Governance Mechanisms


The new CERI/OECD project "Governing Complex Education Systems (GCES)" project explores which governance mechanisms and knowledge options facilitate effective steering of complex education systems.



Complexity in education systems is on the rise due to a number of intersecting trends. Parents in OECD countries have become more diverse, individualistic and highly educated. As evidence about school and student achievement has become more readily available, stakeholders have also become more demanding, pushing schools to cater for the individual needs of their children.

Partly in response to this, governments in almost all OECD countries have increased school autonomy and stimulated demand sensitivity and sometimes competition. The combination of these new governance regimes with increasingly individualised, informed and demanding populations suggests that complexity and the importance of diverse local contexts can only be expected to increase.

At the same time, ministries of education remain responsible for ensuring high quality, efficient, equitable and innovative education. This responsibility is reinforced by the increasing importance that is attached to education for building a strong knowledge economy and also by international comparisons such as PISA that increase the visibility of national performance.

One of the crucial questions for OECD countries is, therefore, how to achieve national objectives for education systems under the condition of increasing complexity. The Governing Complex Education Systems project focuses on this issue by targeting two key elements: governance mechanisms and knowledge options.



Launch Conference: 28-29 March 2011, Oslo, Norway

First Thematic Conference: "Effective Governance from the Centre", 21-22 November 2011, The Hague, Netherlands

Second Thematic Conference: "Effective Governance on the Local Level", 16-17 April 2012, Warsaw, Poland


Project documents

Project Plan: Governing Complex Education Systems

Case Study Framework

Working Paper: "Exploring the Complex Interaction Between Governance and Knowledge in Education 


Related documents

Chapter 1: The Evidence Agenda, from Evidence in Education: Linking Research and Policy (2007)

– by Tracey Burns and Tom Schuller

  Markets in Education: An Analytical Review of Empirical Research on Market Mechanisms in Education (2010)

– by Sietske Waslander, Cissy Pater and Maartje van der Weide


Related CERI projects

Tracey Burns

Harald Wilkoszewski



Markets in Education: Evidence-based Policy Research in Education

Evidence-based Policy Research in Education

Therese Walsh




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