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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Education - overseas

Affluent parents' advocacy for special-education children's rights vis-à-vis placement-committees in Israel

L. Gvion & D. Luzzatto

Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, vol. 3, 2008, p. 147-166

This article focuses on the strategies that Israeli parents of children with high functioning communication disorders apply in their negotiations with municipal placement-committees, in order to realize their right to be fully involved in matters concerning their children's schooling. The authors' claim is that parents introduce into the negotiation process alternatives to the professional discourse inherent in the committee's working culture. The alternative discourse rests on the self-awareness of the parents as to their cultural capital and their understanding of a democratic culture, which reinforces their perception of city officials' duties to grant them educational services which accord with their world view. The authors' study distinguishes between formal and informal strategies of action that assist the parents in turning from passive subjects, who accept the committee's decisions, into active individuals who establish a culture of resistance.

Age is just a number? Rethinking learning over the life course

M. Slowey

Ageing Horizons, issue 8, 2008, p. 22-29

This paper explores the relationship between EU lifelong learning policies, and the learning behaviours of older adults. EU policy needs to ensure that older people have real opportunities for learning so that they are able to maintain their mental and physical fitness and their ability to function independently, as well as improving their social lives. The analysis in this paper identifies the following as the main changes required for the transformation of lifelong learning policy to address the needs of older people more appropriately:

  • Ensure equitable access
  • Incentivise older people to enter colleges which traditionally focus on young learners, and encourage young tutors to work in nursing homes with the frail elderly
  • Meet the educational and personal development needs of frail elderly people in nursing homes, including those with dementia.

Building bridges between university and industry: theory and practice

S. Meredith & M. Burkle

Education + Training vol.50, 2008, p. 199-215

Previous research has illustrated that learning takes place more effectively when information is put into context and practised. Examining the level of benefit to learning through developing links between universities and industry, this paper highlights how interactive projects that join students with industry were deemed valuable to both parties. The responses of the participants (students following the Manufacturing Management and Quality Systems courses within the Industrial Engineering Department of the Monterrey, Institute of Technology, Mexico) over a one year period, suggest that building bridges between universities and industry may offer a positive learning experience for students and businesses alike.

Changes in higher education and valuing the job: the views of accounting academics in Australia

K. Watty, S. Bellamy & C. Morley

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management vol. 30, 2008, p. 139-151

In a previous article (Bellamy et al., 2003), the authors reported on survey research that investigated reasons why academics from business disciplines enter and remain in academia, and the conditions they deem necessary to creating work satisfaction. For both entering and remaining, as well as in achieving work satisfaction, the most important factors were found to be autonomy and flexibility, with teaching and research the next most important factors. In a subsequent analysis of the data, reported in this article, the authors identify and explore significant differences between accounting academics and other business academics in the relative importance placed on those key factors. The findings may be used to inform policy makers and university administrators of the importance of discipline differences when identifying key factors for recruitment and retention of accounting academics specifically, and business academics generally.

Connecting with industry: bridging the divide

J. Berman

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management vol. 30, 2008, p. 165-174

The shifting funding climate in Australian higher education encourages universities to enter into research partnerships with industry. Yet studies of industries' experiences of their research links with universities are rare. Consequently research managers often find themselves attempting to promote and facilitate industry engagement with universities while knowing relatively little about the nature of such relationships. This article, which explores the barriers to sustainable research partnerships between universities and industry, identifies the 'cultural gap' between academia and industry as a significant impediment to successful collaborations. Many of the university researchers in this case study had an accurate understanding of industry motivations, needs and expectations, and valuable insights into how the cultural divide between academia and industry might be bridged. The author concludes it would be prudent to draw upon their expertise when putting strategies, policies, and mechanisms in place to increase the attractiveness to industry of engaging with academia.

