Hardly any country is not undergoing or has not undergone education reforms at various levels today. In that case, how is school-based management implemented similarly or differently in the Philippines and that in Columbia? What are the best ways to support teachers in China or Kenya, apart from trying to hold them accountable through discipline and control? Though without simple, clear-cut answers, these are a few sample questions that we will examine together at different stages of the module. This is an optional module for Year 2 and Year 3 undergraduate students of the Department of Politics and International Relations. It is designed to be a learning journey that invites students to critically reflect and debate on the issues and challenges surrounding governance reforms of basic education. By exposing students to education policy and practices around the world and especially in developing countries, this module intends to prepare students into a learned consumer of the vast amount of empirical evidence on education policy interventions. Students are also required or encouraged to practice throughout the term a wide range of skills such as presentation, writing, research and public speaking essential for a successful career in the policy world.
The module is structured into three distinctive components. We will first examine why and how basic education matters from the perspective of economic growth, technological change as well as other aspects of socio-economic development. Attention will then be paid to how different parts of the world have strived to achieve what kind of good education outcomes. We will zoom into several common policy instruments adopted worldwide regarding their theoretical justifications, actual performance and the (mis-)match between the two. As this reviewing exercise highlights the importance of governance and accountability, how to strengthen these aspects will also be explored with an explicit awareness of different local contexts in the last part.
No prerequisites are required for the module. It would nevertheless be a plus if students have some basic knowledge in political economy of development, policy studies and/or research methods.