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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2010): Education - overseas

'Boys will be boys': what do early childhood teachers have to do with it?

D. Bhana

Educational Review, vol. 61, 2009, p. 327-339

This paper focuses on the ways in which a selected group of early childhood teachers in grades one and two, located in a predominantly white middle-class context in Durban, South Africa ascribe meaning to young boys they teach. The study finds that early childhood teachers are bearers of masculinity and incorporate taken-for-granted assumptions of boys' behaviour into their understandings of gender, leading to boys' visibility not only in terms of unequal power relations but also in negatively inscribing boys as disruptive. Further the paper provides evidence which shows how race and class have forged particular conceptions of male hegemony which lead to the teachers' investment in a 'rugger bugger' masculinity. It is argued that early childhood teachers' investments in hegemonic masculinity are restrictive and work against equality for boys and girls in early childhood. In this regard the paper highlights the need to address masculinities in the early years of South African primary schooling.

Competitiveness, diversification and the international higher education cash flow: the EU's higher education discourse amidst the challenges of globalisation

P. Mayo

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 19, 2009, p. 87-103

This paper focuses on the EU discourse on Higher Education (HE) within the context of globalisation. The author examines the issues of lifelong learning, competitiveness, diversification, entrepreneurship, access, the knowledge society, modernisation, quality assurance, innovation and creativity, governance and business-HE partnerships in a variety of contexts in Europe. He provides a critical analysis of this discourse focusing on certain issues involved in policy borrowing and transfer, the corporatisation of HE, international competition with the USA and Asia and the implications of all these aspects of the dominant EU HE policy discourse for HE and the public sphere and seeks to tease out the tension that exists in the discourse between neo-liberal tenets and the idea of a social Europe.

The dual economy of schooling and teacher morale in South Africa

Y. Shalem & U. Hoadley

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 19, 2009, p. 119-134

This paper investigates the ways in which current market-led government policies have sustained past inequalities between schools and between teachers. Drawing on Savage's notion of assets, the analysis focuses on how the material and organisational conditions of teachers' work combine to affect teachers' morale. The analysis is based on available sets of data on inequalities - at the societal level, at the level of homes and communities of the children that attend school, at the level of schooling system and at the level of teachers. The authors argue that the relations between enduring economic inequalities in South Africa, an underspecified new curriculum and the bureaucratisation of teachers' work have created an intractable pattern of accumulation of educational disparity among teachers in South Africa and that teacher morale needs to be considered in the context of these structural conditions.

Early childhood education programs in Kenya: challenges and solutions

L. W. Nganga

Early Years, vol. 29, 2009, p. 227-236

Early childhood education in Kenya serves the purpose of preparing young children for primary school. Despite the benefits of preschool education, government involvement is minimal. Unlike primary education, which is free, preschool education is fee-based, and this is a barrier to enrolment in a country where most families live in poverty. Moreover, in many communities, children under five help parents by taking care of siblings. Because early childhood programmes are essential, the government needs to be more actively involved in their development and implementation.

Educational decision making in a centralised system: the case of Greece

A. Saiti and M. Eliophotou-Menon

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 23, 2009, p. 446-455

This paper explores the limitations of a centralised education system in relation to decision making and the formulation of educational policy through use of a case study approach. Specifically, it examines the case of the decision-making process that led to the establishment of all-day primary schools in Greece, a decision that was not based on collaboration among stakeholders. The findings of this research indicate that policy proposals for educational reform in Greece are controlled by a small group of bureaucrats which results in a decision-making process that fails to take into account the interests of different stakeholders and broader societal needs.

The education ideal of the democratic citizen in Germany

A. Buck & B. Geissel

Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, vol. 4, 2009, p. 225-243

This article draws on exploratory qualitative interviews with German education policy experts. The authors ask whether, as Germany faces new challenges, changes have occurred in respect of the education ideal of the democratic citizen, drawing out perceived implications for civic education and schooling. Interviews were conducted with senior employees at a variety of key institutions, including the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Though many interviewees maintained that the importance of education for democratic citizenship remains unchanged, they perceived some shifts in a changed Germany characterised by unemployment, declining prosperity, and cuts to the welfare state and acknowledged that in a globalised world children and young people need to develop new competencies. The interviewed policy experts were divided in regard to the impact of these changes on civic education.

