The Education Systems of the Americas
The chapter introduces the readers to the contents and rationales of this handbook. This Handbook focuses on the education systems on the American continents – North, Central, and South America – and includes chapters for most countries in this region, also the Caribbean. This introductory chapter first offers a conceptual discussion of central concepts that build the object of interest of the chapters, namely national education systems, and discusses their status and relevance for understanding education in the global era. By doing so, it sets the intellectual framework for the country chapters. By deliberating on the conceptual leverage of each term, it aims at both sharpening their analytical traction and pointing to their multifaceted nature – a crucial intellectual activity before any comparative exercise. It closes with a brief outline of the common structure that builds the backbone of the individual country chapters is then presented. This section briefly expounds the rationale of the different parts of the chapters, offering some justification for the organizational principles deployed, including their selective nature. In making these decisions transparent, the section also functions as a useful reading aid.