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Simon McGrath

Professor of International Education and Development, Associate Head of School, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Simon McGrath is the UNESCO Chair in the Political Economy of Education in the Centre for International Education Research and the Academic Lead for the University's Sustainable Development Research Priority Area. Previously he was Director of the Human Resources Development Research Programme of the South African Human Sciences Research Council and remains a research associate of the HSRC.

He has published on a number of aspects of education - development links, especially at the post-school level. He is researching theories of vocational education and training for development; policies on the internationalisation of higher education in small states; and the development of new approaches to institutional development and evaluation in vocational education and training.

He has engaged in policy advice and evaluation research for a range of national and international organisations and is currently most active in work for DFID, UNESCO and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Research Summary

I am working on developing a human development account of vocational education and training. As well as a theoretical component, we are working with UNESCO at the global policy level and in trying to… read more

Selected Publications

Simon is a member of the Centre for International Education Research. His research supervision areas include:

  • education and development
  • international and comparative education
  • aid and education
  • education in Africa
  • vocational education and training
  • education globalisation and the knowledge economy
  • educational policy

Research Topics of current and recent students include:

  • Private vocational training in South Africa
  • Professional development of adult educators in Jamaica
  • Educational decentralisation in Ghana
  • Skills for the knowledge economy in Kenya Education and transition - Romania and South Africa
  • Quality assurance in African higher education - Nigeria and South Africa
  • Developing leadership capacity in North Cypriot education
  • Motivation to learn African drumming in Hong Kong
  • Developing quality education in Hong Kong
  • Students' decisions to do HE in an English FE college

Research proposals: please email Simon if you would like to discuss the appropriateness of your research topic.

See also: School of Education research supervision areas.

Current Research

I am working on developing a human development account of vocational education and training. As well as a theoretical component, we are working with UNESCO at the global policy level and in trying to develop a new approach to institutional evaluation.

I have smaller projects on the internationalisation of higher education in small island states, with a case study of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, and research partnerships and intercultural methodologies in Fiji. The latter is funded by the British Academy and is a partnership with the Universities of the South Pacific and Bristol.

I am currently lead editor of a forthcoming multi-volume handbook on vocational education and training.

