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

An analysis of social costs of secondary education in Kenya after the introduction of subsidised secondary education in 2008

N. Jagero

International Journal of Education Economics and Development, vol. 2, 2011, p. 213-224

The purpose of the study was to evaluate social cost of educating day and boarding students in secondary schools in Kenya after the introduction of free day secondary education in Kenya by the government in January 2008. After the introduction there were 1.2 million additional students enrolled in the secondary education sector. Saturated and systematic random samplings were used in the study. The sample size was 243 respondents that were distributed as follows; five head teachers, 43 form four teachers, 93 day students and 103 boarding students. The study found out that the direct social cost of educating a boarding and a day student was Ksh 74,140 and Ksh 68,327 respectively. 90.1% of direct social cost was utilised in the payment of teachers' salaries. The government subsidy has reduced direct private cost to households by 40.22% for day students and 28.23% for boarders, but the direct social cost to the Kenyan taxpayers has increased by 28.23%.

Basic skills provision for the have-nots: a rights hoax? Re-examining international standards on the right to education

P. Gynther

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p. 851-864

In the present era of accelerating globalisation of the labour market and education, access to knowledge of value has become increasingly complicated. This study enquired into the rights to post-compulsory basic education by analysing the contemporary standard-setting instruments of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Community. An analytical scheme was developed that suggested four interconnected areas of education legislation, disregard of which cumulatively maintains exclusion of educationally disadvantaged individuals from knowledge and skills with proper value in the job market. The four thematic aspects identified were rights, recognition, resources and representation. Findings indicate that the international regimes examined are not unequivocal and thereby leave room for manoeuvre. The study concluded that legal strategies for the abolition of skills deficiency traps should be rethought. Instead of relying on rights-talk, we should increasingly move to the recognition of functional skills deficiency and its reduction.

A case study comparison of charter and traditional schools in New Orleans Recovery School District: selection criteria and service provision for students with disabilities

N. Wolff

Remedial and Special Education, vol. 32, 2011, p. 382-392

In post-Katrina New Orleans, Louisiana, there is a growing concentration of charter schools. The Recovery School District (RSD) has oversight of the majority of these schools. To explore charges from community advocates that RSD charter schools restricted admission and provided inadequate services for students with disabilities, the following questions were asked: were students with disabilities admitted equally to charter and traditional schools in New Orleans? and how were the services for students with disabilities the same or different in charter and traditional schools? A case study research design that included both traditional and charter RSD schools was used. Data were gathered through examination of relevant reports from school entities and popular media. Additional data were gathered through interviews with district personnel and traditional school, charter school, and community disabilities advocates. Analysis of resultant themes indicated evidence of selective practices as well as differences in education provision for students with disabilities.

The CEC Professional Standards: a Foucauldian genealogy of the re/construction of special education

J. Ashton

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p. 775-795

This paper presents a Foucauldian analysis of the 2003 US Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Professional Standards. It examines the role of the CEC and their professional standards in the construction of the special educator and the student with disabilities and the potential implications that these constructions have for inclusive education. Furthermore, this analysis establishes that the standards serve as a vehicle for the reproduction of the special educator who in turn reproduces the special education student, which has preserved and protected the special education profession throughout the past 25 years. The CEC Professional Standards represent over 100 years of supposed 'progress' in special education; but progress towards what end and to whose benefit? It is my asserted that these standards have played a vital role in the construction of the special educator, the individual with disabilities and the special education profession as a whole. Furthermore, the standards, and by extension, the social constructions of special educators and students with disabilities, represent significant barriers to inclusive education.

Challenging and supporting new leader development

A. Boerema

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol. 39, 2011, p. 554-567

The purpose of this article is to explore the kinds of support and challenge that new school leaders need in the early years of their career. Semi-structured in-depth interviews and appreciative inquiry were used to collect the stories of new school leaders. The study outlined the kinds of support that were productive in helping school principals learn their craft and shape their leadership style. The project enriches the literature on mentoring by providing the voices of new school leaders to add depth to the characteristics of successful mentoring programs.

