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Evidence-Based Educational Practice  

Tone Kvernbekk

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a buzzword in contemporary professional debates, for example, in education, medicine, psychiatry, and social policy. It is known as the “what works” agenda, and its focus is on the use of the best available evidence to bring about desirable results or prevent undesirable ones. We immediately see here that EBP is practical in nature, that evidence is thought to play a central role, and also that EBP is deeply causal: we intervene into an already existing practice in order to produce an output or to improve the output. If our intervention brings the results we want, we say that it “works.” How should we understand the causal nature of EBP? Causality is a highly contentious issue in education, and many writers want to banish it altogether. But causation denotes a dynamic relation between factors and is indispensable if one wants to be able to plan the attainment of goals and results. A nuanced and reasonable understanding of causality is therefore necessary to EBP, and this we find in the INUS-condition approach. The nature and function of evidence is much discussed. The evidence in question is supplied by research, as a response to both political and practical demands that educational research should contribute to practice. In general, evidence speaks to the truth value of claims. In the case of EBP, the evidence emanates from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and presumably speaks to the truth value of claims such as “if we do X, it will lead to result Y.” But what does research evidence really tell us? It is argued here that a positive RCT result will tell you that X worked where the RCT was conducted and that an RCT does not yield general results. Causality and evidence come together in the practitioner perspective. Here we shift from finding causes to using them to bring about desirable results. This puts contextual matters at center stage: will X work in this particular context? It is argued that much heterogeneous contextual evidence is required to make X relevant for new contexts. If EBP is to be a success, research evidence and contextual evidence must be brought together.

Article

Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Learners with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders  

Jessica Whitley

Students identified with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) comprise a diverse group in terms of academic, social, emotional, and behavioral strengths and needs. Identification and diagnostic criteria and terminologies vary widely across and within many countries and school systems, resulting in a complex research base. Estimates of prevalence range from 4 to 15% of students meeting criteria for an emotional and/or behavioral disorder or difficulty. Approaches to teaching learners with E/BD have shifted since the turn of the 21st century from an individual, deficit-focused perspective to a more ecological framework where the environments interacting dynamically with the learner are considered. Research increasingly demonstrates the benefits of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) where the needs of most students can be met through universal preventative and whole-class approaches. Students who do not find success at the first level of supports receive increasingly specialized services including intensive, wraparound services that involve partners beyond school walls. MTSS are common across North America and beyond and are typically focused on externalizing behaviors; positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) is the most prevalent multi-tiered system currently being implemented. Since the mid-2000s, efforts have been made to focus on academic as well as behavioral goals for students, often through the inclusion of response-to-intervention approaches. Comprehensive strategies that combine academic and behavioral support while drawing on learner strengths and relationship-building are successfully being adopted in elementary and secondary settings. Approaches include social and emotional learning, mindfulness, peer-assisted learning, and a range of classroom-based instructional and assessment practices that support the academic, social, and emotional development of students with E/BD.

Article

Evidence-based Practices for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities  

