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Welfare reform on the Web (February 2007): Education - overseas

Abstinence-only education: politics, science and ethics

J.S. Santelli

Social Research, vol.73, 2006, p.835-858

This paper attacks US federal government support for “abstinence only” sex education on the grounds that it is ineffective, coercive and suppresses information about contraception and other aspects of sexual health maintenance. It also presents evidence that the government has attempted to silence opponents of “abstinence only” education and has used unsound pseudo-scientific analyses to demonstrate its positive effects.

Are university students really customers? When illusion may lead to delusion for all!

G. Svensson and G. Wood

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.21, 2007, p. 17-28

In the marketing literature it is constantly argued that the marketing executive should pay attention to customers’ needs and wants in order to achieve successful business relationships. This approach is often referred to as “the marketing concept”. This idea has been adopted by universities who define themselves as suppliers of knowledge to student customers. This article questions the appropriateness of defining students as customers.

The challenges of affirmative action in Tanzanian higher education institutions: a case study of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

A. Lihamba, R. Mwaipopo and L. Shule

Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 29, 2006, p.581-591

This article explores the impact of affirmative action programmes on female student enrolment at the University of Dar es Salaam. The discussion focuses on three major affirmative action programmes, pre-entry remedial teaching for girls, preferential admission criteria for female students, and scholarships. These affirmative action programmes have succeeded in increasing female enrolment generally and in traditionally male-dominated subjects such as engineering, medicine, chemistry and physics specifically.

Changing the system of student support in Norway: were policy goals met?

V. Opheim
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol.28, 2006, p.277-287

Student finance in Norway is distributed through the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. All students enrolled in higher education are eligible for financial support, which since 2002 has been distributed in the form of repayable loans. However, portions of the student loan may be converted into a non-repayable grant depending on two factors: academic progress and the student’s own income and assets. This article uses data from before and after the reform of 2002 to investigate the impact of the changes. The findings reveal a considerable increase in the resources spent on student support and a rise in the number of recipients. The relative increase has been particularly marked among part-time and mature students.

The conflict within: resistance to inclusion and other paradoxes in special education

D.J. Connor and B.A. Ferri

Disability and Society, vol.22, 2007, p.63-77

The US Education of All Handicapped Children Act passed in 1975 mandated a “free and appropriate education for all handicapped children”. However, the majority of children with disabilities continued to be taught in segregated settings. Beginning in the late 1980s, an increasing number of parents demanded that their disabled children be put in mainstream classes. Emotionally charged debates about the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream general education classrooms ensued. This paper looks at the public debates over inclusion.

Disabilities and inclusive practices within Toronto preschools

I. Killoran, D. Tymon and G. Frempong

International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 11, 2007, p.81-95

This study explores how practices within preschools in Toronto include or exclude children with disabilities from schooling. Directors of 354 licensed preschools in Toronto were interviewed about the inclusion of children with disabilities in their centres. Analysis revealed that only 2.4% of the pupils in these centres were identified as having a disability. The majority of directors stated that they would turn away a child because of a disability. The analysis also reveals a large number of centres that are not currently able to provide special needs services are not directly operated by the Ministry of Education. With staff development and funding, these centres have the potential to provide services for children with disabilities.

Empowering consumers: the creative procurement of school meals in Italy and the UK

K. Morgan and R. Sonnino

International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol.31, 2007, p.19-25

In order to understand the scope for, and limits to, the development of school meal systems that empower consumers by building their capacity to eat healthily, this paper compares two very different socio-cultural environments of food choice and public procurement: Italy and the UK. While in Italy the dominant political, regulatory and cultural context explicitly encourages the implementation of pro-active public sector catering policies that prioritise local and organic foods, in the UK the numerous initiatives that are currently seeking to integrate sustainability criteria into food procurement in schools still have to confront an uncertain regulatory environment in which local sourcing is perceived to be risky and possibly illegal. These divergent national approaches to public food procurement represent different interpretations of an ambiguous European macro-regulatory context, which is shaped by both an old philosophy of free trade and emerging ideals of sustainability.

Does expansion mean inclusion in Nigerian higher education?

A. Odejide, B. Akanji and K. Odekunle

Women’s Studies International Forum, vol.29, 2006, p.552-561

This article explores gender equity issues relating to access, curriculum transformation and staff development within the faculties of technology and agriculture at the University of Ibadan. It concludes that, while gender is not on the agenda of the university, university life is a highly gendered experience. Women’s access to the Faculty of Technology is limited because of poor preparation at school, societal expectations about appropriate careers for women, and a male dominated institutional culture. Affirmative action is perceived as discriminatory and is not used. The agriculture curriculum is not gender mainstreamed because of limited knowledge and expertise, bureaucracy in curriculum change, poor pedagogy and the prevalent negative attitudes to gender issues. In the field of staff development, family responsibilities prevented female academics from publishing, attending conferences and accessing staff training programmes.

From separation to integration: parental assessment of state intervention

H. Phtiaka

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol.16, 2006, p.175-189

Legislation came into force in Cyprus in 2001 giving children with special needs the right to be educated in their local mainstream school. This study uses data from interviews with parents to explore their views on the implementation of the legislation. Parents said that children with special needs could be isolated in mainstream schools, experiencing rejection by peers and their teachers. They felt that the curriculum was too inflexible and needed to be adapted more for special needs children. Home-school relations were often strained, and parents called for more support.

