Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

European Higher Education Area and the Introduction of a Quality Assurance Program in Greek Universities: Is Policy-Oriented Learning Present?

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

European Higher Education Area and the Introduction of a Quality Assurance Program in Greek Universities: Is Policy-Oriented Learning Present?

Article excerpt

This paper aims to investigate the production (or not) of policy-oriented learning during the establishment and implementation of a specific policy program in the policy sub-system of the Greek university as well as the interpretation of the existence (or not) of policy-oriented learning. The theoretical tools were drawn mainly from the theoretical work of Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith, termed the 'advocacy coalition framework (ACF)'. The Greek university is therefore considered to be a policy subsystem in which actors form coalition networks that share policy core beliefs and values, and engage in coordinated action in order to translate these beliefs and values into public policy. Thirty-five semi-structured interviews were used for the production of data, in combination with policy paper analysis.

Keywords: Greek higher education; Higher education policy; Policy analysis; Quality assurance

Evropski visokosolski prostor in vpeljava programa za zagotavljanje kakovosti na grskih univerzahali obstaja produkcija s politikami usmerjenega ucenja?

George Stamelos* in Aggelos Kavasakalis

Cilj prispevka je po eni strani raziskati produkcijo (ali odsotnost) s politikami (policy) usmerjenega ucenja med pripravo in implementacijo dolocenega strateskega (policy) programa v grskem univerzitetnem podsistemu, po drugi strani pa interpretacijo obstoja (ali neobstoja) s politikami usmerjenega ucenja. Teoreticno izhodisce je izpeljano na podlagi teorije zagovorniske koalicije (advocacy coalition framework - ACF), ki sta jo podala Sabatier in Jenkins - Smith. Tako lahko grsko univerzo obravnavamo kot strateski (policy) podsistem, v katerem akterji oblikujejo koalicijske mreze, ki delijo ista kljucna strateska (policy) prepricanja in vrednote ter se vkljucujejo v koordinirane akcije z namenom, da bi ta prepricanja in vrednote prenesli v javne politike (policy). Za potrebe raziskave je bilo opravljenih 35 polstrukturiranih intervjujev v kombinaciji z analizo strateskih (policy) dokumentov.

Kljucne besede: grsko visoko solstvo, visokosolske politike (policy), analiza politik (policy), zagotavljanje kakovosti

Theoretical choices

An overview of the framework

The advocacy coalition framework (ACF) was initially designed in the late 1980s by Paul Sabatier and Hank Jenkins-Smith to help explain advocacy coalition structure and behaviour, the role of scientific and technical information in policy (policy-oriented learning) and policy change in policy subsystems. The ACF has since been applied worldwide to analyse the formation and implementation of policy programs through policy network analysis in different policy regimes and in different policy sectors.3 Among these works, some educational policy programs have been analysed.

The ACF considers mapping out policy to be a continuous process without a concrete beginning and end. The content of reforms is influenced by the permanently altered coalition networks, which represent different policy beliefs, values and interests. Coalition networks are defined as groups of actors coordinating their behaviour to some extent in order to achieve a common, or complementary, political objective (Hula, 1999). As Sabatier claims, the ACF recognises

'the importance of problem perception; shifts in elite and public opinion concerning the salience of various problems; periodic struggles over the proper locus of governmental authority; incomplete attainment of legally- prescribed goals; and an iterative process of policy formulation, problematic implementation, and struggles over reformulation' (Sabatier, 1988, p. 130).

A basic principle of this framework is that coalitions possess a well-devel- oped belief system that is organised on three levels: deep core beliefs; policy core be- liefs and secondary beliefs.4 This system of beliefs organises fundamental values and perceptions and connects them to the causes of policy problems and consequently to suitable approaches for their resolution (Zafonte & Sabatier, 2004, p. …

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