23 SES 09 A JS, New Public Management and the Modernisation of Education in Europe
Symposium, Joint Session NW 23 and NW 28
At the top of the French State, professional bodies and circles of experts have worked during the last decades to legitimize the principles of NPM in public services and among civil servants. Currently, following the health sector, education has become the new target of policy-makers seeking to rationalize the administration and to make it more accountable. However, due to some historical and cultural legacies, the governance of education remains relatively centralized and standardized despite a modest reform of decentralization in the 1980s. The French education system did not move towards the market and privatization while professions remained largely unaffected by these changes. However, audits were developed, a set of indicators we imposed to lead schools according to some principles of accountability, the curriculum was aligned on a Basic Skill Framework, and Education Priority Areas were transformed in “Education Action Zones”. Currently, the restructuring of the teaching force and a new step towards decentralization are under scrutiny by policy-makers. But Republican ethics, and the attachment of professionals to the State and equality, remain an important filter which hides policy borrowing and the mechanisms of import of tools and ideas from International Organizations.
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