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

Boy-only classrooms: gender reform in Windsor, Ontario 1966–1972

C. J. Craig

Educational Review, vol. 63, 2011, p. 127-141

From 1966 to 1972, Flintridge Elementary school located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada implemented a short lived gender reform plan to help raise boys’ achievement. Shaped by a variety of complex historical factors and fuelled by a desire for innovation, educators from Flintridge Elementary sought to address the educational needs of primary school boys by establishing single-sex classrooms, hiring more male teachers, and developing a more ‘masculinised’ curriculum. Drawing on articles from the popular media, scholarly journals, annual school board reports, and face-to-face interviews with 10 educators directly involved in the gender reform, this small scale study reveals the potential difficulties and consequences that arise when boy-only settings are implemented in schools as a way to address the educational needs of boys. This suggests the need for today’s educators to move beyond outdated, simplistic approaches such as boy-only arrangements in addressing the educational needs of boys, in order to help boys not only achieve academically but, more broadly, to lead more fulfilling and just lives.

Challenge, change or crisis in global higher education?

M. E. David, V. Hey and L. Morley (editors)

Contemporary Social Science, vol. 6, 2011, p. 147-271

Higher education is in crisis as it has been changing in response to major challenges, economically, politically and socially, on an international scale. How we now understand and research global higher education is challenging given its expansion in relation to the knowledge economy, and economic, social and political developments around equality, diversity and social justice in global labour markets. The social sciences have become critical to these understandings, and the development of new knowledge, pedagogies, policies and practices. In an initial overview, the scene is set for the papers presented in this special issue which all focus on innovative approaches to imagining the university of the future. A major focus of contemporary research on higher education has been on equality of opportunity and the relationships between educational expansion, employment opportunities and social mobility. Whilst the policies and practices of governments and higher education institutions are contested, a major theme of social scientific research has been whether educational expansion has reduced or reinforced educational, economic and social inequalities. Most of this international research evidence points to how educational and economic inequalities in global and local labour markets are reinforced, internationally and nationally, although gender inequalities are either occluded or ignored. This overview of contemporary sociological research sets the scene for imagining a new socio-cultural future of pedagogies and practices in universities in the 21st century.

Charter school competition and its impact on employment spending in Michigan’s public schools

D. M. Welsch

Contemporary Economic Policy, vol. 29, 2011, p. 323-336

Charter schools have the ability to create competition for the traditional state school in the USA. This article investigates the effect that competition from charter schools has on the traditional state school’s demand for particular types of labour. Strong evidence was found that when a school district faces competition, a larger percentage of resources goes towards teachers and a smaller percentage goes towards some employees that support teachers. The results suggest that teaching unions, who are traditionally opposed to charter schools, may have less to fear from competition than they might believe.

Comparing special education: origins to contemporary paradoxes

J. G. Richardson and J. J. W. Powell

Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011

Comparing Special Education unites in-depth comparative and historical studies with analyses of global trends, with a particular focus on special and inclusive education in the United States, England, France, and Germany. The authors examine the causes and consequences of various institutional and organizational developments, illustrate differences in forms of educational governance and social policy priorities, and highlight the evolution of social logics from segregation of students with special educational needs to their inclusion in local schools.

Development of a regional education hub: the case of Hong Kong

Y. Cheng, A. C. K. Cheung and T. W. W. Yeun

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 25, 2011, p. 474-493

This paper aims to review and analyze the functions, strategies and related issues of developing a regional education hub in the context of trends in education development in China as well as the Asian Pacific region. Taking Hong Kong as an emerging case, it examines through literature review and international comparison the relationship between education hub development and higher education development as well as the strategic functions of an education hub in relation to the future development of Hong Kong. The development of an education hub was found closely linked to the demand for higher education in the Asian Pacific region as well as the internal dynamic of higher education and society in Hong Kong. It is concluded the mode of education hub development in Hong Kong should be driven by soft-power building instead of industrialization. The requirements for successful implementation include the huge demands for higher education in the region, the strengths of the higher education sector, the supporting policies and measures for international students and education service providers, and the leadership and support of central agencies.

