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Title: ICT and educational purpose in the English secondary school : using Bell's cultural contradictions to challenge techno-economic justifications of ICT use
Author: Rana, Saima
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 2104
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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The prominence of ICT in English Secondary schools has increased enormously in the last fifteen years under the New Labour administration. As a background to this, schools have historically been justified either in terms of vocational or non-vocational objectives, captured in Oakeshott's contesting metaphors of schools as markets or as monasteries. ICT became a high profile and very expensive part of a general educational reform policy engaged with these contested objectives. The thesis surveys and critiques government ICT policy in English Secondary schools between 1995-2010, through situated case studies of policy processes, asking what ideas are driving the reforms and how these frame the purpose of schools. The central contribution of this thesis is to reveal how ICT educational policy in this sector has been constructed and positioned through the application of critical discourse analysis (CDA). An original feature of this CDA is the use of Daniel Bell's theory of tripartite Axial Realms to identify neglected discourses. The main findings are that there is a dominant techno-economic discourse and that axial principles from the cultural and political realms are largely invisible. This research places the construction of educational ICT policy reform discourse at the centre of important contemporary questions about the purpose of Secondary schools, in particular, debates about market and visions of schooling. I use Bell to reconceptualise the educational purpose of ICT, showing that it can be reconstructed in terms of Bell's three realms, the techno-economic, the political and the cultural, rather than assuming that only the techno-economic is needed to explain it. The implications of this are that vocational justifications alone need not and should not drive ICT educational reform, nor educational reform generally, and that reintroducing political and cultural principles alongside techno-economic ones would benefit ICT policy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available