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Educational Research for Policy and Practice

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 195–207 | Cite as

Why context matters: a comparative perspective on education reform and policy implementation

  • Alma Harris
  • Michelle Jones
Original Article

Abstract

This article explores the significance of context within the process of contemporary education reform and policy-making. It draws upon evidence from a comparative study of educational change and transformation in seven education systems: Australia, England, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Russia, and Singapore. The article focuses on school leadership preparation, training, and development, which has become a policy priority and central improvement strategy in many education systems. The article explores how seven education systems are using this strategy to promote school and system improvement. The article reflects upon the centrality of context in the process of policy implementation and in the broader pursuit of system transformation. The article concludes that more contextually appropriate approaches to educational policy selection are needed and that borrowing approaches from other countries many bring unintended consequences and unfortunate side effects. Further, the article concludes that the process of policy implementation, in context, requires far more attention, if the intended outcomes are to be achieved.

Keywords

Education reform Education change PISA Systemic change School improvement System reform 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the University of Malaya for funding part of the ‘7 system leadership study’ and also thank the expert advisers from each country. The authors acknowledge the research team at the Institute of Educational Leadership, University of Malaya, who contributed to this empirical study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of BathBathUK

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