28 SES 03 A, Competences, Large Scale Assessments and Experts in the Globalization and Europeanization of Education
The changing landscape of European education modified the general approach to services and brought a kind of ‘marketization’ through education cross-over actors and a global industry. Beyond the globalization process, some new trends are related to the increasing role of private actors and consultancy organizations. While factors such as private interests in education have been at play for ages, recent years have seen the emergence of a global education industry that is qualitatively distinct form anything that preceded it. In the same vein, corporate social responsibility companies or and non-profit organizations such as think tanks and philanthropic associations operate in the area of European education while they invest in the State’s domain, particularly childhood, digital technologies and assessment tools, soft skills. In this context, these European actors build new networks and relationships through various means (organization of events, projects, dissemination activities) blurring at the same time the borders between the public and the private.
This communication aims to present how interest groups have penetrated education in Europe and how they structure different types of mobilization and gather different material and cognitive resources which cannot be reduced to the concept of ‘influence’. Indeed, these interest groups try to develop specific relationships with European institutions in being engaged in different mundane and informal ways from face-to-face meetings to formal representations and consultations in which they tend to bring over their perspectives, interests, and delivery of methods to guide the policy process Using concepts developed in the European sociology of education, we will explain who are these networks involving different kind of actors, from business to social entrepreneurship and philanthropy, that are connected with European policy-makers from the local to the global, and what type of values, ideas, knowledge, etc. is circulating among them endorsing some Lifelong learning ideals and principles. Since the last decade, the mix between policy-makers, experts and interest groups has increased in establishing new forms of involving ‘complex and reciprocal interdependencies which have not been really studied in the field of the European sociology of education.
As Martin Lawn explains, ‘a new policy space is emerging in European education, with discourses and macro-actors to scrutinize beyond the traditional role of the European Commission, and its offices. This new policy is made of heterogeneous assemblages and relationships, socially and virtually, making difficult the understanding of European governance which cannot be reduced to neo-liberalism and an agenda of privatization. The European Policy in education as a constant process of translation and mediation of policy discourses and instruments reveals some complex and shadow arrangements and compromises which are not directly perceptible in the European public space but they frame the future of European education.
Since the mid-1990s, there have been calls to modernize professional bureaucracies through more ‘joined up’ policy approaches and great cooperation between professionals in charge of specific policy sectors’. ‘It is useful to examine more closely the activities of these corporate elites in public education for two compelling reasons. First, as elites manage more and more of the functions of schooling, the research community needs to ask whether or not these private organisations are keeping the best interests of students in mind. In effect, the question becomes or who will monitor the actions of persons in positions of power’.
The study is based on qualitative methods for analysing European interest groups in education, in relation to European policy, and to investigate different actors involved in the field of business, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. The first step of our investigation has been a documental analysis screening around one hundred documents: articles, books, official and semi-official reports from private and semi-public actors from archives and websites as well as journals and books. , Document analysis has been used in several exploratory qualitative interviews with some experts and policy-makers in Brussels at European institutions. The inquiry is now developed to gather data from people involve in these organizations through other interviews and participative observations. The collection of data is conducted in different steps: - the first one has been concerned with the documental analysis, in which we have considered different kinds of documents, such as manuals, books and brochures, diaries and journals, event programs, maps, press releases, program proposals, summaries, organisational or institutional reports, survey data, public records; - the second one has regarded qualitative interviews of members of interest groups based in Brussels, with the aim of deepening the work of the lobbyists in the education field, understanding more about what they do in terms of contact with the member of the European institutions and pressure on the legislative powers.
We have a complete map of the different networks developed by these interest groups. We have analysed some precise interlinks between these actors and European policy-makers in European institutions, especially the Commission and the Parliament. This network analysis helped us to display new arrangements framing the European policy space in education showing at the same time the penetration of private interests in the public area. This contribution to the field of European sociology of education needs to be completed by further investigation in the next months.
Ball, S. J. (2012). Global Education Inc.: New policy networks and the neo-liberal imaginary. Routledge. Ball, S. J., (2008). New Philanthropy, New Networks and New Governance in Education, Political Studies, vol. 56, 747-765. Bezes P., Demazière D., Le Bianic T., Paradeise C., Normand R. et al. (2012). New public management and professionals in the public sector. What new patterns beyond opposition?. Sociologie du Travail. Elsevier Masson. 54 (supplement 1), 1-52. Gunter, H. M., Hall, D. & Apple, M. (Eds.). (2017). Corporate Elites and the Reform of Public Education. Bristol: Policy Press. Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012, May). Europeanizing education: Governing a new policy space. Symposium Books Ltd. Lawn, M., & Normand, R. (Eds.). (2014). Shaping of European education: Interdisciplinary approaches. Routledge. Lawn, M. & Lingard B. (2002). Constructing a European Policy Space in Educational Governance: the role of transnational policy actors. European Educational Research Journal, 1(2), 290-307. Peck J. & H. Yeung H. (2003). Making the global rules: globalisation or neoliberalisation?. Remaking the Global Economy. Sage. Verger, A., Lubienski C. & Steiner-Khamsi G. (2016). World Yearbook of Education 2016. The Global Education Industry. Routledge.
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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