This paper discusses the change in teaching style in Sweden from 1960 to 1980 stemming from the decentralization reform in education. This discussion is important in two ways: to focus on the Swedish case as a suggestive model for Japan and to link decentralization as an administration reform with what happened in the classrooms.
Decentralization is one of the key agendas in education reform in many countries, with Sweden having received much attention as a pioneer in the field. It is important for Japan to look at the Swedish case, as the once highly centralized Swedish administration system is very similar to the Japanese administration system. Decentralization is a popular field of research in educational administration and policy. Although previous research has revealed changes in the relations among several levels of administration (i.e., the central government and local authorities), change that occurs daily at the classroom level has often been overlooked.
There is evidence that during this period in Sweden, the quantity of teaching in small groups and individualized teaching increased, while whole class teaching decreased. Furthermore, the teaching of interdisciplinary topics and the development of related teaching resources began at this time. This paper defines the “working team” (arbetslag) as a factor for this change, and proposes that the emergence and expansion of the working team was stimulated by decentralization reforms. A working team indicates a team of teachers and students, often consisting of teachers with different subject specialties who are responsible for certain groups of students. The team plans the curriculum and can divide students into flexible group sizes suitable to the content and method of teaching. The working team is now a common concept in Swedish schools. According to the Swedish National Agency for Education, 96% of teachers in the compulsory school participated in a working team in 2003.
In this paper, the notion of formal and informal institutions is used to link decentralization reforms and change in classroom practice, with the working team considered as a medium. First, the concept and system of working team is introduced and defined within a context of the decentralization of education (i.e., change within formal institutions). Second, how the working team in schools has changed the daily habits and professional practices of teachers, such as teacher collaboration and teaching (i.e., change within informal institutions) is discussed.
Three projects are discussed: the Trump committee experiment (1964–1965); the VGL experiment in Malmö (1965–1968); and the Sanden school project (1977–1980). The Trump committee experiment aimed to optimize class size, and was itself modeled after an experiment by the American educational researcher, J. L. Trump. Planned by the central government, the experiment found that the Trump model of organizing teachers, teaching assistants and office assistants into one team did not match the professional culture in Swedish schools. The VGL experiment was planned to search for a form of classroom and instructor organization that was better suited to the Swedish school environment, thus the experiment was operated in a more flexible manner. A school in Malmö implemented a model in which two qualified teachers taught three classes with two assistants and one secretary. Again, the division of roles between the teachers and the assistants proved problematic. The two aforementioned experiments were cited in the SIA committee’s report, which investigated the practices and activities inside schools in 1974, and which was the starting point of decentralization reforms in education. Citing these projects, the SIA committee’s report presented the idea of the working team. (View PDF for the rest of the abstract)
The ordinance of human rights for students passed the Gyeonggi Provincial Council in September 17, 2010. It is unprecedented in Korea. Under the ordinance, primary and secondary schools in the province have banned corporal punishment, coercive after-school classes, compulsory nighttime self-study and restrictions on student hairstyles and clothing. The ordinance provides students with the right to participate in school decision-making and safeguards against privacy violation. Similar initiatives in Seoul and Gwangju in 2011, and the northern province of Jeolla in 2013 followed the ordinance proclaimed in Gyeonggi Province.
This research analyzes the procedure for making the student human rights ordinance in Gyeonggi Province. Through this work, the main reasons of ordinance establishment will be discussed. The methodology used in this research is a case study with precedent document analysis and interviews. The interviewees were persons who participated directly and indirectly in the creation and implementation of the ordinance.
The impetus for the ordinance started with the election of Kim Sang-Gon as superintendent of the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education in April 2009. During the election period, one of his commitments was the introduction of a student human rights ordinance. The nine-member advisory committee for the ordinance was established in July 2009. In addition, committee chairman Kwak No-hyun invited four additional legal experts and human rights activists to join the committee in August 2009. After establishing this subcommittee, the advisory committee and the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education became actively involved in developing the student human rights ordinance. An initial draft ordinance was announced in December 2009, with the final draft submitted in February 2010. Finally, the Gyeonggi Provincial Council passed the ordinance for student human rights in September 2010.