Gender and the transformation agenda in South African higher education

L. Shackleton, S. Riordan and D. Simonis

Women’s Studies International Forum, vol.29, 2006, p.572-580

South African government policy following the fall of Apartheid envisions the transformation of higher education into a non-racist and non-sexist system. A detailed study of different aspects of gender equity in a historically white, advantaged institution highlights some of the challenges involved in achieving this change. One component of the study looked at initiatives which have increased the proportion of women students entering the Engineering Faculty over a number of years. While transformation of the student body has been relatively successful, there has been less success in transforming the gender and racial composition of the staff. A second component of the study looked at initiatives aimed at achieving greater gender equity among staff and found that little effort is put into programmes that might bring about change.

Gender mainstreaming in the university context: prospects and challenges at Makerere University, Uganda

J.C. Kwesiga and E.N. Ssendiwala

Women’s Studies International Forum, vol.29, 2006, p.592-605

Using Makerere University as a case study, this article demonstrates that gender mainstreaming is a practicable strategy for transforming an institution. The Makerere University gender mainstreaming model is a combination of both academic and institutional interventions. There is both a vibrant academic Department of Women and Gender Studies and a Gender Mainstreaming Division which strengthen the Gender Mainstreaming Programme. The Programme has the official recognition of the University’s governing council and tentacles in its lower organs. A large number of male staff and students at various levels are involved.

Governance models of university systems: towards quasi-markets? Tendencies and perspectives: towards a European comparison

T. Agasisti and G. Catalano

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol.28, 2006, p.245-262

This article examines, from a theoretical viewpoint, possible market models of higher education systems, looking at the role of the central government and the autonomy of universities. Results show a tendency towards quasi-market forms in which: 1) universities are granted more organisational and financial autonomy; 2) the state remains the main financier of the system and regulator of prices and quality in the institutions; and 3) competition is stimulated through formula-based or contract-based financial mechanisms, in which student numbers are of great importance.

Higher education and the general [lack of] agreement on trade in services: from Doha to Hong Kong and beyond

T. Birtwistle

Education and the Law, vol.18, 2006, p.295-307

This article explores where higher education fits under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It concludes that higher education is a hybrid, manifesting some characteristics of a commercial body and some characteristics of a public body. It therefore cannot be classified in any satisfactory way under GATS.

Introduction to international education: international schools and their communities

M. Hayden

London: Sage, 2006

The book starts of by explaining what it means to be an international school and goes on to explore a range of issues relating to the different communities with which they are associated: the parents who send their children to these schools, the students who attend them, the teachers and administrators who work in them, and the Boards which oversee them. Further chapters cover the curriculum and a number of external factors that impinge on them. The final chapter considers the future role of international schools and how they might develop as the twenty-first century progresses.

Legalizing education: the role of law in the regulation and deregulation of China’s private education

S.-Y. Pan and W.-W. Law

Education and the Law, vol.18, 2006, p.267-282

This article explores the role of law in shaping private education in the People’s Republic of China since the 1980s. It argues that the use of legislation to shape private education exhibits the co-existence of two functions of law - the regulation and deregulation of new practices and relationships in educational reform. Regulation refers to the establishment of state rules on the management and operation of private schools and enhances the power of the state to direct private education into an acceptable development track. It emphasises the government’s power over private education and the subordination of private education to government. Deregulation refers to the establishment of a legal framework that requires both private schools and the government to behave in accordance with the law and promotes the development of new practices that are acceptable to all stakeholders. Instead of restricting, it protects the rights of private schools.

Quantitative and qualitative dimensions of gender equity in Sri Lankan higher education

C. Gunawardena and others

Women’s Studies International Forum, vol.29, 2006, p.562-571

Progressive education policies in Sri Lanka have ensured equal access to higher education for women in purely numerical terms. However, despite parity in numbers, women’s overall involvement in university life is severely limited by social constraints. Women students hardly participate in any extra-curricular activities, engage in politics, or get involved in decision-making bodies such as the Students’ Union. This article explores reasons why increased access in numerical terms has not succeeded in empowering women in higher education, either as students or staff.

Special education and the risk of becoming less educated

J.J.W. Powell

European Societies, vol.8, 2006, p.577-599

The level of academic attainment expected of young adults rose steadily during the twentieth century. Consequently, more pupils who did not learn quickly enough were referred to compensatory special education programmes. Special education currently offers assistance to a heterogeneous group of children with social, ethnic, linguistic, physical and intellectual disadvantages. An increasing proportion of children leaving school without qualifications participate in special education programmes. Cross-national comparisons of special education in European countries show significant variations in SEN classification rates, learning opportunities provided, and levels of academic attainment. In order to evaluate the impact of pressure to raise educational standards, this article compares the German two-track educational system of general and special schools with the American multi-track system, a continuum ranging from special schools to inclusive classrooms. The findings underline national differences in SEN definitions, inclusion ideologies, and institutionalised learning opportunity structures.

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