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Title: The Scottish Tertiary Education Advisory Council : a case study in educational policy-making
Author: Kirk, Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0001 1744 5610
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 1997
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The study has two central purposes: firstly, to undertake the first comprehensive analysis of a particular policy-making process, the Scottish Tertiary Education Advisory Council's work in the mid '80s on the future strategy of higher education in Scotland; and, secondly, to use the STEAC process as a case study to test the validity of three models of the policy-making process. Using the minutes and papers of the STEAC itself, the Scottish Office file on STEAC, institutional archive materials, contemporary press coverage, and official documents, the study examines the STEAC process from its inception to its culmination in ministerial decisions. It establishes the educational and political matrix from which the STEAC sprang, and it analyses the evidence submitted, the transactions of the Council itself, the public and professional reaction to the Council's recommendations, the government's subsequent legislative action, and its aftennath. Through that analytical sequence, the interplay of forces and the key determinants of policy are identified and an assessment made of the strategic significance of STEAC in the development of higher education in Scotland. The STEAC process, given its transparency and the fullness of its evidential base, is taken to be an appropriate context against which to test the validity of three models of the policy-making process: the policy community, incrementalism, and the Humes "revised model". It is concluded that the established notion of a homogeneous policy community, as an elitist alliance in collusion with government, is suspect; that incrementalism should give way to an alternative model for which the term "prudentialism" is proposed; and that, while the Humes model acknowledges the full complexity of social phenomena, its very diffuseness makes it insufficient by itself as a model for interpreting the policy-making process in education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Teacher training