This paper clarifies the pluralistic reform of Czech higher education through analyzing the diversification of Czech private colleges.
First, the concept of academic autonomy and freedom in Czech higher education was analyzed to show that they are opposing concepts with different responses to social demands. Because of the Czech experience with socialism, Czech people glorify and try to protect academic autonomy and freedom as a symbol of free will, which was suppressed during the socialist era. The University Council and the Scientific Committee at each university are the supreme decision-making bodies and the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports cannot force them to conform to national decisions. Venerable public universities have no interest in responding to social demand.
Second, changes in Czech higher education policy are considered through an analysis of the Ministries’ strategic plans, wherein priority areas of the reform have changed from “quantity” to “quality.” Quantitative expansion has led to a decline in the quality of higher education. In order to improve quality, each institution is recommended to publish their respective missions and strengths as strategic plans and to strive to achieve excellent outcomes. Pluralistic reform is seeking a diversity of Excellence, aiming to protect the academic freedom of venerable universities, recommending private colleges to respond to social demands.
Third, the reform strategies of private colleges were examined. The actualization of the course re-accreditation system allows them to set the proper and unique curricula that respond to regional demands. What is needed in the Czech regions is the knowledge of economy and management, human understanding, and a regional development force. Private colleges attempt to raise the expertise of their fields and to establish master’s and the doctor’s courses like public universities to obtain social approval in a society which evaluates universities for their academic-oriented accomplishments.
Fourth, the typologies of many private colleges were considered through the analysis of mission statements and strengths that were described in strategic plans and annual reports. It is possible to categorize these into nine types: 1) Colleges located in Prague; an attractive, ancient capital that has established an international environment and curriculum. Their target is to attract international students who want to learn management; 2) Colleges, located in Prague, offering theory of regional economy and development. Their mission is to facilitate contributions to rural Czech regions; 3) Colleges, located in Prague, offering economic studies that seemed to be very original at the beginning of the regime-transition period; They are now expected to create their mission and strength to be re-accredited; 4) Regional colleges that offer interdisciplinary learning to train regional and corporate development capabilities. They try to prepare human resources with a long-term view; 5) Regional colleges that have characteristics in lifelong learning and social education. There are colleges that offer career courses for Ministries and agencies; 6) Regional colleges that offer courses of economy and teacher training for regions far away from the transportation network through distance education; 7) Regional colleges that contribute to human resource development for local government and small, local, medium-sized enterprises. Many of these can acquire the assistance of local governments in establishing and managing colleges; 8) Colleges which put forward the importance of the ‘better life’, whose necessities have been recognized in recent years in Czech. They offer studies in welfare, wellness, and adult education. These include; 9) colleges that offer interdisciplinary studies in arts and architecture. Because (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
This paper considers the change of education system in Kentucky State in the United States of America as part of education reform. Kentucky was the first state to implement comprehensive education reform, with the 1990 “Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA)”. It was the model case for “Standards-Based Reform”, which is education reform for improvement of educational quality through setting standardized curricula and requiring rigorous assessment by the state. KERA had a great impact on other states and federal education policy through the 1990’s. Now, these policies are criticized as Neo-Liberal policy, but the theory of Neoliberalism is vague and unclear. Neoliberalism applies to different types of education system reforms, depending on local contexts.
To understand the contradictions of Neoliberalism, one prominent explanation is the “Principal – Agency Theory”. This theory comes from new institutional economics and reconstitutes educational governance by inducing market theory. In the Principal – Agency Theory, the national government or state sets the standards and creates the market infrastructure to compete with each other, and establishes top-down governance over the education system. However, it is not clear who is going to be principal and agent in the complex education system: Will local school district boards and local superintendents lose power?
KERA had begun as a civic movement launched by the “Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence”. In 1984, the Prichard Committee held a State’s Town Forum for discussing education issues. This forum was held at 145 locations and joined by 20 thousand civic people. After this forum, the attention of the Kentucky education system focused on three areas: (1) elected state superintendents, (2) local school district boards and (3) education finance equality.
The first problem was the state superintendent. Kentucky had an elected state superintendent, with this position acknowledged as being a step up to higher political status. State educational administration was influenced by the result of political elections and not by educational considerations.
The second problem was the local school district boards, which were criticized for “nepotistic practices”. Although it was not clear that nepotism was in fact at play, the state’s Research Report suggested that education boards and superintendent attitudes were more favorable to the hiring of relatives.
