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

Can financial incentives enhance educational outcomes? Evidence from international experiments

R.E. Slavin

Educational Research Review, vol.5, 2010, p. 68-80

In recent years there has been a revival of interest in financial incentives to encourage pupils to attend school and to improve their academic achievement, graduation rates, and other outcomes. Conditional cash transfer schemes in developing countries, especially PROGRESA in Mexico, have produced positive effects on attendance in large-scale randomised experiments, and this has encouraged similar initiatives worldwide. Research in developing countries has found that providing families with significant financial incentives modestly increases secondary pupils' attendance. Effects on graduation rates and on actual learning are less well documented.

Canada's implementation of the right to education for students with disabilities

S. Shah

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, vol. 57, 2010, p. 5-20

This article analyses the content and legal implementation of the right to education as a human right in Canada. It seeks to expose the extent to which Canadian legislative mechanisms have succeeded (or not) in protecting the right to education of students with disabilities with epilepsy as a case study. It explores the barriers faced by students with epilepsy in realising their right to education. It examines the content of international law as an ideal against which the legal implementation of the right to education in Canada can be measured.

Childhood social status in society and school: implications for the transition to higher levels of education

Y. Almquist, B. Modin and V. Östberg

British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 31 2010, p. 31-45

While research into educational inequalities emphasises childhood socio-economic status, this study adds another dimension of status into the analysis; namely, the child's own social position among its peers. The authors examine whether socio-economic status and peer status can both be linked to educational transitions and, if so, whether they constitute overlapping paths. The relationship between peer status and adult unemployment was also investigated using data derived from a longitudinal study using a 1953 cohort born in Stockholm, Sweden. The results suggest that children with higher socio-economic status and children with higher peer status are consistently more likely than their lower status peers to proceed to the next level of education, and that the effects of socio-economic status and peer status hardly overlapped at all. Furthermore, educational differences by peer status seem to involve consequences for the studied subjects' contemporary labour market opportunities.

The Education for All and inclusive education debate: conflict, contradiction or opportunity?

S. Miles and N. Singal

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.14, 2010, p. 1-15

This paper explores the two interrelated, yet often parallel, international agendas of Education for All (EFA) and inclusive education. Education for All represents an international commitment to ensure that every child and adult receives basic education. However EFA programmes tend to overlook some marginalised groups of children, including those with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities. Although much of the rhetoric of inclusive education is about overcoming barriers to learning for all children, and therefore in tune with EFA, some disability-focused international organisations have chosen to champion the rights of particular groups of disabled children rather than to engage with the need to improve teaching environments for all children.

How social and critical constructivism can inform science curriculum design: a study from South Africa

M. Stears

Educational Research, Vol. 51 2009, p. 397-410

This article reports on research conducted to probe learners' responses to a science curriculum informed by social and constructivist principles enshrined in South Africa's new National Curriculum. The case study focuses on a grade 6 class (aged 11 to 12) of 45 isiXhosa-speaking learners from a former black township in the Western Cape. Pupils' responses to a series of lessons taught by the researcher suggested that the approach allowed for greater participation by learners, as they had considerable input with regard to the chosen theme. Activities were learner-centred and drew on their everyday experiences, and it was clear that the social issues also needed to be addressed in the lessons. The author concludes that a science curriculum informed by social and constructivist principles has the potential to facilitate the achievement of outcomes other than science outcomes.

The LEA's role in a decentralized school system: the school principal's view

A. Addi-Raccah and Y. Gavish

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol. 38, 2010, p. 184-201

Decentralisation in education refers to the transfer of power from the central state to local bodies, such as the local education authority or individual schools. Decentralisation thus redefines the power relations between the state, local education authorities and schools. This article examines the effect of decentralisation, mainly through the introduction of school-based management, on schools' relations with local education authorities as viewed by head teachers, using reforms in Israel as a case study. The Israeli education system has undergone a gradual process of decentralisation, including the adoption of school-based management in some localities.

Market orientation in universities: a comparative study of two national higher education systems

J. Hemsley-Brown and I. Oplatka

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 24, 2010, p. 204-220

This paper presents an analysis of data gathered from an international study that compared the degree of market orientation in two universities, one in Israel and one in England. These countries have experienced different higher education policies in recent years. England has established international markets in higher education, although marketisation is at a relatively early stage. In Israel there is no national quality assurance agency and universities remain largely autonomous. In spite of their institutions operating in different policy environments, academics in both countries indicated that they were focused on meeting students' needs, promoting their learning and caring for their well-being. They did not regard marketing their institution as part of their role, being focused on their own research and teaching.

The networked university: the structure, culture and policy of universities in a changing environment

K. de Wit

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 16, 2010, p. 1-14

This study assesses the impact of globalisation and Europeanisation on universities, using four case studies of institutions in Belgium and the Netherlands. It critically examines the hypothesis that globalisation will lead to more uniformity and homogenisation in university culture, policy and structure. It shows how changes in universities are in fact local variations on global and European themes and developments.

Redefining external stakeholders in Nordic higher education

K. Musial

Tertiary Education and Management, vol.16, 2010, p.45-60

Present higher education reforms in the Nordic countries diminish the role of the state in the governance of higher education institutions. While still providing a framework for the management of higher education in general, the state supervises rather than controls institutions. These are now required to respond to external needs and challenges, leading to stakeholders such as employers and local business people representing sectional interests assuming prominent roles on governing boards.

The Singapore global schoolhouse: an analysis of the development of the tertiary education landscape in Singapore

P.T. Ng and C. Tan

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.24, 2010, p. 178-188

Education is increasingly being developed as a major revenue generating sector of the Singapore economy. The government has embarked on an ambitious plan to make Singapore a 'global schoolhouse' where a wide range of educational programmes are offered to attract fee-paying students from all over the world. This paper analyses the Singapore government's attempts to make the country a 'global schoolhouse', with particular reference to higher education. It focuses on the delicate balance the government has to maintain as it tries to create a market economy in higher education on the one hand while containing university operations within state-defined parameters on the other, using the sudden pull-out of the University of New South Wales from Singapore as a case study.

The socio-political significance of changes to the vocational education system in Germany

A. Kupfer

British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 31, 2010 p. 85-97

This paper examines the effects on social inequality in Germany of ongoing changes to the employment system and, thus, vocational education. Results based on an examination of the literature indicate that students from increasingly middle-class backgrounds with higher levels of general, rather than vocational, educational attainment are winning the competition for ever-fewer apprenticeships. Progress for women in education is accompanied by relative declines in men's performance on high school exit examinations and does not translate into success in the employment system. Employers are abandoning the corporate-state organisation of vocational education. The paper concludes that school degrees are increasingly important for later career opportunities. As a result, the educational system is increasingly stratified, contributing to social inequality in Germany.

Understanding the real barriers to technology-enhanced innovation in higher education

D. Schneckenberg

Educational Research, Vol. 51, 2009 p. 411-424

This conceptual paper explores underlying structural and cultural barriers to technology-enhanced innovation in higher education. Starting from the underdevelopment of e-learning in European universities, the paper challenges arguments that visible barriers such as technical issues, budget constraints or lack of interest in technology amongst academic staff represent the actual reasons for the slow advancement of learning technologies in university curricula. The author argues that the lack of faculty interest and engagement for e-learning are visible symptoms for deeply rooted causes, which hinder current innovation efforts. He concludes that institutional e-learning efforts have to be tailored to serve real learning needs and motivations of academic staff; and they have to consider specific goals and contexts within different universities.

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