Discursive ‘policy logics’ of mergers in US higher education: strategy or tragedy?

S. Stephenson

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 17, 2011, p. 117-137

Mergers are part of the historical fabric of US higher education. However, the current economic recession and other policy issues have experts and academicians predicting an increase in higher education mergers in the USA. Consequently, this study analysed the discursive ‘policy logics’ surrounding merger negotiations in US higher education. The study employs a qualitative textual-content analysis using an initial review of 32 media accounts of higher education mergers followed by a thorough investigation of institutions’ official documents for 18 selected merger negotiations. Results indicate that merging related to higher education institutions is a social construction or deconstruction of meaning and discourse; perceptions about them are expressed in discursive ways using metaphorical and symbolic vernacular. Decision makers’ expressed discursive perceptions about them can often determine their success or failure while having a great impact on the institution as a whole.

Different agendas? The views of different occupational groups on special needs education

G. Lindqvist and others

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol. 26, 2011, p. 143-157

The purpose of the present paper is to investigate how different occupational groups explain why children have problems in school, how they believe schools should help these children and the role they believe that special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) should have in such work. A questionnaire was distributed to all teaching and support staff in a Swedish municipality (N=1297). As a result, 938 persons (72.5%) answered the questionnaire. The answers given by (a) preschool teachers (b) teacher assistants (c) SENCOs (d) special teachers (e) class teachers and (f) subject teachers were compared. Several interesting patterns emerged from the data indicating that the occupational groups to a large extent have different ideas concerning how the school should work with children in need of special support. The SENCOs were, for example, the only group that believed that they should be involved in school development. The outcome of the study is discussed in relation to the notion of inclusive education.

Early childhood education and special education: how well do they mix? An examination of inclusive practices in early childhood educational settings in Hong Kong

K. C. Zhang

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p.683-697

To examine and identify the current inclusive practices in early childhood educational settings in Hong Kong, this qualitative study looks at the support and educational services available for young children with special needs in Hong Kong mainstream preschools as well as the characteristics of early childhood educational settings that support inclusion. Inclusive practices of each of the three preschools involved in the study are presented. Challenges to enhance the quality of inclusion in early childhood educational settings and future possibilities in the field in Hong Kong are also discussed.

Educating engaged citizens: four projects from Ireland

J. O'Flaherty and others

Education + Training, vol. 53, 2011, p. 267-283

This paper aims to describe four projects that demonstrate how Irish education provision is adapting to meet social and economic changes: Ubuntu Network working to integrate education for sustainable development (ESD) into teacher education; Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) facilitating service learning modules in higher education; Young Social Innovators (YSI), a social justice education programme for 15-18 year olds; and a study of Irish students' levels of moral reasoning. Four commonalities are identified between the projects: critical thinking, active and participatory learning, knowledge skills and social justice. Discussion highlights features of the Irish education system that contrast with these commonalities and impact on their long-term objectives. The four commonalities were identified at roundtable discussions at the Irish Aid Sustainable Global Development Conference. Each commonality is discussed from the perspective of the projects described and contrasted with core features of Irish education. All four education projects make positive contributions to civic engagement in Irish education, acknowledging education as central to active citizenship, social awareness, and empowerment of learners.

Effects of school heads' and teachers' agreement with the curriculum reform on curriculum development progress and student learning in Hong Kong

A. C. K. Cheung and P. M. Wong

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 25, 2011, p. 453-473

The purpose of this paper is to examine the progress of the curriculum reform in Hong Kong in the implementation phase from 2001-2006, with the agreement and support of heads and teachers on the reform. Survey questionnaires and focus group interviews were used to collect data from various stakeholders. A stratified random sampling method was employed to select 150 primary schools and 120 secondary schools to participate in the study. It is found that with the agreement and support of school heads and teachers, there is good progress in the reform items on teaching and learning. Findings of this paper also suggest that teachers who agreed with the reform items made changes with their practices in terms of learning and teaching strategies, catering to learner diversity, assessment for learning, developing students' language proficiency, cross-curricula learning, playing multiple teachers' roles and preparation for the new senior secondary curriculum. This study thus supports most findings from the change literature with its empirical data that educational changes and innovations with the agreement and support of school heads and teachers tend to have a greater chance of succeeding.

