Educational policy borrowing has become rather common in our globalised world. However, the literature lacks contextual criteria that may be employed by researchers and policy makers to assess the correspondence of a particular policy to the local context of a borrowing system. Based on a secondary analysis of documents and research reports, this paper describes the process of policy borrowing in the Israeli and Turkish educational systems. Discrepancies were found between the basic qualities of the borrowed policies and the contextual features and processes that characterise each educational system. The lack of congruency appears to be even deeper in centralised structures where the act of policy setting is done by top-level policy makers who are isolated from local school circumstances. Threshold criteria referring to fundamental considerations during decision making are offered and their theoretical and practical implications for centralised structures are discussed.