Curiosity was the mainspring of their voyages, and local color the attraction of their descriptions.
Only the rare observer could extract systematic conclusions with explanatory value from a mass of indiscriminately reported impressions.
Education was seen as the mirror of society; but society, in turn, was molded partly by the schools. The concern now was to understand the interaction of education and society by analyzing the historical forces and contemporary factors that had shaped both.
Moreover, exponents of this approach were interested in more than laying bare the nature of these relationships.
They began to consider the possibility of using their conclusions to steer educational reform and so engineer the future shape of society.
In this phase of comparative education, studies of foreign schooling became to a considerable extent studies of national character and the institutions that help form it.In the form of superior journalism, this style of work remains a prominent feature of writing on foreign countries today. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, coincident with the rise of national systems of education in Europe, journeys abroad were made by travelers with a specialized interest in educational matters.No longer motivated by general curiosity, they went the rounds of foreign countries to discover information useful for charting the course of education in their own countries.These stages are far from being discrete in time: each of these types of work in comparative education has persisted down to the present and may be observed in the contemporary literature, and rarely can any contributor to the field be confined within a single category.But the categorization suggested, loose though it is, provides a convenient, unforced framework within which to review the development of the field. The first and most primitive comparative education observations were the tales brought home by travelers to foreign parts.We compare to make up our minds and to choose between two or more choices.Comparing can take place also for more scientific reasons for example to find out the relationship existing between, or among the things being compared.The main goal of this field is to improve the quality of educational systems.One example of large scale comparative macroanalysis is the PISA study, in which Finland has ranked very highly each year.They relied heavily on history and tended to strike a deterministic note.Problems of cause and effect preoccupied comparative educators, but inevitably their discussion quickly descended into a familiar circularity: national character determines education, and education determines national character.