The rise of the knowledge society has meant that ensuring the quality and responsiveness of schooling is high on the political agenda in all OECD countries. While these countries have different arrangements according to their own histories and traditions, they are all facing a range of common challenges -- the growing expectations of highly educated populations for responsive schools, the widespread availability of information about educational performance, the shifting patterns of governance in education and public policy more widely. These developments intensify the pressure to improve the quality and equity of school systems on education systems, but also provide new opportunities and means for doing so.
The International Seminar on “Demand, Autonomy, and Accountability in Schooling” explored how the different actors involved in schooling can work together more effectively through mechanisms affecting parental choice, school autonomy and system accountability in order to improve the quality and equity of schooling. The seminar provided an important opportunity to extend the focus to consider how schools can exercise autonomy effectively while ensuring accountability, thus providing input to the Education Committee activity on Parental Choice, School Autonomy, and System Accountability.
The specific aims of the seminar were to :
Discuss the internationally state of knowledge on attitudes, choice and participation in school decision-making and the significance of this for improving the policy process.
Review evidence on the relationship between parental choice, school autonomy and system accountability and on the quality and equity of schooling, including the directions being pursued in the host system, the Flemish Community of Belgium.
Inform OECD work on “parental choice, school autonomy, and system accountability” in 2006, as well as in the next 2007-2008 biennium programme.