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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2003): Education - Overseas

DECENTRALIZATION AND MARKETIZATION OF EDUCATION IN SINGAPORE: A CASE STUDY OF THE SCHOOL EXCELLENCE MODEL

K.-H. Mok

Journal of Educational Administration, vol.41, 2003, p.348-366

In order to develop all students into active learners with critical thinking skills and to equip them for work in a globalised knowledge-based economy, the Singapore government has realised the importance of allowing schools more autonomy. By introducing a policy of decentralisation, the government hopes that schools will have the freedom to develop their strengths. In this context, the school excellence model (SEM) has been introduced to engage institutions in self-improvement and self-assessment exercises.

DEVELOPMENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION IN IRELAND

P. McDonnell

International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 7, 2003, p.259-269

The schooling people with disabilities receive is on the margins of the education system. The participation of disabled people in education is well below average and disability rarely features in texts relating to education. The article discusses the extent to which clinical discourses on disability influence theory and practice in special education. Pupils are defined in terms of "given" problems and some are labelled as being limited in their educational development; barriers to attainment in examinations are seen as lying with the child rather than with the format of the examination. Participants in special education are not included in groups and committees considering its future. It is clear that perceptions of disabled people must alter if the system is to improve. Unless this is achieved any changes will be superficial, as the flawed structure will remain.

ENCOURAGING SCHOOL ATTENDANCE IN MOZAMBIQUE BY GRANTING A MINIMUM INCOME TO PARENTS.

L. Lavinas

International Social Security Review, vol.56, no.3/4, 2003, p.139-155

The minimum income for school attendance initiative launched by the International Labour Organization and UNCTAD in 2001 aims to introduce a guaranteed cash income for the most vulnerable families provided that their children attend school regularly. Article describes the pilot which the government of Mozambique is intending to introduce in 2003 and evaluates its prospects for success.

THE EVOLUTION OF EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITIES IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC AFTER 1989

N. Simonova

British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 24, 2003, p. 471-485

The article examines whether inequalities have entered the education system in post-communist Czechoslovakia. It begins by exploring the main theories surrounding the development of educational inequalities before summarising educational advances in the Czech Republic dating back to the start of communism in 1948. The article goes on investigate the influence of socio-economic and educational background on children's educational attainment, based on applications for study at post-secondary school. It concludes that despite a growing demand for complete secondary education, inequalities in access to education have decreased since 1989. This may be due to the differing quality of school-leaving examinations and thus although applicants for post-secondary education have increased, they are not competitively equipped for the admissions procedure.

EXAMINING RENEWAL IN AN URBAN HIGH SCHOOL THROUGH THE LENS OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE

N. Shanklin and others

School Leadership and Management, vol. 23, 2003, p.357-378

Researchers collaborated with an urban high school community in the US to help provide direction for school improvement efforts. The results of discussions in a series of focus groups were analysed using an urban schools systemic change framework. Researchers identified three areas of common concern across pupils, teachers and administrators:

  • lack of cohesion and understanding due to cultural diversity;
  • tension between standards-based teaching and the need to engage students and involve them in curriculum development;
  • community building.

INCLUSIVE IDEALS/ INCLUSIVE PRACTICES: HOW FAR IS A DREAM FORM REALITY? FIVE COMPARATIVE CASE STUDIES

S. Freire and M. César

European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 18, 2003, p.341-354

The Portuguese government has been committed in recent years to inclusive education. The article looks at the practical experience of five teachers in working with deaf children in a mainstream classroom.

LESSONS FROM NEW ZEALAND'S NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK

D. Philips

Journal of Education and Work, Vol. 16, 2003, p.289-304

The National Qualifications Framework in New Zealand is seen as the most comprehensive in the world. This article describes its development from the establishment of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in the early 1990s to the implementation of the National Certificates of Educational Achievement in 2001.

MAINSTREAM TEACHERS' ACCEPTANCE OF INSTRUCTIONAL ADAPTATIONS IN SPAIN

M. C. C. Moltó

European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 18, 2003, p.311-332

The study analyses the degree of acceptance of instructional adaptations in inclusive classrooms by mainstream teachers in terms of effectiveness, feasibility and desirability of implementation. The results indicate a moderate acceptance by teachers of instructional adaptations. However, high school teachers considered adaptations as less feasible and effective than kindergarten, primary and secondary staff. The report concludes that teachers need better training and preparation to deal with inclusive education. However, inclusion of students with special needs in high school education may be unrealistic.

THE NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK IN SOUTH AFRICA: A DEMOCRATIC PROJECT TRAPPED IN A NEO-LIBERAL PARADIGM?