Rubina S. Lal and M. Thomas Kishore

Learning disability (LD) is a broad term to refer to disorders related to listening, speaking, reasoning, reading, writing, and mathematical calculation. Though the term LD is used to refer to individuals with intellectual disabilities in some countries, the authors use it in this chapter to refer to “Specific Learning Disabilities.” Students with LDs will typically have average or above-average intelligence. Significant features are problems in language-processing skills and a mismatch between the student’s intellectual ability and his or her academic performance. Hyperactivity, attention deficits, and socio-emotional adversities have been associated with learning disability, but cannot explain it. Since people with LDs do not have physical manifestation of the condition, it often goes unnoticed during early childhood. The problems become evident only when the child enters school, where the academic and social demands they face are far greater than their individual learning ability. Comprehensive assessment of the core skills in the areas of reading, writing, reasoning, and mathematics should be done using multiple measures, both standardized and nonstandardized. The assessment process may need inputs from a multidisciplinary team. Qualitative and quantitative data from the assessment is required in order to select suitable teaching strategies for students with LDs. There are several approaches for identification of an LD, but a discrepancy between intellectual ability and academic achievement as a key indicator seems to be widely followed; and the Response to Intervention (RTI) method is specifically popular in educational settings. The RTI is a research-based assessment and teaching method of ascertaining how a student responds to interventions in core curricular areas given in group and individual sessions. Use of RTI reflects a paradigmatic shift from the discrepancy model, which allowed the student to fail before interventions were made. While enabling the identification of students in need of services through individualized education program, RTI is an instructional model designed to improve the academic performance of all students in the class, with varying levels of instruction to suit their individual needs. The psychoeducational approach is also popular as a means of assessing LDs among educators because it allows linking of cognitive and psychological processes with the acquisition of core academic skills which in turn will help in providing comprehensive remediation. There are several effective intervention strategies for enhancing reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. Some of the strategies are universal and some are specific to the targeted language. Intervention programs vary with reference to the age and grade, and use of information and technology. However, all programs depend on teachers’ abilities and on a supportive school environment. Teachers’ knowledge about nature and needs of students with learning disabilities, and their ability to use research-based teaching methods are crucial to ensure positive learning outcomes for such students. Appropriate curricular input at preservice training level, mentoring and support of newly inducted teachers, and ongoing professional development are key factors for building teacher competency. School management has an important role in creating the necessary infrastructure and resources for effective assessment, intervention, and evaluation of students. Administrators must support the use of appropriate and culture-fair assessment tools, research-based teaching strategies, documentation, and importantly, collaboration among the members of the educational and multidisciplinary teams. However, much of the literature comes from English-speaking countries. Since LDs are a language-based problem and there are multiple languages across the globe, there is a lot of scope for documenting evidence-based practices from non-English-speaking settings.

Article

Examining Challenges and Possibilities in the Objective of a Decolonized Education  

Marlon Lee Moncrieffe

This article examines challenges and possibilities in the objective of a decolonized education. Beginning with key referents to the term decolonized education, this article then provides a unique presentation of decolonizing the education of Eurocentric knowledge created through colonialism, empire, and racism. This process is shown as enacted through a decolonial consciousness framed by a historical, social, cultural, intellectual, emotional, and political disposition which takes action to reverse colonial knowledge. The article applies this decolonial consciousness in a review and analysis of the intergenerational educational experiences of migrant 20th-century African Caribbean people across the United Kingdom, and the ethnogenesis of their Black British children in the face of a White British-centric school system of epistemic inequality. The article provides a critical review on the challenges and possibilities in advocating for decolonized education for the greater inclusion of Black British experiences against national curriculum policy discourses given by U.K. government over the last few decades. The critical focal point of the article is on the aims and contents of the primary school history curriculum and the uncritical teaching and learning perspectives in the delivery of this curriculum. Challenges to decolonizing education and curriculum teaching and learning are presented, discussed, and analyzed through U.K. conservative/liberal democrat coalition government curriculum reforms of 2013 centered on restoring education and curriculum teaching and learning through an ethnic nationalist monocultural version of British national identity (whiteness) at the expense of multiculturalism (cultural diversity). This curriculum hierarchy of whiteness is contrasted by presentation and analysis of evidence-based research that decenters curriculum whiteness. Following this discussion is a review and analysis of debates and discussions in the U.K. Parliament held in 2020, forced by heightened public appeals for a decolonized curriculum. Finally, this article concludes by reviewing examples of continued professional development in teacher education and research that seeks to advance and extend decolonial praxis.