  • LINA BADER, SIMON MCGRATH, MIKE ROUSE and CLAIRE ANDERSON, 2017. A conceptual framework toward identifying and analyzing challenges to the advancement of pharmacy. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy,. 13, 321-331
  • MADZIVA, R., MCGRATH, S. and THONDHLANA, J., 2016. ‘Communicating Employability: the Role of Communicative Competence for Zimbabwean Highly Skilled Migrants in the UK’. Journal of International Migration and Integration. 17(1), 235-252
  • IL-HAAM PETERSEN, GLENDA KRUSS, SIMON MCGRATH and MICHAEL GASTROW, 2016. Bridging skills demand and supply in South Africa: The role of public and private intermediaries Development Southern Africa. 33(3), 407-423
  • SIMON MCGRATH and LESLEY POWELL, 2016. Skills for Sustainable Development: Transforming Vocational Education and Training Beyond 2015 International Journal of Educational Development.
  • LINA BADER, CLAIRE ANDERSON and SIMON MCGRATH, 2016. Strengths and limitations of using participant validation in qualitative policy-oriented pharmacy practice research International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 24(S1),
  • SEFIKA MERTKAN, ILKAY GILANLIOGLU and SIMON MCGRATH, 2016. Internationalizing higher education: from grand plans to evolving responses Journal of Organizational Change Management. 29(6), 889 - 902
  • RANDA HILAL and SIMON MCGRATH, 2016. The Role of Vocational Education and Training in Palestine in Addressing Inequality and Promoting Human Development Journal of International and Comparative Education. 5(2), (In Press.)
  • SIMON MCGRATH and QING GU, 2015. International Education and Development: Using Multiple Lenses or Remaining in Multiple Silos?. In: SIMON MCGRATH and QING GU, eds., Routledge Handbook on International Education and Development Routledge.
  • SIMON MCGRATH and LESLEY POWELL, 2015. Vocational education and training for human development. In: SIMON MCGRATH and QING GU, eds., Routledge Handbook on International Education and Development Routledge.
  • SIMON MCGRATH, 2015. Education and the Post-2015 development agenda. In: SIMON MCGRATH and QING GU, eds., Routledge Handbook on International Education and Development Routledge.
  • SIMON MCGRATH and QING GU, 2015. Looking beyond 2015: the future of international education and development research. In: SIMON MCGRATH and QING GU, eds., Routledge Handbook on International Education and Development Routledge.
  • GLENDA KRUSS, SIMON MCGRATH, IL-HAAM PETERSEN and MICHAEL GASTROW, 2015. Higher education and economic development: The importance of building technological capabilities International Journal of Educational Development. 43, 22-31
  • JOHN-OKORIA IBHAKEWANLAN and SIMON MCGRATH, 2015. Toward an African Community-Based Research (ACBR) Methodology Sage Open. 2015(Oct-Dec),
  • MCGRATH, S., MADZIVA, R. and THONDHLANA, J., 2015. Rethinking the employability of international graduate migrants: Reflections on the experiences of Zimbabweans with degrees from England Journal of Further and Higher Education.
  • MADZIVA, R., MCGRATH, S. and THONDHLANA, J., 2014. Communicating Employability: the Role of Communicative Competence for Zimbabwean Highly Skilled Migrants in the UK Journal of International Migration and Integration. 17(1), 235-252
  • SIMON MCGRATH, 2014. Education and the Post-2015 international development goals International Journal of Educational Development. 39, 1-3
  • SIMON MCGRATH, 2014. The post-2015 debate and the place of education in development thinking International Journal of Educational Development. 39, 4-11
  • LESLEY POWELL and SIMON MCGRATH, 2014. Advancing life projects: South African students explain why they come to FET colleges Journal of International and Comparative Education. 3(2), 214-226
  • LESLEY POWELL and SIMON MCGRATH, 2014. Exploring the Value of the Capability Approach for Vocational Education and Training Evaluation: Reflections from South Africa International Development Policy. 5, 126–148
  • RODA MADZIVA, SIMON MCGRATH and JULIET THONDHLANA, 2014. The Hidden Face of Discrimination in the Global Labour Market: The Case of Zimbabwean Highly Skilled Migrants in the United Kingdom. In: ENAR, ed., Invisible Visible Minority ENAR.
  • LINA BADER, CLARE ANDERSON and SIMON MCGRATH, 2014. Advancing the pharmacy profession in Jordan: challenges and opportunities Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. 10(5),
  • MCGRATH, S., 2012. Vocational education and training for development: a policy in need of a theory? International Journal of Educational Development. 32(5), 623–631
  • MCGRATH, S. and LUGG, R., 2012. Knowing and doing vocational education and training reform: evidence, learning and the policy process International Journal of Educational Development. 32(5), 696–708
  • MCGRATH, S., 2011. Where to now for vocational education and training in Africa? International Journal of Training Research. 9(1-2), 35-48
  • MCGRATH, S. and AKOOJEE, S., 2010. Regulating private Vocational Education Training (VET) In South Africa: the national development imperative Africa Education Review. 7(1), 16-33
  • MCGRATH, S, NEEDHAM, S, PAPIER, J and WEDEKIND, V., 2010. Employability in the College Sector: A Comparative Study of England and South Africa (In Press.)
  • MCGRATH, S., 2010. Beyond aid effectiveness: the development of the South African further education and training college sector, 1994–2009 International Journal of Educational Development. 30(5), 525–534
  • MCGRATH, S., 2010. Education and development: thirty years of continuity and change International Journal of Educational Development. 30(6), 537–543
