The Demand Dimension: Concluding Issues and Directions


Download article | By OECD/CERI Secretariat | Published in Demand-Sensitive Schooling, 2006

This article brings together the different themes explored in the report in a concluding discussion. The fundamental issues discussed show the importance of the two overarching trends (illustrated in Figure 6.1) which Saussois (2006) proposed. The trends are, first, the shift of educational systems from meeting societal expectations to focusing more on individual demands and, second, the movement from closed and bureaucratic systems towards more open systems characterised by a new professionalism. The axis helps visualise the requirement policy-makers have to balance individual rights and societal needs. A major question for educational reform strategies is whether it is possible to have a more demand-led, open system while at the same time recognising the national and broad aims of education.

The “demand” (or “values”) axis is about what societies – including families, communities and young people – expect of schools. One end of this axis is where there is a strong societal orientation for education, with schools central as players in the collective projects of establishing cohesion, equity and social reproduction. At the other end of this axis, schools express a strong individualistic orientation, mindful of students and parents as consumers.


At one end of the “supply line” axis, educational services are delivered within closed systems – the rules, methods, criteria for success and so forth are determined without outside influence. At the opposite end, they are delivered within an open system: there is a greater number of methods available in order to produce an outcome. In an open system for example, curriculm and programme options do not only emerge from the supply side (such as teachers proposing electives in subject matter with which they are familiar), but from a negotiation of all the stakeholders with a range of different interests and demands for schooling.


The article then locates this study in the broader “Schooling for Tomorrow” body of analysis, including the recent report on personalisation. It shows both how this report informs and is informed by this related analysis. The concluding section presents a selection from the many issues identified in this study as warranting further research, national and international.


The Demand Dimension: Concluding Issues and Directions


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