Collaboration and integration of services in Greek special schools: two different models of delivering school services

V. Strogilos and others

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 15, 2011, p. 397-418-

Multidisciplinary collaboration is considered to be very important for the education of pupils with special educational needs and particularly those pupils with the most severe disabilities. This research adopts a multiple case-study design in order to understand collaboration and the integration of services and the effectiveness of these among pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) in Greece. The teams, choosing case studies in five special schools, considered 10 pupils and their parents. Reviews and analyses of the legislation; diaries; participant observations and semi-structured interviews were used for the collection of data. Two different models of service integration which provide different opportunities for the inclusion of pupils with PMLD were revealed since schools have different methods of integrating health and social professionals. In the first model, the school works with outside services, whereas in the second, services are within the school. In addition, roles and responsibilities differ within the different models. Service integration and collaboration were found to be more effective in schools where teachers and health and social professionals work under the same management. The study suggests the expansion of the second model of multidisciplinary collaboration with the integration in schools of health therapists, educational psychologists and social workers.

Directions for Australian higher education institutional policy and practice in supporting students from low socioeconomic backgrounds

M. Devlin and H. O'Shea

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 33, 2011, p. 529-535

The Australian Government's response to the 2008 Bradley Review of higher education has set clear targets for increased university participation of people from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. Using a 'success-focused' methodological approach, this research documents the factors that a sample of 53 later-year, low socioeconomic status background students at one Australian university report have assisted them to manage and overcome the challenges of remaining at, progressing through and succeeding at university. Thematic analyses of the data identified the most helpful factors as including the students' own study behaviour around, and attitude toward, study; teacher characteristics; institutional support of particular kinds; and student-to-student connections. Directions for institutional policy and practice are outlined.

Distinguishing symbolic and evidence-based policies: the Brazilian efforts to increase the quality of basic education

M. de Vries

International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 77, 2011, p. 435-450

This article addresses the question how to distinguish symbolic policies from evidence-based policies, using the efforts of the Brazilian government to improve the achievements of pupils in primary schools as an illustration. The Brazilian government aimed for achievements in basic education in its country equal to those in the developed world and implemented policies in line with decentralization of the schooling system and improvement of the training of teachers. It will be shown that such policies are symbolic in the sense that they may have an appeal to the national population and to the outside world, but are hardly effective. This article's main argument is that governments can prevent such outcomes when they are less opportunistic in following international fashions, such as the striving for decentralization, and have policymakers analyze the problem somewhat more thoroughly, resulting in evidence-based policies.

Evolution and revolution in China's skill formation system

Jing Xu

Journal of Education and Work, vol. 24, 2011, p. 549-564

The current reform and development of vocational education in China is being seriously challenged by three major problems. Firstly, quality improvement is constrained by the limited capacity of vocational colleges and schools. Secondly, it has proved difficult to integrate practical experience into a school-based model of vocational education. Thirdly, vocational education is unpopular with students, their parents and society as a whole. Furthermore the literacy levels of rural residents are low and in urgent need of improvement to enable them to access education. A historical analysis of Chinese vocational and adult education from the early twentieth century to the end of Mao's period highlights a range of deep-seated issues which may have contributed to the intractable nature of the problems the Chinese government faces today in its modernisation efforts.

Global education policy: networks and flows

S. Exley, A Brawn and S. Ball (editors)

Critical Studies in Education, vol. 52, 2011, p. 213-298

This special issue of Critical Studies in Education considers the spread of a possible 'global education policy' beyond Anglo-Saxon countries, looking - somewhat eclectically - at the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America. In Marie Lall's article on the promotion of child-centred teaching approaches in Myanmar, she traces an extensive network of teacher educators within the country, financed by international donors, which provides training drawing on Western-originated child-centred teaching methods to mainly monastic schools in remote areas of the country. In her Tanzanian study of state-NGO relations in the governance of education, Kristin Phillips discusses the way in which structural adjustment and powerful international donor agencies have challenged state running of education. Julia Resnik talks about the importance of Israeli-US-English networks of policy makers and 'knowledge producers' - particularly featuring academics in university public policy and economics departments - in promoting managerial discourse within Israeli education. In his article about the impact of globalised education policy on the Singaporean education system, Aaron Koh makes a similar point to Julia Resnik's. Aaron Koh highlights global disciplinary surveillance felt by the People's Action Party in Singapore, fuelled by international performance indicators on education and contributing to a national narrative of anxiety about possible economic collapse (and the drop in living standards this would produce within a 'culture of excess'), 'crisis' and 'survival'. Tales of resistance to or significant mediation of global neo-liberal policy discourses in education exist elsewhere, and one prominent example is the case of Argentina, as outlined by Jason Beech and Ignacio Barrenechea.

