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Welfare reform on the Web (January 2007): Education - Overseas

A case of intention deficit disorder? ICT policy, disadvantaged schools and leaders

P. Thomson, H. Nixon and B. Comber

School Effectiveness and School Improvement, vol.17, 2006, p.465-482

Since the mid-1990s governments in the USA, Canada, Australia and England have promoted the need to produce an ICT skilled workforce in order to ensure national competitiveness. It has been assumed that education systems can be reorganised to produce computer literate citizens. This article points to some of the difficulties education systems face in assisting schools and their management teams to make these dreams come true, using South Australia as a case study. Problems facing schools include lack of funds and technical expertise, inadequate documentation and understanding of home and community ICT practices, significant variations in capacity, and delayed engagement with the implications for pedagogy and curriculum.

The educational benefits of diversity: the unfinished journey from “Mandate” in Brown to “Choice” in Grutter and Comfort

K.M. Brown

Leadership and Policy in Schools, vol.5, 2006, p.325-354

The landmark US Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v Board of Education in 1954 declared segregated schooling unconstitutional and ordered schools to desegregate. A second case, Grutter v Bollinger, involving the University of Michigan Law School, occurred in 2003. Here the Court held that law schools may consider an applicant’s race as a guiding factor in admissions in order to diversify the student body because diversity is desirable in its own right.

Gender and lifelong learning: critical feminist engagements

C. Leathwood and B. Francis (editors)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2006

The book examines issues of gender in relation to lifelong learning. Drawing on policy analysis and research in the UK, European and global arenas, it demonstrates the ways in which patterns of access to, participation in, and outcomes of lifelong learning reflect gender divisions and power relations. The discussion encompasses school, adult, community, further and higher education. The issues covered include gendered subject ‘choices’, reasons for non-participation and pedagogies of lifelong learning. A key theme throughout the book is a critique of neo-liberalism and of the dominance of economic rationales in shaping the concept of lifelong learning. The book, however, offers alternative visions, different possibilities and new ways of conceptualising and doing lifelong learning that might better reflect social justice concerns.

Higher vocational education in China: a preliminary critical review of developments and issues in Liaoning Province

G. R. Durden and G. Yang

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol.30, 2006, p.622-638

This paper focuses on the issues and problems confronting the higher vocational education (HVE) sector in Liaoning Province and their implications for central and local governments’ strategy for reviving the Northeast Industrial base. The strategy is to replace the region’s “rust-belt” industries with modern high technology and service industries. There is evidence that the Liaoning HVE system has made a positive contribution to the growth and development of the provincial economy over the period 1997-2003. Employment in the new economy is expanding in concert with this growth and there can be little doubt that the HVE system has played a positive role in achieving this outcome by providing graduates with the requisite skills. However the review also identified a number of serious problems in the operation of the HVE system that could impede continued economic growth. These include a low degree of market orientation, an insufficiency of resources both intellectual and physical, stemming from a chronic lack of investment, a relatively low level of overall cost-effectiveness and a poor image among the population at large.

Institutionally incorporated, symbolically un-remade: state reform of Chinese schools in postwar Singapore

T.-H. Wong
British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.27, 2006, p.633-650

After World War II, Singapore went through a process of decolonisation and the British authorities were keen to forge a local consciousness shared by all indigenous communities (Malay, Indian and Chinese). Within this context, the British perceived Chinese schools as unfavourable to nation-building and sought to replace them with English institutions. This move was met with fierce resistance from the Chinese. Finally the government was forced to accommodate Chinese schools as an integral part of the state education system. However successive regimes in Singapore were eager to ensure that the Chinese schools ceased promoting an alien identity. Their attempts to localise the curriculum of Chinese schools failed because, without an indigenous intellectual tradition, the authorities found it difficult to produce a genuinely local curriculum.

The new American school: preparation for post-industrial discipline

A. Kupchik and T. Monahan

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol.27, 2006, p.617-631

This article argues that trends towards mass incarceration and post-industrialisation find expression in current discipline and control regimes in US public education. Police are now routinely present on school grounds to enforce discipline. They interact with pupils on a daily basis, cultivate informants, spread an ambience of control and streamline the formal disciplinary process to efficiently usher pupils into the criminal justice system. Surveillance technologies are also in common use in schools. These expose pupils to constant monitoring, potentially socialising them to assume compliant subject positions within post-industrial society. Surveillance justifies shifts in authority and control away from teachers, parents or pupils and into the hands of administrators and police personnel.

Qualifying the workforce: the use of nationally recognised training in Australian companies

E. Smith and others

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol.30, 2006, p.592-607

This study of Australian enterprises was carried out in the second half of 2003 and early 2004 to gain a greater understanding of how and why firms use nationally-recognised training for their existing workers. Nationally-recognised training means training based on national training packages or courses that have been formally accredited through state or territory accreditation boards. The research found that nationally-recognised training had been adopted by more enterprises than expected in recent years and that firms were using training packages to support other human resource activities.

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