ΤΕΥΧΟΣ 5

ΤΕΥΧΟΣ 5

ISSSUE 5

Autumn 2005

EDITORIAL

Α. Kazmias, D. Matthaiou

CONTENTS

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the limits and the potential of the “Open Method of Coordination” (OMC), as it was articulated in the context of the European Union policies in the 90s and, particularly, as it has been stated in the Lisbon Strategy Action Program “Education and Training 2010”.

The basic interpretative premises of our approach are: The OMC represents a modern version of the “comparative argument” in the European educational space and it is directly linked with the construction of the “regime of truth” and the “discursive formation” of the “Europe of Knowledge”. The OMC as a mediating process of the power – knowledge relationship at the European level, is linked with the control of national education policy planning in view of the construction of the European education space. Finally, OMC as a political and social “ideal type” is a basic instrument of the technocrats / professionals for the articulation of modern “technologies” (participation, assessment, surveillance) and the introduction of new “panopticisms” in education.

The text examines OMC as “comparative argument”, it attempts to clarify the “regime of truth” which established it and it investigates aspects of OMC as a “learning” policy, as a “gaze” practice, as a “surveillance” technology and as a model of “governance” in the European Union.

The issue of cross-curricularity or cross curricular themes (CTC’s) is continuously being given extra attention in the contemporary educational discourse. In Greece cross-curricularity is a dominant parameter in the new Cross Thematic Curriculum (CTC) which has been published by the Hellenic Pedagogical Institute (HPI) in 2003. New educational material (textbooks and software) is being currently prepared for the implementation of this educational change. The core argument of the policy actors involved in the Greek curriculum reform is that this particular innovative change is a good curricular practice that would contribute to the further modernization of the compulsory schooling in Greece. It is also claimed that this intervention is based on the Greek educational context as well as on the European educational policy.

In this paper we perform text analysis to the new Greek Cross Thematic Curriculum Framework and Syllabus Design (CTC) for compulsory education, within which there is the innovative programme of “The Flexible Zone” (at least two teaching hours per week during which students and teachers work on projects the themes of which they choose). For reasons of comparison we extend the specific analysis to the National Curriculum for England and Wales text. These curriculum texts are treated as policy texts that introduce important changes in the school practice, mainly through the adoption of a specifically defined cross-curricular approach to syllabus design. The literature on effective curriculum design is reviewed and used as a framework for the construction of the discursive categories along which the analysis is performed and the comparisons are made. These categories are summarized as follows:

Basic historical and organizational issues of the curricula in each country with emphasis on those used to promote change in education.

The arguments used towards the introduction of the cross- curricular approach.

The identification of the concept of cross- curricularity in the texts.

The way that cross-curricular approaches are applied (systematic planning, variety, degrees of freedom and promotion of teacher and student initiative etc).

Supportive actions for schools and teachers.

Using the aforementioned framework, we compare the findings from the investigation of the Greek case to the ones from the investigation of the UK case. The issues identified in the analysis are finally presented in a comparative manner and show that the Greek CTC could be considered a good curriculum practice. It is found to influence in a pedagogically positive manner not only the content of the school knowledge and its organization, but the teaching methodologies and pupil assessment practices as well. As this change is still under way, research interest towards the investigation of the final context of practice and outcomes is very high. We argue that it is important to study the various supportive measures that are being taken towards this change together with what will be taking place in the school classrooms when the new educational material is introduced.

The organizational infrastructures of the second-chance universities or the alternative universities or the open universities or even the distance-learning universities have different origins and are shaped by separate practices compared to other educational institutions. The main difference is not found in their organizational identity, but in the ideological thinking which prompted their birth and development. The initial choices made for the shaping of their identity and the strategy that they followed in matters of organization and educational policy determined their existence.

This text aims at investigating this process and at underlining those points that are determined by the different perceptions and choices.  At the same time, it aims at observing their evolution on the basis of educational and pedagogical data.    

While changes in governance of education are more or less obvious throughout the education systems globally, the strategies employed are complex, and often make use of concepts and ideas stemming from contested policy and programme arenas. Being aware of this, the author focuses his analysis on the issue of changing modes of university evaluation within the Australian system, drawing upon evidence from other systems, and from other elements of university governance, where necessary. In this paper it is argued that there are at least two principal contradictions in contemporary forms of governance discourse, including in higher education. Firstly, notable contradictions occur around the notion of efficiency and performativity, which often achieve the very opposite of what is claimed. Secondly, the notion of ‘steering from a distance’ is argued to be riven with contradictions, resulting in heightened forms of control and demands for performance, rather than the much-touted institutional autonomy, that is often said to be its rationale.