23 SES 11 C, School Inspection Policies and Practices
In contemporary policy school inspection is understood as a form of governing, where the state has resumed its previous status to control municipalities and schools (Rönnberg, 2012a; Rhodes, 1994). Although new policy implies new modes of governing, creating new decision-spaces for inspectorates, professional-bureaucratic structures seem to remain (Maroy, 2012). Through a systematic, comparative document analysis of school inspections in Norway and Sweden, our aim is to examine how inspections play a regulative role in shaping education policy within and across the countries. We ask; Can different configurations of governing modes be observed within and across school inspection policies in Norway and Sweden? If so, how can these be interpreted? Moreover, in respect to the latter question, how can national and transnational scripts be observed in and across the two countries?
Policies shift and change their meaning in the areas of politics, for example through changes in representation and interpretation of policy, relatively often as a deliberate tactic for changing the meaning of policy (Ball, 1994). Moreover, they may evolve through negotiations and adjusting to transforming discourses. The paper will not examine the political processes to achieve legitimacy for school inspection, but report on how politics transforms into systems and regulations within the two countries. Theoretically, the study draws upon concepts understood both as Weberian (Olsen, 2005) as well as neo-institutional conveyed by e.g. Pollitt & Bouckaert (2011). We also refer to Lawn & Grek (2012) and Steiner-Khamsi (2010) to explore the transnational as well as national dimensions of educational policy across the two countries. Thus, the goal of this article is not only to examine the cross-national aspects outlined above, but also to demonstrate how these different policies have evolved within the context of which they derive from (Rui, 2007).
Ball, S. (1994). Education Reform: A Critical and Post-structural Approach. London: Open University Press. Lawn, M. & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education: governing a new policy space. Oxford: Symposium Books. Maroy, C. (2012) Towards Post-Bureaucratic Modes of Governance: A European Perspective. In: G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.). World Yearbook of Education 2012. London: Routledge. Olsen, J. P. (2005). Maybe it is Time to Rediscover Bureaucracy. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART), 16, 1-24. Pollitt, C. & Bouckaert, G. (2011) Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis – New Public Management, Governance, and the Neo–Weberian State. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rui, Y. (2007). Comparing Policies. In: S. Bray, B. Adamson & M. Mason (Eds.): Comparative Educational Research – Approaches and Methods. Comparative Education Center, The University of Hong Kong: Springer. Rönnberg, L. (2012a). Reinstating national school inspections in Sweden. Nordic Studies in Education. 2/2012 Rönnberg, L. (2012b). Justifying the Need for Control. Motives for Swedish National School Inspection during Two Governments. SJER (iFirst) Rhodes, R.A.W. (1994). The Hollowing Out of the State: The Changing Nature of the Public Service in Britain. The Political Quarterly, 65 (2), 138-151. Segerholm, C. (2009). ‘We are doing well on QAE’: the case of Sweden. Journal of Education Policy, 24 (2), 195-209. Steiner‐Khamsi, G. (2010). The Politics and Economics of Comparison. Comparative Education Review, 54(3), 323-342. Taylor, S., Rizvi, F., Lingard, B. & Henry, M. (1997). Educational policy and the politics of change. London: Routledge.
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