies, CR Harber (Editors). 2002. Learning Democracy and Citizenship: International Experiences. Oxford: Symposium Books.

Chapters in Books

CR Harber. 2001. "Education in Transition?: Change and Continuity in South African Education." In Education in Transition: International Perspectives on Policy Versus Process, R Griffin (Ed). Oxford: Symposium Books.

CR Harber, ML Davies. 2002. "Effective Leadership for War and Peace." In Leadership in Education, M Brundrett, N Burton, R Smith (Eds). London: Sage.

Articles in Academic Journals

CR Harber. 2001. "Schooling and Violence in South Africa: Creating a Safer School." Intercultural Studies, 12, 3, 261-272.

CR Harber. 2002. "Education, Democracy and Poverty Reduction in Africa." Comparative Education (Special Number [25]: Democracy and Authoritarianism in Education), 38, 3, 267-276.

CR Harber. 2002. "Schooling as Violence." Educational Review (Birmingham), 54, 1, Special Edition.

ML Davies, CR Harber, C Dzimadzi. 2003. "Educational Decentralisation in Malawi: A Study of Process." Compare, 33, 2, 139-154.

CR Harber, J Serf. 2006. "Teacher Education for a Democratic Society in England and South Africa." Teaching and Teacher Education, 22, 8, 986-997. CR. Harber. 2007. "Elusive Equity: Education Reform in Post-apartheid South Africa."International Journal of Educational Development. 27, 1, 114-114. Research Reports ML Davies, CR Harber. 2002. "The Chiradzulu Initiative: The Process of Change in the District Education Office in a Context of Decentralisation." Report to the Department for International Development (DFID), UK. M Schweisfurth, CR Harber, ML Davies. 2003. "Report of the Global Review of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project: Results, Recommendations, Conclusion." UNESCO, Paris.


Created: 3/19/2008

Updated: 7/21/2008

Contributed By: Jennifer Swift-Morgan, Teachers College, Columbia University