Academic journal article NAER - Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Uncertainties and Risks in Education politics/Incertidumbres Y Riesgos En la Politica De la Educacion

Academic journal article NAER - Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Uncertainties and Risks in Education politics/Incertidumbres Y Riesgos En la Politica De la Educacion

Article excerpt

New Approaches in Educational Research (NAER) dedicates this issue to research and reflections on Education Politics (EP). Obviously, this publication does not contain all topics susceptible to be problematic; however, by reading it one can identify questions which show how unsure this area of knowledge is. Indeed, that uncertainty can be both an incentive for improvement and the root cause of future problems with irreversible consequences. Readers will have to judge whether the nine articles which complete this new issue of NAER throw light or cast shadows upon current educational policies.

We talk about 'educational policies' not only because there is no single educational policy -actually it is rarely a matter of a single State and increasingly a matter of international institutions. Also because EP has two facets: apart from being a government action, it is an object of research and teaching. Thus, both aspects appear in the articles compiled in this volume. Some of them substantially tackle the problems that affect EP as a discipline which is integrated in the curriculum of higher education studies. For instance, Manuel de Puelles's article focuses on the uncertainties which affect its conceptual vagueness, the nature of its knowledge or the lack of delimitation of its fields, as well as on its epistemological shortfalls. In that sense, Fernandez-Soria's contribution echoes the relation some researchers see between the lack of epistemological studies, the weakness of research designs and ethical insufficiencies. These articles demand a higher epistemological commitment in research; Jimenez, Palmero and Rico conclude by saying "we need to increase the minimum epistemological reflection levels required to scientifically study Education Politics".

This study tries to identify and analyse the different ways of understanding, teaching and practicing EP as a postgraduate training discipline. It points out its dispersion of concepts--also tackled by Puelles--and methodologies, which "show the lack of a hermeneutic circle and an interpretative community". In the first part of his article, Fernandez-Soria identifies similar problems. He presents the concerns of the scientific community regarding EP teaching and research and advises more agreement on the meaning of some concepts and applying an active teaching methodology which involves students and improves their attitude and motivation towards Politics. As Jimenez, Palmero and Rico state, conceptual disparity is detrimental to the teaching of EP and is an obstacle to getting to know and explain the problems which affect it. To that, Puelles adds an age-old conflict which blocks teaching and research on politics: its axiological and regulatory or empirical and positive character.

The fields of knowledge of EP is another key topic present in Manuel de Puelles's contribution. He focuses on the values, the agents--especially collectives--, the curriculum and the assessment of EPs. Some of those may be influenced by a specific type of agents which are currently defining EPs: international agents, some nominated agents--international institutions among others--and other more ambiguous agents such as an economy with a neoclassic approach. All of them are decisively influencing EP as a government action.

The colonisation to which the economy, in a neoclassic way, is subjugating EPs is a recurrent topic in most of the contributions to this volume. The consequences of the omnipresence of this type of economy in the decisions taken about EP are causing the greatest uncertainties and risks for one of its inalienable objectives: the achievement of a more democratic, fair, cohesive society.

The progressive substitution of welfare policies with management policies is, perhaps, the most visible effect of the neoliberal nature of educational decisions. This management approach has severe effects on social policies, especially on educational policies. …

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