Digital school and flipped learning: two Trojan viruses from educational liberalism

A broad coalition of self-proclaimed experts, adventurous educationalists and self-righteous economists have taken advantage of the Coronavirus crisis and the subsequent closure of schools...

Use and abuse of Vygotsky ‘s legacy

Vygotsky was a brilliant scientist in the twentieths of the past century ( 1898-1934) in Russia. As a psychologist he mainly devoted himself (...

Education and training, under the dictatorship of the labour market

Ever since the Lisbon Summit of 2000, the dominant conception of European education has been scaled down to the point where it is seen mainly as an instrument of economic policy. From time to time, other voices qualify this main idea: education systems should ensure ‘the personal, social and professional fulfilment of all citizens’ while ‘promoting democratic values, social cohesion, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue.’ (European Council 2012b: 393/5). But for the most part the ‘primary role’ of education and training as the ‘main engine of growth and competitiveness’ is not in question; nor is the ‘essential role that investments in human capital play in terms of an economy recovery based on job creation’ (European Council 2013:1).

Patterns of conflict in education

This paper was presented to the European Conference on Educational Research, Vienna 2009. The course of educational reform in England has been broader, deeper...

The marketisation of the school system in England

Under the new British government, marketisation and privatisation in the school system takes two forms. First, all schools will be able to become Academies: they gain more freedom over the curriculum and admissions and more control over staff because, being under private school legislation, they are not bound by national or local union agreements on pay and conditions. Secondly alternative providers - private organisations and groups of parents and teachers – will be allowed to open up so-called ‘free schools’, again outside local authorities and funded by government.

New forms of privatisation in the school system and the challenge for local democracy

In the global neo-liberal education policy market England has been both a major importer, especially from the United States, and an influential exporter of policy to the rest of the world. Now, in the context of the run-up to a general election in Britain, probably in May 2010, the Conservatives have unleashed a set of bold proposals for radically increased autonomy for schools. It is impossible to predict whether the Conservatives, led by David Cameron, will replace Labour under Gordon Brown as the next government. Their lead is small and there may be a hung Parliament, so it is also impossible to predict what agenda for education will emerge, but Conservative ideas are shaping the current debate in England, may continue to do so whatever the outcome of the election, and may also influence policy in other countries.

Another School Is Possible

Education was a thread amongst the many issues up for debate during the European Social Forum in London. One specific seminar claimed that “Another School Is Possible”. Ealing National Union of Teachers branch has sponsored the participation of US education-activist Bob Peterson at this session, and its secretary Nick Grant interviewed him about his work.

Education as a market: views from Africa

Over the last few years, a growing body of literature referring to the process of globalization/marketisation of education in developed countries has been published. Most often, economic determinism, whether considered from an orthodox or a critical point of view, is evoked to describe the evolution of education systems.
However, even though such a tendency seems relatively new in developed countries, this has long been the case as regards Third World countries. Consequently, a critical analysis of what has been happening there in this domain can shed light on what is happening in the North.
Examples of African countries are sometimes even especially illuminating because the ‘travelling concepts and policies’[[The definition of this concept refers both to the “agendas and discourses developed by international organizations such as WTO, the World Bank and the OECD” and to “management theory and economic policy ” applied to a special field, education in this particular case. (Jones & Alexiadou, 2001) ]] can evolve there more freely than elsewhere.

From Brussels to Lisbon

Since the end of the 80’s, the European education systems have been submitted to an unceasing flow of criticism and reforms: decentralisation, growing autonomy of the schools, deregulation of the programs, more attention to skills and less attention to knowledge, diverse partnerships between education and industry, massive introduction of Information and Communication Technology, fast development of private, for profit education. The resemblance between the education policies of various European — and more generally, industrialised — countries is far too strong to be a matter of chance or the caprice of some education ministers or pedagogic searchers. There have to be mighty common determinants and political forces, which sustain this common education policy.