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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2009): Education - overseas

The appropriation of the global discourse in the formulation of national education policies: a case of continuing education of teachers in Greece

A. Dakapoulou

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 7, 2009, p. 83-93

Educational research over the last few decades has been preoccupied with the way global discourse has been employed in national educational policy making. Through an examination of the case of teachers' continuing education in Greece, this paper focuses on the way this global discourse has been appropriated, in a selective way, by national agents. The author uses data from focused interviews with key agents and the content analysis of policy documents to examine the institutionalisation process and argues that Greek education policy is not always subject to rational planning or global imperatives. Rather, it appears to involve informal networks which interact parasitically inside formal policy networks as a way of furthering sectoral interests.

China: the reform of education

Y.C. Cheng and Y. Mao (guest editors)

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 23, no. 1, 2009, p. 1-106

This dedicated issue of six papers cover new initiatives/reforms in China including reforms in the employment system of teachers from the unified placement of teachers to a free contract employment system. Other papers focus on the efforts of university mergers, new policies adopted by the Chinese government which will substantially increase investment in education resources and the training available to principals incorporating the methods and strategies used to teach principals. In addition, two papers also focus on educational change and reforms in Hong Kong.

Considering alternatives for federal education policy in the United States: a critical perspective on No Child Left Behind

J. Edmondson and A. D'Urso

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 50, 2009, p. 79-91

At time of writing, the future of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was awaiting the outcome of the presidential elections in the United States. In this context, the authors take the opportunity to consider what federal education policy could be in the U.S. and explain how the rationalisation of education, particularly of reading instruction, has led to the failure of NCLB. The analysis critiques the underlying assumptions of this policy and proposes different possibilities for education policy. It emphasizes the potential for policy to provide opportunities for all citizens to engage in democratic life, gain access to information and embrace the complexities of learning and literacy.

Critically engaged community capacity building and the 'community organizing' approach in disadvantaged contexts

J. Smyth

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 50, 2009, p. 9-22

This paper critiques the notion of community capacity building (CCB) and the way it is increasingly being invoked in social policy as a means of tackling disadvantage, particularly in the Australian context. While CCB presents superficially as a useful way of approaching school and community reform in contexts of disadvantage, it is argued that closer analysis reveals it can be deployed as a cover under which to blame schools and communities while handing over responsibility. A 'community organizing' approach is put forward as an alternative that is more political, activist and attuned to providing analysis and leadership skills with which communities and schools can begin to tackle some of the underlying conditions which are responsible for producing inequalities.

Globalization and its impact on education with specific reference to education in South Africa

K.C. Moloi, S.J. Gravett and N.F. Petersen

Educational Management Administration & Leadership, vol. 37, 2009, p. 278-297

As globalisation of the world economy continues to increase, a parallel growth of knowledge is taking place. This latter trend does not appear to be overly affected by the boundaries between developed and less developed countries and is having a particular impact on education. This article looks at the impact of globalisation within the context of education in South Africa. It argues that in order to respond to the dangers of marginalisation posed by globalisation, it will be crucial to form and to be part of new alliances and networks as these will provide opportunities for sharing knowledge and skills as well as building economic strength.

Managing transnational education: does national culture really matter?

K. Eldridge and N. Cranston

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 31, 2009, p. 67-79

This article reports on an exploratory study that examined the effect of national culture upon the management of Australia's provision of transnational higher education in Thailand. Using Hofstede's national cultural value dimensions as an analytical tool, interviews with managers were examined with the aim of exploring how they understood national culture to affect their work and working environment. The findings suggested that the managers believed national culture affected both the academic and operational management of their transnational higher education programmes. The findings have possible implications for both transnational education managers involved with other countries and for researchers in the field of transnational education.