How are conditions for participation expressed in education policy documents? A review of documents in Scotland and Sweden

G. Maxwell and M. Granlund

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol. 26, 2011, p. 251-272

This study approaches inclusive schools by looking at how conditions for participation are expressed for pupils with additional support needs in education policy documents in Sweden and Scotland. By using five dimensions of the environment – availability, accessibility, affordability, accommodability and acceptability – expressions of conditions for participation are explored in 41 documents. This is done in a vertical manner by analysing national laws, regional policy documents, and local-level documents that directly influence classroom practices. A deductive content analysis approach using a protocol based on the five environmental dimensions is used to extract information and identify meaning units. In the meaning units, meaningful concepts are identified and linked to International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Child and Youth (ICF-CY) categories. These are used as reference points. It is suggested, from the documents analysed, that conditions for participation are easy to express as available, accessible opportunities, or affordability issues, but not as involvement experiences linked to accommodations made and acceptability issues within a context. Documents in Scotland and Sweden also have different foci in terms of conditions for participation.

Implementing national qualification frameworks across five continents

M. Young and S. M. Allias (editors)

Journal of Education and Work, vol. 24, 2011, p. 209-447

This special issue presents some insights from a major International Labour Organisation (ILO)/European Training Foundation (ETF) international study, to highlight the most recent achievements of national qualification frameworks (NQFs) as well as how they have been developed and implemented. Importantly, it offers evidence and analysis from developed and developing countries of a phenomenon that is growing in importance, but is so far highly underresearched. It is divided into three sections. Section 1 focuses on broader policy and methodological issues that NQFs raise. The article by Hugh Lauder locates the emergence of NQFs in changes in the global economy and comments that it is unlikely that the ‘ultimately highly bureaucratic forms of certification. implied by NQFs could keep pace with the changing nature of skill sets’. The second article by Michael Young looks at the implications of introducing a NQF for providers of post school education – colleges and universities. The third article by Stephanie Allais draws on the final report for the ILO study, and points out not only the implementation problems that the case study countries reported, but also the limited evidence we still have to support any of the claims made for NQFs. Section 2 includes five papers that draw on recent evidence to update NQF developments in what have become known as the ‘early starter’ countries: England (in the case of NVQs), Scotland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Finally, Section 3 includes articles based on five of the country case studies that were part of the ILO research project, spanning four continents, Mauritius and Botswana, Malaysia, Lithuania and Mexico (the full case studies, as well as the case studies of six other countries, Bangladesh, Chile, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Turkey can be accessed on the ILO website and ETF websites.)

Inclusive cultures, policies and practices in Spanish compulsory secondary education schools: teachers’ perceptions in ordinary and specific teaching contexts

O. Moliner and others

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p. 557-572

This article presents a study that attempts to inquire into the indicators related to inclusive education by taking into account teachers’ responses in ordinary and specific teaching contexts (experts in special education needs, specialists in therapeutic pedagogy and compensatory education or specific programmes organised to accommodate diversity). The research used a Spanish translation of the Index for Inclusion, which was adapted and divided into three Likert-type scales about inclusive cultures, organisation in the teaching–learning context and inclusive practices. The authors did a t-test to detect any significant differences in teachers’ responses in terms of the ordinary or specific teaching contexts in which they work. No significant differences were seen in the items related to cultures and organisation, but they found significant differences in 12 of the 36 items of the inclusive practices scale. Finally, they discuss the role of the processes for innovation and transformation in secondary schools and provide key factors on which to build an intercultural inclusive school.

