Bilal Barakat

About Bilal Barakat

Bilal Barakat read mathematics at Cambridge and Oxford Universities for undergraduate and graduate degrees, and later obtained a doctorate from Oxford University's Department of Education. Since 2008 he has held research positions at the Vienna Institute of Demography and the World Population Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). His current research interest focuses on educational modelling and planning, especially in developing countries. He has worked as a consultant on various aspects of international and UK educational development including higher education quality assurance, education in post-conflict settings, teacher training and recruitment, for UNDP, UNESCO, the World Bank, and for national agencies in the UK.

A ‘Recipe for Depopulation’? School Closures and Local Decline in Saxony

There is a long tradition of debating the relative merits of small village schools versus larger central, consolidated schools. In weighing the advantages and disadvantages of both, the arguments commonly fall within two camps. On the one hand, larger schools are presumed to be more efficient and offer superior facilities and broader curricular choice. On the other hand, smaller schools are often felt to afford individual teaching interactions and encourage greater integration within community life.  When considering the value of a local school as a vital focal point of village life, the debate extends beyond strictly pedagogical concerns and into the realms of demography, migration, social cohesion, and child-parent experiences.

Continue reading