Wolfgang Mitter (1927 - 2014)

Mitter Wolfgang

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Professor Wolfgang Mitter was born at Trautenau (Trutnov), Bohemia, in the former German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). From 1948 to 1953 he completed his studies in history, English language and literature, the Slav languages and literatures (mainly Russian) and philosophy and obtained the diploma of secondary school teaching at the University of Mainz in 1953. He obtained his PhD at the Free University of Berlin in 1954. His thesis was on "Karamzin's political ideas" under the supervision of Professor Werner Philipp. From 1956 to 1964 Professor Mitter taught at the Friedrichsgymnasium at Kassel. During that period, he devoted considerable time to studies in educational sciences, focused on comparative education and curriculum development. Between 1961 and 1964 he was responsible for training teachers completing their probational phase (fachleiter).

From 1964 to 1972, Professor Mitter held the Chair of General and Comparative Education at the Paedagogische Hochschule (Teachers College) at Luneburg, at the same time teaching comparative education at the University of Hamburg. In 1972 he was appointed Head of the Department of General and Comparative Education at the German Institute for International Educational Research at Frankfurt am Main. In that function, which he held until the end of 1998, Professor Mitter supervised about 20 senior and junior researchers. He was also in charge of the Institute in the elective capacity of Director between 1978 and 1981 and between 1987 and 1995. In 1995 he was transferred to the status of Emeritus Professor. Since the end of 1998, he has definitively retired from official duties at the Institute, but continued to conduct research and to fulfil teaching responsibilities at the University of Frankfurt am Main, a task he had undertaken from 1974 to 2007 (including the promotion of doctoral and master students and the qualification of diploma students and teacher trainees).

Professor Mitter started conducting research in the field of comparative and international education as well as educational policy studies in the early 1960s. His first projects were focused on the education systems of the former Soviet Union and her neighbouring countries. Concomitant with his responsibilities at the German Institute for International Educational Research, his fields of research have gradually expanded, on the one hand, to comparisons of European and non-European education systems, and on the other, to issues of educational politics and educational theory. His systems-oriented studies have concentrated on upper secondary and teacher education (initial and in-service), and his recent theoretical studies have encompassed issues of globalisation, regionalisation and cultural pluralism in education. Professor Mitter's research has been widely published in a considerable number of books, research reports, essays and reviews. Moreover, he was editor of three series on educational studies and, between 1972 and 1981, one of the editors of the International Review of Education (UNESCO-Institute for Education, Hamburg). Since 1971 he has served as an editor (and between 1982 and 1997, as Acting Editor) of the German journal Bildung und Erziehung.

Professor Mitter has widely travelled around the world to conduct research, offer lectures and participate at congresses. These places include Western, Central and Eastern Europe; the Soviet Union and Russia, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil; Eastern and Southeast Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore); India; Israel; Kuwait; Australia and South Africa. Since the 1980s, he was also engaged in various projects and missions in the framework of UNESCO, OECD and the Council of Europe.



Educational Background

Diploma of Secondary School Teaching, University of Mainz (1953)

PhD in History and Slavic Studies, Free University of Berlin (1954).

Honorary Doctorate (Dr. h. c.), Faculty of Education, Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg (2002).

Professional Background

1956 - 1964 Teacher, Friedrichsgymnasium, Kassel.

1964 - 1972 Chair of General and Comparative Education, Paedagogische Hochschule (Teachers College), Luneburg, Professor of Comparative Education, University of Hamburg.

1972 - 1998 Department Head, General and Comparative Education, German Institute for International Educational Research, Frankfurt am Main.

1978-81, 1987-95 Director, German Institute for International Educational Research, Frankfurt am Main.

1974 - 1995 Professor of Education, University of Frankfurt am Main.

1995 Emeritus Professor.

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), President 1991-96

World Association of Educational Research (WAER), President 1997-2000; Honorary member

German Commission for UNESCO, Honorary Member

Academia Europaea, Conferred member.

Russian Academy of Education, Conferred Member.

Selected Publications

Mitter, W. (1978): Secondary school graduation: university entrance qualification in socialist countries. Oxford: Pergamon Press. 112 pp.

Mitter, W. (1984): Education for all. Paris: UNESCO. 153 pp.; also published as International Yearbook of Education, vol. 36. Genève: International Bureau of Education.

Mitter, W. (1987): Schule zwischen Reform und Krise. Zu Theorie und Praxis der vergleichenden Bildungsforschung. Gesammelte Aufsätze. Köln, Wien: Böhlau. 404 pp.; also published as Studien und Dokumentationen zur deutschen Bildungsgeschichte, vol. 36.

Mitter, W. and Muszynski, H. (1997): Pädagogische Reisen in Polen 1989 - 1995. Köln, Weimar, Wien: Böhlau 1997, IX, 231 pp.; also published as Bildung und Erziehung, Beiheft 8.

Mitter, W. (1997): Universalismus und kultureller Pluralismus in der Vergleichenden Erziehungswissenschaft. In De Klerck, K. and Frank, S. (eds.), Studies in comparative, international and peace education. Liber Amicorum Henk Van daele. Gent: C.S.H.P, pp.129-149.

Mitter, W. (2001): Education for democratic citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe in the mirror of globalization and transformation. In Limage, L. (ed.), Democratizing education and educating democratic citizens: International and historical perspectives. New York / London: RoutledgeFalmer, pp.141-165.

Mitter, W. (2003): A decade of transformation: Educational policies in Central and Eastern Europe. International Review of Education, Vol.49, nos. 1-2, pp. 75-96.

Mitter, W. (2004): Rise and decline of education systems: a contribution to the history of the modern state. Compare, vol. 34, pp. 351-369.

Mitter, W. (2005): Akteure und Netzwerke in der Vergleichenden Erziehungswissenschaft. Pädagogische Rundschau, vol. 59, no.2, pp. 207-220.

Mitter, W. (2007): Education in Europe: The way ahead. In Hörner, W., Döbert, H., von Kopp, B. & Mitter, W. (eds.), The education systems of Europe. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 852-866.

Mitter, W. (2007): Globales Lernen - erziehungswissenschaftliche Anmerkungen zu einem didaktischen Konzept. Tertium Comparationis, vol. 13, no.2, pp.282-295.

Mitter, W. (2008): The impact of educational research on educational policy in Europe: Considerations on a complex and ambivalent relation. Revista de pedagogie / Romanian Journal of Pedagogy, vol. 56, no.7-12, pp. 7-20.

Mitter, W. (2009): Values and value judgments in international education. In Pusztai, G. and Rébay, M.(eds.), Kié az oktatáskutatás? Tanulmányok Kozma Tamás 70. Születésnapjára (Wem gehört die Bildungsforschung? Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag von Tamás Kozma). Debrecen: Csokonai Könyvkiadó, pp. 135-148.

Mitter, W. (2009): Comparative Education in Europe. In Cowen, R. and Kazamias, A.M. (eds.), International Handbook of Education, Part One. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 87-99.

Mitter, W. (2009): Strukturdimensionen des Bildungswesens - Funktionale Differenzierung versus soziale Ungleichheit. Bildung und Erziehung, vol.62, no.3, pp. 265-280.


Created: 3/10/2011

Updated: 11/13/2014

Contributed By: Wolfgang Mitter