Article

Examining the Cost of Special Education  

Joanne Banks

Internationally, debates about how students with disabilities are resourced in mainstream education are complex. Spiraling costs have resulted in many funding systems calling for ‘cost control’ or systems of accountability for how funding and resources are distributed. Although inclusive education policies have created closer links between general and ‘special education’, the funding mechanisms underlying these systems still tend to remain administratively separate. The reasons for this are often historical but also relate to the consistently higher cost associated with resourcing students with disabilities compared to their peers in mainstream education. The increase in the number of students with disabilities now means that many countries are struggling to keep these costs within budget while maintaining inclusive education practices. A tension exists between those who think that students with disabilities are under-resourced, with a possible crisis emerging as schools try to cope with the increased demands, and others who argue that inclusive education cannot be achieved by simply increasing funds. The latter group focuses on the quality of leadership and the teaching staff in schools that brings about inclusive practices. The type of funding mechanism is important, and is closely linked to inclusive education. Research shows that the way in which funding and resources are allocated to students with additional needs in mainstream schools can impact the prevalence of students with a disability and inclusive practices in that school. There is little or no consensus on the most inclusive or cost-effective funding model. As a result, reform of existing models continues across different national contexts. This high level of activity is often related to a growing awareness by governments of the financial incentives and disincentives of various funding models, concern over the rising costs of special education, and the need to fulfill policy commitments to inclusive education. Internationally, funding is allocated in various ways. Input funding has traditionally been the most common funding model used, in which students with disabilities or their parents receive individualized funding according to the type of need or level of support required. The increasing prevalence of students with disabilities in mainstream education, associated rising costs of resourcing these students, and the high administrative burden of individual assessment, diagnosis, and support have led to the use of various systems that replace the sole use of input funding in mainstream education. Throughput funding is now the most commonly used funding model and is often used alongside a smaller input system. In the throughput model, block grants are provided to schools or local authorities based on certain weighted characteristics, such as the sociodemographic profile of the school or area. The output funding model, based on student achievement or learner outcomes, is often part of a funding formula in which student achievement is recognized. Each funding model has advantages and disadvantages and all claim to support inclusive education. Often forgotten in this funding debate, however, is the cost and role played by other forms of provision, such as special classes and schools. This is despite an increase in this type of segregated provision in countries with otherwise inclusive education. Critics of the continued use of segregative settings argue that they serve as an escape route for students with disabilities in systems that are struggling to implement inclusive practices in mainstream education.

Article

Factors to Consider while Teaching Early Numeracy Skills in an Inclusive Education Setting  

Sheri-Lynn Skwarchuk

Developing numeracy skills from the beginning of one’s school career predicts academic achievement and correlates with life satisfaction in adulthood. For these reasons, all students should be afforded a strong early numeracy foundation. In school, teaching practices supporting diverse learners in mathematics should consider individual developmental capabilities and a growth mindset. Students should also be supported by a pedagogically knowledgeable and strengths-based collaborative team and accurate and ongoing assessment practices. With such supports, students may be afforded maximum opportunities to develop solid early numeracy skills, continue their development of conceptual and calculational knowledge in school mathematics coursework, and minimize anxieties regarding mathematics learning.

Article

Family and Home Literacy Across Time  

Catherine Compton-Lilly

In 1982, Denny Taylor coined the term “family literacy” to reference the ways young children and their parents interact around texts. Since then, the term family literacy has generally been applied to the practices that occur in homes to support young children as they become readers and writers. However, 30 years later, this definition negates the full scope of possibilities that might inform our understandings of the literacy practices that occur within home spaces and among family members. These possibilities reflect two important trends increasingly recognized within literacy research communities. First, technological advances have affected the ways people read and write and the multimodal literacy practices that have come to define literacy in families and homes. These developments are often the focus of New Literacy Studies as defined by the New London Group and others. Second, while generally not addressed in terms of family literacy, a substantial and growing body of research has documented the out-of-school literacy practices of adolescents and youth. Many of these literacy practices are enacted and displayed in home settings. While connections between out-of-school literacy practices and family literacy are generally not explicit, homes and families provide significant social contexts that are critical to engaging in technological, peer-informed, and popular culture practices. In short, family literacy does not end once children learn to read. In contrast, family literacy assumes new forms and involves new modalities that both echo and extend the literacy practices found within families. This is significant, as it challenges conceptions of adolescent and youth literacy as being separate from the literacy practices of families. To extend what is meant by family literacy, it is redefined as more than traditional activities that involve young children with texts. Instead, researchers are challenged to consider the full range of literacy practices that occur among family members and within homes across time. In doing this, family literacy and new literacy studies are brought together. Thus, the term family/home literacy is used to recognize not only the literacy practices that are enacted between children and parents, but the full range of literacy practices that occur among all family members—including siblings, extended family members, and friends. In short, family/home literacy practices are intertwined with home literacy affordances, which include the texts, opportunities, and technological resources that are available and used in homes. In order to explore family/home literacies over time, children’s literacy practices, including traditional and technological family/home literacy practices, are explored. Issues raised include parental mentoring of school-age children as they encounter new technologies at home, the adaptation of available resources by children as they move into and through adolescence, and transactions involving texts (both traditional and digital) among adolescents, young adults, and their parents.

