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The papers for this special issue were selected from a pool of nearly 700 presentations which were made at the 10th Congress of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), which was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 12 to 17 July 1998. The congress was hosted by the Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES) and held on the campuses of the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town. The papers were selected by the convenors of the conference's standing commissions, which provided a significant focus for the conference proceedings. These commissions were on the following themes: Teachers and teacher education Curriculum - Higher education - Lifelong learning - Language, literacy and basic education - Gender and education Policy - Theory and theory shifts Basic education in Africa Peace and Justice Dependency European Education Policy Research in Africa Culture, Indigenous Knowledge and Learning The papers presented, as the discussion below makes clear, ranged widely in subject matter and theoretical perspective and addressed issues of concern both to individual countries and to regions of the world. While some of the papers use comparison as an approach, it remains a matter of concern that the comparative perspective is so little in evidence. It is hoped that the com parative research approach will be more in evidence in the future.