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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2006): Education - overseas

Being there is not enough: inclusion is both deaf and hearing

L.R. Komesaroff and M.A. McLean

Deafness and Education International, vol.8, 2006, p.88-100

In both Australia and New Zealand, most deaf students are integrated into mainstream schools, and official recognition has been given to native sign language. This article illustrates ways in which inclusion can expose and dismantle, or alternatively serve to fortify, prejudices and discriminatory practices. It argues that the presence of deaf students in mainstream classrooms must be underpinned by transformative practices that go beyond simple inclusion.

The challenges of inclusive education in Lebanon

S. Wehbi

Disability and Society, vol.21, 2006, p.331-343

In May 2000, after extensive lobbying by disability organisations, the Lebanese Parliament passed a law guaranteeing basic rights for disabled people. In response, a consortium of non-governmental organisations have formed the National Inclusion Project with World Bank funding to open up educational and employment opportunities for disabled people. This article reports on some of the findings of an initial assessment process that aimed to identify available information, current policies and legislation, main stakeholders and existing programmes on inclusion of people with disabilities in education and employment. This information will be used to guide intervention efforts in the implementation phase of the project.

The development of employer training in Australia

A. Smith

Education + Training, vol.48, 2006, p.252-261

It is commonly assumed that Australian employers chronically under-invest in staff training and show little inclination to increase their effort in response to government initiatives. This paper finds that assumptions about low levels of employer training expenditure are not supported by the available statistical data. Results of three qualitative research studies also support the conclusion that Australian employers are increasing both the quality and quantity of the training they provide.

The economics of teacher quality

D. Lakdawalla

Journal of Law and Economics, vol.49, 2006, p.285-329

Relative wages of teachers in the USA have been in decline since the 1940s compared to those of highly skilled workers, graduates and the labour force overall. At the same time the quality of teachers, measured by years of schooling, has been declining while more have been employed by schools. It is argued that schools are cutting their use of expensive, highly skilled teachers and are instead employing more less skilled, but cheaper, staff.

Facing up to the risks in commercially focused university-industry R&D partnerships

L. Fulop and P. K. Couchman

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.25, 2006, p.163-177

The commercialisation of research findings presents particular risks to universities, notably the possibility of financial loss, which has a greater impact on the university than on its partner company. Another major category of risk faced by universities is relational. This includes:

  • One partner opportunistically exploiting the other partners to its own advantage, e.g. by breaking confidentiality agreements or appropriating a disproportionate share of the benefits
  • A partner not fully committing to the venture, e.g. by not providing agreed resources or harbouring a hidden agenda
  • Spillovers, ie the leaking of a company’s strategic knowledge to competitors

Finally, there are risks to the university’s key societal role in knowledge production and dissemination, and ultimately to its reputation as a neutral source of expertise. It is argued that universities in Australia need to develop comprehensive policies to manage the risks of R&D commercialisation.

Finding the old in the new: on race and class in US charter school debates

A. Stambach and N.C. Becker

Race, Ethnicity and Education, vol.9, 2006, p.159-182

This article presents a case study of how political and social processes surrounding charter school formation can promote racial exclusion and class stratification. The analysis shows how charter schools can be used as vehicles to consolidate the interests of White, economically advantaged families within a racially diverse US school district. It illustrates how district administrators sometimes work in concert, although not always in unison, with parents whose views of schooling they do not necessarily share. In the case study presented here, wealthy White parents mobilise politically to get the charter school they want. In contrast, poor black families lack the resources needed to start a charter school of their own. District administrators, instead of supporting the African American families’ request, pursue the less risky path of trying to introduce Black students into the White dominated charter school.