The third problem was education equality between local districts. A civic group called the “Council for Better Education” sued the state for education finance inequality, winning a lawsuit in 1989 called the “Rose Decision”, a leading case in education finance litigation. The Rose Decision legally required the Kentucky Congress to pursue equality in education finance and adequate education quality for all.
As a result, KERA led to system-wide educational reform, with reform efforts spearheaded by the State-appointed “Task Force on Education Reform”. The Task Force addressed all three aforementioned categories, and developed a blueprint for education system reform. This plan called for the abolition of elected state superintendents, who appointed by state education boards whose members were, in turn, appointed by state governors and congressionally agreed upon. In addition to this, Kentucky established an independent office “Office of Education Accountability” that checked the whole state education quality and overall circumstances.
KERA also induced “School Based Management” and reduced the powers of local school district boards. However, elected local school district boards were not abolished and members continued to be elected by people. Local superintendents were also appointed by local school district boards, even though candidates had to be selected from a pre-approved list that the local (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
Many studies conducted on the schooling of orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa have focused on the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and poverty on the dropout rates of orphans in both primary and secondary education. These studies have frequently been based on statistical analyses, upon which development partners place great value. However, it is also important to explore how the orphan school dropout rate is affected by the capacities of the orphans and their households to cope with the challenges arising from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and poverty. This type of exploration usually involves qualitative analyses based on long-term fieldwork, which are not common among development partners. The qualitative approach is more advantageous in exploring people’s capacity and skills, and in observing their practices.
The present study was conducted in Malawi, located in southeast Africa. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and has a high HIV/AIDS incidence rate; the HIV/AIDS pandemic causes 48,000 deaths annually and there are as many as 790,000 orphans across the country. The enrollment of orphans at school is 11% and 19% in primary and secondary education, respectively. Although secondary education is not free, unlike primary education, many orphans manage to attend secondary school after completion of primary education. On the other hand, previous studies have revealed that both orphan boys and girls often have to drop out of secondary school, primarily due to economic difficulties in paying school fees.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how orphans in secondary schools, especially those in the low-income classes of society, manage to continue their education. The study focuses on two aspects: (1) coping skills to prevent the dropout of orphans at the individual (i.e., the level of the orphans themselves) and the household levels; and (2) practical efforts to support orphans at the school level.
The fieldwork conducted for this study uncovered a number of findings. In relation to the first aspect of our focus, it was found that many orphans involve themselves in various income-generating activities during school-term holidays. This income is then used to pay part of their school fees and to purchase groceries, school uniforms, and stationary goods. These activities help relieve their families’ or relatives’ burden of costs for schooling and contribute to orphans’ education. Generally, many orphans become unstable psychologically and economically after their parents have died, and consequently, some of them do not often go to school, which negatively impacts their leaning. These orphans and their guardians often decide to repeat grades to catch up on missed studies. Repeating the same grade in school is expected to enhance the effectiveness of subsequent learning. It should be noted, however, that our interview with orphans has indicated that this approach of repeating the same grade to enhance the effectiveness of learning occurs only in primary education, which is free, but not in secondary education as it requires school fees.
Secondly, concerning the practical efforts to support orphans at the secondary school level, it was found that such support to needy families is granted according to the headmaster’s discretion, for example, by postponing the payment of school fees or allowing payment in installments, half remission or even exemption. Generally this kind of arrangement is set up by negotiation between school administration and orphans or their relatives. In some cases, teachers personally support orphans if necessary. However, before helping them, teachers observe orphans and their families, especially by paying attention to their living conditions such as cleanliness of orphan’s clothes and family’s possession of valuables. In addition, NGOs and government also provide (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
Parental involvement is framed as an important factor of education, and often as a remedy to various educational issues. The international trend of decentralization and democratization of school decision-making processes, evident in the worldwide expansion of school choice or community schools, assumes the importance of parental involvement. This study sheds light on parental involvement in two East Asian societies where parental involvement in children’s education is commonly believed to be high, Hong Kong and Japan.
The purpose of the study is to examine the association between family background, parental involvement in schooling and student achievement in primary school. The study focuses on parental involvement in the school, such as the communication between parents and teachers, parents and other parents, and participation in school events and PTA activities. Parental involvement in schools is conceptualized as parent’s social capital, with the assumption that parents’ ties with teachers, other parents and the school provide the parent with information, trust and norms that are beneficial for child achievement.
