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APEC SUMMIT ON EDUCATION REFORM STRIKING BALANCE:SHARING EFFECTIVE PRACTICE FROM EAST AND WEST. Review of Governance and Systemic Reform in Education . 12 January 2004. Governance Reform in Education. CONTEXT 21 ST Century Skills

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12 January 2004

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Review of Governance and Systemic Reform in Education

12 January 2004

Governance Reform in Education

CONTEXT 21ST Century Skills

Both East and West – good effective governance structures underpin and support education policy and program delivery for improved education outcomes – underpins maths and science, languages, ICT and teacher quality issues etc

Addition to Skills list – entrepreneurial skills, skills in getting a job; and learning how to learn continuously over lifetime

Key Research Findings

  • Governance structures are based on historical, economic, political, legal and cultural systems

  • Decentralisation may not equal real reform and will not by itself lead to improved outcomes, complex

  • Decentralisation/centralisation debate may distract from important reform issues

  • Rationale for reform may differ across East/West with East driven by pragmatism West by ideology but in reality both driven by practical issues, eg resource constraints, improved quality

  • Convergence as both east and west move towards a middle ground of mix of centralisation/decentralisation

  • Reform strategies must be bedded in research, contemporary issues and cultural and political contexts for success

  • Reform is difficult, needs to be confidence in improved outcomes, is long term

Current Policy Reforms and Progress

Some economies are decentralising others recentralising

.Policies to increase local community and other stakeholder involvement

  • To address equity and access

  • Introducing national assessment, standards and accountability frameworks

  • Improving teaching quality

  • Higher education reform – funding/expansion/international competitiveness


  • Government structures and culture may be incompatible with decentralisation and other aspects of reform

  • Need to balance local autonomy with national goals and aims

  • Local infrastructure and resources may not be adequate for devolution to result in positive change

  • How to address major changes in demographic and economic shifts eg rise in higher ed enrolments, closing of schools, industry shifts

  • Balancing the drive for excellence in education with the need to support access and equity for all

  • Ensuring changes in government structures are based on real transfers of skills, resources and infrastructure

  • How do governance structures affect and how can they improve teaching quality

Promising Practices

  • Empowerment of schools – community involvement eg Maori schools in New Zealand

  • Comprehensive school leadership training eg principal training Hong Kong and Singapore

  • Access and equity strategies eg Chile

  • Teacher support and training programs eg China

  • Different levels of government working together to achieve outcomes

  • eg Australia and Japan

  • Access and equity through providing multiple pathways in education

  • eg New Zealand

  • School development and accountability framework eg Hong Kong and Singapore

  • Flexible learning, lifelong learning strategies eg Thailand

  • Curriculum development eg China

Recommendations for Ministers

  • Economies need:

  • Capacity building at the individual, local and central levels

  • Life long learning – expansion of learning opportunities for all age groups including adults

  • Building on local strengths using local culture and knowledge while developing new strengths

  • Appropriate levels of resourcing

  • Recognition that teachers in 21st century have changing role

  • Strengthening of ties between schools and local communities


  • Investigate benefits of new public and private partnerships eg UK, or industry support

  • Promote school networking among national and international levels and regions and different kinds of schools

  • Anticipate demographic and economic changes

  • Find ways to pursue excellence in education while balancing access and equity issues

  • Encourage governments to work cooperatively with stakeholders eg labour groups in Chile

Higher Education Reform

  • Introduction of improved quality assurance frameworks eg accreditation and assessment systems

  • Greater transparency in management of universities and setting of standards

  • Increasing need for qualifications recognition to improve student mobility

Research agenda

  • Effects of competition and collaboration within systems

  • Outcomes of school networking programs

  • Outcomes of reform moves within cultural context

  • How has community involvement worked?

  • School based management in eastern economies

  • Examples of leadership teacher programs that work

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