The Cultural politics of borrowing: Japan, Britain, and the narrative of educational crisis

K. Takayama & M. W. Apple

British Journal of Sociology of Education vol. 29, 2008, p.289-301

In the recent debate over education reform, Japanese conservative politicians and intellectuals have selectively appropriated a particular crisis-and-success narrative of British education reform to de-territorialise contentious policy changes. They assert that Britain achieved successful education reform by transforming the very same teaching practices and legal framework that currently afflict Japanese education. In so doing, the Japanese conservatives have legitimized the fundamental 'reform' of post-war Japanese education through the combination of nationalistic and quasi-market interventions in education. Drawing on a wide range of literature (literature on educational borrowing, postcolonial studies, and cultural studies), this article illuminates how the Japanese conservatives have appropriated external references to 'British education reform' to reconstitute the people's common sense about the current state and future course of Japanese education. In addition, the authors use this Japanese case study to advance the re-conceptualization of non-western 'others.'

Curriculum documents and practice in the NZ polytechnic sector: consensus and dissensus

G. Melles

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol. 13, 2008, p. 55-67

In New Zealand the polytechnic sector embraces a range of post-compulsory education fields as diverse as nursing, business, social work and English as a second language (ESL) all of which may co-exist on polytechnic campuses, be subject to similar curriculum documentation processes and use a shared competency-based framework and discourse. While national and institutional curriculum bodies claim that curriculum documents provide a neutral and flexible representation of curriculum practice, practitioners find them to be more ideologically invested and influential on practice. This in-depth qualitative study examines common readings of curriculum from 10 practitioners in a social services and ESL unit within a department of community and continuing education. An analysis of the findings identified common concerns about the effect of competency-based curriculum on practice and challenges the assumption of the benign effect of such documents.

Democracy, social capital and school governing bodies in South Africa

S. Woolman & B. Fleisch

Education and the Law, vol. 20, 2008, p. 47-80

Critics of school governing bodies (SGBs) in South Africa - both on the left and on the right - tend to rely upon arguments that ignore significant portions of the specific Act that created SGB, namely the South African Schools Act (SASA). The authors argue that these criticisms from both sides are based on a very selective reading of SASA provisions and constitutional norms that govern this 'fourth level of government' and in this article they offer a third line of interpretation regarding SGB autonomy. The authors contend that, despite concerns about their lack of capacity, SGBs enjoy popular acceptance and participation across class and language divides. The legal status of SGBs also maintains and creates effective social networks that generate new stores of social capital and this ability suggests SGBs have the makings of a great, new and rather unique 'South African' political institution.

Disinterested, disengaged, useless: conservative or progressive idea of the university?

G. McLennan

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 6, 2008, p. 195-200

There is much evidence of academics' increasing incorporation into the life and fate of their university's brand, just as it is clear that university structures and incentives generally are dependent upon capturing a share of resources in an increasingly competitive environment. Given this context, it becomes important to re-think and re-imagine the very idea of the 'engaged university', especially now that the images and imperatives around this have shifted. While the author is not against university involvement in the wider world, this article critically questions the new metaphysic of 'engagement', and the discursive framings and traps that sustain it. Finally, the author makes the case that some traditionalist ideas of higher education can also be part of 'progressivist' social ethics.

Educational malpractice and setting damages for ineffective teaching: a comparison of legal principles in the USA, England and Australia

R. D. Mawdsley & J. J. Cumming

Education and the Law, vol. 20, 2008, p. 25-46

The extent to which educational institutions and their teachers in the USA, England and Australia should bear legal responsibility in damages for ineffective classroom teaching is the subject of this article. At the heart of the controversy regarding educational malpractice, is the issue of remedies. Federal and state courts in the USA have resisted awarding damages where such an award would appear to be sound in educational malpractice. However, although courts in Australia have yet to declare with any degree of certainty, they appear positioned to follow the English approach that ostensibly acknowledges a school's duty of care to provide effective education for all children.

Entrepreneurship education: towards an industry sector approach

I. Richardson & B. Hynes

Education + Training vol.50, 2008, p.188-198

Focusing on the requirements for an industry sector approach to entrepreneurship education, this paper outlines a modified Process Framework for Entrepreneurship Education, specifically for the information and communications (ICT) sector. Primary components of this framework are described to assist in the design of relevant and targeted entrepreneurship education courses to ensure that the teaching process develops entrepreneurial-focused students within the sector. The framework can also be modified to suit courses concentrating on other industry sectors. The authors stress that the teaching focus should include action learning, problem-based learning and discovery teaching and demonstrate that entrepreneurship education is a flexible learning mode easily modified to changing workplace and employee needs.

