In many countries the most recent educational debates have been conducted in a context of alarm regarding the state of the economy and national competitiveness. Education has received much of the blame for relatively poor economic performance in respect to productivity, product quality and technical development.
The language of crisis and threats to national survival highlighted in reports such as The Nation at Risk reflects the concerns of politicians and policy makers operating in an economic context which has led governments to question the nature and cost of the existing educational services. There has been an increased demand for public accountability, which has driven the educational debate towards a redefinition of the main objectives and outcomes of education.
As a result, in some countries there has been an increasing emphasis on the centralised determination and monitoring of the outcomes of schooling, greater reliance on consumer preference, increased attention to standards without increases in budget allocation, and developments in national assessments and standardised testing with a focus on the cognitive outcomes of schooling.
While quality schooling can be considered in such instrumental terms, in a democratic society it cannot be separated from the nature of the curriculum and the extent of teacher and community participation in the determination of content and the manner of teaching and assessment. Quality cannot be considered simply in terms of efficiency - it involves consideration of what education is and for whom it is provided.
The recent national seminar on improving the quality of Australian schools, informed by the OECD Report Schools and Quality attempted to capture a range of attitudes and research on such issues. Improving the Quality of Australian Schools contains an edited collection of papers presented at this seminar including an international overview prepared by members of the OECD secretariat, the views of ministers active in educational reform, and analysis of researchers and administrators from universities, the ACER, Commonwealth and state government departments and the National Board of Employment, Education and Training.
ISBN 0 86431 086 2 Pages: 176
Price: $29.95 Release date: May 1991
|Please cite as: QIER (1991). New release: Improving the quality of Australian schools. Queensland Researcher, 7(3), 65-66. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr7/new-release.html|