  • BROWN, E.J., MORGAN W.J. and MCGRATH, S., 2009. Education, citizenship and new public diplomacy in the UK: what is their relationship? Citizenship, Social and Economics Education. 8(2 & 3), 73-83
  • MCGRATH, S. and AKOOJEE, S., 2009. Vocational education and training for sustainability in South Africa: the role of public and private provision International Journal of Educational Development. 29(2), 149-156
  • MCGRATH, S., 2009. Lifelong Learning in South Africa: Critical Reflections on Developments since 1994 International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning. 1(2),
  • MCGRATH, S., 2009. Reforming skills development, transforming the nation: South African vocational education and training reforms 1994-2005. In: WILSON, D. AND MACLEAN, R., ed., International Handbook of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Dordrecht: Kluwer.
  • AKOOJEE, S and MCGRATH, S. AND VISSER, M., 2008. Further education and training. In: KRAAK, A. AND PRESS, K., ed., Human Resources Development Review 2008 Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • MCGRATH, S. AND PATERSON, A., 2008. Enterprise Training. In: KRAAK, A. AND PRESS, K., ed., Human Resources Development Review 2008 Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • AKOOJEE, S. MCGRATH, S., 2008. Skills development for poverty reduction: Can FET colleges deliver. In: MAILE, S., ed., Education and Poverty: Reduction Strategies Issues of Policy Coherence HSRC Press. 199-213
  • AKOOJEE, S. and MCGRATH, S., 2008. The marketing of public FET colleges in South Africa: issues for policy and practice Journal of Education. 45(December), 131-154
  • MCGRATH, S and MABUNDA, P. AND ADAMS, J., 2007. Governing transformation: the role of college councils in South African further education and training reform Journal of Educational Planning and Administration. 20(1),
  • MCGRATH, S, 2007. Globalization, knowledge, skills and development: Possible new directions for international and comparative education South African Review of Education. 12(2), 61-79
  • AKOOJEE, S and MCGRATH, S, 2007. Public and private Further Eduation and Training in South Africa: a comparative analysis of the quantitative evidence South African Journal of Education. 27(2), 209-222
  • KING, K and MCGRATH, S, ROSE, P., 2007. Beyond the basics: Educating and training out of poverty International Journal of Educational Development. 27(4), 349-357
  • AKOOJEE, S. AND MCGRATH, S, 2007. Education and skills for development in South Africa: Reflections on the accelerated and shared growth initiative for South Africa International Journal of Educational Development. 27(4), 421-434
  • MCGRATH, S. and AKOOJEE, S., 2007. The emergence of marketing and communications strategy in South African further education and training colleges Education, Knowledge and Economy: Education Policy and Politics. 1(3), 301-321
  • MCGRATH, S., 2007. Transnationals, Globalisation and Education and Training: Evidence from the South African Automotive Sector Journal of Vocational Education and Training. 59(4),
  • MCGRATH, S.A., AKOOJEE, S., GEWER, A., MABIZELA, M., MBELE, N. and ROBERTS, J., 2006. An examination of the vocational education and training reform debate in Southern Africa Compare. 36(1), 85-103
  • MCGRATH, S. and BADROODIEN, A., 2006. International influences on the evolution of skills development in South Africa International Journal of Educational Development. VOL 26(NUMBER 5), 483-494
  • AKOOJEE, S. AND MCGRATH, S., 2006. Technical vocational education and training in Botswana: the challenge of joining-up policy Africa Insight. 36(1),
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Spreading the South African skills revolution? Lessons from research on very small and micro enterprises. In: Re-Integrating Education, Skills and Work in Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A., MARTINS, J., SMITH, J., CACHALIA, F. and KANE, K., 2005. The State of Skills in Post-Apartheid South Africa Journal of Vocational Education and Training. 57(4),
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Transforming Vocational Education and Training in Southern Africa: Key Issues and Challenges. In: Vocational and Education and Training in Southern Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Experiences from the Rest of Africa. In: Skills Development in Very Small and Micro Enterprises
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Mapping Skills Acquisition, Skills Needs adn the Application of Skills among Very Small and Micro Enterprises (The NSF Study) [With Bees Development Organisation].. In: Skills Development in Very Small and Micro Enterprises
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Two Methodological Approaches to Researching the VSME Sector. In: Skills Development in Very Small and Micro Enterprises in South Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Building a Quality College Sector for the Twenty-First Century Southern African Review of Education. 9 /10, 21-44
  • MCGRATH, S.A., ed., 2005. Skills Development in Very Small and Micro Enterprises
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. The Existing State of Knowledge About Very Small and Micro Enterprises in South Africa. In: Skills Development in Very Small and Micro Enterprises in South Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Lessons for Policy and Practice. In: Skills Development in Very Small and Micro Enterprises