Impact in the school system of a strategy for identifying and selecting academically talented students: the experience of Program PENTA-UC

V. Arancibia, M. R. Lissi & M. Narea

High Ability Studies, vol. 19, 2008, p. 53-65

The study explores the consequences, for participating schools, of the implementation of a system for the identification and selection of academically talented students, in the context of an extracurricular enrichment program operating at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The participants were 73 students, 50 teachers, and seven members of the school administration, in seven schools and data were collected through interviews and focus groups. The results indicated that the identification and selection processes had mostly positive effects on teachers and students although some potentially negative effects were also detected for the classmates of the talented students, which related mainly to the manner in which information was handled.

The impact of public management reforms on student performance in Danish schools

S.C. Andersen

Public Administration, vol. 86, 2008, p. 541-558

State education in Denmark provides the context for an investigation of whether the introduction of performance management systems improve student outcomes. It uses existing data on more than 80,000 pupils' examination scores and parental background over a four year period, combined with a survey of school leaders. Results suggest no or small improvements in average student performance, but negative effects on students with low socio-economic status. Overall, the effects are relatively small.

Improving schools through reflection for teachers: lessons from Singapore

C. Tan

Journal of School Effectiveness and Improvement vol.19, 2008, p.225-238

Using Singapore as an illustrative case study, this paper discusses attempts by the government to improve schools through reflection for teachers. The paper points out that the concept of reflection advocated by the state and practised in schools is explicit and systematic in nature and focuses on specific and proximate matters within the academic and social efficiency traditions. Arguing that such a concept of reflection is inadequate in enabling and empowering teachers to become creators of new knowledge and practices, the author proposes an expanded concept based on the ideas of McLaughlin (1999) and Zeichner and Liston (1996). Given the international trend towards reflective practices in schools, the Singapore experience offers useful lessons on the promises and pitfalls of reflection for teachers.

Internationalizing the curriculum: the implementation experience in a Faculty of Business and Economics

G. Crosling, R. Edwards & B. Schroder

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management vol. 30, 2008, p. 107-121

Curriculum internationalization is a strategy adopted by many universities as they prepare their graduates for employment in the global economy. This paper is a case study of the organizational change involved in one institution's (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia) attempts to implement curriculum internationalization in the foundation subjects of the six core business disciplines. The Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash, encompassing five Australian and two offshore campuses and three families of degrees, presents both an opportunity and a challenge for implementing curriculum change. The multi-campus structure provides the opportunity, while the challenge is the number and geographic dispersion of the teaching staff, along with differing academic cultures. In this paper, the authors discuss organisational change as it accompanies the curriculum internationalization process, and the responses of the discipline-based teams to the internationalization objective. The authors identify significant staff and faculty issues requiring consideration in the change that accompanies curriculum development, such as the powerful effect of the traditional notion of academic autonomy, and the need for continued resources to support the changes.

Japan's Ministry of Education 'becoming the Right': neo-liberal restructuring and the Ministry's struggles for political for legitimacy

K. Takayama

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 6, 2008, p. 131-146

This article first examines the controversial revision of the Fundamental Law of Education (FLE) by situating it in the larger global context of state restructuring and education reform. The revision of this law was passed by the Japanese Diet in 2006 and was the first time it had been revised since its 1947 inception. The most controversial of all the proposed revisions was the inclusion of the proposal to cultivate, amongst students, an attitude that respects tradition and culture and love of the national homeland, something which was challenged by mainstream progressive media and intellectuals at the time. By focusing on the political agency of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and tracing its shifting political interests in regard to the FLE amendment, the article illuminates the MOE's strategic move to 'become the Right' and demonstrates the particular way in which internal political struggles within the Japanese state shaped its education policy.

