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Title: Imagining school autonomy in high-performing education systems : East Asia as a source of policy referencing in England
Author: You, Y.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 1697
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The contemporary approach to education policy borrowing uses the features of ‘world-class’ education systems (top performers in international surveys of pupil achievement) as evidence to inform, legitimate and promote domestic changes. East Asia has been frequently cited as ‘inspiration’ for education reforms in many countries, including England. However, the extent to which East Asia education systems portrayed and interpreted by the UK Government are congruent with the policies and practices adopted within East Asia has not been subjected to critical scrutiny. Moreover, there has been a tendency to describe East Asia as a homogeneous and undifferentiated entity. Using school autonomy as an illustrative example, this thesis investigates how are the education systems in East Asia represented by policy-makers in England since 2010 and does it accord with the ‘reality’ as perceived within domestic contexts. The English representation is explored by analysing policy papers, official statements and their key sources of evidence. The examination of ‘reality’ specifically focuses on secondary schools in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai; and draws on a triangulated analysis of policy documents, literature and interview data with school leaders, policy-makers, academics and education journalists. Moreover, this ‘looking-East’ trend is examined in the discourse of ‘global competition’. The analysis demonstrates that the nature and degree of school autonomy in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai are both markedly distinctive and reflect the ‘socio-logic’ prevailing in each of those societies. The representation promoted in England is significantly different from the ‘reality’ as perceived within East Asia. The highly-selective evidence used by the UK Government represents distorted images of East Asian education systems to provide external legitimation for its preferred policy agendas. Furthermore, East Asian education systems have been social-imaginarily represented by a western-centred policy network; and ‘East-to-West’ education policy borrowing is discursive and imagined.
Supervisor: Morris, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available