Inclusive education in Sweden? A critical analysis

K. Göransson, C. Nilholm and K. Karlsson

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p. 541-555

When it comes to pupils in need of special support and pupils with disabilities, Sweden’s compulsory school system is sometimes considered a one-track system. This article analyses and critically discusses current policy and practiced at various levels of Sweden’s compulsory school system for these pupils. The analysis traces three themes at the national and municipal levels: (1) values and goals; (2) organisation and placement of pupils; and (3) importance of categories in obtaining support. A rather complex picture emerges from this analysis. Several conclusions are made: (1) state policies leave a lot of room for interpretation at the municipal and school levels, and this results in an extensive variation; (2) Swedish state policy is not as inclusive as is often stated; (3) celebration of difference seems to be hard to achieve; (4) learning goals can be a double-edged sword with regard to inclusion; and (5) most pupils appear to enjoy participation in school, and in an international perspective, Swedish classrooms seem to be largely democratic.

International business and cross-border education: a case of the Janus face of globalisation?

G. Ramia and others

Global Business and Economics Review, vol. 13, 2011, p. 105-125

Higher education is a global market and universities are increasingly becoming MNEs. This article extends international business studies (IB) accounts of the Janus face of globalisation through a user-perception analysis of higher education services in the world's most significant per-capita education exporter nation. The analysis is entirely qualitative and does not offer statistically significant conclusions, drawing on experiential data from a programme of 200 in-depth semi-structured interviews with cross-border students enrolled in that country. The central finding is that the global education market delivers positive and negative experiences for students, pointing to the need for more attention to sector governance. Governance change may ensure that the positives are leveraged for continued sector growth for the sake of students and universities. For IB research, the study implies a need for greater inter-disciplinarity, in particular incorporating global governance, globalisation analysis and international education studies.

International education: educating for a global future

M. McMahon

Edinburgh: Dunedin, 2011

Learning about and understanding the world in which we live has always been one of the purposes of education and this has been given fresh impetus in recent years with many government sponsored initiatives, around the world, to foster international education. However international education is not easily or clearly defined; the term is often used interchangeably with multicultural education or with global education, without distinction. Margery McMahon bridges the gap between theory, policy and practice by providing a critical perspective on international education by tracking and analysing its development as national strategy in Scotland, England and the USA. She examines its conceptual basis and explores its relationship with other concepts such as global citizenship and interculturalism. She provides practical analysis and compares models of implementation across nations whilst considering the skills and resources that assist the development of international education initiatives and explores the implementation of international education at school level through case studies. International Education will be of use to policy makers and practitioners, to students in initial teacher education and in post graduate programmes of study for classroom practitioners and school leaders.

International perspectives on school governing under pressure

C. James, S. Brammer and M. Fertig (editors)

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol. 39, 2011, p. 394-509

This special issue draws upon high quality research from diverse perspectives, paradigms and cultures to enhance understandings of school governing and its wider role in school governance. The intention is to generate original syntheses of the problematics of school governing by focusing on school governing under pressure, in a critical manner. Specifically, the objectives were to report high quality research that critically analysed school governing and demonstrated a range of research, paradigmatic and cultural perspectives; compared and contrasted the research outcomes in order to enable a synthesis of central concerns in school governing; and to enhance understandings of the problematics of school governing and its wider role in governance.

Is child work a deterrent to school attendance and school attainment? Evidence from Bangladesh

R. Khanam and R. Ross

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 38, 2011, p. 692-713

The attainment of universal primary education has been one of the main policy priorities of the government of Bangladesh since independence in 1971. However the school enrolment rate in Bangladesh remains low compared with many other developing countries. The labour force participation of young children is believed to be the main reason for low education participation rates. This paper examines the linkages between child labour, school attendance and educational attainment of children aged 5-17 using survey data from rural Bangladesh, and controlling for a wide range of variables including parental education, household income and school availability. The results confirm that child labour adversely affects schooling, as reflected in lower school enrolment/attendance and grade attainment.

