23 SES 08 C, Media and Education Policy Making
This presentation discusses recent changes in educational policies in Portugal regarding the contractualisation of educational services with private schools, through ‘association contracts’. These changes will be taken as an example of the ongoing and wider debate around education welfare right and the privatization of education.
Following a managerial agenda, between 2011 and 2015, the government promoted free choice and introduced more flexible criteria for allocating public funding to private schools. As consequence, public funding to private schools has grown when social policies, including education, suffered gross financial cuts. However, in January 2016, the new government (supported by the “left wing” of the parliament) decided to review this process, establishing that new ‘association contracts’ could only will be established where the capacity of the education public system was absent or insufficient.
These changes generated a renewed public debate about what should be the role of the state in education, particularly visible by the regular presence in the media of political decision-makers, citizens' movements, teachers’ unions, private and public schools, defending either a more public or a more private school system. Thus, we intend to deepen the knowledge of the processes of reconfiguration of the education's societal role, and state’s action in this framework, choosing social media as a privileged space to analyze the process of production and circulation of educational policies regarding school privatization.
We take the theoretical perspectives of governance and the managerial state reform to discuss these developments, locating them on the global tendency towards new ways of sociopolitical coordination that reorganize the centrality and the priorities of the state and other political authorities, like the European Union. An educational universe of shifting frontiers, "hybridized organizational forms, and innovative governance arrangements" has been progressively fabricated, with "the involvement of a multiplicity of new providers of different types, and the redistribution of power and responsibility" (Newman & Clarke, 2012, p.353; Junemann & Ball, 2013, p.423). This “shift fromgovernment to governance” (Jessop, 1995) points to the emergence of a new order, which involves the role of the state in relation to the economy, the production and distribution of social welfare, the relationship with citizens, the coordination, the activities and the agents involved in these domains (Loncle, Amaral & Dale, 2015: 11). The managerial agenda has been promoted since decades by supranational organizations like the World Bank, the OECD or the EU and is reforming education through different governance mix and policies, depending on particular national and institutional histories and resources (Verger & Romuald, 2015): for instance, the school choice policy has been consecrated on 75% of the OECD member states (Davis, 2013) and is consolidated on European countries like Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland or Spain (van Zanten & Kosunen, 2013); in England, several waves of managerial reforms allowed a growing process of privatization, “the creation of schools as business units and the marketization of education more generally” (Hall & Gunter, 2015). In Portugal, the State and public policies have since decades taken a twofold role, either to strengthen the public school system and to support an enlarged space for private educational providers and influence. This paper seeks to understand further some dimensions (actors, arguments and interests in the public debate) of this recent moment of governance education policies elaboration.
In order to analyze the public debate caused by the changes in the contractualisation of educational services, we focused on policy mediatization (Strömbäck, 2008) more precisely on the presence of this debate in the social media. We assume that social media act as policy co-produces, drivers and mediators of social interaction.
Jessop, B. (1995). The regulation approach, governance and post-Fordism: alternative perspectives on economic and political change? International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24 (3), 307-333. Junemann, C. & Ball, S. (2013). ARK and the revolution of state education in England. Education Inquiry 4, 423-441. http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/edui.v4i3.22611. Loncle, Patrícia; do Amaral, Marcelo Parreira & Dale, Roger (2015). Introduction. Shaping the futures of young Europeans: education governance in eight European countries. In Marcelo Parreira do Amaral, Roger Dale & Patrícia Loncle (eds.). Shaping the Futures of Young Europeans: Education governance in eight European countries. Oxford: Symposium Books Ltd, pp. 7-22. Newman, J. & Clarke, J. (2012). Gerencialismo. Educação & Realidade, 37(2): 353-381. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S2175-62362012000200003. Porta, Eva da, & Cianci, Maria. (2016). Médiatisation du processus de privatisation de ─ et dans ─ l'éducation en Amérique Latine et Caraïbes: une étude du discours des médias. Educação & Sociedade, 37 (134), 35-54. https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/ES0101-73302016157550 Strömbäck, J. (2008). Four phases of mediatization: An analysis of the mediatization of politics. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 13 (3), 228-246. Hall, D. & Gunter, H. M. (2015). A nova gestão pública na Inglaterra: a permanente instabilidade da reforma neoliberal. Educação & Sociedade, 36 (132), 743-758.
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