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Yusuf Sayed


Professor of Education

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 7677345


  • PhD: Comparative Education and Education Policy, University of Bristol
  • MBA: University of Brighton
  • M.Ed. University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa
  • BA (Honours): History, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa
  • BA: University of South Africa

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Visiting Professor, School of Education and Social work, University of Sussex
  • Honorary Professor, CITE (CPUT)
  • Editorial Board Member of Journal of Education, International Journal of Education Development

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Yusuf Sayed is Professor of Education specialising in global education policy and development focusing on equity, inclusion, and social justice. Prior to joining Cambridge, he was the Professor of International Education and Development Policy at the University of Sussex, the South African Research Chair in Teacher Education, and the Founding Director of the Centre for International Teacher Education (CITE), at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa. Yusuf was also the Senior Policy Analyst at the EFA Global Monitoring Report, UNESCO, Team Leader for Education and Skills, at the then Department for International Development (now FCDO) UK, and Head of the Department of Comparative Education at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

Yusuf has over 40 years experience in international education as a scholar, policy practitioner and education rights activist across diverse academic, institutional and development contexts His scholarship is informed by an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, drawing on diverse epistemologies and critical theoretical framings spanning education, international development, sociology, history and critical policy studies.

Yusuf engages with the nexus between the development and implementation of policy at different levels of the education system. His scholarship focuses on the implications for national and global education policy goals of efforts to achieve equity, inclusion and empowerment in countries of the global South in particular and the reasons why these may not achieve their emancipatory goals. He has authored and co-authored more than 20 scholarly and policy-influencing books and monographs as well as over 200 academic articles, book chapters, and policy reports. The range of countries in his comparative policy engagements include Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cuba, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Malaysia, Namibia, Indonesia, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe. His scholarship in global education policy studies aims to invigorate a social justice approach by bringing new evidence-informed knowledge of factors militating against the attainment of social and cognitive justice in and through education, addressing the delegitimization of the voice of the marginalised in education policy development and how policies frame epistemic access.

Academic Area/Links


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Research Topics

  • Teacher Education
  • Critical social policy and the state in achieving equity in education, focusing on public private partnerships (PPPs), crises and disruption
  • Inclusive education, social justice education and pedagogy
  • Education decolonisation

Current Research Project(s)

  • Longitudinal study of teacher pedagogy and teacher education in South Africa
  • Equity and quality in public private partnership schooling
  • Global education policy and the work of international development agencies
  • Middle tier leadership and equitable and quality learning
  • Decolonization of teacher education

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  • Postgraduate
    • Doctoral supervision: Yusuf has supervised over 40 doctoral students to completion. He is currently supervising a group of post-graduate students working on various aspects of education: teacher, teaching, and teacher education; education governance; global, national and local policies which facilitate or hinder equitable and quality learning and pedagogy
    • MPhil: Teaching on Education, Globalisation and International Development, Research Methods

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Principal and Recent Publications

Sayed, Y., Sharma, G., & Desai, A. (2022). UNESCO: Promising education multilateralism?. International Encyclopedia of Education, fourth edition. 510-525

Sayed Y., & Soudien C. (2021). Managing a Progressive Educational Agenda in Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Case of Education Public-Private Partnerships. In Zajda J. (Ed). Third International Handbook of Globalisation, Education and Policy Research. New York: Springer, Cham.

Motala, S., Sayed, Y., & Maggott, T., 2023. The SDG agenda and university transformation in Africa: The decolonial turn deferred? African Journal of Teacher Education, 12.

Bulgrin, E. & Sayed, Y., 2023. Discourses of international actors in the construction of the decentralisation policy: the case of Benin. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 1-14.

Pesambilli, J., Sayed, Y., & Stambach, A. (2022). The World Bank’s construction of teachers and their work: A critical analysis. International Journal of Educational Development, 92

Sayed, Y., Cooper, A., & Vaughn, M.J. (2021). Crises and disruptions; Educational reflections, (re)imaginings, and (re)vitalization. Journal of Education: South African Education Research Association, 9-30.

Motala, S., Sayed, Y., & de Kock, T. (2021). Epistemic decolonisation in reconstituting higher education pedagogy in South Africa: the student perspective. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-18.

Sayed, Y., & Sarangapani, P. (Eds). (2020). Teachers and Teacher Education in South Asia Springer Singapore,. [Part of the Handbook of Education Systems in South Asia series edited by Sarangapani P. & Pappu R].

Sayed, Y., & De Kock, T. (2019). Teacher Career Reforms in South Africa. International Institute for Educational Planning.

Sayed, Y., Subramanian, V., & Jain, M. (2020). Framing Teachers in National Education Policy and in the Popular Media: Discourses on Teachers and their Work in South Asia. In Sayed, Y. & Sarangapani, P. (Eds). Teachers and Teacher Education in South Asia, Springer Singapore.