Bob Cowen obituary


My pal and colleague Bob Cowen, who has died aged 84 following a coronary heart assault, was emeritus professor of comparative schooling on the Institute of Training, College School London.

He turned a number one gentle within the improvement of this explicit area of research, during which social science is used to analyse and evaluate academic methods and discover how they relate to wider social and international components. Bob helped to shift comparative analysis away from describing similarities and variations in direction of a concentrate on the “switch, translation and transformation” of academic concepts and insurance policies, and the way academic methods navigate international influences.

Thus he promoted comparative schooling as an space of educational inquiry, in an period when many have been drawn to the rewards of consultancy work and advising policymakers, and ensured that the Institute of Training was seen globally as a world chief.

From 1991 he was a member of the editorial board of the journal Comparative Training, and its editor for an prolonged interval. He was additionally a number one member of the Comparative Training Society of Europe (CESE), and served as its president and vp.

Bob was born in Darlington, County Durham, the son of Joseph Cowen, who was then within the military and later ran a farm, and Margaret (nee Minto), a trainer. He went to Queen Elizabeth grammar college and did his first diploma in economics on the London College of Economics. He then educated as a trainer at Trinity School, Dublin, and taught social sciences at a secondary college in East Ham, London, whereas enterprise postgraduate research on the Institute of Training.

From 1971 to 1975 he was an assistant professor on the College at Buffalo, New York, earlier than becoming a member of IOE in 1976. He rose from lecturer in comparative schooling, to senior lecturer, reader and professor. He retired in 2004, however as emeritus professor continued to analysis, write, supervise and train.

Bob’s precedence in all his skilled roles was the following era. In a chat to college students in Cyprus final yr he was requested about the way forward for comparative schooling. He replied, “I’ll die a cheerful man if I’ve helped to depart the sphere in protected fingers.”

He was an insightful trainer who demanded rigour however he was additionally form, supportive and possessed a depraved sense of humour. He continued to encourage, encourage and help a lot of his former college students, and later associates, lengthy after they graduated.

He was residing in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on the time of his dying, having moved there in 2019. He went initially for a brief journey however the Covid-19 pandemic prevented his return.

Bob is survived by his second spouse, Maria (nee de Figueiredo), whom he met at IOE and married within the Eighties; and by two youngsters, Paul and Maura, from his first marriage, to Olive.


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