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

Children's access to pre-school education in Bangladesh

S.R. Nath and K. Sylva

International Journal of Early Years Education, vol. 15, 2007, p. 275-295

There is a pressing need to increase access to pre-school education in developing countries so that disadvantaged children are prepared for formal learning and develop the key skills needed for employment and participation in society. Pre-school education is not required in Bangladesh although five years of primary education is compulsory. However, kindergartens and English-medium schools have been providing pre-school education for a long time, and some government primary schools have introduced pre-school programmes as a result of demand from parents. This paper explores children's access to pre-school education in Bangladesh by examining trends and socio-economic differentials through a secondary analysis of the Education Watch database.

Community college growth opportunities: untapped potential in America's heartland

T.J. Rephann

Growth and Change, vol. 38, 2007, p.443-459

Over 1,100 two-year public institutions have been established in the U.S. which enroll almost two-fifths of all students in postsecondary education. However, some parts of the country may not be adequately served by these educational institutions despite demand and supply indicators that indicate future growth potential in the sub-baccalaurate educational market. This paper examines the geographical, demographic and economic characteristics of counties that host community colleges. It finds that community college access is uneven. A multiple regression analysis reveals several correlates with community college location and identifies counties where opportunities may exist to 'seed' additional colleges.

Doing 'it' differently: relinquishing the disease and pregnancy prevention focus in sexuality education

L. Allen

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 28, no. 5. (September 2007) p.575-588

Despite policy provision enabling sexuality education to address more than disease and pregnancy prevention, this focus continues to permeate many school programmes in New Zealand. This paper questions the danger prevention emphasis in sexuality education, examines schools' investment in it and asks how useful it is. The ways this kind of sexuality education may inhibit the reduction of 'negative' sexual outcomes and fail to support young people's sexual well-being is explored. The author suggests sexuality education might be conceptualised without this danger prevention emphasis and draws on Foucault's work around an ethics of pleasure as one example of how the objectives of sexuality education might be re-envisaged.

Early years education in Pakistan: trends, issues and strategies

Z. N. Hunzai

International Journal of Early Years Education, vol. 15, 2007, p. 297-309

This article describes current early years education provision in Pakistan. Many government primary schools run katchi (pre-primary) classes for children aged three to five. Generally, children in katchi classes are included as part of the primary school and no special provision is made for them. Mathematics, English and Urdu are the three main subjects, and are taught entirely by rote and repetition. More emphasis is laid on writing (copying from the blackboard) and memorising than on any other form of learning. Teachers have a Primary Teaching Certificate but little training in early years work or child development. Hygiene, drinking water, latrine and other facilities are often basic. There is an urgent need for action to improve the situation and implement government policy.

Educating all children: a global agenda

J. E. Cohen, D. E. Bloom, and M. B. Malin (editors)

Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2006

Access to education increased enormously in the past century, and higher proportions of people are completing primary, secondary, or tertiary education than ever before. But efforts to universalize the provision of high-quality schooling face major problems. The book considers the challenges of achieving universal basic and secondary education globally. The contributors discuss the current state of education and how to measure global educational progress, the history of compulsory education, political and financial obstacles to expanding education, the role of educational assessment and evaluation in developing countries, cost estimates for providing universal education (and why they differ so widely), the potential consequences of expanded global education, and the relationship between education and health. The research suggests that achieving universal primary and secondary education is both urgently needed and feasible, but the international community needs to commit the necessary economic, human, and political resources.

From elite university to mass higher education: educational expansion, equality of opportunity and returns to university education

O. Kivinen, J. Hedman and P. Kaipainen

Acta Sociologica, vol.50, 2007, p. 231-247

A basic aim of the egalitarian education policies typical of Nordic welfare states is to ensure that educational attainment is dependent not on family background but on personal effort and choice. Drawing on Finnish census data, this article examines changes in inequality of educational opportunity and labour market returns to graduates over the course of three decades. In three decades the odds ratios for differences in participation in university education between those from acaemic and non-academic families have shrunk from 19 to 8; men's ratios from 32 to 9 and women's from 13 to 6. These figures show that inequality of educational opportunity has clearly diminished but not disappeared. Nevertheless, Finnish higher education has changed from being an elite system favouring the male offspring of academic families to a mass system, with the majority of students being women. The differences in relative returns to university graduates (academic vs. non-academic background) were minimal for those born in 1946,.whereas in the next generation they were threefold in favour of graduates from academic homes.

Higher education and civic engagement: international perspectives

L. McIlrath and I. Mac Labhrainn (editors)

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007

The book provides an original contribution to debates about the civic purpose of higher education. It suggests that universities can best realize their civic mission by making it central to their policy and practice. Bringing together researchers from three continents, the book offers an international perspective based primarily upon first-hand pedagogical experience. A transatlantic overview of the purpose, place and practice of one such pedagogy is provided and its potential as a foundation for civic engagement assessed. In its last section the book moves from the theory of citizenship to practical considerations. In doing so, the book offers advice on establishing civic engagement to all those involved in teaching and learning within higher education.

How competency-based training locks the working class out of powerful knowledge: a modified Bernsteinian analysis

L. Wheelahan

British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 28, 2007, p.637-651

This paper argues that competency-based training in vocational education and training in Australia is one mechanism through which the working class is denied access to powerful knowledge represented by the academic disciplines. The paper presents a modified Bernsteinian analysis to argue that vocational education and training students need access to disciplinary knowledge using Bernstein's argument that abstract, conceptual knowledge is the means societies use to think 'the unthinkable' and the 'not-yet-thought'. The author supplements Bernstein's social argument for democratic access to the disciplines with an epistemic argument that draws on the philosophy of critical realism.

Multicultural e-learning project and comparison of teachers', student teachers' and pupils' perceptions about e-learning

M. Orly

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, vol. 1, 2007, p.178-191

The purpose of this paper is to describe a special multicultural project in e-learning in Israel, in which student teachers experienced the planning, implementation and receiving of feedback on computerised teaching of children from diverse multicultural groups. The research examined what e-learning is according to a sample of 130 respondents from diverse cultural backgrounds in three groups: teachers, pupils and student teachers. The results suggest that in most areas, significant differences were found between the perception of teachers, pupils and student teachers. The author concludes that teachers and student teachers should know what their pupils think of e-learning and should consider it in order to inform their design and implementation of online projects.

Policy curriculum and the struggle for change. Part 3

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol. 17, 2007, p.195-327

This special issue examining policy, curriculum and the struggle for change. Among the featured articles are papers exploring change in post-compulsory education and training in the UK; twenty years of curricular reform in Spanish universities; hegemonic struggles over national identity in post-colonial Hong Kong; policy and curriculum within a European Cyprus; low academic attainment among the UK's Black Caribbean community; and the current policy interest in pupil involvement in school decision-making in the UK.

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