Reforming Education and the Imperative of Constant Change: Ambivalent roles of policy and educational research
Since the 1990s, European national education systems have been undergoing extensive reforms that strive for constant change and improvement, yet, in some cases, lead to a decline in the quality of education. Among other things, these system reforms result from an interaction between the national and transnational policy levels.
Supranational agents such as the OECD and the EU – and, in higher education, the Bologna Process – influence national policies through standard-setting comparisons of national performance data and policy advice. As such, the scope and formats within which national policies can be conducted have changed radically, and this has transformed the daily practices of teachers, researchers, students and pupils and their parents. This development, which is proceeding at a tremendously fast rate, encompasses higher education, teacher education, vocational training as well as kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools.
Such transnational reform pressure leaves educational researchers and affiliated associations and organizations with numerous challenges, potentials, dilemmas and choices.
The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) in Copenhagen 2017 invites scholars to reflect on the role of educational research in reforming education and the imperative of constant change. The prevalence of the Knowledge Economy discourse has pushed education higher up the government agenda, and, consequently, this policy area has become increasingly important to govern. But do current attempts to standardise education systems, programmes and curricula actually contribute uniformity? Or do national and local translations of the new education standards disrupt attempts to standardise? ECER 2017 addresses the impact of this transnational reform pressure by focusing on the ways in which reforms are affected by the roads they travel when they move across borders throughout Europe and beyond.