Higher education in Ethiopia: challenges and the way forward

A. Tessema and M. Abebe

International Journal of Education Economics and Development, vol. 2, 2011, p. 225-244

This paper addresses a range of critical problems involving higher education funding, curricula, staff recruitment, retention and development, and student affairs that the system of higher education in Ethiopia is facing. After discussing the fundamental contributions of higher education to technological innovations, better health, improved service delivery, labour productivity, pluralism, and democratic governance, the paper examines the current state of affairs of higher education in Ethiopia. It not only discusses the problems and issues of higher education, but it also explores the ramifications of the pressure that the current expansion of higher education places on the staff, meagre resources, and facilities, thereby raising grave concern for the quality of education. The paper concludes that higher education institutions in Ethiopia are underfunded and understaffed with the curricula running the risk of becoming obsolete. Finally, it sheds light on ways to deal with the plethora of problems that the system of higher education in Ethiopia is encountering.

Higher education in the Asia-Pacific

S. Marginson, S. Kaur and E. Sawir (editors)

London: Springer, 2011

This survey provides unprecedented scope and detail of analysis on higher education in the Asia-Pacific region. In this era of global integration, convergence and comparison, the balance of power in worldwide higher education is shifting. In less than two decades the Asia-Pacific region has come to possess the largest and fastest growing higher education sector on Earth. The countries of East and Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific together enrol 50 million tertiary students, compared to 14 million in 1991, and will soon conduct a third of all research and development. In China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore, 'world-class' universities are emerging at breakneck pace, fostered by modernizing governments that see knowledge and skills as key to a future shaped equally by East and West, and supported by families deeply committed to education. But not all Asia-Pacific countries are on this path, not all reforms are effective, and there are marked differences between nations in levels of resources, educational participation, research, state controls and academic freedom. The book provides an authoritative survey of tertiary education in this diverse and dynamic region. Its 23 chapters, written by authors from a dozen different countries, focus successively on the Asia-Pacific as a whole, the strategies of individual universities, and national policies and strategies in response to the global challenge.

Internationalising the home student

V. Clifford (editor)

Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 30, 2011, p. 555-680

This collection of papers arose from the belief that we need to develop curricula for all our students to prepare them to be aware of their role as global citizens in an ever-changing world. For all our students, intercultural interactions will be part of their daily lives. The topics were chosen to raise pertinent issues and stimulate debate and collaborations for future research. Contributions range from the ideological to the practical yet all centre on the concept of global citizenship. Bourn's paper scopes the work higher education institutions have ahead of them to come to an understanding of what global citizenship could mean. Haigh and Clifford use graduate attributes as a way of focusing on what a global citizen might be. Cousin addresses the West/non-West dualism that pervades much of the thinking in the area of internationalisation. Waistell also addresses a dualism in his paper. He uses Hofstedde's work to argue that tertiary curricula often reflect cultural norms of individualism and collectivism while graduates (in this case Business Management graduates) need to be able to work independently and also collectively. Dunne focuses on what new internationalised curricula might look like. Trahar and Hyland interviewed local and international staff and students about their experiences of internationalised learning and found that, although there was a privileging of local pedagogy, the participants (local and international) expressed awareness and self reflection on their culturally mediated approaches to learning and intercultural interaction. Intercultural awareness and sensitivity is seen by a number of the writers as an important facet of global citizenship and Leask and Carroll introduce us to ways of capitalising on the multi-cultural classroom, providing opportunities for students to participate in 'risky' behaviour (Dunne, 2009) so as to develop their intercultural skills. Sanderson picks up and expands the work of Teekens (2000) offering a framework for lecturers to reflect on international and intercultural perspectives in relation to their personal and professional selves.