Leadership, culture and change in higher education: theory and practice in Southeast Asia

P. Hallinger and A. Tjeldvoll (editors)

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 33, 2011, p. 197-307

This themed issue of the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management examines leadership and change in higher education in Southeast Asia1 with a focus on five national contexts: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. These nations were selected for examination because it is suggested that their universities have made demonstrable advances in terms of achieving international standards in academic practice. Thus, they clearly illustrate the tensions and challenges of change as their leaders seek to manage the shift from a focus on quantity to quality and enable higher degrees of international competitiveness in tertiary education. In a sense, they offer locally relevant examples of both struggle and success for other universities in developing nations and regions.

Leading under sanction: principals' perceptions of threat rigidity, efficacy, and leadership in underperforming schools

A. J. Daly

Leadership and Policy in Schools, vol. 10, 2011, p. 171-206

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed to ensure that 100 percent of US students would be proficient by 2014. Progress toward that goal is measured annually and results suggest that while some schools improve, increasing numbers are identified as in need of improvement (INI) and are subject to sanctions. This research examined perceived levels of threat rigidity, efficacy, and leadership in 549 California principals whose schools were INI or not. Results suggest that principals in INI schools identified more threat-rigid response and perceived less self-efficacy than in non-INI settings. Results did not indicate differences between principals in perceived transformational and transactional leadership.

Lifelong learning and the pursuit of a vision for sustainable development in Botswana

T. Maruatona

Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 33, 2011, p. 121-138

This paper analyses Botswana's commitment to lifelong learning policy and discusses how it can help the state achieve its vision for sustainable development. First, it argues that while Botswana is renowned for its economic success, it still fails to address positively such traditional challenges as poverty, unemployment and income inequality, which are increasing disproportionately, especially among the youth and non-literate adults. These structural problems can be attributable partly to the low quality of education, which does not enable learners to reduce their risks and vulnerabilities. The paper outlines the concepts of lifelong learning and sustainable development and works from there to analyse the national education policy. It is acknowledged that the state has made commendable progress in delivering basic, extension and continuing education since adopting lifelong learning in 1994. However, the delivery failed to use education to transform people's lives. The education itself failed to balance quantity with quality effectively or to inculcate a culture of democracy. These issues need to be critically addressed because they invariably hamper Botswana's efforts to deliver quality education and attain its vision for sustainable development. Finally, the paper suggests that the education system should incorporate lifelong learning principles, effectively involve learners in decision making and teach for empowerment.

Listening to the voices of students with learning disabilities: what do adolescents with hearing loss think about different educational settings?

L.J. Byrnes

Deafness and Education International, vol. 13, June 2011, p. 49-68

There are divergent views as to whether pupils with hearing loss should be educated in mainstream schools or in congregated settings. However most of these views are those of individuals other than the students themselves. This study gave 73 students with hearing loss the opportunity to give their views on different educational settings. These students were being educated either in their local school or in a support class in government secondary schools in New South Wales.

Mentorship and instruction received during training: views of alternatively certified teachers

E. A. O’Connor, M. S. Malow and B. M. Bisland

Educational Review, vol. 63, 2011, p. 219-232

Worldwide, teacher shortages have created a demand for certified teachers. Throughout the world, local and national governments are seeking ways to resolve this issue. New York City (NYC), the largest public (i.e. state funded) school district in the United States, addressed the teacher shortage by creating an alternate route to certification called the Teaching Fellows (TFs) program. The purpose of this programme is to attract individuals interested in a career change to teaching in low-performing, high-needs schools. During their two years of training prior to obtaining certification, the TFs receive support from a mentor and a consultant provided by the NYC Department of Education while attending graduate classes to obtain their master’s degree in elementary education. A survey was distributed to TFs to examine their impressions of the instruction and mentoring they received during their training, and their plans for staying in the teaching profession in NYC. Information provided by the TFs can help improve this programme as well as assist other programmes worldwide in developing effective alternative teacher training programmes.

