n° 73, december 2016
Do all countries share the objective of providing common schooling to all pupils, and to what ends?
Starting out from this question, Issue 73 of the Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres examines the content of mandatory schooling in a dozen countries. Is the content conceived as common to all pupils? Is there a social consensus on this subject? Does what is called “common” have the same meaning from one country to the next? Which content is prioritized?
The authors analyze the context in their country (Algeria, France, Liberia, Quebec, Romania, Scotland/England, Spain, Vietnam), and show that in each country these issues possess strong political significance.
In these different societies, there are certainly many political reasons to wish for common schooling, whether in terms of citizenship, the creation of a common culture, or the fight against inequalities.
Yet the consensus on these policies and their aims does not seem self-evident in any of the countries studied, whether in terms of the extent of the common curriculum to be defined, or the content to be prioritized. Furthermore, the development of different forms of an education market or quasi-market has joined with ideological oppositions to compromise the very notion of common schooling, which as an objective remains permanently under pressure in many education systems.
An issue coordinated by Roger-François Gauthier, IGAENR, professor at Paris-Descartes University, member of the High Council for Curricula, France
Sport à l’école, entre loisir et enjeu social
Update on international education news
Norma Georgina Gutiérrez
Mexique : tensions et utopies autour de la réforme dans les États d’Oaxaca et du Chiapas
Cathal de Paor
Irlande : ambition et défis du nouveau plan pour l’éducation
Insights into international education systems
La réforme du système éducatif angolais en 2016
Stefan Brauckmann, Denise Klinge
Les chefs d’établissements allemands face à une gouvernance nouvelle : acteurs ou objets ?
Researching Private Supplementary Tutoring : Methodological Lessons from Diverse Cultures, Mark Bray, Ora Kwo, Boris Jokić (ed.), Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC)/Springer, 2015
Vivre les valeurs du service public, Fabrice Larat, Christian Chauvigné (coord.), Presses de lEHESP-RESP (Profession cadre service public), 2016
What common education at school: the challenges and difficulties of a major policy issue
Compulsory schooling in Algeria: Ambitions and challenges
Algerian schooling promotes an educational project set out in the framework law on national education of 23 January 2008. On leaving compulsory education, the learner should have attained a level of mastery of basic languages in order to continue learning throughout life, without falling back into illiteracy. This objective depends on various factors, ranging from teacher training to the disparity between establishments. It is also compromised by endemic drop-out. New programmes, which are part of a curriculum approach, are one solution. Disciplinar y fields are developing a scientific, literary, mathematical and computing culture so that Algeria, which considers education a priority, can make this project of a modern school, open to the world, a reality.
The thistle and the rose
Two Diverging Visions of Common Schooling’ in England and Scotland
This article provides an overview of the historical reasons and political and constitutional contexts that have led England and Scotland to adopt very different approaches to common education. Since devolution in 1999, the two nations have diverged further in terms of social policy, and education policy in particular. In England, the system is marked by diversification, heterogeneity and and a reduced role for the state and local government. The curriculum is marked by a strong adhesion to core subjects and knowledge. In Scotland there remains a strong attachment to a mostly comprehensive and homogeneous model, where the State retains control of education and where the curriculum increasingly focuses on process, outcomes, ‘soft skills’ and interdisciplinary learning. Strong ideological forces underpin both these approaches to education, which will probably continue to diverge even more in the future.
What is common, different and unequal in the basic education curriculum in Spain
J. Carlos González Faraco, J. Agustín Morón Marchena
Basic education is the cornerstone of an educational system with the curriculum at its core, as it reflects the meaning that a community intends to give to the universal schooling project. This article studies the evolution of basic education in Spain during recent decades, focusing in particular on the impassioned controversies and major problems that have led to the repeated desire to establish common lessons that are acceptable to the majority of political, social and educational actors. The Spanish basic education curriculum is currently the subject of a clash of conflicting trends, interests and forces, which place it in a difficult and uncertain situation.
