23 SES 09 A JS, New Public Management and the Modernisation of Education in Europe
Symposium, Joint Session NW 23 and NW 28
Since the end of the 1980s, the Norwegian education system has gone through major reform, influenced largely by new managerialist ideas. This paper investigates the way ideas connected to NPM reforms have been introduced in the Norwegian education sector. We will offer accounts of the manner in which NPM has been interpreted, its interplay with local and national conditions and the processes of inscription, mediation and resistance which may be identified within the Norwegian context over time. We have found three areas of discursive struggle. The first one is linked to ideologies and the national history of schooling, the second to contested issues of teacher professionalism and the third is associated with strategies for modernising and improving education. A main argument is that NPM reforms changed direction and sped up when Norway was listed among the ‘lower-performing’ countries according to PISA and other international tests. Leadership and accountability became dominant themes in Norwegian education. Both are framed as key vehicles for the modernization project in education.
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