Professor Clive Harber

Professor Clive Harber

School of Education
Emeritus Professor of International Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Clive Harber is Emeritus Professor of International Education. He was formerly a social science teacher in secondary schools and an initial teacher educator.

From 1995-9, he was head of the School of Education at the then University of Natal, South Africa. He was also head of the School of Education, University of Birmingham from 2003-2006. He has recently completed books on education, democracy and development; education in southern Africa; education and international development; and violence and schools in South Africa. He also has a key interest in the role of schooling in reducing and perpetrating violence internationally.


  • Education and Development
  • Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Educational Management
  • Education for Demographic Citizenship
  • Schooling for Violence and Peace

Examples of Research Projects

Schooling and Political Development in Africa.

This research focused on the role of schools in political socialisation in Africa. It involved empirical research in Nigeria (1977-79), Zimbabwe (1983), Kenya (1985 and 1988), Tanzania (1987 and 1992) and Namibia (1992 and 1994), Eritrea (1995) and South Africa (1995-98). Since the early 1990’s, this research has begun to focus specifically on the new emphasis on democracy in Africa and the potential role for education in making this political change sustainable. A colloquium, funded by the British Council was held in Durban in April 1998 in order to compare experiences in education for democracy in South Africa, the UK, Namibia and Botswana. Between 2000 and 2002, research, funded by CfBT and carried out in collaboration with other members of the Centre for International Education and Research, took place on teacher education for democracy in The Gambia. A second research project was then funded by CfBT between 2002 and 2005 on the role of the inspectorate and advisory service in education for democracy in The Gambia. A feasibility study for a further project in Rwanda was funded by CfBT and this took place in June 2005 and led to a bid for a further substantial project.

The Realities of School Management in Developing Countries.

This research explored the actual operation of school organisation and management in conditions of severe financial stringency and cultural dissonance. Research has been carried out on school organisation in Nigeria in 1977-81,on the work of headteachers in Botswana in 1990 and Namibia in 1993. This research led to a consultancy for the Commonwealth Secretariat on headteacher training in Africa. This work continued in 1997-99 in South Africa in relation to contextual and ideological issues surrounding school effectiveness. It has resulted in a research contract with the Department for International Development to examine the implementation of decentralisation in the Chiradzulu Educational District of Malawi during 2001/2. This research was carried out jointly with Professor Lynn Davies and involved collaboration with the Centre for Educational Research and Training at the University of Malawi, Zomba.

Democratic Practice in Education.

This research concentrated on two levels of democratic practice in educational management. The first level was that of the school : research had been carried out in Britain over a substantial period of time, in Tanzania where two case study democratic schools were examined during a study visit in 1992 and in South Africa where research was carried out in a school going through a process of democratisation during 1996. At a second level, action research methods was used to investigate democratic practice in both initial and in-service teacher education. Interviews were carried out with initial teacher education students in Britain and South Africa in 2003 as to their views on the role of schooling and teacher education in relation to democracy and citizenship and a paper on this was accepted for publication in an academic journal. Further research took place in 2006 with a group of university teacher educators who participated in a study visit to South Africa in August 2005.

Social and Political Education in Britain.

This research took place mainly in the 1980’s and focused in particular on the political education of 14-16 year olds. Also, a research evaluation of a development education project involving a group of British teachers in The Gambia and Senegal was conducted in 1984/5 at the request of the Development Education Centre in Birmingham. Membership of the Birmingham Development Education Centre’s Commission on Education for Global Citizenship represents an ongoing interest in this field and led to a research visit to South Africa in August 2001 which produced a book on citizenship education for British and South African students in initial teacher education which was published in 2003. A further research project on identity and education for democratic citizenship funded by the Development Education Centre took place in South Africa and the British West Midlands in 2003. The Department for International Development funded a research project on the needs of teachers and pupils in relation to education for global citizenship for the 2002-4 period. This has now been successfully completed and published.

Violence in Education.

Research focused on the school as a context for violence and as a source and cause of violent behaviour. Research on evaluating an NGO sponsored pilot project aimed at reducing school violence in a cluster of three schools in Durban, South Africa was completed in July 2000 and involved three research visits during 1999/2000. A book on schooling as violence was published in late 2004.


Selected publications

Harber, C. (2012) Contradictions in Teacher Education and Teacher Professionalism in Sub-Saharan Africa, in in R. Griffin (Ed.) Teacher Education In Sub-Saharan Africa, Symposium Books. More details

Harber, C (2010) Aid to education in Africa, The Forum Spring 2010 pp 45-49

Harber, C (2010) From Shouters To Supporters : The Quality Education Project (Oslo:Save The Children) – with D.Stephens

Harber, C. (2010) Long time coming: children as only occasional decision-makers in schools’, in Cox, S., Robinson-Pant, A., Dyer, C. and Schweisfurth, M. (Eds.) Children as Decision Makers in Education Sharing Experiences Across Cultures, Continuum Press,  ISBN: 9780826425485.

Harber, C. (2009) Education in Emergencies in South Asia (UNICEF) – with S. Cobbe, L. Davies, M.Schweisfurth, C.Williams and H.Yamashita.

Harber, C. (2008) Schools, Violence and Peace Education, Online Encyclopedia of Peace Education (