Article

Financing Mechanisms to Support Inclusive Practice  

Serge Ebersold, Edda Óskarsdóttir, and Amanda Watkins

Financing plays a critical role in achieving more inclusive education systems, and most European countries are considering how the way they fund education impacts the policy goal of more inclusive practice in schools. The way financing is determined in laws and regulations has a direct impact on decision-making and implementation in relation to identifying learners’ educational needs, diagnostic and assessment procedures that might be used. Crucially it impacts on the placement of learners in different types of provision, including separate special classes or special schools. Financing inclusive education systems differs from financing special needs education in several important ways. In addition to providing shared educational opportunities for learners with recognised additional needs with their peers in mainstream settings, financing inclusive education systems aims to enable all learners to gain access to the educational support they are legally entitled to. Financing inclusive education systems is also far more complex than financing general education as it relates to a multilevel and multi-stakeholder framework of policy and provision that includes non-educational aspects of educational provision that are needed to ensure all learners access to high-quality inclusive education. These non-educational aspects may cover factors such as accessibility of the physical environment, specialist support, different resources for reducing the functional consequences of different disabilities, as well as financial support for families in meeting the direct and indirect costs of education. Effective mechanisms for financing inclusive education systems entail the provision of additional funding and resources that encourage mainstream schools to develop inclusive education policies, as well as innovative and flexible learning environments that meet a wider range of learners’ academic and social needs and requirements. A higher amount of funding does not in itself guarantee better learning conditions; the successful implementation of inclusive education policies depends on how funds are allocated and to whom the funds are addressed, rather than solely on how much money is available. Effective inclusive education systems build upon funding mechanisms and strategies that consider and manage the deployment and manipulation of resources at the school level, governance mechanisms, capacity building, and school development approaches. All these strategies must be targeted at achieving the policy goal of more inclusive practice in all schools.

Article

Food Security, Gender, and Education  

Hester L. Furey

“Food security” is a term that came into use in the second half of the 20th century as government leaders and nongovernmental organizations began to apply systemic thought to global issues of availability of food, the safety and nutritional sufficiency of available food, and the stability of individuals’ access to it. Hunger and starvation as global problems began to be studied at the end of World War II. Concerns about global food supply management prompted the establishment of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and increasing levels of policymaking and intervention, enacted through a series of conferences and culminating in a World Food Summit in 1996. Although world food production increased by 50% in the decades following WWII and the 1990s were believed to be a “golden age” of food security, the United Nations believes that before the 2020 world health crisis some 815 million people experienced chronic hunger. Spikes in unemployment such as those associated with the 2008 world financial crisis and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic cause accompanying increases in food insecurity. Global climate change continually challenges efforts to address food-related crises, and at the same time rising numbers of refugees add to the numbers of people who would be food insecure even if all other conditions were optimal. Awareness of the special role of gender within this field has only begun to develop since the first decade of the 21st century. Although the field of food studies is older, most academic studies of food focus on histories of specific commodities, regional folkways, and/or food and literature. Systemic studies of food policy outcomes have not examined gender as a vector of knowledge until about 2010. Consequently, this more specialized field of knowledge remains in an early stage of development, with activists at the forefront more often than academics. Considerable pushback has emerged against the idea that experts should educate locals about food, and many food activists now argue that education should arise from those in production rather than those who create policy. Women represent 60% of all people living with hunger and food insecurity. They also make up at least 60% of agricultural workers. Most of these women growing food are feeding families and regions rather than aspiring to be participants in global economies. As women they experience food insecurity because of cultural gender biases, and as farmers they are twice disadvantaged because neither agriculture nor women’s production within families tends to garner widespread respect or wealth. Gender-blindness has plagued efforts to resolve these issues even when the UN and others have placed women’s progress at the forefront of millennium goals. Organizations charged with analysis of poverty and hunger still operate using out-of-date analytical tools that themselves perpetuate sexist discrimination. “Global” does not necessarily mean more progressive or inclusive. Despite the discourse of goodwill, in practice the unquestioned dominance of WWII-era paradigms of large-scale agricultural production and food supply chains has limited rather than supported collective ability to effect change. In the final years of the 20th century, a growing number of alternative voices such as the anti-globalist scholar Vandana Shiva and fair trade and sustainability groups like Café Campesino began to introduce dissenting ideas about food security using the terminology of food sovereignty and biodiversity, tying these concepts to the empowerment of women, local communities, and “eaters.”

