Centre for Educational Research and Innovation - CERI

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


The Role of Central Government in Complex, Multilevel Systems

This first thematic conference focused on the role of central government in complex, multilevel systems of governance. Even as regional, local and school levels receive more autonomy, the role of the centre is still crucial for a number of key reasons.

One is that in all OECD countries every child has the right to quality education, and the minister of education will be held accountable to ensure that right. A second reason is that central ministries still play a leading role due to their capacity, i.e. their relative size, expertise and access to information. A third reason is that translating priorities into policies is a complex business technically but also politically, and central ministries traditionally have been politically well placed to take the lead in this domain.

The main question for this conference was how central governments play their important central role in the system within the reality of multilevel governance. This event focused on a number of key questions relating to:

Meeting information



PowerPoint presentations

Henno Theisens: Introduction

Steering Educational Policy, B. Guy Peters: Steering Educational Policy: Managing Complex and Complicated Policy Processes

Sandra Nutley: The Role of Knowledge in Governing Complex Systems

Paulo Santiago: Accountability in Complex Education Systems

Mark van Twist: Coping With Very Weak Primary Schools: Towards ‘Smart Intervention’ in Dutch Education Policy

Tracey Burns: Key Outcomes and Closing


Project documents

Project Plan: Governing Complex Education Systems


Upcoming thematic conference

Effective governance at the local level

16-17 April 2012, Warsaw, Poland


What is the role of local authorities and schools in the governance process? How to ensure that local authorities and schools have the capacity to govern their local systems and local stakeholders are holding them accountable?


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