Marketing international higher education: a case of Thai students in Australia

N. Pimpa

International Journal of Management in Education, vol. 2, 2008, p. 154-171

In recent times, Australia has developed its higher education resources and significantly increased its role in the international education market. Australian government statistics for 2006 list 317,909 foreign students across education institutions. This study investigates the patterns of influence from various personal sources on Thai students' decision to study in Australian universities. It reveals that various personal sources, such as family members, friends, relatives, agents or Australian representatives, can influence the students' decision-making processes. Furthermore, this study also confirms the associations between the influencing sources, the students' background and the types of influence. International universities should learn to understand the international students' decision-making process, since this will help universities to respond to their needs.

Nicaragua revisited: from neo-liberal 'ungovernability' to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)

T. Muhr

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 6, 2008, p. 147-161

In this paper, the author conducts a historical analysis of the emergence of ALBA in Nicaragua prior to Daniel Ortega's return to the presidency and the country's official membership of the initiative, both of which occurred in January 2007. Within the framework of a material analysis of poverty and exclusion under globalised neo-liberalism, Muhr draws particular attention to World Bank-led education 'decentralisation' in Nicaragua. The failure of the finance-driven strategy, especially with respect to access to education and literacy, provided the grounds for the first ALBA project in Nicaragua to evolve within an 'environment of ungovernability' from 2004 on. In contrast to other contemporary regionalisms, in ALBA the social dimension assumed a leading role from the outset, together with energy integration. The Nicaraguan case exemplifies ALBA's counter-hegemonic transnational operational mode, as well as its construction from the bottom up, and this is illustrated in the fields of education, healthcare and energy supply.

The non-discrimination principle and American higher education: judicial failure to recognize the present effects of past discrimination

R. D. Bickel

Education and the Law, vol. 20, 2008, p. 1-24

This article suggests that any effort in the UK to consider the issue of social equity in higher education must be cautious in drawing lessons from higher education law in the USA and aims to contribute to the dialogue on this subject among higher education administrators and lawyers in the UK. The author argues that in the UK social equity initiatives in higher education are based upon a concern for the realities of classism whilst this is not the singular concern in the USA where the experience must be understood as a struggle to overcome racism as well as classism. Recent US Supreme Court cases involving the University of Michigan are the legacy of a race-based system of segregation in American higher education that legally denied African-American citizens equal access to higher education based solely on their race for more than a century following the Civil War.

Our underachieving colleges: a candid look at how much students learn and why they should be learning more

D. Bok

Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2008

Drawing on a large body of empirical evidence, the book examines how much progress American college students actually make toward widely accepted goals of undergraduate education. Although most students make gains in many important respects, they improve much less than they should in such important areas as writing, critical thinking, quantitative skills, and moral reasoning. Large numbers of college students do not feel that they have made substantial progress in speaking a foreign language, acquiring cultural and aesthetic interests, or learning what they need to know to become active and informed citizens. Overall, despite their vastly increased resources, more powerful technology, and hundreds of new courses, colleges cannot be confident that students are learning more than they did fifty years ago. Looking further, the book finds that many important college courses are left to the least experienced teachers and that most professors continue to teach in ways that have proven to be less effective than other available methods. The final chapter describes the changes that faculties and academic leaders can make to help students accomplish more.

Outlining the voices of customers in technical education

R. M. Debnath, R. Shankar & S. Kumar

International Journal of Management in Education, vol. 2, 2008, p. 195-221

Nowadays, understanding customer requirements has become an indispensable tool in remaining competitive in the world and this holds true for educational institutions too. The quality of the academic programme largely depends on the curriculum design of the various courses, because the success of any technical programme is largely affected by the curriculum of the courses. This paper explores how technical institutes can apply Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to translate the Voices of Customers (VOCs) into operations to improve their IT curriculum. To improve the curriculum, students' expectations of the curriculum and faculty performance are captured, as the course curricula and the performance of the faculty are two crucial parameters interacting to produce quality education.

