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Welfare reform on the Web (September 2006): Education Overseas

An analysis of the academic performance of voucher students in the Opportunity Scholarship Program

R. Abella

Education and Urban Society, vol.38, 2006, p.406-418

Students enrolled in a school designated as failing are eligible to participate in the Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). Students attending schools which have received failing grades twice in four years can receive vouchers to attend a higher performing state school or apply for public funding to enrol in a private school. This research followed the academic progress of the 2002/03 cohort of students who participated in the OSP. Results showed that students participating in the OSP academically performed about the same as students attending failing schools across the two year period.

Business planning for the [sic] vocational education and training in Hong Kong

C.Y.P. Chan and others

Quality Assurance in Education, vol.14, 2006, p.268-276

Vocational education institutions in Hong Kong face increasing competition and marketisation. This paper presents a model aimed at helping institutions plan their business development in the face of marketisation. Vocational education institutions are in need of well-balanced business strategies for the pursuit of growth in the new economy. Planners should focus on the new objective of satisfying students’ needs for skills that will enhance their employability and on improving the course design process to increase their competitiveness in the market.

Collaborating in education for all? Experiences of government support for non-state provision of basic education in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

P. Rose

Public Administration and Development, vol.26, 2006, p.219-229

This article identifies examples of collaboration between government and non-state providers of education (NSPs) with respect to policy dialogue, regulation, facilitation and contracting with the intention of supporting pro-poor provision across five countries (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malawi, Nigeria and South Africa). In practice, there are few examples of governments proactively supporting pro-poor non-state provision of basic education. The most common government-initiated involvement with NSPs is found in the area of registration and regulation. More often, NSPs instigate engagement, either to mobilise resources or to influence policy. There are examples of NSPs forming coalitions or umbrella organisations to facilitate dialogue with the government. However, in many situations, the non-state sector operates independently of the government.

Creating a joint partnership: including Qallunaat teacher voices within Nunavik education policy

C. Mueller

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.16, 2006, p.429-447

There is a high turnover of Qallunaat (Southern) teachers working in Inuit communities which is having an adverse effect on the educational attainment of Inuit youth. This participatory action research project explored the experiences of Qallunaat teachers working in Inuit communities in the territory of Nunavik. Qallunaat teachers are outsiders in Inuit communities and are unclear about what is expected of them.  They represent a colonial power to the Inuit and are seen as threatening. The research explores how the teachers’ are locked into a colonial mindset which creates a social distance that prevents them from having access to relationships within the host community. It has direct implications for policy regarding the pre-service and in-service training and support of Qallunaat teachers.

The creation of contrasting education and training markets in England and New Zealand

R. Strathdee

Journal of Education and Work, vol.19, 2006, p.237-253

Politicians in England and New Zealand have linked skill development, qualifications frameworks, technical and scientific innovation and social inclusion. The idea is that frameworks will increase innovative capacity by driving up the quality of education and training. Qualifications frameworks have also increased consumer choice by opening up delivery of education and training to competing private and public sector providers. In theory, a few institutions can no longer dominate the provision of education and training because all accredited providers can offer courses linked to frameworks. The two governments have also attempted to drive up innovative capacity by encouraging the creation of networks linking knowledge generators to innovative firms. Incentives have been provided for universities to enter into research and development relationships with private companies.

Dilemmas in the formation of student identity in offshore higher education: a case study in Hong Kong

A. Chapman and D. Pyvis

Educational Review, vol.58, 2006, p.291-302

There has been strong growth in international student enrolment in offshore programmes offered by Australian universities, especially at the higher degree level. This research seeks to understand the experience of students enrolled in an Ed.D programme offered by an Australian university in partnership with a local provider in Hong Kong. Students on the course faced dilemmas in relation to: 1) developing a sense of belonging to a remote institution; 2) coping with course demands in an already pressured lifestyle; 3) developing a rapport with their supervisors; and 4) cultural differences in teaching and learning styles.

Does parental participation in schools empower or strain civil society? The case of community-managed schools in Central America

J. Corrales

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.450-470

Community-managed schools are public schools administered by local parents rather than by state-appointed officials. In Latin America they emerged in various Central American nations and in parts of Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia in the 1990s. Community-managed schools are predicated on the idea that by empowering and engaging civil society (in this case communities of parents) in public policy delivery (in this case education management), the quantity and quality of public policy improve. This article reviews existing literature on community-managed schools in Central America to gauge whether this type of experiment has met, or has the capacity to meet, the dual goals of empowering civil society and improving public policy.

