26 SES 02 B, Comparing Educational Governance
Contemporary education is embedded in larger communities: municipality, region, nation-state and transnational as well as international communities. Schools are therefore important players in transnational as well as national politics; thus, they are included in chains of governance and cultures. First, transnational policies and demands are evidently filtered through policy cultures when they meet the national level, which explain variation in implementation patterns within the Nordic countries. Second, national policies are mediated through local structures and policy preferences (shaped by local history and culture) in their way towards school principals and teachers. Therefore, governing schools can be analysed as multi-level governance systems, a concept denoting both vertical and horizontal governing relations – between institutions on different levels and between formal and informal actors. The concept describes how governing de facto takes place in the public sector, and this perspective encompasses more than the formal actors involved. Rather multi-level highlights the importance to study the socio-economic and cultural contest in which the stakeholders and political actors are situated – in order to capture educational governance in practice in its richness. This present paper analyses tensions between the levels and the actors, why these have emerged and how they are dealt with.
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