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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2012): Education - overseas

Benchmarking educational development efficiencies of the Indian states: a DEA approach

V. Gourishankar

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 26, 2012, p. 99-130

In pursuit of achieving Education-For-All goals of universal primary education and improving quality of education, the Indian Government has been providing substantial resources to Indian states. The responsibility for providing access and quality remains with the states. Assessment of educational development will therefore become a focal point of the Center for Education Policy & Guidelines Formulation. While educational development indices help in ranking states, they do not help in capturing best practices and assessing the efficient utilization of resources. Assessment of Educational Development Efficiency can augment educational development indices in vogue. The purpose of this paper is to develop an Educational Development Efficiency (EDE) model to benchmark the Indian states. This paper uses an input-process-output conceptual framework to identify the dimensions of educational development. It employs Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to compare relative efficiency of 28 states and seven Union territories in India and benchmark them. In order to strengthen the discriminatory power of DEA, a cross-efficiency model was used. Factor analysis was performed to determine the inter-relationships between variables. The efficiency impacting variables were identified using multiple regression analysis. This paper benchmarked Indian states on educational development based on their performance. Gross enrolment ratio, students' academic performance and infrastructural investments were identified as the three key variables impacting states' EDE. This paper has shown that educational administrators can use the EDE model to identify the best practices from efficient states. Insights into utilization of input resources to enhance educational development and consequent improvement of state efficiencies are presented. Four components have been identified to analyze the states' educational development progress - namely, financial adequacy, school resource strength, educational quality and educational access.

Children's rights and religious education in state funded schools: an international human rights perspective

O. Jawoniyi

International Journal of Human Rights, vol.16, 2012, p. 337-357

The issue of whether and how religion should be taught in state-funded schools in secular democracies remains crucially important. Given the sustained presence of religion in the public sphere, children need to possess an in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of its role in the modern world. At the same time they need to be safeguarded from indoctrination through religious education programmes offered in schools that aim to teach belief and commitment to a faith. Using international human rights frameworks and the relevant case law in assessing the different pedagogical approaches to religious education, this article maintains that non-confessional multifaith religious education is the model which best conforms to international human rights law, given its focus on conveying a body of knowledge about religions to children in an objective and critical manner, without indoctrination.

Considering the role of traditional and specialist schools: do school experiences impact the emotional well-being and self-esteem of adults with dyslexia?

B. A. Nalavan, L. W. Carawan and L. J. Brown

British Journal of Special Education, vol. 38, 2011, p. 191-200

While increasing attention is being paid to the influence of specialist and traditional school settings on the emotional well-being and self-esteem of children with dyslexia, there appears to be a need for more attention to how different educational settings may impact adulthood. To respond to this gap, this US study explores how the role of traditional and specialist school settings may have long-term effects in adulthood. The findings reveal that educational experiences have a compelling impact on the emotional health and self-esteem of adults with dyslexia. Implications are that there are important lessons to learn from specialist schools that can benefit traditional school settings.

Curriculum reform and teachers' training needs: the case of higher education in Ghana

M.A.B. Bakah, J.M. Voogt and J.M. Pieters

International Journal of Training and Development, vol. 16, 2012, p. 67-76

The development of new curricula as a means to curriculum reform is a common event in countries across the globe. Successful curriculum reform, however, requires active involvement of teachers in the design of the new curriculum. This study investigated the knowledge needs of teachers in Ghana's polytechnics arising out of the process of curriculum reform. To realise successful curriculum reform, teachers need to be appropriately prepared as they are the most influential factor in the change process. Forty-four teachers and four heads of mechanical engineering departments and representatives of the leadership of four polytechnics granted interviews and responded to questionnaires. Pursuing postgraduate programmes was the training and development priority for the leadership due to the polytechnics' policy of maintaining the master's degree as the minimum qualification for their teachers. Teachers argued for industrial attachments to enable them to update their subject knowledge.

Education determines a nation's health, but what determines educational outcomes? A cross-national comparative analysis

A. Siddiqi and others

Journal of Public Health Policy, vol. 33, 2012, p. 1-15

This study is premised on the notion that public health policy should address not only health issues, but also the primary determinants of health, such as education. It examines the effect of national policies on educational outcomes, in particular adolescent reading literacy (ARL). Data from the 2000 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) were used to compare the effect of traditional indicators - national income and education spending - on educational outcomes with that of income inequality, a measure of redistributive policies. Results showed income inequality to be a significant determinant of ARL scores, whereas direct spending on education and overall national prosperity were not.