Non-formal curriculum for out-of-school advanced learners

K. Maitra and J. Shama

Gifted Education International, vol. 25, 2009, p. 75-80

Based on their own field experience, the authors have developed a model of non-formal curriculum (NFC) which has implications for out-of-school advanced learners. The model can be used in any country but is particularly applicable in developing countries where many children do not yet receive formal education. The model incorporates creativity, awareness, interest and lifelong learning (CAIL) to enable children to explore and understand their natural environment to the fullest extent so that they can learn and work as part of their local village community.

Peeling back the layers of policy and school reform: revealing the structural and social complexities within

H. Woodside-Jiron and K.M. Gehsmann

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, voil.56, 2009, p. 49-72

This article presents a case study of the experience of a primary school in a deprived urban area of the North East United States which was identified as being in need of improvement by its State Department of Education in 2000. It describes how the school staff and leaders responded to two successive and overlapping federal and state policy initiatives that resulted in mixed outcomes for pupils and teachers. By examining the process of school change, the authors highlight the intended and unintended consequences of policies that target children from disadvantaged families and communities.

Problematizing neighbourhood renewal: community, school effectiveness and disadvantage

L. Angus

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 50, 2009, p. 37-50

This paper argues that in Australia and elsewhere values of democracy in education appear to have been displaced in recent decades by managerialist norms that are linked to the needs of business and the economy of the nation. The author argues that there is an urgent need to restore notions of educational and social responsibility to the forefront of educational policy making. In addition, he maintains that if academic success for all students is to be a key aim of education, then schools will have to ensure that they reach out to all students and their communities and engage them in learning that is relevant and meaningful to their lives within their particular social, cultural and economic circumstances.

Recognition of prior learning: the accelerated rate of change in Australian universities

T. Pitman

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.28, 2009, p. 227-240

There is mounting pressure on universities to recognise learning acquired outside of a formal context for reasons of social equity, improved access to education for traditionally under-represented groups, and the development of a 'lifelong learning culture' within the wider community. This is known as the recognition of prior learning (RPL). Research suggests that, despite early in principle agreement with RPL, Australian universities in practice far prefer recognition of prior credentialed learning. This has created significant barriers for prospective students trying to get recognition for informal learning such as work or life experience. This paper re-examines the current policy environment and finds evidence that Australian universities are now more active in developing and promoting RPL.

Students face missed year if turmoil continues at French universities

A. Chrisafis

The Guardian, Apr. 23rd 2009, p. 20

French universities, paralysed by three months of student blockades and staff strikes, have been warned by the government to resume teaching or risk damaging France's image on the world stage. Since February, various universities have been thrown into chaos by the biggest higher education revolt in modern French history, surpassing the protests of May 1968 in terms of the numbers of academic staff who have gone on strike. The crisis is now so acute that ministers have warned that if lectures do not resume before May, students across France who have had no syllabus teaching for months could be forced to miss exams and forfeit an entire undergraduate year.

Why are working class children diverted from universities? An empirical assessment of the diversion thesis

R. Becker and A.E. Hecken

European Sociological Review, vol. 25, 2009, p. 233-250

In Germany, despite the expansion of education, middle class children are still more likely to go to university than their working class peers. According to the 'diversion thesis' suggested by Muller and Pollak, working class children are diverted from entering higher education by non-academic institutions which offer attractive vocational training alternatives. This thesis was empirically tested using data on high school graduates collected in Saxony. The analysis suggests that working class children are deterred from entering university by negative estimates of their prospects of success and by the direct and indirect costs, coupled with lower levels of achievement at school.

The world-class league tables and the sustaining of international reputations in higher education

T. Tapper and O. Filippakou

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 31, 2009, p. 55-66

The purpose of this article is to broaden the understanding of institutional reputation. It argues that it is vital to understand how prestigious institutions of higher education evaluate the basis of their own reputations. While accepting the importance of institutional research outputs, which appear to be so critical to the current 'world-class' ranking lists, it puts forward alternative criteria that elite institutions are likely to embrace, and suggests ways in which their significance could be researched. The authors argue that there is a need to know what institutions believe is the basis of their own reputations and what changes they are prepared to pursue in order to sustain them.

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