Ethics in college and university admissions: a trilogy of concerns and arguments

M.K. McCuddy and J.G. Nondorf

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 23, 2009, p. 537-552

This paper explores ethical challenges and dilemmas existing within admissions systems at colleges and universities in the USA primarily from the perspective of admissions officers but also taking into consideration the viewpoint of prospective students and their parents. The ethical concerns of admissions officers and prospective students within the admissions process are explored through analysis of a trilogy of concerns and arguments. Part I of the trilogy explores the admissions profession as a calling and discusses some of the ethical issues currently involved in the admissions field. Part II of the trilogy focuses on the ethical pressures that are encountered by post-secondary educational institutions as the admissions process unfolds. Part III of the trilogy examines three categories of ethical dilemmas - recruiting, personal biases in admissions decisions, and conflicts between personal ethical standards and institutional directives.

Implementing school performance index (SPIn) in Malaysian primary schools

R. Othman and S.A. Rauf

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 23, 2009, p. 505-522

This paper provides an overview of the processes involved in implementing the school performance index (SPIn) - a new key performance indicator - and the results of its application in Malaysian public schools. A sample of 76 Malaysian schools from five districts was selected randomly and a variety of analytical procedures including documentary analysis, observation and interviews with 101 headmasters and principals, interviews with parents-teachers association representatives and brainstorming sessions with schools inspectors were used. The results showed that schools which scored higher in examination results (test scores) did not necessarily perform well in other areas. In fact, the overall SPIn scores indicated they were at the bottom of the performance table. According to the authors, this indicates that using SPIn can help authorities to better monitor the operational performance of schools in providing quality education to future generations of Malaysians.

Improving learning in later life

A. Withnall

London: Routledge, 2009

This book offers a critical overview of the evolution of theoretical and philosophical approaches to later life learning that have developed over the last three decades, drawing on published work from the USA, the UK, Australia and other countries. It documents the individual experiences of older people through a variety of methods, including: focus group discussions; learning diaries kept by older people; questionnaires; and interviews and commentary. Research findings are linked to current educational policy developments in lifelong learning, and the author provides recommendations for policy makers, educational practitioners and older people themselves.

In the shadows of the mission: education policy, urban space, and the 'colonial present' in Sydney

K.N. Gulson and R.J. Parkes

Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol. 12, 2009, p. 267-280

This paper is concerned with enduring histories and micro-geographies of the (post)colonial Australian nation, played out through contemporary connections between Aboriginality, inner Sydney and educational policy change. It traces the 'racialisation' of space and place in the Sydney inner city suburb of Redfern, including the Aboriginal-'owned' residential area commonly known as the Block; it then outlines aspects of an educational policy change in inner Sydney, specifically the relationship of the policy proposals to the positioning of Aboriginal people; and, last, focuses on connecting the notions of Aboriginality and space to educational policy change through Derek Gregory's idea of the 'colonial present'.

Institutional narratives within the performative preschool in Sweden: 'if we write that we're no good, that's not good publicity!'

A. Lofdahl and H.P. Prieto

Early Years, vol. 29, 2009, p. 261-270

The first Swedish national curriculum for preschool education was introduced in 1998. Since 2003, the Swedish National Agency for Education has been responsible for inspecting the municipal preschools, with the aim of assessing how well they are doing in achieving national objectives. The inspections depend to a certain extent on self-assessment presented in a local quality report. Local texts are assembled into quality accounts which are incorporated into inspection reports published on the agency's website for public scrutiny. This research explores how teachers seek to avoid adverse publicity by covering up failings in their quality accounts.

The intersectionality of nationalism and multiculturalism in the Irish curriculum: teaching against racism?

A. Bryan

Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol. 12, 2009, p. 297-317

This research explores the interrelationship between the production of national identity and multiculturalism in Irish schools and society. Combining discourse analytic, observational and in-depth interviewing techniques, the author examines how state and school-based intercultural policies and practices construct difference along racial-ethnic and national lines, and considers the implications of these policies and practices for sustaining and contesting racism. Implications of the study are discussed in terms of the state's increasing reliance on intercultural education as a policy panacea to combat the intensification of racism in Irish society.