Factors affecting the implementation of curriculum reform in Hong Kong: key findings from a large-scale survey study

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

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 26, 2012, p. 39-54

The objective of this paper was to examine key hindering and facilitating factors in schools during the first stage of the curriculum reform (2001-2006) in Hong Kong and to identify key strategies to address these challenges. A total of 150 primary and 120 secondary schools with 7,869 key stakeholders including principals, curriculum leaders, teachers, and students participated in the study. The data for the study were collected using the following two major methods: survey questionnaire and in-depth interviews. The response rate was 95 percent. In spite of the different roles played by each stakeholder in the curriculum reform, the perceptions of school principals, curriculum leaders, and teachers were very similar with regard to the factors that facilitated and hindered successful implementation. Consistent with the current literature, the findings clearly indicated that the recent curriculum reform in Hong Kong was still facing several key obstacles and challenges that were common in many other countries, in the implementation stage, such as teachers' heavy workloads, learning diversity in class, and teachers' inadequate understanding of the reform.

Forms of leadership that promote inclusive education in Cypriot schools

P. Angelides

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol. 40, 2012, p 21-36

A primary goal of many educational systems in different countries of the world is the offering of equal opportunities in education. My engagement with the literature that relates to inclusive education as well as the literature that relates to educational leadership leads to the conclusion that if we are interested in moving towards more inclusive practices one of the factors that has to be studied in depth, is leadership and its role in the development of these practices. This article studies, through four cases studies of Cypriot schools, the forms of leadership that promote inclusive education and how these forms of leadership manifest in the practices, activities and behaviours of the schools' headteachers. By studying the four schools it became apparent that the patterns of leadership that supported inclusion were not static. Leaders were trying to understand the local context and then developed their own strategies. They also supported learning in informal learning environments and took into consideration children's voices.

International organisations and policy diffusion: the global norm of lifelong learning

A. P. Jakobi

Journal of International Relations and Development, vol. 15, 2012, p. 31-64

This article analyses the role of international organisations in policy diffusion, using lifelong learning as an example and focusing mainly on the OECD and the European Union. Drawing on the distinction between agenda setting and policy implementation, it shows that international organisations are important vehicles for disseminating policy ideas, but reforms, even if stimulated by international debate, are first and foremost implemented following a national logic. A quantitative study of 99 countries from 1996 to 2004 shows how the idea of lifelong learning has been disseminated by international organisations and how states have reacted to this development.

A School evaluation policy with a dual character: evaluating the school evaluation policy in Hong Kong from the perspective of curriculum leaders

S. Y. S. Yeung

Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, vol. 40, 2012, p. 37-68

This article reports research conducted recently into evaluation policy. The research comprises two parts: a questionnaire survey and qualitative interviews. Drawing from data collected in a survey of 65 curriculum leaders and interviews with 12 from the group, the research explores how school evaluation policy functions to help make schools accountable to the community. This article reports findings from the study, which include the purposes, features and impacts of the policy as perceived by the curriculum leaders; and the strategies adopted by school teachers to deal with the evaluation procedures.

Separate and unequal: the consumption of public education in post-Katrina New Orleans

J.M. Akers

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.36, 2012, p. 29-48

The dismantling of New Orleans' public education system has proceeded apace in the years since Hurricane Katrina. The education experiment currently underway in the city incorporates many of the core tenets of the school choice movement. The introduction of charter schools and education vouchers has radically altered public education in the city by bringing in market-based systems that require parents to act as consumers while exposing their children to the whims of the market place. Government funded charter schools are using selective admissions to take the top performers while excluding those with behavioural issues and special needs. In addition to the expansion of charter schools, the state introduced a voucher programme in 2008 that pays for pupils to attend private schools, thus further reducing the funding available for the remaining state schools, which serve a disproportionate number of the city's poorest students. This article argues that prior efforts to undermine public education at the state and municipal level were key to the speed and scope of post-Katrina change in New Orleans.

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