The present analysis explored the particulars of the evolution of the student human rights ordinance in Gyeonggi Province. The results of this investigation are as follows:
First, a main factor of the ordinance establishment has been the leadership of Kim Sang-Gon, superintendent of the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education. He is the first superintendent to have made a pledge for free meals, which drew much attention and ignited controversy regarding national welfare throughout Korea. As a famous liberal superintendent, the student rights ordinance was one of his major commitments and he has been critical of the government’s education policies. Immediately following his inauguration, he endeavored to enact a student rights ordinance into provincial legislation. All interviewees recognized that the ordinance would have been impossible without him.
Advisory committee chairman Kwak No-hyun also contributed a great deal to the ordinance. As a former secretary-general of the National Human Rights Commission, he added human rights activists and legal experts to the advisory committee, which had mainly consisted of teachers, principals, etc., and also held public hearings in many cities. He had a significant role in making the ordinance.
Second, people occupying a variety of different positions participated in the evolution of the student rights ordinance. Legal experts, human rights NGO activists, principals, teachers, board of education members and students devoted themselves to the ordinance establishment. The student planning board, consisting of 400 student applicants from the Internet, was actively engaged in incorporating students’ points of view in the ordinance.
Third, members of the advisory committee, although sometimes opposed to one another and persistent in voicing their opinions, ultimately demonstrated (View PDF for the rest of the abstract)
The purpose of this study is to examine the actual condition of Religious Studies in Singapore by analyzing the country’s official interpretation of “religious understanding”. Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s Prime Minister, said, “The most visceral and dangerous fault line [for our country] is race and religion.” Accordingly, Singapore’s government repeatedly emphasizes the importance of racial and religious harmony. Schools are not separated by religious factors to ensure that all schools in Singapore are secular places that students who have various racial and religious backgrounds can share.
The subject of Moral Education in secondary school emphasizes the value of “racial and religious harmony” and aims to foster tolerance among different races and religions. On the other hand, the issue remains as to how such religious tolerance can be fostered in secular schools. In the 1980s, Singapore’s government introduced “Religious Knowledge” as a moral education subject, however the subject had the ultimate effect of exacerbating religious debate in the country and was abolished six years after its introduction. The shortcomings of “Religious Knowledge” suggest the difficulty in treating the subject of religion in schools. This paper therefore presents suggestions for secular schools in terms of promoting “religious understanding”.
To examine the actual condition of “religious understanding” in Singapore, the first section defines the meaning of the term as interpreted by the country’s educational policy makers. As there are few policy papers specifically referring to “religious understanding” in schools, this paper focuses on the textbook for Civics and Moral Education (CME), which is a moral education subject in Singapore’s secondary schools. The second section examines how students and teachers at the National Institute of Education (NIE) interpret “religious understanding” in schools. The third section examines how secondary school teachers interpret “religious understanding” in CME.
CME promotes six core values: “Respect”, “Responsibility”, “Resilience”, “Integrity”, “Care” and “Harmony”, with “religious understanding” considered as a component of the latter. In the teacher’s file for CME, the chapter dealing with “Harmony” includes the aims that: 1) students understand that different cultures and religions contribute to the rich diversity of Singapore society; (2) students understand that being sensitive in their interactions with others reinforces the value of showing respect and fosters smooth relations among people of different racial and religious backgrounds; and (3) students are able to demonstrate desirable attitudes and behavior in their interactions with others. To attain these aims, the teacher’s file encourages students to gain proper knowledge on different religions.
While NIE does not provide a subject that focuses on moral education in schools per se, they do offer a subject called “National Education”. National Education aims to develop national cohesion, the instinct for survival and confidence in the future. The six tenets of National Education are: (1) Singapore is our homeland and this is where we belong; (2) We must preserve racial and religious harmony, (3) We must uphold meritocracy and incorruptibility; (4) No one owes Singapore a living; (5) We must ourselves defend Singapore; and (6) We have confidence in our future. NIE teachers, however, do not refer to religious matters in the subject, and any interpretations of “religious understanding” are left for students to develop on their own. On the other hand, NIE student views on “religious understanding” include that it is important to understand the necessity of religious harmony to maintain social cohesion. NIE students hesitate to treat the details of each religion in secular schools and instead emphasize (View PDF for the rest of the abstract)