Article

Foreign Language Education in Japan  

Ryuko Kubota

Historically, foreign language education in Japan has been influenced by local and global conditions. Of the two major purposes of learning a language—to gain new knowledge from overseas and to develop practical communication skills—the latter pragmatic orientation became dominant toward the end the 19th century, when access to foreign language learning increased and English became a dominant language to learn. The trend of learning English as an international language for pragmatic purposes has been further strengthened since the 1980s under the discourses of internationalization and neoliberal globalization. An overview of the current status of foreign language education reveals that there are both formal and non-formal learning opportunities for people of all ages; English predominates as a target language although fewer opportunities to learn other languages exist; English is taught at primary and secondary schools and universities with an emphasis on acquiring communicative skills, although the exam-oriented instructional practices contradict the official goal; and adults learn foreign languages, mainly English, for various reasons, including career advancement and hobbyist enjoyment. Such observations include contestations and contradictions. For instance, there have been debates on whether the major aim of learning English should be pragmatic or intellectual. These debates have taken place against the backdrop of the fact that the learning of a foreign language—de facto English—is much more prevalent in society in the early 21st century compared with previous periods in history, when access to learning opportunities was limited to elites. Another contradiction is between the multilingual reality in local and global communities and the exclusive emphasis on teaching English. This gap can be critically analyzed through a critical realist lens, through which multilayers of ideology in discourses and realities in the material world are examined. The predominance of English is driven by a neoliberal ideology that conceptualizes English as a global language with economic benefit, while testing and shadow education enterprises perpetuate the emphasis on English language teaching. The political economy of foreign language education also explains the longstanding socioeconomic disparity in English ability.

Article

1964 Freedom Schools in the United States  

Kristal Moore Clemons

The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project served thousands of children and adults in over 40 Freedom Schools created to combat voter suppression and encourage youth to engage in the Civil Rights Movement. The Mississippi Freedom Summer Project included three main initiatives: Freedom Schools and community centers, voter registration on the official state rolls, and a freedom registration plan designed to independently elect a slate of delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Voter registration was the cornerstone of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, and approximately 17,000 Black residents of Mississippi attempted to register to vote in 1964, but only 1,600 of the applications were accepted by the registrars. The Freedom Schools utilized a curriculum focused on the philosophical tenets of the Civil Rights Movement, arithmetic, reading, writing, and African American history. The purpose was to supplement what children in the various counties in Mississippi were not receiving in their traditional public school setting. Marian Wright Edelman, activist and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), reinvigorated the contemporary Freedom Schools movement in the 1990s. The CDF’s Black Community Crusade for Children saw the CDF Freedom Schools program as an intergenerational collaboration between Civil Rights Movement–era activists and younger generations.