New capacities for student equity and widening participation in higher education

T. Gale (editor)

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 52, 2011, p. 109-212

This special issue of Critical Studies in Education has its origins in the research of Australia’s National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education and a national conference it convened in October 2010, organized around the theme: ‘Aspiration, Mobility, Voice’. Contributors to the special issue include National Centre researchers and international keynote speakers who presented at the conference. (Reflections by these speakers on the conference theme also appear at the end of the issue.) As a collection, the special issue presents the case for a new way of thinking about student equity and widening participation in higher education (HE). This thinking is prompted by a new ‘structure of feeling’ (Lingard & Gale, 2007; Williams, 1961) now emerging in response to changing social and economic relations and, in part, to changing structural arrangements in the HE systems of OECD nations. Following the conference theme, the authors in this special issue address a new appreciation of student equity defined in terms of ‘mobility’, ‘aspiration’ and ‘voice’, conceived as capacities for widening HE participation, which shift focus and approach beyond narrow renditions of barriers to access (Sellar & Gale, this issue). The latter is an implicitly deficit account (Gale et al., 2010, p. 2; see also Smith, this issue) that still informs many institutional programmes and government policy.

A new lean paradigm in higher education: a case study

M. S. Doman

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 19, 2011, p. 248-262

This case study aims to demonstrate that lean principles and practices utilized in industry can be successfully applied to improve higher education administrative processes through an innovative and engaging learning experience involving undergraduate students. This is a first-hand account by the instructor of a small group of undergraduate students in a seminar course working as a team to identify waste and redesign the university's grade change administrative process. This case study found that a small group of undergraduate students can quickly learn basic lean principles, tools and practices, and reinforce that learning by applying them in a team effort to significantly improve a university administrative process. With the changing higher education environment, where efficiency and effectiveness have become more imperative due to increasing budget constraints and competition for students, this case study shows that students can play a major role in the improvement of university administrative processes while at the same time gaining new knowledge and skills that are highly valued in industry.

Old players - new rules: higher education institutions’ response to educational demand

N. Frølich, E. Waagene and P. O. Aamodt

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 17, 2011, p. 163-179

Performance indicators and performance-based funding are becoming integral components of higher education (HE) policy around the globe. The authors explore some of the implications of this type of policy for Norwegian HE. They believe the case will be of significant interest to policy-makers, stakeholders and academics alike, not least because empirical analysis indicates that competition for students is relatively stable and not particularly aggressive across groups of higher education institutions (HEIs) and over time. Despite this fact, a few HEIs have improved their share of applications, while others have fallen behind in the competition for students. The paper is based on a unique data set drawn from the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service during the period 2003–2009.

Paraprofessionals in early childhood classrooms: an examination of duties and expectations

N.J. Ratcliff and others

Early Years, vol. 31, 2011, p. 163-179

Millions of dollars are spent by school districts in the United States on employing paraprofessional teaching assistants to work in early years classrooms. However, little information is available about best practice in the use of paraprofessionals in early years settings. Data gathered from classroom observations and surveys of 159 teachers and 161 paraprofessionals in the US show that both parties are unsure about teaching assistants’ roles. In practice, paraprofessionals are occupied for much of the time in direct instruction of the children, for which they have received no training and which they have learned on the job. Teachers, on the other hand, are not trained in how to develop the planning and instructional skills of adults.

Partnerships between universities and workplaces: some challenges for work-integrated learning

S. Choy and B. Delahaye

Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 33, 2011, p. 157-172

Under contemporary highly competitive markets, organizations are demanding that any investment in learning be converted into productive outcomes that rapidly progress the organisation towards pre-defined strategic goals. A customised work-integrated learning curriculum has the potential to achieve such productive outcomes because it allows learners to quickly contextualise the study content within the socio-cultural and functional environment of the workplace. However, the development of a work-integrated learning curriculum relies on genuine partnerships between the universities and organisations. These types of partnerships require lengthy processes of negotiating the curriculum and pedagogies to support learning based in the workplace. Predictably, such partnerships challenge the traditional roles of the universities as transmitters of discipline specific knowledge and workplaces as less active partners in the learning processes and products. This paper is based on an Australian case study and relates the challenges of developing a partnership, the transformed role of the academics and a more complex design and facilitation of the curriculum. What became evident was that such a partnership was problematic and demanded redistribution of knowledge-power relations between the university and the host organisation. The findings substantiate that successful work-integrated learning that meets the needs of individuals and their workplaces is premised on a learning partnership where the roles for the curriculum and pedagogy are genuinely shared. That such partnerships are integral to successful work-integrated learning and deeply problematic begs for more research to understand the dynamics and ways to approach learning partnerships between universities and organisations.

