23 SES 13 C, Bureaucracy and Instrumentalism in Education
Internationalization of education policy is not a new phenomenon any longer. Travelling reforms are making their way around the globe and policy borrowing and lending is ubiquitous all over the world (Rizvi and Lingard, 2010). Internationalization brought about the shift of not only education policies of individual nation states, but also of education research. Among a multitude of new research topics surrounding the internationalization of education policy, the consequences of internationalization on the domestic level has just begun to be delved into (Martens, Knodel, and Windzion, 2014). A wide range of previous research has shown that internationalization driven by international organizations has contributed to a substantial change in education policies of individual nation states, with differences in terms of the aspects and degrees of the change. It is the second finding that policy actors of countries react differently to the new policies, which are softly but 'hardly' suggested by international organizations according to their deeply entrenched principles of education or their political interests (Martens, Knodel, and Windzion, 2014). Earlier studies in this research field found that some political parties or teacher unions support the new globalized reform and others oppose it, for example France and Spain (Dobbins, 2014; Popp, 2014). However, it is not easy to find research regarding the effect the internationalization of education policy has on the relationships among policy actors in a country. In order to get a more dynamic understanding about internationalization, this study seeks to answer these questions: Does the internationalization of education policy trigger the shift of the power relations among policy actors within a policy community? How can the mechanism of the change be explained? What is the significance of the change caused by internationalization?
Specifically, this study will focus on the mid 1990s reform in South Korea, which was certainly a kind of imported reform from the OECD. In particular, the shift of the status of the bureaucrats in the process of education reform will be investigated.
The mid 1990s reform in South Korea can not be explained without its membership to the OECD in 1996. It was the South Korean bureaucrats, who were dispatched to the OECD in 1991 to prepare for joining, who played a major role in the reform process. The education reform proposals, which were the output of the reform, continued to be institutionalized over the 20 years after the reform had begun. Interviews with the dispatched bureaucrats to the OECD is the most important methodology of this study. Interviews with three key officials were completed last fall, and interviews with several officials at the Ministry of Education are planned. In addition, teacher union leaders and professors who were involved in the education policy process will be interviewed. The dispatched bureaucrats had many documents. These documents, along with various others produced during the education reform, will be reviewed.
South Korea was known as a developmental country in which bureaucrats played a great role in policy process, especially from the 1960s to 1980s. In the process of democratization since the late 1980s, however, the social status of bureaucrats has greatly declined. The bureaucrats were even considered as perpetrators of the military government. When the first civilian government launched education reform, the role of bureaucrats was extremely limited. However, as the policy suggestions by the OECD were meaningfully accepted in the process of education reform, the space for the bureaucrats began to open wide again because the bureaucrats played the same role as a pipeline linking the OECD and Korean education. As neo-liberal education reform continues to institutionalize, the bureaucrats have become evaluators, while teachers and professors have become those evaluated. The South Korean case shows that educational policy led by the international organizations has a considerable effect on the power relations within the educational policy community of individual countries.
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