Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2007): Education - overseas

Bright satanic mills: universities, regional development and the knowledge economy

A. Harding and others (editors)

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007

Recent years have seen a growing emphasis upon the need for universities to contribute to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the regions in which they are situated, and for closer links between the university and the region. This book considers the reasons for, and the implications of, the new relationship between universities and territorial development. Examining the complex interactions between the 'inner life' of the university and its external environment, it poses the question: 'Can the modern university manage the governance and balancing of these, sometimes conflicting, demands'? Against a backdrop of ongoing processes of globalization, there is growing recognition of the importance of sub-national development strategies - processes of regionalization, governmental decentralization and sub-national mobilization, that provide a context for universities to become powerful partners in the process of managing sub-national economic, social and environmental change. Allied to this, the continued evolution of the knowledge economy has freed up location decisions within knowledge-intensive industries, while paradoxically innovation in the production of goods and services has become still more 'tied' to locations that can nurture the human and intellectual capital upon which those industries rely. Thus cities and regions in which higher education services are concentrated have, or are thought to have, a competitive advantage.

Children's right to be educated for tolerance: minority rights and inclusion

S. Grover

Education and the Law, vol.19, 2007, p. 59-70

The Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 29 lays an obligation on states to provide an education that prepares a child for peaceful coexistence with various groups in the larger society. This means that states should provide for some level of educational integration between children from the dominant group and those from various minorities. Educational integration is essential to the child’s intellectual and spiritual development, but can be accomplished while retaining separate programmes aimed at preserving the language and culture of minority groups.

Claiming educational rights: citizenship, youth and cultural identities

F. Bhimji

Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, vol. 7, 2007, p. 104-120

Presents a case study of how a high school youth group campaigned against the state takeover of the Philadelphia school district and the privatisation of some Philadelphia schools. School officials had hired Edison Schools Inc to recommend how to fix the failing Philadelphia school system. Edison recommended the hiring of a private company to operate the district and that 60 low-performing schools should be run by private companies in partnership with community groups. The Philadelphia Student Union was one of the most vocal opponents of the change, organising rallies, community forums and other actions to contest it. In doing so, the high school activists demonstrated much civic knowledge and responsibility.

Decentralization of educational development reforms in Nigeria: a comparative perspective

P.O. Ikoya

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 45, 2007, p. 190-203

Following a period of centralisation of educational administration, a law was passed in Nigeria in 1988 delegating educational management functions to state, local, district and village education boards and committees. This study sought to provide empirical evidence of the extent of compliance with the law regarding establishment of education boards and committees. Data gathered from 1939 survey participants from the six geopolitical zones showed that:

  • Most principal structures for decentralised management functions were established for local, district and village boards and committees
  • Compliance with the decentralisation law was higher at local than district and village levels
  • Women, religious leaders, youths and village heads were inadequately represented on boards and committees.

Determinants of public education spending in 21 OECD democracies, 1980-2001

M.R. Busemeyer

Journal of European Public Policy, vol.14, 2007, p. 582-610

This article starts by reviewing and replicating Castles’ analysis of the determinants of public spending on education in OECD countries. While a replication of Castles’ cross-sectional regression yielded similar results, most of his explanatory variables did not hold up in a pooled time-series analysis. Consequently, an alternative model was proposed that included socio-economic, institutional and partisan variables. It was shown that the level of economic development, the share of the young population, the constitutional veto structure, the level of public social spending, and the degree of tax-revenue decentralisation are the core determinants of public education spending in OECD democracies. Government participation by conservative parties had an impact in the 1980s only.

The evolution of higher education rules: evidence for an ecology of law

A. van Witteloostuijn and G. de Jong

International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 73, 2007 p.235-274

Politicians have displayed a keen interest in the build-up of regulations and bureaucracies for some time. A case in point is the Netherlands, where the second Balkenende cabinet pledged to reduce the number of rules as one of its main policy initiatives. Using higher education legislation as a case study, this article attempts to evaluate the success of that policy by charting and explaining developments in the volume of regulations for the period 1986-2004. It concludes that there appears to be no evidence that rules are on the decline – in fact, they seem to be increasing. The authors also provide evidence for a so-called ecology of law, suggesting that the rules-breed-rules mechanism is difficult to bring to a halt.

Globalisation, lifelong learning and the learning society: sociological perspectives

P. Jarvis

London: Routledge, 2007

This book critically assesses the learning that is required and provided within a learning society and gives a detailed sociological analysis of the emerging role of lifelong learning with examples from around the globe. It examines how lifelong learning and the learning society have become social phenomena worldwide. It also argues that the driving forces of globalisation are radically changing lifelong learning and shows that adult education/learning only gained mainstream status because of these global changes. Divided into three clear parts the book:

  • looks at the development of the knowledge economy
  • provides a critique of lifelong learning and the learning society
  • focuses on the changing nature of research in the learning society.

Is academic freedom under threat in UK and US higher education?

D. Palfreyman

Education and the Law, vol. 19, 2007, p. 19-40

Academic freedom in the US and UK is likely to be threatened by: 1) government micro-management of universities; 2) commercial sponsorship of university research; 3) the rise of managerialism; 4) political correctness on the campus; and 5) by pressure from powerful donors or politicians. This article explores the degree to which academic freedom is also under threat from recent anti-terror legislation in the UK and the neo-conservative Academic Bill of Rights campaign in the US.

Overview of the adult literacy system in Ireland and current issues in its implementation

I. Bailey

Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, vol. 6, 2007, p. 197-239

Prior to 2000 Ireland had no national literacy policy and only a very small fund to cover minimal adult literacy services. By 2006/07 literacy was the top priority in national policy on further education. The change has been largely the outcome of the Irish results of the International Adult Literacy Survey carried out in 1995, which showed poor literacy skills among 25% of the adult population. This paper provides an overview of adult literacy in Ireland, beginning with its location in the Irish education system, and an outline of the key stakeholders involved. It traces the history of adult literacy policy and practice over the past 35 years and then describes the core services provided in Ireland today. It also highlights innovative work being carried out to meet the diverse needs of adult learners.

Quality of teaching in four European countries: a review of the literature and application of an assessment instrument

W. van de Grift

Educational Research, vol.49, 2007, p. 127-152

From 2002 the inspectorates of education in England, Flanders (Belgium), Lower Saxony (Germany) and the Netherlands have worked together to develop an instrument for use in evaluating the quality of learning and teaching in primary schools. This study shows that the quality of teaching in the four countries can be reliably and validly compared with regard to five variables: efficient classroom management, safe and stimulating learning climate, clear instruction, adaptation of teaching, and teaching-learning strategies. It was found that only a few percentage points of difference between teachers are due to differences existing in the four countries.

Students with disabilities participating in mainstream schools: policies that promote and limit teacher and therapist cooperation

H. Hemmingsson, A. Gustavsson and E. Townsend

Disability and Society, vol.22, 2007, p. 383-398

This study aimed to examine the participatory arrangements made for students with motor disabilities in mainstream education in Sweden and to explore teachers’ and therapists’ experiences of cooperation concerning these arrangements. Results showed that the organisational support required for professional cooperation was lacking, with the consequence that students with disabilities did not receive optimal participatory arrangements, ie adjustments intended to increase the accessibility to them of spaces and activities within the school. Participation was also understood quite differently by teachers and therapists. Differences in the behaviour, perspectives and perceived responsibilities of teachers and therapists appeared to be anchored in institutional and societal contexts, as well as being associated with the distribution of resources.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web