23 SES 03 C, Policies for Inclusive and Democratic Education
Even though globalisation and Europeanisation have been related to the enrichment of life with enticing challenges and a range of choices, the above phenomena are also connected with alarming processes (Jarvis, 2009). Thus, within the new global and European order, national power seems to shrink to the benefit of international organizations, which press nations to reform their education systems and abide by their policy (Hargreaves, 2009; Pasias & Roussakis, 2009; Walkenhorst, 2008). Moreover, the inevitable transfer of ideas across the borders alongside the exchange of goods, and the consequent interaction between ‘leading countries’ and ‘followers’, as well as mimicry, have resulted to seeking ready-made solutions to allegedly similar national problems through uniformity (Heichel, Pape & Sommerer, 2005; Morris, 2012). However, the pressure for convergence does not always lead to the strict adoption of the imposed policies. In contrast, sometimes intense reactions resulting even to rejection may be observed, because of the resistant opposing lobbies (Heichel et al., 2005; Jarvis, 2009).
Yet, being in the global and European community implies respecting and applying the relevant conventions and policies at the local level. Thus, in order to find the least complicated solution, nations often adopt the suggested international policies as they are, at least at the theoretical and rhetorical level, while the latter are then translated into localised practice, with an indigenous character (Halász & Michel, 2011; Zmas, 2012). In this way, even though within the context of the European Union national education systems apparently converge, actually the real uniformity between European countries is most probably divergence, because of the localised interpretations of the international. In other words, at a first glance national educational agendas and rhetoric appear the same between nations; however they actually diverge because they are filtered through the local culture, the national priorities and the prevalent stereotypes and beliefs (Gouvias, 2007; Philips, 2009).
Likewise in Cyprus, under the pressure, exercised by international organizations such as UNESCO, to comply with treaties that deprecate segregation and mandate the provision of special services to disabled children within mainstream schools, the law 113(I) was passed in 1999 (Liasidou, 2008; Phtiaka, 2006). According to the Cyprus Parliament (1999), the rationale for the legitimization of the enrolment of disabled children in mainstream schools was that Cyprus had already had ratified international conventions on the rights of disabled children, which had to become national legislation.
However, the above resolution in Cyprus was the hasty outcome of external pressure and political interests instead of being a thoughtful and carefully planned governmental initiative. As a result, the implementation of the legislation about special education is often fragmented, while some of the provisions are not always given, despite the obligatory nature of the law 113(Ι)/1999 (Liasidou, 2008; Symeonidou, 2002; Phtiaka, 2006). Yet, in order to implement inclusive education, it is important to abide by international conventions and policies about disability and inclusion, such as the European Disability Strategy (EDS) 2010-2020. In this way, the barriers to inclusion may be dismantled, while equal access to quality education and lifelong learning,fullparticipation in society and improved quality of life may be promoted (European Commission (EC), 2010).
Based on the above, the following research questions occur:
a) How international policy about inclusive education is translated into local policy and practice in Cyprus?
b) Which factors influence the interpretation of the basic tenets of inclusive education in Cyprus?
Bryman, A. (2008). Social Research Methods. Oxford: University Press. Cyprus Parliament (1999). Law About the Education of Children with Special Needs (Law 113/1999). Nicosia: Government Printing Office. [in Greek] European Commission (EC) (2010). European Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe. Brussels: European Commission. Gouvias, D. S. (2007). The ‘Response’ of the Greek State to Global Trends of Educational Policy Making. European Educational Research Journal, 6(1), 25-38. Jarvis, P. (2009). Lifelong learning and globalization: towards a structural comparative model. In R. Cowen & A. Kazamias, International Handbook of Comparative Education (pp. 601-617). London: Springer. Halász, G. & Michel, A. (2011). Key Competences in Europe: interpretation, policy formulation and implementation. European Journal of Education, 46(3), 289-306. Hargreaves, A. (2009). Pedagogical and educational change for sustainable knowledge societies. In R. Cowen & A. Kazamias, International Handbook of Comparative Education (pp. 943-958). London: Springer. Heichel , S., Pape, J. & Sommerer, T. (2005). Is there convergence in convergence research? An overview of empirical studies on policy convergence. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5), 817-840. Liasidou, A. (2008). Critical discourse analysis and inclusive education policies: The power to exclude. Journal of Education Policy, 23(5), 483-500. Morris, P. (2012). Pick ’n’ mix, select and project; policy borrowing and the quest for ‘world class’ schooling: an analysis of the 2010 schools White Paper. Journal of Education Policy, 27(1), 89-107. Oliver, M. (1990). The Politics of Disablement. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Pasias, G. & Roussakis, Y. (2009). Towards the European panopticon: EU discourses and policies in education and training 1992-2007. In R. Cowen & A. Kazamias (Eds.), International Handbook of Comparative Education (pp. 479-495). Dordrecht: Springer. Philips, D. (2009). Aspects of educational transfer. In R. Cowen & A. Kazamias, International Handbook of Comparative Education (pp. 1061-1077). London: Springer. Phtiaka, H. (2006). From separation to integration: parental assessment of State intervention. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 16(3), 175-189. Symeonidou, S. (2002). A critical consideration of current values on the education of disabled children. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 6(3), 217-229. Walkenhorst, H. (2008). Explaining change in EU education policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 15(4), 567-587. Zmas, A. (2012). The Transformation of the European Educational Discourse in the Balkans. European Journal of Education, 47(3), 364-377.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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