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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2011): Education - overseas

Distributive leadership, civic engagement, and deliberative democracy as vehicles for school improvement

L.D. Fusarelli, T.J. Kowalski and G.J. Petersen

Leadership and Policy in Schools, Vol. 10, 2011, p. 43-62

Elements of directed autonomy were visible in US public education long before the concept had been defined in the scholarly literature on organizational management. Most notably, states established common curricula and adequacy standards and then held local school boards accountable for compliance. Civic engagement, a liberty-based process through which citizens exercise authority and power, was integral to this political arrangement (Cooper, Fusarelli, & Randall, 2004). After 1900, however, citizen involvement in public education began waning, largely because of an intricate mix of progressive reforms and professionalism that disconnected schools from their communities (Callahan, 1962; Kochan & Reed, 2005; Reese, 2001). This trend has become a major concern of political scientists, sociologists, and educational researchers who view the disengagement of the public from institutions such as public education as a major threat to the institution's legitimacy and survival (Cibulka, 1996; McGinn, 1996; McNeil, 2002; Putnam, 1995). McNeil goes so far as to argue, 'there has perhaps been no time in our history when the links between public education and democracy have been as tenuous as they are right now' (2002, p. 243). This article focuses on efforts to reconnect the public and promote civic engagement in education by distributing leadership throughout the educational system utilizing the process of deliberative democracy. Applications of distributive leadership and deliberative democracy are examined in relation to two critical components: leadership behaviour and conflict management.

Education for social inclusion

S. Harris and M. Soler (editors)

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 21, 2011, p. 1-90

This Special Issue is concerned with education for social inclusion. The papers are based on a major European project, INCLUD-ED: Strategies for Inclusion and Social Cohesion in Europe from Education, 2006-2011, which was funded under priority 7 'Citizens and governance in the knowledge-based society' of the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) of the EU. The project received the largest amount of funding to date for a study of education in Europe. Findings from the project have been widely disseminated including at a conference in Brussels in November 2009 attended by representatives from the European Commission, the Directorate General for Research and members of the European Parliament. In 2010 the project was selected from all projects in the Commission's Framework Programme as the host project for a meeting in Barcelona of European journalists on the subject of immigration and educational access. The project was also represented at the XVII International Sociological Association World Congress in 2010 in Sweden.

From vision to reality: views of primary school principals on inclusive education in New South Wales, Australia

L.J. Graham and I. Spandagou

Disability and Society, vol. 26, 2011, p. 223-237

There is evidence that use of special schools and support classes for children with disabilities is increasing in New South Wales, possibly on the grounds that including them in mainstream schools is resource intensive. This study sought to map the perspectives of primary school head teachers on inclusive education, in order to better understand what is happening in New South Wales and why. The data show that head teachers do not understand the difference between inclusion and old-fashioned integration. Moreover inclusion is understood in many different ways, which hinders attempts to develop inclusive education across the system. In this context, inclusive education has little scope to challenge normalised assumptions at the community and individual level and so-called inclusion becomes more about managing difference. Consequently there remains a significant gap between the vision of inclusion and the reality in New South Wales government schools.

Higher education in South East Asia: blurring borders, changing balance

A. Welch

Abingdon: Routledge, 2011

This is the first book to systematically chart and comparatively assess the trend towards private higher education in South East Asia. Caught between conflicting imperatives of spiralling demand, and limited resources, the balance between public and private higher education systems in South East, South, and East Asia has shifted markedly. The author's detailed case studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Viet Nam discuss and analyse significant policy issues and touch on key debates surrounding globalisation, including economic globalisation and structural adjustment, and the pressures of cultural globalisation, particularly the role of the English language. Debates surrounding the role of higher education in the 'knowledge economy', GATS and cross border trade in educational services are also treated, including the rise of offshore campuses in countries such as Malaysia and Viet Nam. What is argued is that we are witnessing not merely a changing balance between public and private sectors, but a blurring of borders between them, with public HEIs now often behaving more like private, for-profit institutions. The book charts and illustrates these trends, posing questions about their meaning, including issues of transparency, equity, and what the reforms might mean for traditional conceptions of public good in higher education.

