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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



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
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
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
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
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
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
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