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and MARTINS, J., 2005. The VSME Component of the National Skills Survey. In: Skills Development in Very Small and Micro Enterprises in South Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A., AKOOJEE, S. and GEWER, A., eds., 2005. Vocational and Education and Training in Southern Africa HSRC Press.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. South Africa: Skills Development as a Tool for Social and Economic Development. In: Vocational and Education and Training in Southern Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2005. Placing Vocational Education and Training in Southern Africa. In: Vocational and Education and Training in Southern Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and BADROODIEN, A., 2005. International Influences on the Evolution of South Africa's National Skills Development Strategy, 1989-2004
  • KING, K and MCGRATH, S., 2004. Knowledge for development?: comparing British, Japanese, Swedish and World Bank aid London: Zed Books Ltd..
  • MCGRATH, S., BADROODIEN, A., KRAAK, A. and UNWIN, L., eds., 2004. Shifting Understandings of Skills in South Africa: Overcoming the Historical Imprint of a Low Skills Regime HSRC Press.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. The History of Education Under Apartheid
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. Analysing the Department of Labour's Draft Strategy for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. The Shifting Understandings of Skills in South Africa Since Industrialisation. In: Shifting Understandings of Skills
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. The State of the South African Further Education and Training College Sector. In: Shifting Understandings of Skills
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. The Second National Skills Survey
  • MCGRATH, S., 2004. Reviewing the Development of the South African Further Education and Training College Sector Ten Years after the End of Apartheid Journal of Vocational Education and Training. VOL 56(PART 1), 137-157
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. Life and Work Skills and Their Contribution to Education and Training Debates
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. The State of HRD in South Africa Background Paper for the Human Resources Development Coordination Committee
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. Skills for Life and Work. Debates in Skills Development Paper 8, Working Group for International Cooperation in Skills Development, Geneva
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. Skills Development for Enterprise Development: a Major Challenge for 'Joined Up' Policy. In: Shifting Understandings of Skills
  • MCGRATH, S. and KING, K., 2004. Knowledge-based aid: a four agency comparative study International Journal of Educational Development. VOL 24(NUMBER 2), 167-181
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2004. Who Benefits From 'Knowledge for Development'?
  • MCGRATH, S.A., ed., 2004. Shifting Understanding of Skills
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and AKOOJEE, S., 2004. Assessing the Impact of Globalisation on South African Education and Training Globalisation, Societies and Education. 2/1,
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. A Brief Response to the NQF Response
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and BADROODIEN, A., 2003. First Formative Assessment
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and AKOOJEE, S., 2003. Globalisation and Education and Training in South Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. The Nature of Scarce Skills in South Africa: Evidence from the Human Resouces Review
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. Technical college employer satisfaction. In: Technical College Responsiveness HSRC Publishers, Cape Town: HSRC Publishers.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. Building College Responsiveness in South Africa. In: Technical College Responsiveness
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. Researching responsiveness. In: Technical College Responsiveness
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. Sectoral Insights into the Scarce Skills Debate
  • MCGRATH, S., 2003. What can South Africa learn from Skills Development for Enterprise Development Experiences in the rest of Africa? Africa Insight. VOL 33(PART 3), 43-49
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. Reflections on some of the challenges gacing skills development for enterprise development in South Africa. In: Small Business Monitor 2003
  • MCGRATH, S.A., HAYMAN, R. and KING, K., eds., 2003. The New Partnership for Africa's Development.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., COSSER, M., BADROODIEN, A. and MAJA, B., eds., 2003. Technical College Responsiveness
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. Building Human Capacity in the South African Public FET College
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2003. Mapping the Skills, Needs and Aquisition Patterns of SMMEs in South Africa: A Literature Review
  • KING, K. and MCGRATH, S., 2002. Globalisation, enterprise and knowledge: education, training and development in Africa Wallingford: Symposium Books.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., KING, K., ROGERSON, C. and VISSER, K., 2002. Learning-led competitiveness: South African education, training, and enterprise development
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2002. Who is in the driving seat? Development cooperation and democracy. In: Learning, Democracy and Citizenship
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. Sida, knowledge and learning
