Tag Archives: educational funding

Scan of Ed News: Protests, Unions, and Educational Funding

(links to articles are embedded as hyperlinks)International-Travel-Agency-262545-262545-1so

This month’s scan of recent educational research and news reveals a number of inter-connected issues that are arising in different places around the world.  In part one of this month’s scan, we highlight teacher and student protests, the role of teacher unions, and the uses of educational funding. Part II, which will appear later this week, will share reporting on issues of curriculum, testing, teacher and school evaluations, and higher education.

Teacher and Student Protests:

Ongoing protests highlight a globalized concern surrounding the issue of access to high quality education. Student protests in countries such as Portugal, Chile, Bulgaria, and Spain, focus on changing the system in ways that allow greater opportunity for access, while teacher protests Spain, Greece, and France, aim to preserve an established system now threatened by austerity measures. These protests highlight issues dominant in global news reports in recent weeks, such as the role of teacher unions and educational funding.

The Role of Teacher Unions in Ed Reform: Mexico and South Korea

The Hankyoreh

Korea Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU), The Hankyoreh

Mexico recently witnessed the arrest of Elba Esther Gordillo, long-time president of Mexico’s teachers’ union. Charged with organized crime, Ms. Gordillo’s arrest was widely seen as a boon to education reformists and government officials because it called into question the integrity of unions and provided an example of the disruption of “business-as-usual,” at a time when the government is imposing drastic new reformsUnion leaders say these reforms will lead to students having no guarantee of free public schooling; however, the arrest of Gordillo highlights Mexico’s struggle with corruption, seen by many to be the main prohibitor of change. Two recent studies published by the Asia Pacific Journal of Education, found that school reformers should be “advised to rethink the school change model design in a way of fully capturing human aspects in the reform process.” Nevertheless, we can see direct examples of government threats against unions in South Korea, where teachers are now fighting against government efforts to withdraw recognition of the teachers’ union, and in South Africa, where politicians and lawyers are fighting to have education declared an “essential service,” a move that would make it illegal for teachers to go on strike.

Educational Funding:

While most student protests demand affordable higher education, many governments are focused on providing free education to children of all ages. One example is India, where the Karnataka High Court has declared that all private school students between six and 14 years of age are eligible for free education, not just those from poor families gaining admission under a 25% quota fixed by the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act. However, it is also interesting to note that India’s private schools are expanding and raising their tuition rates. According to L.R. Shivarame Gowda, chairperson of the Joint Action Committee of Private Schools, tuition hikes are necessary for providing quality education: “The numbers of private schools in the city are multiplying, so schools need to provide better facilities to keep in pace with the development and retain students.”  In Japan, the issue of educational funding has become more political, as the government has decided to deny North Korean schools access to their tuition-free program. Education Minister Shimomura presented his view that schools under the influence of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan conflict with the Fundamental Law of Education which calls for education free from any undue political influence. As reported in the International Review of Education, China’s private universities offer an example of institutions that struggle financially, yet provide the people with alternatives that might ultimately allow more students to benefit from the advantages of higher education; however, China also provides an example of how funding alone might not provide children with the education they deserve. The country’s system of residential registers favors those who live in big cities – a holdover from the era of a planned economy, originally used as the basis for rationing of food and other necessities – is fast developing into a serious social issue.

The Hindu

The Hindu

India: Funding the Right to Education (RTE) Act

Photo: The Hindu

Photo: The Hindu

In an effort to improve the country’s economy, the Indian government has cut funding to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which aims to provide every child between the ages of six and 14 with an elementary education. Cuts are expected to total 2-3% of the total RTE budget for 2012-2013, a substantive deduction that will affect the implementation of the RTE legislation. Civic bodies, such as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), have reported that they simply cannot afford to meet the requirements of RTE.  The decrease in funding is expected to affect many, such as disabled children who rely on government supported transportation, and children in areas of conflict.

Meanwhile, cities such as Nagpur are holding seminars to inform and educate local principals about RTE implementation, in the hope of improving student achievement country-wide. Tripura is a rare example of a state that has been able to meet the requirements of RTE. Tripura admitted 44,000 students under the RTE quota this year, and plans to increase the age of students who qualify to receive a free education. Tapan Chakraborty, School Education Minister, pointed out that the Left Front government has been spending more than 20% of its annual budget on education, while the central government has spent less than 10%.

Students will begin applying to schools under RTE on January 10, 2012; however, member schools of the Karnataka State Private School Management’s Federation (KSPSMF) have warned that they will not admit disadvantaged students if the government does not reimburse them.

Norway: The National Budget 2013

Better funding:The Norwegian Folk High Schools receive 10 mill extra NOK in the 2013 State Budget

*Original article in Norwegian

Tore Skadal, Harstad Tidende (October 8, 2012)

In the 2013 state budget, the Norwegian government has proposed an increase in funding for Folk High Schools due to an increase in the number of students recent years. Folk high schools are a one-year boarding school system based on the idea of learning for life, not only for occupations and college degrees. Students are assessed based on their individual ability to take action and responsibilty for their own lives. Reflection and insight into life’s possibilities and individual wishes are central elements in a year in a Folk High School in Norway.

For more information:

Non-formal Adult Education in the Nordic Countries 2011-2012

Introducing Free Public Cultural Education

Gerhard Flaaten , Kjetil Kopren Ullebø, Bergens Tidende(October 3, 2012)

*Original article in Norwegian

Photo: Agrutxane Concellon

Starting in autumn 2013, there will be one lesson a week of cultural/arts education at primary schools and after-school clubs (years 1-4). The proposed budget for this is NOK 73.8 million. Parliament member Jette F. Christensen points out that lessons will be a full 45 minutes, and that the Ministry of Culture will legislate hours so that these classes become permanent. While those in favor of the plan do not believe it will involve additional work for teachers, Conservative party spokesperson Elisabeth Aspaker (a former teacher) expressed her concern that the municipalities will incorporate arts education with uneven results.

For more information:

Arts and Cultural Education in Norway, a study by Professor Anne Bamford, 2010-2011