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.


Policy experimentation in complex education systems

Complexity is increasing in education – in governance arrangements, in the numbers of stakeholders and in the availability and use of evaluation and other accountability data. These changes call for moving away from a traditional policy cycle towards one which can evolve and adapt with our systems in order to govern them effectively. One tool of this new kind of governance is policy experimentation. This chapter suggests avenues to make experimentation a more effective instrument for policy making in a complex environment, and demonstrates that a tension exists between properly evaluating the effects of narrowly-focused experiments and translating these results into the broader network in which every stakeholder is embedded. It suggests that a good balance can be struck by experimenting at a suitable scale, and moving towards what is called ecosystem experimentation.


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