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. Evaluation Report: Danis Assistance to Vocational Education and Training
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. Linking work, skills and knowledge: challenges for international cooperation
  • KING, K., MCGRATH, S., ROGERSON, C. and VISSER, K., 2002. Learning-led competitiveness: A challenge for South African development Africa Insight. VOL 32(PART 4), 28-35
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2002. The Globalisation of Development Knowledge
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2002. Knowledge Sharing in Development Agencies: lessons form four cases
  • MCGRATH, S., 2002. Skills for Development: a new approach to international cooperation in skills development? Journal of Vocational Education and Training. VOL 54(PART 3), 413-430
  • MCGRATH, S.A., TRUDELL, B., KING, K. and NUGENT, P., eds., 2002. Africa's Young Majority.
  • MCGRATH, S., 2002. The British Department for International Development and Knowledge-based Aid Compare. VOL 32(PART 3), 349-364
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. What difference does a website make?
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. State of Transition: Post-Apartheid Educational Reform in South Africa Book Review
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2002. Knowledge-based aid: a four agency comparative study
  • MCGRATH, S.A., CARLSSON, J. and WOHLGEMUTH, L., 2002. Learning in Development Cooperation
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. Knowledge for Development
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. Researching development cooperation agencies: methodological responses to technological change
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2002. Country study paper for the review of Danish support to vocational education and training, 1990 2002
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2002. Learning-led competitiveness: education, training, and enterprise in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2002. Introduction: the globalisation of development knowledge and comparative educaton Compare. 32(3),
  • MCGRATH, S.A., AFENYADU, D., KING, K., OKETCH, H., ROGERSON, C. and VISSER, K., 2001. Learning to compete: African development responses to globalisation. Learning to Compete Project, Centre of African Studies.
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2001. Work, employment and skills development in the age of globalisation
  • MCGRATH, S.A., GMELIN, W. and KING, K., eds., 2001. Development Knowledge, National Research and International Cooperation
  • MCGRATH, S., 2001. Research in a cold climate: towards a political economy of British international and comparative education International Journal of Educational Development. VOL 21(NUMBER 5), 391-400
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. The social theory of knowledge and knowledge for development. In: Development Knowledge, National Research and International Cooperation NORRAG, Edinburgh.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. What does globalisation mean for education in African countries? Southern African Review of Education. 6,
  • MCGRATH, S.A., AFENYADU, D. and KING, K., 2001. Learning to compete in Ghana: education, training and enterprise development
  • MCGRATH, S.A., KING, K. and OKETCH, H., 2001. Missed oportunities and signs of hope, Briefing Note 2, Learning to Compete Project
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. Confessions of a long distance runner: reflections from an international and comparative education research project. In: Doing Comparative Education Research Symposium, Oxford.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. Learning to compete: lessons and continuing challenges regarding globalisation, enterprise, knowledge and skills
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. Current and emergent donor priorities in the field of development skills, Commissioned paper for the ILO, for the International Labour conference 2003 NORRAG, Edinburgh.
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and AFENYADU, D., 2001. Learning to compete in Ghana: the challenge of Delivering on ambition
  • MCGRATH, S.A., KING, K., ROGERSON, C. and VISSER, K., 2001. Learning to compete in South Africa: an incomplete transformation
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. Knowledge for development - the case of the Department for International Development
  • MCGRATH, S.A., AFENYADU, D., KING, K., OKETCH, H., ROGERSON, C. and VISSER, K., 2001. Learning to Compete. Educational Paper 42, Department for International Development.
  • MCGRATH, S.A. and KING, K., 2001. What is the role of international cooperation in skills development?
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. Linking work, skills and knowledge: filling in the gaps? Linking work, skills and knowledge: challenges for international cooperation. NORRAG, Edinburgh.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., KING, K., ROGERSON, C. and VISSER, K., 2001. Learning, enterprise and competitiveness: South African education, training and enterprise development
  • MCGRATH, S.A., 2001. Knowledge based aid and learning-based development. In: Development Knowledge, National Research and International Cooperation NORRAG, Edinburgh.
  • MCGRATH, S.A., KING, K. and OKETCH, H., 2001. Learning to Compete in Kenya: a challenge to education, training & enterprise. National Synthesis Paper 3, Learning to Compete Project

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