Supporting students with impairments in higher education: social inclusion or cold comfort?

L. B. Claiborne and others

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p. 513-527

This paper uses a discursive analysis to examine the experience of ‘inclusion’ from several stakeholder groups in one New Zealand university. The research team included disability support staff at the institution, external disability consultants and academic researchers. A critical focus group investigation centred on four groups: students who were identified as having an impairment (SWIs), academic staff (teachers), administrators and students who did not identify as having an impairment (non-SWIs). Interviews had facilitators with both research and disability expertise. Groups recounted different experiences of inclusion. SWIs, drawing on a rights discourse, emphasised a lack of resourcing and barriers created by the teaching staff. In contrast, teachers, administrators and (to a lesser extent) non-SWIs emphasised the importance of social inclusion, reflecting discourses around needs and humanist notions of care and support, which largely seemed to miss the core of SWI concerns about recognition of their technical competence. For all groups, questions around disclosure of disability were of greater concern than tensions between needs and rights or the recent publication of a Code of Practice for the higher education sector. The findings challenged some of the researchers’ own assumptions, with unexpected implications for practice.

Transformation in post-compulsory education

G. Elliott (editor)

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol. 16, 2011, p. 137-274

This special issue of the journal on Transformation in Post-Compulsory Education reflects the concern of the Editorial Board about the increasing prevalence of instrumental perspectives on education from policymakers and educational organisations, and their wish to develop a space for a countervailing narrative. In many countries, post-compulsory education appears to be losing out in the competition for scarce government resources. Increasingly, governments are looking to other funding sources, including employers, alumni, benefactors, parents and students themselves, to supplement, and increasingly to replace, the government’s own contribution. These developments, as well as making education potentially more difficult to access, often serve to commodify education and undermine the idea and ideal of education for transformation. So it is the transformative power of post-compulsory education that provides the focus and theme of this special issue.

Transformative pedagogy, leadership and school organisation for the twenty-first-century knowledge-based economy: the case of Singapore

C. Dimmock and J. W. P. Goh

School Leadership & Management, vol. 31, 2011, p. 215-234

Singapore has a high performing school system; its students top international tests in maths and science. Yet while the Singapore government cherishes its world class ‘brand’, it realises that in a globally competitive world, its schools need to prepare students for the twenty-first-century knowledge-based economy (KBE). Accordingly, over the past 13 years, the government has been laying a policy platform conducive to innovative curricula and pedagogy. Despite the government's command and control ethos, and a history of school responsiveness to economic needs, schools have yet to undertake serious transformation in preparing students for the KBE. This article argues that the present focus on innovation in the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment needs to be accompanied by a simultaneous re-configuration in leadership and school organisation, thus generating school-wide transformation. It comprises three parts: the first maps the connectivity between the economic and educational development of Singapore from 1965 to the present; the second outlines the human resource implications of KBEs for a twenty-first-century curriculum; and the third maps the transformation of school leadership and organisation that is needed if curricular and pedagogic innovations are to be successful.

Truancy programs: are the effects too easily washed away?

J. L. Huck

Education and Urban Society, vol. 43, 2011, p. 499-516

Truancy has been identified as a risk factor for criminal behaviour but results are mixed as to the best means to reduce this school-based concern. The Truancy Prevention Initiative has been implemented in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina under the direction of the Recovery School District to reduce levels of truancy, increase graduation rates, and decrease youth crime. This article emphasizes the statutes and ordinances behind this initiative in order for it to be compared to current evidence-based literature to forecast its effectiveness. In addition, social disorganization and deterrence theories are used to analyze the foundational elements of the Truancy Prevention Initiative. The Truancy Prevention Initiative is a promising programme that requires process and outcome evaluations to draw a stronger conclusion as to its effectiveness.

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