Politics of teacher professionalism & education reform in Macao


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Politics of teacher professionalism & education reform in Macao

  1. 1. 1 Politics of Teacher Professionalism & Education Reform in Macao Wai-Kwok Benson Wong Department of Government and International Studies Hong Kong Baptist University August 24, 2011
  2. 2. 2 Introduction  In approaching the education system of a place, the role & status of teachers is of salient importance  Politics of teacher professionalism – Being instrumental:  delivering, indoctrinating and interpreting state’s ideology and belief by schooling  qualification, inducements, competence – Being political: acknowledging and upholding autonomy, recognizing/resisting official intervention & manipulation in the name of “professionalism” – Teacher identity: official discourse vs. subjectivity  Not a taken-for-granted understanding (e.g., replaceable occupation vs. profession)
  3. 3. 3 Macao’s context  Underdevelopment of teacher professionalism  Myths’ clarification of teacher professionalism = improving qualification and pedagogies via training and upgrading? = improving material incentives?  Teachers being as an instrument of fostering the training of students: professional laborers
  4. 4. 4 Macao’s context  Cheng, Wong, Sweeting, Pan & Wang: – Unique status in society & profession – Fight for professional benefits & independence – teacher union – Statutory autonomous organization w/ institutionalization & legal status – teachers council – However, very few teachers recognize this “radical” aspect (ref. #5)  Teacher professionalism in Chinese characteristics??? – It is a “western” concept? – Marginalize autonomy & subjectivity + buttress moral & instrumental role plus material incentives (ref: slide#5)
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  6. 6. 6 Obstacles 1. Absence of an independent professional teacher organization (in forms of either union or council) 2. Absence of teacher identity: “teaching staff” vs. “teacher” 3. Powerlessness in the policy-making process and school context 4. Lack of social understanding: schools, parents & mass media 5. The presence of the gambling industry
  7. 7. 7 Teachers’ subjectivity & Professionalism under the 10-year Plan for the Development of the Non-higher Education (2011- 20)  Education is the milestone of social progress and the crucial point of talent training. Given the limited natural resources of Macao, the construction of human resources must serve as a foundation for the long-term development in the future by developing a high-quality education, training talents, and upgrading the overall quality of the residents, and enhancing competitiveness…. (Direcção dos Serviços de Educação e Juventude, January 2011, p. 1).
  8. 8. 8 Teachers’ subjectivity & Professionalism under the 10-year Plan for the Development of the Non-higher Education (2011- 20)  “education reforms serve to economic development”  proposal is not aimed to introduce any fundamental changes in the existing education system, but serves as a subordinate role aiming to maintain the economic strength  the term “teachers” (Jiaoshi) does not appear in the entire document; instead, “teaching staff” (Jiaoxu Renyuan) is deployed: Teachers’ subjectivity is legitimately deprived by de-titling
  9. 9. 9 Teachers’ subjectivity & Professionalism under the 10-year Plan for the Development of the Non-higher Education (2011-20)  teachers have no role in school administration. In section 3.4 of the paper entitled “Excelling School System”; section 3.5 named “improving educational leadership and internal management of school”; and section 3.6 denoted “strengthening educational quality for protection”, while such stakeholders as government, schools & parents are included in school setting, teachers are intentionally not included in school management, administration and leadership, thereby disempowering teachers in personal, professional and political dimensions.
  10. 10. 10 The Consultation Paper of the Ten-year Plan for the Development of the Non-higher Education, 2011-2020: Background Information for Reference  the last three sections of the entire document are about views and expectations of Macau’s parents (p. 14), school management (p. 15) and space and environment of schools (p. 16), views and expectations of teachers are surprisingly not mentioned and included.
  11. 11. 11 The Consultation Paper of the Ten-year Plan for the Development of the Non-higher Education, 2011-2020: Background Information for Reference  “actively defending the autonomy of teachers in teaching” (code number 004_54, dated 4 March 2011)  “apart from the government, school, teaching staff, the society should encourage the talent to join the teacher profession so as to strengthen the teaching team, teachers should acquire the appropriate social status. Parents and students should place the importance of teachers in discharging the teaching duties, care teachers so that teachers should get the due respect, and a respectful, appreciative and trustful teachers’ team should be constructed” (code number 004_75, dated 4 March 2011).
  12. 12. 12 CEAM vs Civil Power  (The association) wishes to (revise the plan) according to the Framework of Mid- and Long-term Educational Reform, Development, and Planning of the Nation (2010-2020) and coordination with the Twelfth Five-year Plan” (The Chinese Education Association, 2 March 2011).  “the ultimate goal of education is narrowed to serve the economic purpose. … (the government) needs to clarify the fundamental meaning of education so that students (can) have moral obligations and care about society; that is the meaning of educating the people to be kind people (Jiaoren Shenren). (However), we can only see based on the text that the policies are economic-oriented, and are not planned from students’ perspective” (The Civil Power, 29 March 2011).
  13. 13. 13 Conclusion  “Education is political” (Sachs, 2003, p. 71): – “What counts as curriculum knowledge, how schools and education programmes are resourced, who has influenced in the development of policy agendas, are all dimensions of the political nature of education policy and practices”
  14. 14. 14 Conclusion  “Teacher education is political, both internally and externally” (Ibid., p. 72): – “to struggle in the various arenas where policy is determined, to wrest back and then maintain some greater degree of autonomy in their curriculum work. This will require the capacity to recognize the way curriculum operates, the critical skills to uncover hegemonic constructions of teaching as an apolitical activity, and the will to work collectively, through union and professional associations, to do something about it. It requires political understanding including knowledge about how and were educational policy is shaped, who to target in political campaigns, and how education unions and political parties work. And it demands a significant array of political skills, including the capacity to negotiate, advocate, lobby, communicate, and organise in the wider political arena”
  15. 15. 15 Conclusion  pseudo-professionalism can be seen in the MSAR and it arguably is proliferating with the enforcement of official hegemony, governmental manipulation and cooptation of educational groups, and weakness of the teaching profession itself.  The top-down mode of educational policy making in Macao with insufficient inputs from teachers will have to be rectified so that substantial teacher professionalism will be achieved and enforced for the protection of not only the improvement of the entire educational system, and the fulfillment of official goals of improving the local talents in society and sustaining and holisticizing economic development, but also the interests and rights of teachers in school, organizational and political settings in the long run.