From formulation to realisation: the process of Swedish reform in advanced vocational education

M. Lindell

Education + Training, vol.48, 2006, p.223-240

In 1996 the Swedish government introduced into the national training system a new form of tertiary vocational education: advanced vocational education (AVE). Starting as an experimental pilot project, AVE aimed to meet the continually changing demands of industry and commerce for skilled workers. AVE includes several innovative features. The courses are designed to offer active workplace-based learning within an educational context. Programmes are also developed through close co-operation between employers and training providers such as upper secondary schools, municipal adult education colleges, universities and commercial educators. In 2001, AVE became a permanent part of the Swedish continuing vocational training system. This study considers the complexities of planning and implementing this reform.

How university-based adult continuing education organisations have responded to Hong Kong’s changing educational needs since the 1997 transfer of sovereignty

C. S.-Y. Cheung and D. Pyvis

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.153-173

Prior to the 1997 transfer of sovereignty to China, the adult and continuing education sector had a marginal role in post-compulsory education provision. The situation changed when the Hong Kong government, seeking to promote lifelong learning and to transform Hong Kong into a knowledge-based society, determined that the sector had a key role to play in providing post-secondary educational opportunities to citizens. This paper reports findings from a recent qualitative study of how the university-based adult and continuing education sector has responded to the challenges of increased demand. The focus of the discussion is on the response strategies employed in the sector. The paper suggests that these fall into three broad categories: 1) building organisational strength; 2) programme planning and development; and 3) quality assurance.

The impact of institutional factors on student academic results: implications for “quality” in universities

K. Wimshurst and others

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.25, 2006, p.131-145

This article draws on a research project which aimed to investigate factors related to academic success and failure in the Faculty of Arts of an Australian university. The research reported in this paper presents evidence that the prospects for students being awarded particular grades were significantly determined by institutional factors such as the department that offered the course, the particular course they were doing and the year level of their enrolment. This paper addresses the implications of such inconsistencies in assessment outcomes at a time when Australian universities are conceived by policy makers as competitive entities in a market place shaped by consumer demand.

Inclusion of students who are deaf or hard of hearing: secondary school hearing students’ perspectives

H.-L. Hung and P.V. Paul

Deafness and Education International, vol.8, 2006, p.62-74

This paper examines the effect of contact related factors (contact experience, closeness and class norm) and demographic variables (class setting, grade level and gender) on hearing students’ attitudes to inclusion of deaf/hard of hearing peers in mainstream classrooms using self-reported survey data. Results confirm that the extent of hearing students’ contact with deaf peers influences their attitudes to inclusion.

Retaining non-traditional students: lessons learnt from Pasifika students in New Zealand

J. Benseman and others

Higher Education Research and Development, vol.25, 2006, p.147-162

As higher education in New Zealand has undergone extensive review processes, debate has centred on the need to both widen participation by under-represented groups and to retain non-traditional students through to graduation once recruited. This paper draws on a large scale study of factors which hinder and help the retention of Pasifika students in New Zealand tertiary education. Negative factors identified include student motivation and attitudes, family pressures, financial problems, lack of support services and language issues. Positive factors encouraging retention include availability of Pasifika staff, presence of role models at secondary school level, appropriate pedagogy and readily available information to support decision-making.

Systems analysis of the UAE education system

E. Gaad, M. Arif and F. Scott

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.20, 2006, p.291-303

This research analysed the coherence of the curriculum element of the education system of the United Arab Emirates in 2005, covering curriculum development, curriculum delivery and monitoring and evaluation. The Ministry of Education acknowledges a discontinuity between curriculum development and delivery, but is addressing the problem through use of more comprehensive teachers’ guides and training sessions. Teachers focus on delivering the content of the curriculum, without being aware of its underlying national and subject goals. Subject supervisors also focus on ensuring that content, rather than overall national goals, is delivered.

Vocational education institutions’ role in national innovation

G. Moodie

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.131-140

The role of vocational education institutions in most developed countries has been confined to providing the skilled workers needed by innovative industries. This paper argues that they could have a pivotal role in mediating between researchers and practitioners by encouraging the timely take up of research results and their adaptation to local needs.

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