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Title: Managing change and reform in the Greek educational system : restructuring primary science
Author: Karampelas, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0001 3594 9185
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2006
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This research examines recent reform of the primary science curriculum in Greece - introduced in 2000 (YPEPTH, 2000) - and examines the likelihood of the reform being 'systemic and sustainable' as Fullan (2001) and others have suggested it should be. The aim of the reform is to promote modern learning approaches and pedagogies, which research in science education and school management suggests leads to more effective and improved science teaching. More specifically, it aims to promote a constructivist approach in science lessons; integrating activities and transforming traditional teachers into teacher-managers who do not simply transmit new knowledge, but help pupils critically to self-approach problem solving. In this way, the reforms were expected to trigger a transformation of schools from 'traditional' to 'modern learning' organisations in accordance with the demands of modern society (YPEPTH, 2000). Notwithstanding the aspiration, according to most of the research literature, educational reforms in Greece have not been successful historically. The highly centralised character of the educational system and its focus on highly competitive general examinations used primarily to filter university admissions, have prevented the effective implementation of reform over the years (Kazamias and Zambeta, 2000). As the current reform in primary science curriculum does not offer or claim to offer any hope of restructuring this examination-centred culture, it is doubtful that it will prove to be either systemic or sustainable. The findings of the research show that the reform was not implemented as required despite the fact that all stakeholders acknowledged its necessity. Barriers to reform appeared to emerge, such as teachers' inability to change their ways of working, teachers' inability to cope with difficulties that accompany reform implementation, schools' inability to restructure their functions, the sheer pressure of examination competition on pupils and the lack of appropriate support for agents of reform from the government. The findings prove that a change limited to curriculum and reform of textbooks does not influence or take into consideration many of these barriers to effective implementation and is ultimately unlikely to impact deeply on science teaching and the Greek educational system going forward. Trying to fit a new curriculum into an unchanged and inflexible school context affects negatively the implementation of reform. Necessary though reform might be, it cannot of itself change school culture and be successful, systemic and sustainable (Fullan, 2001).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available