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

Attitudes of parents towards inclusive education: a review of the literature

A. de Boer, S. J. Pijl, and A. Minneart

European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 25, 2010, p. 165-181

The aim of this study is to examine parents' attitudes towards inclusive education. It pays special attention to the effects of parents' attitudes on social participation of children with special needs in regular schools. A review of the literature identified ten studies showing that the majority of parents had positive attitudes. However, parents of children with special needs reported concerns, including the availability of services and individualised instructions in regular schools.

Changing educational landscapes: education policies, schooling systems and higher education: a comparative perspective

D. Mattheou (editor)

Dordrecht: Springer, 2010

This collection of essays looks at received ideology and institutional practices and delineates the increasing internationalization of educational discourses and policies. Among other things, the book discusses the obsession with quality in education and alternative perceptions of educational equality; rising concerns about the obstacles to truly multicultural education; and the debate about the epistemological foundations of both knowledge and knowledge production.

The clash of evolution: in search of the missing link between accountability and school improvement: experiences from Cyprus

S. Brauckmann

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 24, 2010, p. 330-350

The purpose of this paper is to examine the tensions between forms of school improvement based on internal evaluation measures and controls based on external evaluation measures. The paper uses the case of Cyprus to illustrate a system in transition from an externally driven teacher inspection system to a school/teacher system of regulation which is a combination of both internal and external processes. The paper finds that the new appraisal system addresses the deficiencies of the previous one and generally aims at achieving a balance between internal and external processes.

Competition and teacher pay

L.L. Taylor

Economic Inquiry, vol. 48, 2010, p. 603-620

Recent policy initiatives are increasing competition between US schools. The number of charter schools is growing and school districts are experimenting with contracting out provision to private firms. This article investigates the impact of increased competition on teacher pay. It uses individual data on more than 335,000 teachers from 670 Texas school districts to explore the empirical relationship between competition and teacher pay. The analysis suggests that a lack of competition in the public school system has led to significant market power for Texas school districts, resulting in lower wages for most Texas teachers but higher wages for teachers in relatively concentrated markets.

Confronting obstacles to inclusion: international responses to developing inclusive education

R. Rose (editor)

London: Routledge, 2010

This book addresses interpretations of inclusive education by drawing upon the experiences and expertise of leading writers and academics with direct experience of teaching and researching this area around the world. The contributors, who all have regular contact with pupils and teachers in inclusive settings, provide a broad spectrum of ideas, examine a number of key themes and interpret these in an international context. Themes examined include: the causes of exclusion, the obstacles to inclusion and how these can be overcome, support for families, how to learn from students, professional development, enhancing teaching and learning and support in the classroom. The editor concludes that seeking a simple definition of inclusion that can be superimposed on a broad range of educational institutions and within diverse societies is unlikely to achieve results, stressing instead the need for multiple solutions and the importance of maintaining a dialogue based on mutual respect in understanding how education can change the lives of individuals.

From policy to practice: engaging and embedding the third mission in contemporary universities

J. Nelles and T. Vorley

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 30, 2010, p. 341-353 While remaining as teaching and research institutions, contemporary universities are increasingly expected to assume a socio-economic role, particularly in relation to technology transfer. This article reflects on how this new role or third mission relates to, and has the capacity to reinforce, the core missions of teaching and research.

Education system reform in China after 1978: some practical implications

M. Sun

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 24, 2010, p. 314-329

Drawing from data collected from literature review and interview, this paper aims to provide an overview of education reform in China since 1978 and its practical implications. The study finds that two reforms have taken place in China since 1978: the school system reform and the reform of the education management and administration systems.

Globalisation and education

S Ball, A. Dworkin and M. Vryonides

Current Sociology, vol. 58, 2010, p. 532-660

This special issue brings together a group of sociologists who examine issues relating to current trends in education amid influ¬ences from so-called neo-liberal ideologies in a globalised world. These ideologies have become increasingly influential worldwide as social and particularly economic systems converge and integrate in a borderless but deeply asymmetric world.

Greek mainstream secondary school teachers' perceptions of inclusive education and having pupils with complex learning disabilities in the classroom/schools

G. Coutsocostas and A. Alborz

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol. 25, 2010, p. 149-164

The purpose of this paper is to examine mainstream secondary school teachers' perceptions of inclusive education and having pupils with complex learning disabilities in the classroom and schools. Participants in the study included 138 Greek mainstream secondary school teachers. The findings indicate that 47.5% of the teachers are against the inclusion of all pupils with special education needs in mainstream secondary schools.

Higher education in a global society

D. B. Johnstone, M. B. d'Ambrosio, and P. J. Yakoboski (editors)

Cheltenham: Elgar, 2010

This volume examines how strategically minded institutions can better fulfil their mission in a global environment while promoting international collaboration and strengthening the world economy. Chapter authors include prominent senior administrators from higher education and leading researchers on higher education and globalization. They provide new and actionable information to enhance decision making and inform strategic planning as well as a contemporary examination of the business of higher education and areas of potential new research.

Higher education reform in Germany

O. Winkel

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 24, 2010, p. 303-313

This paper provides information about the current reform of higher education in Germany, which can be described as German reading of the Bologna process, and about the problems and deficits occurring in this area. The paper considers both programmatic documents and empirical studies and discusses deficits and risks of German higher education policy on this basis. It is concluded that the German reading of the Bologna process has led to counter-productive effects. One of these is that the space for cross-border activities for students and academics is diminishing rather than expanding.