The data for this paper draws from a dataset collected through the 2009 Japan Educational Longitudinal Study (JELS) and the 2010 Study of Family and School Life of Students in Hong Kong, which was designed in conjunction with the JELS data. For the analyses of this paper, I draw on the 6th grade data from ‘District A’ in both Japan and Hong Kong, with ‘District A’ representing an urban area in both societies. District A in Hong Kong is near the heart of Hong Kong, with a population of roughly 280,000. District A in Japan is a mid-size city situated near metropolitan Tokyo, with a population of 250,000. I employ a multi-level logit analyses to predict the probability that a student is in the high-achieving group. I hypothesize that student family background is associated with student achievement, and that this association is mediated by parent’s social capital.
In this study, I found that, first, the association between family background and student achievement is higher in Japan than Hong Kong. Although the disadvantage of low socioeconomic status (SES) families is greater in Hong Kong, the disadvantages for the educational achievement of children in low SES families is larger in Japan. Second, the extent of parental involvement in schools differs by dimension. In Japan, parents tend to have stronger ties with other parents. In Hong Kong, parents tend to participate more frequently in PTA activities. This suggests the difference between the two societies in what parents perceive as, or expect from ‘parental involvement.’ Third, in Japan, high SES parents tend to be more involved in schools, whereas in Hong Kong, high SES parents tend to be least involved. It needs to be emphasized, however, that the in-school parental involvement in this study only captures a basic level of parental involvement. For example, the measure does not include aspects of parental involvement at home, such as to what extent parents interact with children, parents monitor children’s studying, and parental involvement in school in terms of taking part in school management or classroom teaching. It can be expected that parents’ cultural and human capital become more important in these aspects of parental involvement. Therefore, when using a more multi-dimensional concept of social capital, high SES parents may possess more social capital in Hong Kong as well. Lastly, in Hong Kong, because low SES parents participate more in schools, controlling for this factor increases the effect of family background on student achievement. In Japan, the effect of family background on student achievement is not mediated by parent’s social capital.
The findings suggest that in Japan, new ways of parental involvement in (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)
The higher education system in Vietnam has an experienced remarkable expansion in recent decades towards a mass-oriented education system. One of the key questions from the equity perspective is whether such expansion of higher education system has led to more equal distribution of opportunities. A widely held belief is that disparities in access to higher education between the rich and poor have been persistent. To ease the financial gaps among students’ families and to promote enrollment of poor students, financial assistance programs such as scholarships and subsidized student loans have been introduced.
This study looks into the underlying assumption of such financial assistance programs. To what extent are low-income and qualified upper secondary graduates deprived of higher education opportunity because of their liquidity constraints, i.e. insufficiency of current financial capacity and access to credit against future income? Using the case of Vietnam, the study sets out to investigate (1) the effects of student background factors on access to higher education and (2) to what extent liquidity constraints affect chances of access to higher education.
Empirical evidence about the impact of liquidity constraints have been rather inconclusive, showing mixed results for different contexts. One of the main difficulties associated with the debate is that financial constraints are intrinsically not directly measurable, and scholars have to rely on various sorts of indirect measurements. Despite this lack of coherent evidence, financial assistance programs to remedy short-term financial constraints have been popular policy interventions in many countries.
Data from the Vietnamese Household Living Standard Survey (VHLSS) is used to estimate the effects of various student background factors and short-term liquidity constraints on their likelihood of higher education enrollment. A multinomial choice model is applied to allow for a multiplicity of enrollment alternatives: college and university. To control for long-term impacts of families’ financial capacities, the study creates a family wealth index using the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) method.
The estimation results found that following the recent, rapid expansion of higher education; access to college education is now not significantly influenced by students’ family background. Equality in access to college education seem to have improved significantly in Vietnam. The findings, however, also indicate that students’ background continues to significantly affect the chances of university enrollment. Access to university education still remains unequally distributed despite the increased enrollment.
Short-term liquidity constraints do seem to affect enrollment choices of upper secondary graduates; however, they seem to affect college enrollment and university enrollment both considerably and differently. Liquidity constraints are found to be deterring lower-income upper secondary graduates from attending universities, whereas no evidence of liquidity constraints was found for college enrollment. Low-income upper secondary graduates do not seem to be significantly deterred by a lack of current financial resources from attending colleges. The supply of college institutions in wider geographical areas may have contributed to reducing financial pressure for college enrollment. Financial assistance policies for the poor should be prioritized to alleviate financial difficulties for university applicants.