Intersecting poverty and participation in higher education in Ghana and Tanzania

L. Morley & K. Lussier

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 19, 2009, p. 71-85

This paper is based on interim findings from a research project on Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania. It argues that, while globally the higher education sector has become associated with economic development and the promotion of the knowledge economy, some archaic patterns of participation appear to be continuing.

Literacy for students with severe developmental disabilities: what should we teach and what should we hope to achieve?

D. Browder and others

Remedial and Special Education, vol. 30, 2009, p. 269-282

The purpose of this article is to propose a conceptual foundation for early literacy instruction for students with severe developmental disabilities. The primary outcomes in the conceptual model are (a) enhanced quality of life through shared literature and (b) increased independence as a reader. Guidelines are offered for promoting shared literature by increasing opportunities for accessing literature and teaching access skills to students. For increasing students' independence as readers, recommendations are provided on teaching the competencies of reading outlined by the National Reading Panel. The proposed model will help develop guidance on strategies for literacy instruction for students with severe developmental disabilities.

Mississippi higher education desegregation and the interest convergence principle: a CRT analysis of the 'Ayers settlement'

C.G. Muhammad

Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol. 12, 2009, p. 319-336

The goal of this paper is to recount a legal history of the Ayers case from its inception through the Fifth Circuit's 2004 approval and the Supreme Court's decline to review the 2001 settlement agreement, ending 30 years of litigation. The author argues that while the 'Ayers settlement' remedies historic discrimination in the allocation of higher education funding in Mississippi, the primary beneficiaries of the settlement are white students.

The moral construction of the good pupil embedded in school rules

R. Thornberg

Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, vol. 4, 2009, p. 245-261

This paper reports on a field study that investigated the hidden curriculum of school rules delimited to the moral construction of 'the good pupil' embedded in the system of school rules in two primary schools. According to the findings, the rule system mediates a moral construction of the good pupil to the children, and this actually includes two constructions: the benevolent fellow buddy and the well-behaved pupil. Furthermore, a picture of a final learning outcome from this implicit citizenship education through school rules emerges: the good citizen who (1) does good to others and does not harm others, (2) functions well in the society and lives by its laws and norms, and (3) takes responsibility and does her or his very best. The hidden curriculum of school rules teaches pupils to be non-questioning and non-participating.

Reconsidering the tension between bureaucracy and professionalism in publicly and privately funded schools

M.E. Honingh and E.H. Hooge

School Leadership and Management, vol. 29, 2009, p. 405-420

This article examines the so-called 'natural tension' between bureaucracy and professionalism in schools. The authors argue that as it is quite common in the educational field to appoint teachers, it is debatable whether this assumed tension really exists and that it seems more reasonable to find hierarchical control within the professional group. The findings presented are based on an empirical study in the Dutch Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector that compared the interplay between teachers and middle managers in publicly and privately funded schools.

School attendance patterns, unmet educational needs and truancy: a chronological perspective

A.M. Spencer

Remedial and Special Education, vol. 30, 2009, p. 309-319

This study examines chronological patterns of attendance and academic performance of urban students who are identified as truants in Grade 8. A chronological review of 42 student records, from school entry through Grade 8, identified high frequencies of absenteeism and academic performance issues beginning at school entry and, in many cases, persisting throughout elementary and middle school years. Results suggest that ongoing analysis of attendance data within a school system could help to identify early patterns of absenteeism that lead to truancy in upper elementary and middle school grades. Additionally, the study indicates a need for socio-emotional support, as well as early and appropriate referral and evaluation for children who are struggling in school, and it calls into question the practice of retention and social promotion as a response to absenteeism and poor school performance among elementary school children.

The writing on the wall: responses of Australian public universities to competition in global higher education

D.J. Bradmore and K.X. Smyrnios

Higher Education, Research & Development, vol. 28, 2009, p. 495-508

Australian public universities are struggling to maintain parity with international counterparts in an environment that is becoming increasingly competitive globally. An analysis of strategic plans of Australian public universities, undertaken during 2005-2007, indicated that they were not taking the threat of rapidly intensifying competition seriously enough at a time when foreign competitors were making inroads into their markets. This research has three principal implications: all Australian public universities should re-examine their strategic planning processes to determine: whether adequate attention is being paid to the intensification of competition; if current strategies in response to increasing competition are appropriate; and whether more can be done to develop better models to guide competitive behaviour in the university sector.

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