The new politics of Australian higher education: why universities get rumbled in the budget

P. Quiddington

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.29, 2010, p. 475-487

The Australian higher education sector is a model of structural change, policy innovation and export success, but this is not matched by its ability to win political support and financial security. The sector attracts large foreign earnings and generates graduate tax revenues estimated to exceed annual budgetary allocations, yet the rate of public investment has been in steady decline. The author argues that structural change, and a resulting change in political circumstances in the 1980s, altered the style of political advocacy required within the sector. Reforms under the Labour government from 1983, leading to a dramatic expansion in the number and type of institutions regarded as universities and the centralisation of policy, changed the structural dynamics of the vice chancellors' lobby group, causing it to be much less effective.

On the impact of government policy on programme design in New Zealand post-compulsory education

E. Govers

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, v ol. 15, 2010, p. 141-158

This paper reviews and analyses the literature to explore how neo-liberalist discourses introduced in tertiary education and qualification policies in New Zealand since 1989 continue to influence programme design in polytechnics. Tensions are identified in five areas: autonomy and accountability, the programme design process, student-centred learning, and concepts of knowledge and cultural diversity. For each area current trends are described based on the author's analysis of recent policies. The author concludes that opportunities for educators and institutions in relation to programme design continue to be limited by national policy pressures to meet economic and skills needs.

Professionalism in early childhood education and care: international perspectives

C. Dalli and M. Urban (editors)

London: Routledge, 2010

This book draws together the work of an international group of scholars who have engaged with what professionalism means in the early childhood sector. Drawing on research and experience across a wide range of countries, this book seeks an understanding of early childhood professionalism in local contexts that might throw light on the global implications of the term.

Public policy for academic quality: analyses of innovative policy instruments

D. Dill and M. Beerkens (editors)

Dordrecht: Springer, 2010

This volume summarises a significant body of research, systematically analyzing innovative external quality assurance policies in higher education around the world. Drawing a parallel with the financial crisis of the early 21st century where existing government regulation and self regulation failed to cope with innovations in economic transactions, the volume finds that traditional arrangements for assuring academic standards in universities have proved ineffective or inadequate to cope with the demands of mass systems of higher education. Among other things, the authors call for national degree frameworks outlining the expected learning outcomes of academic degrees, national support for the provision of valid information to guide student choice, publicly subsidised national agencies for assuring academic standards (independent from both government and academia), articulation of criteria and standards for rigorous academic audit to serve as the basis for the external quality assurance of all higher education institutions and the establishment of specialised quality assurance agencies to accredit academic fields of special public interest, e. g. medicine.

Pupils do better if teachers are not fixated on test results

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Aug. 13th 2010, p. 8

Research by the Institute of Education which analyses the results of over 100 studies from around the world has found that pupils are more motivated, behave better and think more independently and strategically when teachers are not obsessed by grades.

Quality and inequality of education: cross-national perspectives

J. Dronkers (editor)

London: Springer, 2010

This cogent analysis of data on education and society from a variety of sources sets out to provide answers to scientific and policy questions on the quality of education and the way it relates to various forms of inequality in modern societies, particularly in Europe. The authors examine not only the well known cross-national PISA datasets, but also the European Social Survey and TIMSS, going further than many researchers by including in their analyses economic, legal and historical factors.

Provision of second-chance education: the Hong Kong experience

D. Lim

Education + Training, vol. 52, 2010, p. 304-320

Many students do not benefit from mainstream education and drop out. Governments and non-government organisations concerned with social injustice and problems that such rejection could cause offer these students second-chance education programmes. This paper aims to examine the effectiveness of such opportunities, using the Vocational Training Council (VTC) of Hong Kong as a case study. It is concluded that the VTC is effective because its programmes are easily accessible and have excellent student progression rates. Its graduates from lower level programmes perform as well as those with better educational backgrounds in the VTC's higher level programmes and in the labour market.

Teaching in informal learning environments as a means for promoting inclusive education

P. Angelides and L. Avraamidou

Education, Knowledge and Economy, vol. 4, 2010, p. 1-14

Drawing on data collected via qualitative research methods from three primary schools in Cyprus, this article explores the theme of informal learning environments as a factor influencing inclusive education. It concludes that teaching in informal learning environments helps improve inclusive education.

Transformation of education policy

K. Martens, A. Nagel and M. Windzio

Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010

This book deals with the political consequences of the PISA Study for secondary education and the Bologna Process for tertiary education. Both are prominent political issues with substantial impact on the political debate all over Europe and beyond. However, scholars of political science and political sociology have been reluctant to give them sufficient attention. This book contains five in-depth country case studies on Germany, Switzerland, England, New Zealand and - as a contrasting case - the USA. These case studies are combined with comparative network analysis and quantitative analysis of the OECD world.

Vocational education and training (VET) pathways for disadvantaged youth

E. Smith (guest editor)

Education + Training, vol. 52, 2010, p. 357-437

The articles in this special issue examine the national and social contexts in which VET has the role of addressing disadvantage in young people and the opportunities and challenges associated with using VET as a vehicle to improve the economic and social chances of such young people. The papers cover Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and the UK. The contributions begin with a short overview of the transition from school to work in the country and end with a reflection on the implications of the research for other contexts.

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