Article

Gender and Education in Postcolonial Contexts  

Barbara Crossouard and Máiréad Dunne

Education has been a central institution in the installation and legitimation of gender binaries and racialized difference in colonial and postcolonial eras. While the term “postcolonial” can refer to the period after which colonized nations gained their independence, a postcolonial critique also engages with the afterlife of the metaphysics of Western modernity. Notably, the imperial project of Western modernity assumed the superiority of the colonizers and provided the legitimation for the deep injustices of colonization to be framed as a “civilizing mission.” In particular, the processes of colonization imposed a “modern/colonial gender system,” which reconstructed the gender norms of many societies around the world, and which subordinated women by binding them to the domestic sphere. Its “biologic” presumed a heterosexual matrix in ways that were also profoundly racialized. Importantly, education was a critical institution that not only legitimated Western knowledges and values, but also secured women’s regulation and subordination. In postcolonial eras, education was given central importance in ways that have tied it to modern imperatives. For the newly independent postcolonial nation, education was critical in the construction of a national imaginary but this framing has reproduced rather than disrupting colonial gender norms. Harnessing education in support of national development inserted the postcolonial nation in a hierarchy of “developed” and “developing” nations. The focus on development similarly permeated efforts at curricular reform, such that they often reproduced the gendered, racialized, and classed hierarchies of colonial education. What counted as legitimate knowledge remained framed by Western elite institutions and their technologies of power. Importantly, from the moment of their independence, the global reach of multilateral organizations has constantly framed the postcolonial trajectories of “developing” nations and their educational reforms. Although often contradictory, the discourses of such organizations intensified the imperatives of education for national development. This compounded pressures to increase educational access beyond elite groups and to include more females. However, the technologies of power that support these international policy agendas bind such reforms to modern imperatives, so that they have become a critical site for the reinscription of binary understandings of gender. This is also true for contemporary international concerns for “quality” education. This is prosecuted largely through promotion of learner-centered education, a concept that is also infused with Western democratic ideals and values. Interrogation of the “hidden curriculum” further shows that the education in postcolonial contexts remains a key institution through which gender is instantiated in essentialized and binary ways, infused by modern ideals of presumptive heteronormativity. Resisting such binaries requires an understanding of gender as something that we “do,” or that we “perform,” within the contingencies and exigencies of particular social and cultural contexts. In turn, these theoretical understandings call for in-depth qualitative studies that can attend to the particularities of the gender regimes in different educational contexts and other intersecting structures of difference (race, ethnicity, religion, class, sexuality) that are rendered invisible by education’s legitimation of difference as a question of disembodied individual merit and ability.

Article

Gender and Education in Uganda  

David Monk, Maria del Guadalupe Davidson, and John C. Harris

Gendered oppression is complex and situated in social constructs which are manifested and learned in education institutions and learning programs the world over. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are an international attempt to create a more equitable world, and they include both education and gender as independent and interdependent goals. Uganda is a country that is attempting to address the significant gender oppression that plagues it. To cure gender oppression realistically and fully, a deep and transformative approach that addresses systemic power imbalances is essential. A disruption of this magnitude requires critical and empowering education that simultaneously ruptures the violence of patriarchy and creates conditions of capability for everyone to heal and move forward together.

Article

Gender and Math Development  

Julianne Herts and Susan C. Levine

A great deal of research has examined math development in males versus females. Some studies indicate that males do better on standardized tests of mathematics achievement, whereas females get better grades in math class than males. Other studies find no gender differences in math development, or that differences depend on factors such as the type of math problem included on the tests. Further, there is evidence that gender differences in math test performance are not stable over time, with accumulating evidence that these differences are narrowing in more recent cohorts. In addition to evidence concerning sex differences in math grades and test performance, there is evidence that there are sex differences in math attitudes, with females showing higher levels of math anxiety and less confidence in their math ability than males, controlling for their math performance. Additionally, there is evidence that stereotypes exist such that teachers and parents believe that males are better at math than females, even when males and females have comparable levels of math skill. Moreover, when this math stereotype is activated before taking a math test, stereotype threat ensues and female performance is negatively affected. A wide range of factors, including biological differences, sociocultural factors, including stereotypes, and differences in math attitudes and interests, are likely to act in concert to account for male-female differences in mathematics achievement and decisions to enter math-intensive careers.

Article

Gender Differences in Reading, Writing and Language Development  

David Reilly

The topic of gender differences in reading, writing, and language development has long been of interest to parents, educators, and public-policy makers. While some researchers have claimed that gender differences in verbal and language abilities are disappearing, careful evaluation of the scientific research shows otherwise. Examination of nationally representative samples of educational achievement data show that there are moderately sized gender differences in reading achievement favoring girls and women (d = −0.19 to −0.44 across age groups), and substantially larger gender differences in writing (d = −0.42 to −0.62), spelling (d = −0.39 to −0.50), and grammar (d = −0.39 to −0.42). Explanations for observed gender differences in verbal and language abilities suggest a complex network of biological, social, and cultural forces rather than any single factor.

