About the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES)

Joseph Katz

Professor Joseph Katz
Founder of the WCCES

The World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES) was conceptualized and founded by Professor Joseph Katz of the University of British Columbia and a handful of other comparative education scholars in the 1960s. It was formally established in 1970 during the first World Congress held in Ottawa, Canada as the World Council of Comparative Education, and a year later the name was changed to its present status.

The WCCES serves as an umbrella organization comprised of comparative education societies from across the globe and is an NGO affiliated to UNESCO. Beginning with only five comparative education society members in 1970, the Council has grown to 41 constituent member societies in 2016. Most members are national comparative education societies, but some are organized around global regions (for example, Oceania Comparative and International Education Society and Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society) and languages (e.g. Association Francophone d'Éducation Comparée).

The Council has retained its original organizational structure and overall purpose since it was first organized. The WCCES leadership is comprised of the Bureau composed by the President who serves as its Chair, the Secretary-General, the Treasurer, two Vice Presidents and a Member-at-Large. Member societies have single representation on the WCCES Executive Committee, which typically meets face-to-face at a location at least once a year. Former WCCES Presidents and scholars of exceptional contributions to the field of comparative education are nominated as co-opted members of the Executive Committee. Additional leadership roles have been formed over the years, including the organization of standing committees around various themes related to specific Council-sponsored projects and activities which, as of 2017, are: Admissions & New Societies, Congress, Constitutional, Finance, Professional Ethics, Publications, Research, Special Projects, and UNESCO Liaison. The President commissions various task forces and teams for specific time-bound objectives to be achieved. As of 2017 they are: Election Task Force, Journal/Newsletter Task Force, and Peace Education Task Force. Similarly, the History Team is charged with the responsibility of archiving the historical records of the Council. A WCCES historical archive was established and originally housed by Kent State University until 2014, when the WCCES Archive was transferred to the University of Pittsburgh.

The Secretariat of the Council has been at the same location as where the Secretary-General resided. The first Secretariat was housed at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and afterwards at different locations, including the UNESCO International Bureau of Education in Geneva, Switzerland, Institute of Education at the University College London, UK, and Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong. Currently, the WCCES Secretariat is located at Beijing Normal University, P.R. China.