Education and sustainable development: a political analysis

S. Gough and W. Scott

Educational Review, vol.58, 2006, p.273-290

This article critically examines a range of perspectives on the relationship between education, politics and sustainable development:

  • Segments - focuses on understanding the nature of sustainable development. Education is seen as one means to this end
  • Technocratic - focuses on specific problems of sustainable development that can be addressed piecemeal within existing political structures using appropriate technical expertise. Education and training can equip people with the necessary expertise.
  • Paradigm shift - sustainable development requires a revolution in the way we live. Education can facilitate this process.
  • Task-based - focuses on continuing human action and how this relates to sustainable development. Such action may be environmental, social or educative, and may be encouraged or discouraged by policy.
  • Globalization - subsumes education and sustainable development within a wider political discourse. Education can make a contribution to debates.
  • Metaphorical - conclusions about politics, education and sustainable development are reached on the basis of metaphorical understanding. Education can help people appreciate the subtleties of such reasoning.
  • Pragmatic - individuals who have no choice but to act in the here-and-now may be influenced primarily by expediency, indifference, or opportunism or by commitment and enthusiasm. Education can help people understand such processes.

Effective early reading instruction and inclusion: some reflections on mutual dependence

R. Savage

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.347-361

The author argues that the ability to read is key to genuinely inclusive education, and that almost all children can be taught to read without expensive one-to-one tuition or small group work. Instead, accumulated early reading research evidence suggests that a highly structured approach should be used with the whole class, with no segregation of poor readers whatsoever. Such approaches raise the performance of both good and poor readers. Teaching all children to read is vital for the creation of genuine equality of opportunity.

A European skills framework? - but what are skills? Anglo-Saxon versus German concepts

L. Clarke and C. Winch

Journal of Education and Work, vol.19, 2006, p.255-269

The European Union Lisbon Agreement of 2000 set in motion a process tending towards the harmonisation of vocational qualifications within the EU. This involves not the construction of a common EU vocational framework, but a method of comparison of different national vocational qualification frameworks. This paper examines the English concept of skill and searches in vain for its German equivalents. The term “qualification” is also differently understood in English from the German “Qualifikation”. The implication is that if such wide disparity of meaning is evident for just two systems then considerable difficulties confront attempts to apply a European skills comparator.

General staff experience in the corporate university

J. Szekeres

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol.28, 2006, p.133-145

This study presents the results of qualitative research on the experiences of administrative staff in Australian universities. It explores how their work has been affected by the increasing commercialisation of universities, by efficiency drives, and by restructuring, downsizing and business process re-engineering. Most participants reported experiencing at least one of the following in the past ten years: an increase in stress, intensification of work, reduced resources and increased expectations.

Greek teachers’ belief systems about disability and inclusive education

A. Zoniou-Sideri and A. Vlachou

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.379-394

The aim of this paper is to begin a discussion concerning the role, function and importance of beliefs and their associated assumptions in the process of promoting or hindering more inclusive educational practices. A survey of a sample of Greek teachers showed that they hold a range of restrictive and conflicting beliefs about disability and inclusive education. They believed inclusive education to be necessary as a means of improving the way that an ordinary school functions and reducing the marginalisation of disabled people. At the same time, they believed that special segregated education is important as a means of providing a secure and protected environment for disabled children and as a way of covering a number of ordinary education’s deficiencies. The study also revealed that more than half of the teachers, at all levels, did not have any experience of educating disabled children in ordinary classes, that teachers are quite confused about the meaning of inclusive education, and that a number believed inclusion to be the result of external European influences and directives.

HECS and HECS-HELP: equity issues

E.R. Birch and P.W. Miller

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol.28, 2006, p.97-119

The Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) was introduced in Australia in 1989. Under this scheme domestic students were expected to pay a proportion of the cost of their university course. The remainder of the costs were met by government. Students’ contributions could be deferred until after they graduated or paid upfront. Students who chose to pay upfront received a 15% discount on their HECS liability. In 2003 this system was replaced by a Higher Education Loans Programme known as HECS-HELP and universities were allowed to increase contributions required from students by up to 25%. This study of the distribution of upfront HECS payments and deferred debts shows that students from rich families are far more likely to pay upfront than those from less favourable backgrounds. Students from poor families emerge from university with debts of Australian $20,000 - 30,000. Consequently they will have lower after tax earnings until their debt is paid.

Impact of a multipronged approach to inclusion: having all partners on side

V. Timmons

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.469-480

The educational system in Canada is under provincial control. There is no national ministry of education or any federal power to dictate education policy. However, by the late 1980s mainstreaming and integration came to be seen as the right way to educate children with disabilities in Canada, with all provinces developing their own policies towards inclusive education. This article presents a case study of the efforts of the province of Prince Edward Island to implement inclusive education practices, emphasising the importance of committed partners.