Article

Gendered Concerns of Improved Female Participation in Indian Higher Education  

Mona Khare

Gender gaps in education and training are already shown to be having far-reaching effects on women’s economic participation. These are only likely to grow in the new era of knowledge-centric economies. Specific efforts at mainstreaming women in this new age through their inclusion in higher levels of education and skills training are imperative. The situation in India is more complex given its rising numbers and increasing diversities on campuses, with sociocultural and regional connotations adding to existing biases. The data on the status and trends reveal gender disparity in higher education in India in explicit and implicit forms further reflecting on women’s work participation. The disparities are more explicitly visible when seen through the adverse graduate population ratio, a long-existing adverse female participation ratio more particularly in certain streams/courses and implicitly through their career progression, and an adverse female employment ratio in the majority of Indian states. The policy focus so far has been on gender-targeted initiatives and expenditures to increase female access and enrollment in higher education. As a result, while gender gaps in access have closed, higher education spaces remain gendered with poor and biased labor-market outcomes. The interventions need to be made at three levels: gender equality in technical, vocational, and job-oriented education; gender balance in elite institutions; and gender sensitization and services within and outside campuses. The focus needs to align with equal opportunity initiatives and expenditures. There is also a need for region-specific interventions through spatial mapping at a subnational level and a greater focus on understanding the concepts, issues, and processes of gender balancing in higher education.

Article

Gender-Equitable Schooling in Brazil  

Ellen Belchior Rodrigues

Brazil has done much to overcome gender inequalities rooted in settler colonialism. The implementation of social justice policies has tremendously promoted access to education, most recently to Black Brazilians, Indigenous peoples, and sexual minorities. The country offers free public education from kindergarten to college; college quotas for low-income transgender students; a monthly stipend for each underprivileged child a family maintains enrolled in school; and a national high school curriculum that includes sociology, philosophy, African history, history of Indigenous peoples, and human rights. These would not have been achieved without the efforts of the women’s rights movement and Black women’s rights movement. Brazilian women reversed the gender gap in education and paved the way for employment and political participation throughout the 20th century, attaining higher rates of retention, graduation, and schooling. Despite achievements for cisgender women, transgender students and other sexual minorities still don’t feel included in school environments. Schools can be one of the most difficult spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth in Brazil, who may be daily targets of verbal, psychological, and physical violence. These behaviors are rooted in an education system that, since its creation in the 1600s, predominantly focused on the education of Portuguese settlers’ children, namely, White boys. Two hundred years later, White girls were allowed in the classrooms, only to experience another layer of the patriarchy: Schools were scarce because the girls could only be taught by female teachers, a rarity during the colonial period, and the academic curriculum was limited and often focused on the skills of housewifery. Aimed at creating subservient wives and mothers, the Brazilian schooling system failed entire generations of women by denying them access to math, sciences, or most other subjects available to men. During the entire 1800s, White women lagged behind in access to higher education, employment, and political participation. In the meantime, Black, brown, and Indigenous people in Brazil suffered under slavery for nearly 400 years. Slavery legally ended in 1888, but cruelty and discrimination remained pervasive in society, further silencing claims for racial justice and widening the social and economic gaps in the country. Thus, the understanding of gender-equitable schooling in Brazil is only possible through the historical lenses of how its society perceives gender, race, and sexuality. This historical perspective explains how Brazil developed its teaching curriculum based on social justice principles. The history of Brazil’s educational system cannot be described without acknowledging the traumas inflicted by colonialism and slavery. However, history also explains how the country uniquely stands out as a model for thinking about the connections among education, racial and social justice, and gender inclusivity.

