Demand-Sensitive Schooling? Evidence and Issues
Many identify a critical shift from traditional schooling towards the future. It lies in the move from supply-led systems - operating to procedures decided by educational authorities, schools and teachers - towards systems which are much more sensitive to demand. But, whose demands should these be? And what are they? What do we know about the attitudes and expectations of parents and students, who are arguably those with the greatest stake in what goes on in schools? And how well do schools currently recognise these demands? Is sensitivity to the wishes of students, parents and their communities a democratic norm or further evidence of rampant educational consumerism?
These are among the questions addressed in the latest volume in OECD’s Schooling for Tomorrow series. It examines and clarifies different aspects of the demand concept. And, it brings forward international evidence to reveal attitudes and expectations. The evidence reviewed is from Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Denmark, England, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Poland, Spain, and the United States.
This book will be of particular interest to those involved in the reform and future of education, including policy makers, school leaders and parents. It closely complements the recently-published Schooling for Tomorrow volume, Personalising Education.
Demand has quickly become an established part of the discourse on educational reform across the world. It is a controversial concept. For some, it is about rectifying an excessively bureaucratic approach to education (“supply-driven” systems), but this can quickly be associated with the precepts of New Public Management – an increased role for clients and markets, even privatisation, which for many is at odds with the traditional aims of education to promote equity, cultivate humanity, and sustain local communities. Demand is also an important concept. It takes a prominent position in the reform debates in many OECD countries, whether to enhance participation and active forms of personalised teaching and learning or to improve public services through the pressures of quasi-markets. It is thus a broad concept, leaving it open to multiple interpretations in developing reform agendas. It is because demand is controversial and important but difficult to pin down that a systematic clarification is needed of both the concept and associated empirical evidence.
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