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Keynote: Governing Education in a Complex World

This presentation was given by Tracey Burns of the OECD at the GCES Conference on Governing Education in a Complex World in Brussels on 17 October during the keynote session on Governing Education in a Complex World.

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Keynote: Governing Education in a Complex World

  1. 1. Governing Complex Education Systems Brussels 17 October 2016 Tracey Burns
  2. 2. Increasingly complex education systems • Central regulation to decentralisation and deregulation • Increasing school autonomy • Increasing numbers of actors and stakeholders • Parental choice and voice Trends in Governance
  3. 3. Increasing accountability of performance • Measurable objectives and indicators • Focus on evaluation and quality assurance • Increasing transparency Trends in Governance
  4. 4. GCES Main Research Questions What models of governance are effective in complex education systems? What knowledge system is necessary to support the effective governance of complex education systems?
  5. 5. GCES Analytical Model SteeringPriority setting Accountability ImplementationPolicy Design Knowledge use Knowledge production
  6. 6. Simple Complicated ComplexComplex Raising a childFollowing a recipe Sending a rocket to the moon Source: Snyder (2013); based on Glouberman, S., & Zimmerman, B. (2002)
  7. 7. GCES activities - Thematic conferences - Working papers - Case studies - Final volumes
  8. 8. GCES Main Findings • There is no one right system of governance. Rather than focussing on structures it is more fruitful to focus on processes. • Effective governance works through building capacity, open dialogue, and stakeholder involvement. • Governance is a balancing act between accountability and trust, innovation and risk-avoidance, consensus building and making difficult choices.
  9. 9. GCES Main Findings • The central level remains very important in steering education through strategic vision and clear guidelines and feedback. • There are systemic weaknesses in capacity which contribute to today’s governance challenges. • Importance of key principles for system governance (not just agreement on where to go, but how to get there).
  10. 10. GCES Core Themes Accountability systems Capacity building Strategic thinking
  11. 11. Accountability Challenges • Who, to what purpose? • Transparency of roles • Legitimacy Trade-offs • Responsibility • Trust • Innovation
  12. 12. Accountability A constructive system - Aligns measures - Supports improvement and professionalism - Holistic vision
  13. 13. Change management: • Local government • School leaders Use of data • Production/use • Identifying needs • “Tyranny of common sense” Capacity Building
  14. 14. Success factors: • Political support • Concrete goals, clear communication • Appropriate resources • Time Capacity Building
  15. 15. • Increased need for strategic thinking on all levels • Capacity an issue (outside larger cities) • Strategic state Strategic Thinking
  16. 16. Focuses on processes, not structures Is flexible and can adapt to change and unexpected events Works through building capacity, stakeholder involvement and open dialogue Requires whole of system approach (aligning roles, balancing tensions) Harnesses evidence and research to inform policy and reform Effective governance Elements of effective governance
  17. 17. Thank you!