Article

Gender Equity in Global Education Policy  

Karen Monkman

Since the 1990s gender has become a prominent priority in global education policy. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, 2000–2015) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, which replaced the MDGs) influence the educational planning of most low- and middle-income countries, along with the work of the various actors in the field. The historical antecedents to this era of gender and education policy include international development research beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, the Women’s Conferences in Mexico City (1985) and Beijing (1995), and increasingly nuanced academic research on gender and international development in the early decades of the 2000s. What began as calls to include girls in schooling and women in international development programs has become a much more complex attempt to ensure gender equity in education and in life. A wide variety of key policy actors are involved in these processes and in shaping policy, including the World Bank, the UN agencies (primarily UNICEF and UNESCO), governments (both donors and recipients of international assistance), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), corporations and private entities, and consultants. Partnerships among various actors have been common in the late 20th century and early 21st century. Persistent issues in the early 21st century include (a) the tension between striving to attend to quality concerns while increasing efforts to measure progress, (b) gender-based violence (GBV), and (c) education for adolescents and adolescence. These challenges are closely linked to how key concepts are conceptualized. How “gender” is understood (distinct from or conflated with sex categories) leads to particular ways of thinking about policy and practice, from counting girls and boys in classrooms (prioritizing sex categories and numerical patterns), toward a more complex understanding of gender as a social construction (and so presents options for curricular strategies to influence gendered social norms). Men and boys are acknowledged, mostly when they are perceived to be disadvantaged, and less often to challenge hypermasculinity or male privilege. Sexuality and gender identity are just beginning to emerge in formal policy in the early 21st century. Gender relations and patriarchy remain on the periphery of official policy language. Equity (fairness) is often reduced to equality (equal treatment despite differences in needs or interests). Although empowerment is theorized in research, in policy it is used inconsistently, sometimes falling short of the theoretical framings. Two broader concepts are also important to consider in global education policy, namely, intersectionality and neoliberalism. Engaging intersectionality more robustly could make policy more relevant locally; as of 2020, this concept has not made its way into global policy discourses. Neoliberalism, on the other hand, is a strong influence in shaping policy in gender and education globally, yet it is seldom made explicit. Building policy on a stronger conceptual foundation would enrich gender and education policy.

Article

Girls’ Schools and Empire (1800−1950)  

Hayarpi Papikyan and Rebecca Rogers

The growth of empire in the 19th century went hand in hand with a concern to address girls’ education. Girls’ schools developed within the British, French, Dutch, Ottoman, and Russian empires and, despite the variety of spatial boundaries and the differing nature of core-periphery relations, girls’ schools were the object of ideological pronouncements centered around visions of femininity. The ostensible goals for this education often shared a similar commitment to the training of good wives and mothers in order to improve the familial morals of colonized territories. In reality, the nature of girls’ schooling was far more complex and played in particular into broader political debates about the role of education in the development of enlightened female subjects and later citizens. National movements in colonized areas generated discourses about women as “mothers of the nation,” with an emphasis on domesticity, not dissimilar from earlier colonial rhetoric, while the development of girls’ schooling led a minority of women into skilled professions that challenged without upsetting existing gender relations.

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Global School Funding Debates and Reforms  

Elisa Di Gregorio and Glenn C. Savage

In recent decades, important changes have taken place in terms of how governments debate, manage, and allocate funding for schools. These changes have been strongly influenced by a diversification of actors contributing to the school funding. For example, although governments continue to provide the majority of funding resources for schools across member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), many nations have witnessed an increased presence of nongovernment actors, such as philanthropies and corporations, in contributing to the funding of both government and nongovernment schools. Many nations have also seen increases in private parental contributions, which has contributed to the expansion of private schooling relative to traditional public schooling. Despite significant diversity in funding models across OECD nations, debates about funding are increasingly informed by a transnational field of policy ideas, practices, and evidence. The OECD has been a central force in facilitating this “global conversation” about the complexity of school funding trends and impacts, particularly in relation to the impacts of funding on student achievement and equity. A key question in these evolving debates is whether “more money” alone will improve outcomes or whether the focus needs to shift more toward “what schools do” with money (i.e., a “what works” approach). In response to this question, the OECD has played a leading role in steering global debates away from a historically dominant focus on whether more funding makes a difference or not to student achievement, toward a different narrative that suggests the amount of money only matters up to a certain point, and that what matters most beyond that is what systems and schools do with money. At the same time, the OECD has been central to producing a rearticulated “numbers-driven” understanding of equity, which understands equity primarily in terms of the relationship between a young person’s background and his or her performance on PISA, and which frames equity as primarily important from an economic perspective. Importantly, however, while schooling funding reforms are increasingly informed by global conversations, policy reforms remain locally negotiated. Recent Australian school funding reforms illustrate this well. Over the past decade, two prominent federal school funding reviews have sought to address funding issues in Australia’s federal system. These reports have been deeply shaped by the distinctive conditions of possibility of Australian federalism, but at the same time have been heavily informed by broader transnational reform narratives and the work of the OECD specifically. Yet while both reviews position the OECD at the center of their respective rationales, each does so in different ways that speak to different policy problems. An exploration of the Australian case and how it relates to broader global conversations about school funding offers important insights into how policies are simultaneously globally and locally negotiated.