Higher education policies in Central and Eastern Europe: convergence towards a common model?

M. Dobbins

Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2011

This book offers a political science perspective on higher education reform processes in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It focuses in particular on changes to governance patterns in Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania both before and during the Bologna Process. Michael Dobbins systematically examines the impact of historical institutions and transnational networking on institutions of higher education from a comparative perspective. Based on four country case studies, he asks whether the countries are converging towards a common model of governance defined as the market-oriented model. By exploring issues such as the role of the state and external stakeholders, the relationship between academia and university management and funding questions, he examines explanations for the cross-country similarities and differences in the process of institutional change since the fall of communism.

Skill-building and employability training for disadvantaged young people in India: experience of Gram Tarang Employability Training Services

D.N. Rao, A. Madan and E.M. Reji

Enterprise Development and Microfinance, vol.21, 2010, p. 324-340 Young people in India make up 19% of the population, but despite growing demand for skilled employees, the youth unemployment rate is 50% across the country. Traditional approaches to preparing young people for employment have achieved little success, with some students dropping out of programmes and others unable to find jobs despite completing training. This article describes the experience of Gram Tarang Employability Training Services (GTETS) in providing employability training for disadvantaged young people using a market-led business model. GTETS offers technical training, building of cognitive and practical abilities, and promotion of behaviour change to make students employment-ready in specific industries.

Small can be beautiful, say thriving private universities

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Apr. 6th 2011, p. 25

Jeevan Vasagar reports from Poland where around 300 private universities - some small enough to share premises with local schools - educate about 630,000 students a year, the highest private sector enrolment in Europe. Unlike their fellow students at public universities they have to pay fees, though both kinds of students are eligible to state-backed loans.

Teacher qualifications and school climate: examining their interrelationship for school improvement

K.J. DeAngelis and J.B. Presley

Leadership and Policy in Schools, vol. 10, 2011, p. 84-120

Using Chicago data, the authors examine whether teacher qualifications and school climate are related and if so, how they interact to improve student learning. Results showed that schools that are advantaged in one tend to be advantaged in the other. Moreover, while collective teacher qualifications and dimensions of climate independently influence elementary/middle school achievement, the effects of teacher qualifications depend on the level of safety and order in schools. Each is a necessary but not sufficient condition. Thus, although No Child Left Behind policies have focused attention on employing highly qualified teachers, this study suggests that attention needs to be paid to schools' climates as well.

The ethical dimensions of awarding financial aid

N. Hillman

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 17, 2011, p. 1-16

In countries charging tuition fees, and those that are considering adopting tuition fee policies, recent economic conditions are making education less affordable and accessible for students. To combat these challenges, nations, state/regional governments, and universities are experimenting with financial aid programmes by providing non-repayable grants and scholarships to reduce price barriers. This paper synthesizes the underlying political and ethical motivations driving these financial aid policies. Aid providers interested in pursuing market prestige may prioritize 'merit-based' aid policies that are influenced by neoliberal norms; alternatively, those interested in equalizing opportunities for price-sensitive students may prioritize policies guided by egalitarian values related to social justice. The political economy of aiding students has profound effects on educational opportunity, so this paper offers policymakers, researchers, and practitioners a model from which to frame these cross-cutting and timely ethical issues.

Universities' autonomy in times of changing higher education governance: a study of the Swiss academic labour market

L. Baschung; G. Goastellec and J.P. Leresche

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 17, 2011, p. 51-64

Although eternally debated, the issue of autonomy in higher education is rarely analysed in its complexity. To address this issue, this article uses an analytical matrix which combines the distinction between substantive and procedural autonomy and the distinction between HEI governing bodies, academic professions and individual academics. This framework allows for analysing-by the example of the Swiss academic labour market-how changes in national steering can lead to the redistribution of autonomy between the mentioned actors. Further insights relate to the observed higher education system's decentralised character. Empirical findings-based on the examination of three special programmes initiated by the federal government-indicate that HEI actors lose some substantive autonomy in favour of the Confederation, and-against the general tendency induced by New Public Management to reinforce HEI governing bodies-procedural autonomy is rather redistributed to individual academics and academic professions.

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