Issues to consider when implementing student-centred learning practices at Asian higher education institutions

Thanh Pham Thi Hong

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 33, 2011, p. 519-528

A large number of failures in learning reforms at Asian universities have been documented recently in the literature. The main reason is that reformers often import Western-developed practices to Asian classrooms without a careful examination of their appropriateness within the socio-cultural context of these countries. This approach faces a high risk of failure because Western-developed practices are often supported by structural conditions and cultural values that are not always found in Asia. To ensure the success of student-centred learning reforms in Asian classrooms, this paper claims that reformers should not simply borrow and impose student-centred practices on Asian students. Rather, Asian educators need to be assisted to bring about change in their teaching practices and instructed how to design assessment that promotes student-centred learning practices. Moreover, some principles of student-centred theories need to be modified to become culturally appropriate in the Asian context.

Just add facilitators and stir': stimulating policy uptake in schools

R. Abbott and others

Educational Management Administration Leadership, vol. 39, 2011, p. 603-620

This article presents the evaluation findings of an education policy initiative that involved the employment of facilitators to broker the policy and its implementation. An Australian state's education authority piloted the employment of physical activity facilitators to expedite the implementation of 'Smart Moves' in schools, a policy mandating daily physical activity for all state school students from pre-school to Year 10. The evaluation data were collected through facilitator diaries, semi-structured interviews, reflective writing, network mapping, and a school survey. The introduction of physical activity facilitators to accelerate the uptake of a health promotion policy in schools was highly instructive in terms of the conditions of policy uptake in schools. These facilitators were able to intervene in the value-laden, mandated state activity and shift the discourses to those that were palatable for schools and teachers. Significantly, in Bernsteinian terms, they were bridging the official and pedagogic recontextualizing fields thus acting as contributors to the recontextualization of official policy knowledge despite some school resistance.

'Kids not rights is their craving': sex education, gay rights and the threat of gay teachers

M. Graydon

Canadian Review of Sociology, vol. 48, 2011, p. 313-339

In July 1977 the Ontario Human Rights Commission recommended adding sexual orientation provisions to the province's human rights code. Toronto newspapers were generally supportive of the proposal, but joined with religious leaders in demanding that school boards should still be able to dismiss gay teachers, who they accused of sexual predation. The author links this to a re-energised fear of homosexuals which emerged during the Toronto sex education debates of the 1970s and discussion of how homosexuality should be addressed. A 1972 essay on intergenerational sex published by Toronto's Body Politic acted to heighten fears that gay men regarded children as sexual objects. Moving forward, the article then considers the pivotal role played in 1977 by Anita Bryant's US-based Save the Children campaign in characterising gay teachers as sexually predacious. After the 1977 murder of Emanuel Jaques and the publication of Gerald Hannon's article Men Loving Boys Loving Men, anti-gay sentiment in Toronto exploded, and in 1981 the Toronto Board of Education moved to restrict discussion of homosexuality in the classroom.

The life-cycle impact of alternative higher education finance systems in Ireland

D. Flannery and C. O'Donoghue

Economic and Social Review, vol. 42, 2011, p. 237-270

Over the past 15 years Ireland experienced rapid growth in higher education participation which has been mainly funded by the state. Given the high private returns on education and the current difficult fiscal situation, alternative forms of higher education funding have been suggested. This paper uses a dynamic microsimulation model to explore the fiscal and redistributive implications of two alternative funding systems, an income contingent loans system and a graduate tax system, and to analyse repayment length under the former system. Results suggest that the income contingent loans could be more equitable while the graduate tax could be a better alternative from a fiscal viewpoint.

Reforming higher education in the Netherlands and Norway: the role of the state and national modes of governance

P. Maassen, E. Moen and B. Stensaker

Policy Studies, vol. 32, 2011, p. 479-495

Modernisation of higher education in Europe has been based on the introduction of market mechanisms. However some countries have been more successful in transforming their universities than others. Two countries with a different reform profile are the Netherlands and Norway. The former has successfully enabled its universities to become entrepreneurial and dynamic, while the latter has experienced problems reforming its universities to meet current needs. Given that both countries are small nations with highly developed welfare state arrangements and institutions, that both are consensual democracies, and that many reform elements are similar, this enigma requires closer scrutiny. This article argues that the outcome of reform depends on the role of the state, modes of governance, and overall national policies. In consequence, there is a need to clarify the conditions under which university reforms are taking place. In this article two such conditions are analysed: 1) the concept of institutional autonomy as a mode of governance; and 2) the reform implementation process.

