Governing Education in a Complex World

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What models of governance are effective in complex education systems? In all systems an increasing number of stakeholders are involved in designing, delivering and monitoring education. Like our societies, education systems are increasingly diverse regarding students, teachers and communities, as well as the values and identities we expect education to deliver. These trends have increased the complexity of education systems, leaving decision makers on all governance levels with the question of how to successfully manoeuvre in this highly dynamic policy area.

Governing Education in a Complex World addresses key challenges involved in governing modern education systems, looking specifically at complexity, accountability, capacity building and strategic thinking. The publication brings together research from the OECD Secretariat and invited chapters from international scholars to provide a state of the art analysis and a fresh perspective on some of the most challenging issues facing educational systems today.

Creating the open, dynamic and strategic governance systems necessary for governing complex systems is not easy. This volume challenges our traditional concepts of education governance through work on complexity, collaborative networks and decision-making. In doing so it sets the agenda for thinking about the inclusive and adaptable systems necessary for governing education in today’s world. The volume will be a useful resource for those interested in education governance and complexity, particularly policy-makers, education leaders, teachers and the education research community.


Enhancing effective education governance

Effective multi-level governance of complex education systems is a policy priority. As educational systems have decentralised, countries are increasingly looking for ways to balance responsiveness to local diversity with national attainment goals. The first part of this chapter explores the importance of trust for the governance of complex systems and highlights its interaction with the main themes of this volume. It shows that trust is indispensable for change and reform but also raises important questions about the right levels of trust for the governance of educational systems. The second part of the chapter suggests a way forward. It summarises the main findings on governance systems that emerge from this volume, focusing in particular on issues of complexity, accountability, capacity building and strategic thinking. It then ends with a look at the key elements of modern educational governance.


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