Inclusive education in India: international concept, national interpretation

N. Singal

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, vol.53, 2006, p.351-369

Although the government of India is committed to provision of education for all children, the country has the highest absolute number of children not in school in the world. Children belonging to certain groups such as girls, those from religious, linguistic or ethnic minorities and those with disabilities are most likely to be marginalised in the education system. Although moves have gathered pace over the past ten years to educate children with disabilities within the mainstream system, the focus is still on the child and his/her deficits. This is reflected in the paramount role accorded to experts who determine the suitability of a child to enter a mainstream or special school. In parallel with moves towards integration, India has also seen a large expansion in special schools for disabled pupils in the last decade.

Inclusive school community: why is it so complex?

S. Carrington and R. Robinson

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.323-334

Based on theory and recent professional experience in Queensland, Australia, the authors offer four guiding principles to support the development of a more inclusive school community: 1) develop a professional learning community of teachers incorporating a critical friend; 2) value and collaborate with parents and the broader community; 3) engage students as citizens in school review and development; and 4) support teachers’ critical engagement with inclusive ideals and practices.

Learning from mistakes: creating a new spirit for a democratic school system in South Africa

J. de Klerk and G. Zecha

Learning for Democracy, vol.2, June 2006, p.31-43

The post-Apartheid government in South Africa has sought to democratise the classroom, transform the Apartheid curriculum and make sure that children are active participants in their own learning. The new approach to content, teaching methods and assessment involved the adoption of outcomes-based education, and the new curriculum policy document, Curriculum 2005. However this model was imposed by central government and critical voices have been silenced. Policy mistakes are not acknowledged, and so little is being learnt from the mistakes that are being made.

Modernization of Indonesian Islamic schools’ curricula 1945-2003

M. Zuhdi

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.415-427

When Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945, Islamic schools were left outside of the national secular education system. The situation changed in 1975 when a joint decree signed by the ministers of education, religious affairs and internal affairs proposed the installation of a national curriculum in all madrasahs (religious day schools). In 1976 the Ministry of Religious Affairs redesigned the curriculum of madrasahs to comprise 30% religious instruction and 70% non-religious subjects, including languages, maths, natural sciences, art and the national ideology. More recently middle-class Muslim families have begun sending their children to religious schools. This has forced Islamic schools to change their educational goals from producing clerics to producing students with a good understanding of science as well as a commitment to religious life.

Promoting access to higher education and identifying access students: how useful is research on widening participation by socio-economic group?

J. Bernard

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol.16, 2006, p.19-35

In Ireland, the term “widening access” is normally used to mean increasing the number of socio-economically disadvantaged students in higher education. Through an analysis of the conclusions and impact of research by Patrick Clancy and Philip O’Connell, the author considers the relationship between access research, policy and practice. The article shows how the depth of the relationship between this research on participation by socio-economic group and policy contributed to the promotion of access for disadvantaged students but also contributed to the development of a narrow conception of disadvantage in relation to access to higher education.

Promoting inclusive practices in primary schools in Cyprus: empowering pupils to build supportive networks

M. Nicolaidou, A. Sophocleous and H. Phtiaka

European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol.21, 2006, p.251-267

Inclusive education remains under-developed in Cyprus and in the past has not received much attention from the government. The authors describe a project to move away from separatism and facilitate inclusive practices in a school in urban Cyprus through the development of a social inclusion network, whereby non-SEN and SEN pupils would come together and experience closer relationships. It was also hoped that the project would revive the school’s internal capacities for improvement. The project team consisted of ten pupil-researchers (aged 11), three teacher co-ordinators and a researcher from the University of Cyprus. The pupils were trained in research methods and together planned and designed the action for change to be undertaken during the project.

Strengthened adapted education for all: no more special education?

K. Nes and M. Stromstad

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.363-378

This paper presents some of the proposals of a committee whose mandate was to review basic education in Norway and discusses reactions to these proposals. It focuses on a suggestion to replace the right to extra resources earmarked for special education for individual students with an improved legal right to adapted education for all.

Turf and tension: psychiatric and inclusive communities servicing students referred for emotional and behavioural difficulties

N.L. Heath and others

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol.10, 2006, p.335-346

Little progress has been made in including children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in mainstream schools. This article introduces the work of the Family School Support and Treatment Team in Quebec which attempts to facilitate the inclusion of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in their neighbourhood schools. The Team makes available psychiatric and psychological services to schools in an attempt to enhance staff understanding of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties using an ecosystemic model while simultaneously supporting the children and their families.

Youth as a bridge between home and school: comparing student voice and parent involvement as strategies for change

D.L. Mitra

Education and Urban Society, vol.38, 2006, p.455-480

This article analyses efforts to increase parent involvement and student voice among low-income Mexican American families at a large comprehensive high school. Although the parent involvement initiative ultimately failed, the students developed their own programmes to help support Latino youth and their families, including a bilingual tutoring project and a translation service for families needing to communicate with the school.

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