The Performance-Based Research Fund: research assessment and funding in New Zealand

B. Curtis

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 6, 2008, p. 179-194

In 2002, the New Zealand Government established a new crown entity, the Tertiary Education Commission and charged it with administering the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) which introduced research assessment and linked this with the state funding of institutions of higher education. There has been considerable support from the university sector for this initiative in the belief that it will divert funding from polytechnics and other tertiary education organisations. This sectoral support assumes the rhetoric of rewarding excellence in research also used by Government, but this becomes problematic at the point where institutional shares are determined. The paper explores how this rhetoric is subordinated to a new managerialist thrust for efficiency and greater productivity from academics. In addition, the methodology of the PBRF is analysed as providing an imperfect local driver for the global phenomenon of new managerialism in higher education.

Privatising the public: marketisation as a strategy in public university transformation

I. I. Munene

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol. 13, 2008, p. 1-17

In this study, the transformation of a Kenyan public university through marketisation and privatisation was investigated qualitatively. By focusing on senior university administrators, deans, department heads, union leaders, student leaders and senior scholars at Kenyatta University, the study identified the reasons for, and strategies used to achieve, marketisation and the consequences. External factors, such as pressure by multilateral financial institutions and global trends in favour of the market place and private finance in higher education as well as internal factors, including social demand for higher education alongside the government's budget rationalisation agenda, were the impetus for the transformation.

Promoting educational reforms in weak states: the case of radical policy discontinuity in Peru

M. Balarin

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 6, 2008, p. 163-178

This article explores the making of education policies in weak states, particularly in the context of developing nations and in view of the increasing influence of international organisations, such as the World Bank, in the definition of education reform agendas. The discussion seeks to contribute to the theory of weak states by highlighting the importance of political processes of interest articulation and mobilisation, and by suggesting that state weakness can vary internally from one policy to another. It does so with reference to education and to a study of radical discontinuity in Peruvian education policies.

Religiosity, the headscarf, and education in Turkey: an analysis of 1988 data and current implications

B. H. Rankin & I. A. Aytaç

British Journal of Sociology of Education vol.29, 2008, p. 273-287

Previous research highlights the continuing relevance of family culture in explaining educational inequalities in Turkey, especially patriarchal beliefs and practices that discourage investment in the education of girls. The authors extend that research by introducing two much-debated, but empirically untested, aspects of family culture - parental religiosity and headscarf preferences. An analysis of a nationally representative sample of 15-19 year olds in 1988 shows that while religiosity had no significant effect on educational attainment, children who lived in families whose fathers expected them to wear a headscarf in public had lower educational attainment, especially girls. The large negative headscarf effect suggests that the government ban on headscarves in schools may be an obstacle to eliminating gender inequality in education. The results are discussed in light of recent trends in Turkish society.

Restructuring China's adult higher education: an examination of the driving forces behind the reform

N. R. Liu

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol. 13, 2008, p. 107-121

China's institutions of higher education have launched comprehensive reforms in order to meet increasing demands for professional training. As in many other countries, reforms in the educational system in China have been driven by economic and political changes, and these changes have been determined largely by the needs of the market. This research shows that in contrast to the common assumption that externally influenced reforms are often unwillingly accepted by the recipient nation, adult institutions of higher education in China have proactively and positively embarked on the reform without significant external imposition of policy from international organisations. However, global trends of reform in higher education have also influenced the recent restructuring and development of adult higher education in China.

Upskilling older workers

K. Mayhew, M. Elliott and B. Rijkers

Ageing Horizons, issue 8, 2008, p. 13-19

Older workers are disadvantaged in the labour market. They have substantially lower employment rates, suffer from greater long term unemployment, are less likely to make the transition out of inactivity, and often have to accept substantial reductions in their earnings when they find a new job. There are many causes of this disadvantage, some of which relate to skill levels and lack of recent training. This paper evaluates the role of education and training in improving the position of older workers in the labour market. It concludes that governments tend to over-emphasize the role of training in addressing the problems faced by older workers, when the root of the problem may lie with employer attitudes and their preference for younger staff.

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