Click here to skip to content

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

Creating the social foundations for apprenticeship in Ireland

B. Nyhan and P. Ayres

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 33, 2009, p. 457-469

This paper tells the Irish apprenticeship story. Efforts to build a national apprenticeship system began in the 1960s. These early initiatives represented painful learning experiences which underpinned a significant breakthrough in the 1990s. A new culture of cooperation between government, unions and employers along continental 'social partnership' lines emerged in 1991 when all three signed up to a joint national framework programme. This new climate of cooperation enabled the successful introduction of a well-functioning national apprenticeship programme in 1993.

Educator and administrator perceptions of the impact of No Child Left Behind on special populations

K.J. Vannest and others

Remedial and Special Education, vol. 30, 2009, p. 148-159

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 introduced a set of guidelines for US state schools to improve standards through heightened accountability, enhanced flexibility and local control of funds, enhanced parental choice, and more use of evidence-based teaching methods. This paper assesses the impact of the Act on special education through a survey of teachers and administrators in Texas. Findings include positive perceptions of changes related to accountability, teacher qualifications and evidence-based practice; negative perceptions related to assessment; and perceptions of no changes in relationships with parents or freedom for states and communities.

Freed from illiteracy? A closer look at Venezuela's Misión Robinson literacy campaign

D. Ortega and F. Rodriguez

Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol. 57, 2008, p. 1-30

On October 28th 2005, the Venezuelan government announced that the country had been declared an 'illiteracy-free territory', marking the success of the two-year-old national literacy campaign, Misión Robinson. According to the statement, the Cuban-designed Yo Si Puedo programme had helped teach 1,482,543 persons to read and write. This article assesses the evidence of the success of the Misión Robinson programme using data from the Venezuelan Household Surveys, which include self-reports on literacy, to evaluate official claims to have wiped out illiteracy. The research found evidence for, at most, small positive literacy gains as a result of the programme.

Global economies of fear: affect, politics and pedagogical implications

M. Zembylas

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 50, 2009, p. 187-199

This article seeks to explore the importance of the affective politics of fear in education and to discuss the implications for educational policy, theory and practice. The aim is to explore how discourses of fear work in some educational contexts and draw significant boundaries between 'us' and 'them' through the structuring of the curriculum and pedagogy. This analysis uses the author's ethnographic work done in the United States and Cyprus. It is argued that if educators are committed to inspire individual and social change, then much work needs to be done at the affective level.

Global meritocracy, nationalism and the question of whom we must treat equally for educational opportunity to be equal.

S. Tannock

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 50, 2009, p. 201-211

With the push by business and political circles for a 'global meritocracy', the environment in which educators work is rapidly changing. This article argues that those committed to a politics of equality, justice and inclusion need to resist the urge to hang onto and defend past, nationalist ways of doing public education. Instead, the author suggests, there is a need to revisit old educational discourses, ideologies and principles, such as the principle of equal educational opportunity, in ways that are critical not just of new and future forms of globalism but of past and continuing nationalism as well.

Handbook of social justice in education

W. Ayers, T. Quinn and D. Stovall (editors)

London: Routledge, 2009

This handbook examines, from multiple perspectives, education theory, research and practice in a historical and ideological context, with an emphasis on social movements for justice. Addressing current attacks on public education, it makes the theoretical and conceptual argument that social justice matters and that it is the lens through which all of what happens in education should be refracted. Each of the nine sections explores a primary theme of social justice and education and includes such topics as: race, ethnicity and language; youth; globalisation; disability; and gender and sexuality.

Making it work: teachers' perspectives on inclusion

P. E. Horne and V. Timmons

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 13, 2009, p. 273-286

This qualitative study was designed to investigate teachers' perceptions of the impact of inclusion of children with special needs on their classes. Twenty participants were randomly selected from the 25 teachers who had volunteered for the study. They then completed a survey dealing with attitudes and perceptions, incentives for encouraging inclusion, and concerns from a classroom perspective. Following this, five teachers were randomly selected for interviews. The findings of this study revealed that some of the teachers' primary concerns centred round planning time, meeting the needs of all students, and ongoing professional development in order to be able to respond effectively to the increasingly diverse needs of students in the classroom.

Performance-based measurement on public school efficiency: the case of Northern Thailand

S. Kantabutra

International Journal of Management in Education, vol. 3, 2009, p. 105-124

This study proposed using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) technique to measure public upper secondary school performance in Northern Thailand. DEA uses benchmarking to measure the efficiency of each school relative to others in its group. The results revealed that the schools were operating inefficiently. The author suggests that policy to improve school efficiency may consider using performance-based analysis to identify which institution will yield higher returns, in order to prioritise inefficient institutions for attention, in addition to allocating budgets based on block grants or enrolment.

Revolution or backlash? The mediatisation of education policy in Australia

R. Hattam, B. Prosser and K. Brady

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 50, 2009, p. 159-171

Recent scholarship has identified the emergence of a new modality of policy work: the mediatisation of policy. This paper provides an Australian case study which reports on the tactics of an Australian Federal Minister of Education and a media commentator who both engaged in public pedagogical work for the purpose of spinning education policy. The authors argue that this example of the mediatisation of education policy has stifled pedagogical innovation, as advocates of middle schooling reform struggle against what appears to be a backlash against the social-democratic reforms of the post-World War II era.

School leadership: heads on the block

P. Thomson

London: Routledge, 2009

This book focuses on headteachers and their everyday work. It is partly based on the author's own experience of headship but is also based on research into the work of English and Australian headteachers and draws on a corpus of interview data and text analysis. The purpose of the book is to highlight some of the contemporary pressures, dilemmas and tensions that surround headship. The book also develops a conception of headship itself as 'risky business', the shortage of applicants for the headship as a risky policy agenda and the actions of potential applicants and serving heads as one of risk calculation and, in some cases, risk avoidance and/or harm minimisation. The author elaborates the nature of such risks, some of which she argues are unavoidable, some of which are unpredictable, and some of which are manufactured and therefore amenable to change.

Special education in Turkey

M.A. Melekoglu, O. Cakiroglu and K.W. Malmgren

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 13, 2009, p. 287-298

As a developing country, and official candidate for European Union membership, Turkey has been working on issues related to special education provision and inclusive education as a way of improving the quality of services for citizens with disabilities. The purpose of this paper is to describe the structure of the special education system in Turkey and current developments within and status of the special education field. Topics include a brief history of special education services, an overview of special education laws and regulations, a summary of efforts around inclusion and current directions in teacher training. The authors conclude by acknowledging several challenges in the ongoing improvement of the quality of special education in Turkey.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web