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Gale and editor Marlow-Ferguson have done a good job in revising the World Education Encyclopedia (WEE), published in 1988 by Facts On File. The introduction notes that the title has been "reconceptualized" with 100 percent revision. New contributors have been recruited; the majority are faculty from U.S. colleges and universities. The glossaries at the end of each country article have been eliminated but the bibliographies remain, with current titles and some Web sites. A flaw of the first edition has been corrected--entries are now arranged in a single alphabet rather than in three groups depending on the amount of information available about each country.
More than 225 countries are included, among them "new" countries of the former Soviet Union and territories and departments such as Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and Saint Helena. The country essays can be as short as a page or as long as 12 pages for China, Greece, New Zealand, Uganda, the U.S., and others. There is a basic structure for the essays. They begin with the history of the country followed by the constitutional and legal foundations of the education system; an overview of the educational system; and sections on preprimary, primary, secondary, and higher education; administration, finance, and educational research; the profession of teaching; and a summary. The authors are objective in their writing, and the editor provides consistency in style. Tables, graphs, and pie charts from current publications of the World Bank, UNESCO, and UNICEF accompany some of the articles. These graphics do not identify the country to which they refer so it is only by checking the original source that one can be sure they appear in the correct entry.
There are two appendixes. One ranks countries by public expenditures on education, literacy rate by sex, number of teachers, etc. Appendix 2 has regional maps of the countries of the world. The index is useful in helping to compare different attributes by country--academic year, grading, life skills training, and so on.
A similar title, International Encyclopedia of Education (2d ed., Pergamon, 1994), covers education topics as well as countries but is now out-of-date. WEE is a current subject encyclopedia and a necessary purchase for academic and large public libraries that support a strong education program. RBB
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