S.M. Allais

Journal of Education and Work, Vol. 16, 2003, p.305-324

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in South Africa is one of the most ambitious in the world. Not only did it set out to integrate education and training, but also to create learning opportunities for the disadvantaged and set up a system in which qualifications would transcend institutions. Its incarnation was also an important part of South Africa's transition to democracy and it was seen as a symbol of a single education system for all South Africans. The article looks at the NQF's implementation, arguing that the many problems that have arisen derive from its ambitious formula. The NQF was created to lead the charge towards democracy and this has protected it from criticism. Its policies and approaches are seen as indistinguishable from its mission, and yet must change if the NQF is to become a success.

PRINCIPALS' VIEWS AND PRACTICES REGARDING INCLUSION: THE CASE OF ISRAELI ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS

G. Avissar, S. Reiter and Y. Leyser

European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 18, 2003, p.355-369

The study examined whether the head teacher serves as a change agent in implementing inclusion as mandated by special education legislation in Israel. Its findings suggest that inclusive practices have been widely implemented in Israeli elementary schools since legislation was passed in 1988. Head teachers manifest a clear vision of inclusion and their leadership behaviours promote inclusive policies. However, their support of inclusion depends on the severity of the student's disability, and they emphasise the social rather than the academic success of pupils with special needs. Finally, support for inclusion tends to be less among older, more experienced head teachers.

QUALIFICATION FRAMEWORKS IN AUSTRALIA

J. Keating

Journal of Education and Work, Vol. 16, 2003, p. 271-288

Responsibility for education, and therefore certification, in Australia is split across the six states and two territories that form the Commonwealth. This has fragmented qualifications and means that any "national" qualifications framework can only be built on the agreement of states and territories. The article explains the Australian education system - university autonomy, a high percentage of private schools and a complex vocational educational and training (VET) system - before focusing on the framework itself. This has a rigid and semi-regulatory role within the VET awards, but its place in "traditional" education is more complex. The autonomy of the sectors on the one hand and regional developments on the other has limited the framework's unifying capacity. It needs to achieve a more structured and active relationship with regional departments in order to gain consistency across the Commonwealth.

QUALIFICATIONS IN FRANCE: TOWARDS A NATIONAL FRAMEWORK?

A. Bouder

Journal of Education and Work, Vol. 16, 2003, p. 347-356

The article describes the French system for ordering and classifying qualifications and determining their social-economic context. Traditionally this has involved establishing a relationship between the content of work and the education and training curricula and acknowledging social differentiation in terms of job hierarchies and learning outcomes. However recent developments have indicated a shift in priorities, drawing closer to the Anglo-Saxon notion of a national qualifications framework.

SAILING INTO THE WIND: NEW DISCIPLINES IN AUSTRALIAN HIGHER EDUCATION

T. Gale and S. Kitto

British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 24, 2003, p.501-514

The article explores the changing face of Australian higher education. It argues that academics must be prepared to modify their methods of working in light of the marketisation of Australian universities and that they are in a much better position to determine the nature of change if they remain on the inside.

"STOP MAKING SENSE": CHAOS AND COHERENCE IN THE FORMULATION OF THE IRISH QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK

G. Granville

Journal of Education and Work, Vol. 16, 2003, p. 259-270

Although schools and universities in Ireland have a nationally (and indeed internationally) recognised assessment, certification and qualifications system, the emergence of vocational education and training produced a plethora of programmes, all with their own localised forms of accreditation. This emergence of vocational training spurred on the framework legislation, culminating in the Qualifications Act (1999). The article explains the scope and characteristics of the framework before warning against implementing an overly rigid system in the future, which will constrain development.

TEACHERS AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM

C. J. Russo & F. G. Delon

Education and the Law, Vol. 15, 2003, p. 67-73

The article examines the rights of American secondary school teachers to exercise their right to freedom of speech and expression in the classroom. Two recent cases are cited in which teachers, noted for their excellence, were dismissed for allowing their students to produce plays containing profanity and sexually explicit material. The article questions the wisdom of punishing teachers' attempts to adopt innovative approaches to making their curricula relevant to a new generation of students. In conclusion it argues that educational leaders must discuss curricula content with teachers, granting them some leeway with regard to academic freedom, whilst at the same time ensuring that lesson material remains within acceptable boundaries.

TUITION FEES GAIN ALLURE IN CASH-HIT EUROPEAN CAMPUSES

L. Harding

The Guardian, October 13th 2003, p.15

A special report on European administrators warming to the idea of charging students as governments cut local grants. The article includes a table of tuition fees paid in all EU countries.

WHEN SPECIAL NEEDS CATEGORIES FOR EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS OVERLAP MENTAL HEALTH DIAGNOSIS: THE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE AND ITS CHARTER IMPLICATIONS

S. Grover

Education and the Law, Vol. 15, 2003, p. 47-57

The article examines the Canadian education system's process of categorising special needs students, with particular reference to the state of Ontario. It considers the ethics of combining such categorisation with mental health assessment before raising questions as to whether categorising children risks their condition being seen as static, with their changing needs and symptoms going unnoticed. Finally, the article investigates the implications of categorisation in light of the Canadian Charter and whether it violates special needs children's human rights.

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