The role of vocational education in supporting social inclusion

K. Collett and K. Shoesmith (guest editors)

Education + Training, vol.53, 2011, p. 566-651

The goal of social inclusion policies is to address a set of linked inequalities that prevent individuals from participating fully in the social, political and economic life of the societies in which they live. The roots of social exclusion lie in the interaction between poverty and a lack of access to housing, education, health and other services. Vocational education has the potential to address several of these issues. The papers in this special issue explore a number of aspects of the relationship between vocational education and social inclusion, including:

  • Whether vocational education can support social inclusion by helping people move out of unemployment and low paid work
  • What barriers to vocational education are faced by people from marginalised groups, and how vocational education can be made more accessible to them
  • What evidence there is that vocational education improves the prospects of individuals and communities
  • What needs to change about how vocational education is delivered to support access and progression.

School leadership in Asia Pacific: identifying challenges and formulating a research agenda

P. Hallinger and A. Walker (editors)

School Leadership and Management, vol. 31, 2011, p. 299-410

This collection of papers continues in the intellectual lineage of work published 15 years ago by Professors Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid (1996) at the Institut Ahminuddin Bagi in Malaysia, Cheng Kai Ming (1995) at the University of Hong Kong, and Philip Hallinger (1995) at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. The papers were drawn from presentations prepared for the Asia Leadership Roundtable 2010, an annual international meeting hosted by the Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change of the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The purpose of the Asia Leadership Roundtable in 2010 was to set the stage for the next generation of research on educational leadership and change in Asia Pacific. This region of the world has demonstrated a rapid expansion of its K-12 and higher education systems over the prior 20 years. In most countries (e.g., China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam), this has led to a major revamp of system policies (e.g., recruitment, selection, evaluation of principals) and of preparation and development programmes in school leadership and management.

Spillover in a soft policy era? Evidence from the open method of co-ordination in education and training

A. Warleigh-Lack and R. Drachenberg

Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 18, 2011, p. 999-1015

This paper begins by setting out the principle of spillover as it was first conceived by neofunctionalists and then explains how it was later revised in the face of critique. Following this, it then explores the open method of co-ordination in the field of European Union education and training policy, explaining the reasons for its creation and intended purpose. It next investigates the actual operation of the open method of co-ordination in education and training to date, showing how it has had effects of socialisation, increased routine co-operation using the new EU structures and processes, and on the inter-institutional power balance at the EU level, which amount to a form of spillover. This shows how the EU, even at the end of the heroic age of integration, can bind its member states more closely together over time.

Students in higher education governance

L. Minskova and P. Pabian (editors)

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 17, 2011, p. 181-277

The volume shows the fascinating range of practices regarding student participation in different European higher education systems (the UK, Italy, Norway, Portugal and the Czech Republic), the underlying logics as well as current shifts, and discusses them in the light of the governance frameworks of Olsen and Clark. By extending the governance frameworks to the role of students and using them for systematic international comparison, the issue fills an important gap in research on higher education. It shows how the understanding of the student role in higher education oscillates between those of marginal voices in an academic oligarchy or a state bureaucracy, an interest group in a representative democracy and consumers of a market enterprise.

'We are not aliens, we're people, and we have rights': Canadian human rights discourse and high school climate for LGBTQ students

C. Taylor and T. Peter

Canadian Review of Sociology, vol.48, 2011, p. 275-312

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and related legislation protect people from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Charter applies to schools and is duly invoked in safe schools policies which commit institutions to creating environments that are respectful of diversity. However, despite the official discourse of the Charter of Rights that pervades official policy documents throughout the schools system, there is a disconnect with practice. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer young people suffer numerous forms of discrimination in their school lives, undermining their respect for the Charter of Rights and their faith in adults.

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