COMPETE is a cross-disciplinary research group with substantive interest in analysing stakeholder interests, epistemologies, normativity’s, and problem - constructions driving education policy, reform, and governance within key policy areas such as sustainability, citizenship, social justice, national identity, entrepreneurship, and competition.

Head of Research Group

bilde av Erlend Eidsvik

Erlend Eidsvik


bilde av Tom Are Trippestad

Tom Are Trippestad


In the discourse of the ‘knowledge society’, education is perceived as a core technology for seeking to improve a wide range of national issues, public services, and sectors within a new global, economically, cultural, and competitive climate.

COMPETE combine analysis of policy, reform, and political instruments with an interest in how they interact with professional identities, didactical texts, contexts, and practices at different institutional levels such as teacher education, schools, and kindergartens.

About COMPETE and our research

Background and aims

COMPETE is a fusion of two research groups; COMPARE (Comparative Perspectives in Education in Southern - Africa and Northern Europe, and PETER (Political Economy in Teacher Education Research)

COMPARE has substantive interests in analysing urgent, concrete policies and policy instruments in education with empirical or critical theoretical resources derived from the study of political economy and ecology, critical didactics and pedagogy, philosophy, and policy studies.

Because teachers at present are recognized as the most important factors in improving the quality of education, reforming teachers and teacher education is at the core of policymaking in most countries around the world. Non-governmental as well as governmental policymakers look at teacher education as the key lever for raising achievement, improving schools, and elevating the standard of education systems.

Thus, reforming how teachers and student teachers in kindergarten and schools are educated, rearranging their work, identities and knowledge constructs, also represents a strategic effort to shape the identity and work of teachers and the teaching profession in general in a further attempt to change schools and kindergartens and what counts as learning and play.

Key narratives and methodologies

Political constructs of governance, human capital, leadership, profession models, pupil and student models, quality and effectiveness, investment and learning outcomes, competence, utility, and impact, research-driven or practice-driven relationships between higher education, kindergartens, and schools, are examples of strategies and political instruments derived from overarching political narratives. How do they interact, work, relate or effect pedagogical texts and contexts within key areas such as sustainably, citizenship, competition, and multiculturalism, are at the core of the research interest in COMPETE.

These themes are addressed using a range of research tools including rhetorical and discourse analysis, comparative approaches, policy enactment studies, curricula and textbook studies, interviews, surveys and quantitative designs; and approaches that involve both participants and research-users.

Organization and networks

The principal goal of COMPETE is to become both a local and global hub for initiatives and innovative research activity that brings together urgent and pressing educational themes across nations and educational systems for analysis, research, and teaching cooperation. COMPETE will in part be structured as a cooperative global research group put together from distinct national teaching or research groups in a satellite organization around particular projects, key issues, theoretical resources, and methodologies.

Our international networks include researchers from University of KwaZulu-Natal; Durban, University of Western Cape; Cape Town, Humboldt University; Berlin, Monash University; Melbourne, Kings College; London, East China Normal University; Shanghai, Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka, Wellington and UCB University of California, Berkley.

Educational activities

Our research group members are central as mentors and teachers within the PhD program Bildung and pedagogical practises and at bachelor and master’s level in pedagogy, social and political sciences at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

This research group is a part of the research program Sustainability, Participation and Diversity.