Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemBridging binaries: an ethnographic enquiry into student and teacher perceptions of good teaching beyond the presumed dichotomy between ‘teacher-centred and learner-centred’ pedagogies under the K to 12 reform in the Philippinesdel Valle, Julie Lucille H. ( 2019)In the face of international comparisons and global standards of ‘quality education’, the Philippines overhauled its national curriculum as part of its reform of public school education. This curriculum reform advocated for an adoption of Learner-Centered Education (LCE) as a ‘best teaching practice’, in this following pedagogical reforms from Western nations. This policy however placed learner-centered teaching in binary opposition with ‘teacher-centered’ instruction, creating a simplistic dichotomy between good and bad teaching. This study seeks to explore this dichotomy by investigating what students and teachers understand to constitute good teaching. The study takes a cultural lens and uses ethnographic methods to investigate with teacher and student participants in two junior high school classes in the Philippines—one an inner urban disadvantaged public school and the other located in a poor rural community. Data gathered over a period of one month in each school include classroom observation, student focus groups, and teacher interviews. The study illuminates the subtle cultural elements which shape what is valued as good teaching. Findings show that the classroom practices which are perceived as most helpful by both students and teachers are predominantly ‘teacher-centered’ instructional practices, particularly those which highlight the authoritative role of a teacher as one who equips students for academic success. Such value placed on teacher authority reflects the cultural respect for teachers in the Philippines. While teachers were observed to uphold their classroom authority and practise teacher-centered methods, they also strongly demonstrated acts of relational care for their students. These enactments were perceived as academic care by students and seen to support their priorities to complete school and fulfil their aspiration to help their families upon graduation. These post-school priorities were shaped by the differing socio-economic and cultural expectations of their urban and rural communities. The thesis posits that the Filipino valuing of malasakit (which roughly translates to a deep sense of personal and compassionate care) and pakikisama (maintaining smooth interpersonal relationships within a community) as manifested through caring student-teacher relationships provides an important orientation towards understanding how learner-centered approaches could be articulated for the Filipino context. This form of ‘academic caring’ enacts the cultural values upheld within local places, and offers a practice which bridges the presumed binary between learner-centered and teacher-centered instruction.
ItemHigher education privatization in Kuwait: A study in the processes of policy productionAl-Asfour, Ahoud ( 2015)Like most countries around the world, the State of Kuwait has over the past two decades experienced a rapid growth in student demand for higher education. Lacking public resources, most emerging systems of higher education have turned to privatization policies as a way of meeting this demand. Similar financial pressures do not however apply to Kuwait, since it enjoys a surplus of revenue from its oil exports. Financial arguments explaining the adoption of privatization policies are therefore not compelling in the case of Kuwait. This research project aims to analyze some of the key reasons for Kuwait to pursue a privatization policy in higher education. More broadly, the project seeks to examine how various local and global processes have influenced the production of national policies of higher education in Kuwait. Using qualitative methods of policy research, this project examines some of the internal and external pressures that led to the production of a privatization policy in the Kuwaiti system of higher education in 2000. Particular reference is made to the Private Universities Law (PUL) (34/2000) in an attempt to explain how this policy was developed, who were its main architects, and what interests does the policy now serves. The research supports the conclusion that privatization is not a necessary outcome of globalization, but that the production of higher education privatization policies in Kuwait has involved a complex interplay of both local and global factors, with contextual realities playing a crucial role not only in the introduction of these policies but also in defining the form of privatization that is currently being implemented.
ItemMalaysian higher education and the United States as a model: policy borrowing or policy learning?Abdullah, Arnida ( 2013)Higher education plays an important role in many developing countries. Graduates are being equipped with professional knowledge and skills to fulfil the demands of the labour market in a knowledge economy. Developing countries tend to adopt models of higher education organization from developed nations, especially those that are world leaders. Progress in science and technology and national wealth itself point to the success of these systems and suggest that they represent a suitable and feasible path to take. Malaysia is amongst those developing nations that have looked to advanced economies to provide a model of mass higher education which would raise educational levels and national income. But has a process of policy-borrowing achieved both the growth and the equity that governments have promised? Has the expansion and diversification of higher education in Malaysia created more equitable access for all students in order to ensure that increased higher education is undertaken by a wide range of population who have the ability and motivation to succeed? This study aims to contribute to policy learning in higher education in the developing world (as distinct from uncritical policy borrowing). It focuses on Malaysia’s efforts to learn from the US experience. The findings of this study may assist the Malaysian policy makers in designing new improved policies to widen access in higher education and to further strengthen Malaysian higher education sector. In the first section of this thesis, a review is made of US efforts to expand higher education, while improving equity. Two barriers to participation in higher education – school dropout rates and low achievement among young people who do graduate – are examined in greater detail. This then leads to a key discussion on the types of higher educational institutions in the US, their enrolment patterns and the challenges faced by each institution. At the end of this section, the findings that developing countries can learn from the United States’ experience are highlighted. In the second section, the study focuses on Malaysia. It starts with historical overview pre independence, focusing on economic, social and educational developments. The growth and structural transformation of the Malaysian economy are also examined and compared with educational attainment. Trends in primary and secondary public education expansion and challenges facing this public system are then discussed, leading to a detailed discussion on the development of the Malaysian public and private tertiary education sector. The findings presented in this study show that the challenge for Malaysia is not to become like the USA, but to learn from the US experience and to develop its own strategic plans for higher education that fit with the social and economic needs of the country. The study suggests policy directions to making higher education in Malaysia more effective and equitable, which includes strengthening and improving Malaysia’s public schools, enhancing the quality of higher education and assisting students from disadvantaged families. Such initiatives may assist Malaysia to become the best provider of higher education in the South East Asian region and a high-income developed country by the year 2020.