Planning for the future in a rapidly changing world

01 March 2018

To keep relevant in the future, educational planning must keep pace and adapt to the many changes constantly reshaping our world. From globalization, rapid urbanization, vast technological advancements, to the perils of conflict and climate change, there are a myriad of factors influencing the current and future state of education.

Educational planners and managers must keep abreast of all these changes and configure new approaches to planning in an age of rapid transformation. They must update their practices and apply new policy tools to both respond to challenges and take advantage of new advancements.

In this context, IIEP-UNESCO is pleased to announce the publication of its first two papers in its Foresight Series, a research project aimed at helping educational decision-makers and managers to adapt their work to a changing environment. Each paper looks at the positives and negatives of a specific education initiative in a given country. In a short, accessible format, the paper’s goal is to help foster discussion on its implications for education policy, planning, and management.

The first two editions in this new series take us to the United Kingdom, to explore the role of academies and free schools in the shift towards decentralization and school empowerment, and to Spain, to look at current policy tools to counteract school segregation in Catalonia.

Academies and Free Schools in England

This paper looks at the core research that England has drawn from to develop its policy of decentralization and school empowerment. Since 2002, the country has moved towards creating more academies and free schools – i.e. schools that enter into a direct contract with the Government and thusly enjoy more autonomy and discretion in how to use public funds. These schools represent a profound segment of education in England, enrolling two-thirds of all secondary school and one-fifth of primary school pupils.

Read this paper here!

Author Anne Jackson, Director of the System Reform Group in the Department for Education, explores various facets of the reform, including its context, what greater autonomy means in practice, and early evidence of the reform. She specifically highlights that the link between autonomy and achievement is very much dependent on accountability.

The paper provides lessons and insight for other countries currently exploring the possibility of greater school autonomy.

Educational policies to overcome school segregation in Catalonia

School segregation is growing challenge in many contemporary education systems, which can have vast implications on school performance, educational inequality, and social cohesion. In Catalonia, a recent influx of immigrant students has resulted in more acute school segregation.

The Foresight Paper on this topic looks at the current policy tools available to counteract the negative implications of school segregation.

Read this paper here!

Author Xavier Bonal is a professor of Sociology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and special professor of Education and International Development at the University of Amsterdam.

He presents examples of strong educational policies developed by different local governments, as well as recommendations for educational policy-makers.

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