Design and implementation of the common curriculum in France: advances and limitations
An interview with Michel Lussault
Michel Lussault, President of the Conseil Supérieur des Programmes (CSP, France) discusses on the innovations in curricular policies in France since 2013: the new importance afforded to “learning to learn” as well as moral considerations, open towards a culture of subjectivity. For the first time, compulsor y schooling programmes are cycle programmes strongly attached to the fields of the common core. He also shows how the concept of “culture” has, quite specifically in France, come to offer a resolution to the potential conflict between knowledge and skills. He outlines the limitations of the current changes and the risk posed to the whole due to the incompleteness of policies that still fail to consider systematic changes.
Free, compulsory education: a case study in Liberia
Charles Gbollie, Emmanuel Boone Waydon, Joseph Bernard
This article examines what Liberian schools are teaching to students under the free, compulsory basic education policy. The authors conducted qualitative research among sixty stakeholders in education. The data collected shows that compulsory education is seen from the lenses of accessibility and that parents are compelled to send their children to school at all costs. This school is not common to all students and the national curriculum is the main tool used for school education. Conclusions and recommendations are made in order to improve Liberia’s educational policy, considered to be ineffective and difficult to implement.
Reform of the Quebecois curriculum and its difficult arrival
At the turn of the millennium, Quebec underwent an ambitious reform of the curriculum for preschool education and elementary and secondary education aimed at achieving greater fairness and equality and strengthening the cognitive and cultural function of schools. Prepared throughout the 1990s, then gradually implemented in the 2000s, this reform has generated intense debate among those involved in education and within civil society and the media. It was also implemented by several different ministers. Twenty years later, with the publication of a report on the transformation processes of the curriculum implemented as part of this reform, a public policy cycle on curriculum seems to have been completed. In light of this experience, the article highlights the fact that any policy or reform includes two components, equally important to its success, namely its formulation (or the content) and its implementation (or the practical application). The best management of change and its processes cannot make up for the shortcomings of poorly conceived or inappropriate ideas. In Quebec, these failures have caused doubts about the possibility of committing to and implementing a global and ambitious reform.
Compulsory education in Romania: an array of reforms
Otilia Apostu, Ciprian Fartușnic
Compulsory education in Romania has many facets, defined by its socio-historical context and the logic behind its construction, as well as by its national innovations or effects. The article presents the four major steps in the histor y of compulsor y education, each of which corresponds to the Government’s view of education and its purpose. For each step, the organisation and mechanics, the purposes of the education, the official discourse and actual practices are presented. By following this array of reforms, an important part of the development of the Romanian national curriculum and its challenges is highlighted.
What are students supposed to learn in Switzerland?
Determining what students should learn at school has evolved historically. In Switzerland, the tradi- tional instrument for defining this is the programmes, that closely link education to teaching resources, and for which the cantons are responsible. However, the new policy of school knowledge, established in recent years, provides for greater standardisation of educational objectives and content within the different linguistic regions. To this end, the “Study Plan 21” was developed in German- speaking Switzerland, then submitted to the cantons for adoption. This skills-based syllabus divides the new eleven compulsory school years into three cycles and divides the content into fields of study more clearly than before. Opposition has formed against the implementation of this new generation of programmes, particularly in reaction to the skills-based approach.
Compulsory education in Vietnam: between ambition and action
Trinh Van Minh, Trinh Thuy Duong
Compulsory education is a reality that is experienced to varying degrees across the world. In Vietnam, such education, legally binding, was decreed for 5 years (primary cycle) after national independence and has gradually been implemented. Compulsory schooling for nine years is planned from 2020. However, there are still many challenges to be overcome in order to ensure equal opportunities for all children. Considerable efforts have been made to ensure basic education for all, given the national context. The opening up of the country internationally and the adoption of the market economy over the last thirty years, in addition to its positive economic effects seem to have resulted in the introduction of compulsory basic education at several speeds. The introduction of the new general education syllabus may help to resolve the difficulties encountered.