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Futures thinking and decision- making at system level Gábor Halász National Institute for Public Education HungaryFutures Thinking for Education: Policy,

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Presentation on theme: "Futures thinking and decision- making at system level Gábor Halász National Institute for Public Education HungaryFutures Thinking for Education: Policy,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Futures thinking and decision- making at system level Gábor Halász National Institute for Public Education HungaryFutures Thinking for Education: Policy, Leadership and the Teaching Profession (6 - 8 November 2006 - OECD/Japan Seminar – Hiroshima)

2 Where are education systems going ? Schools serve the individual Education as a closed world Education as an open world Schools serve the community Conservation scenario Survival scenario Transformation scenarioTransformation scenarioTransformation scenarioTransformation scenario Market scenario This is what most people in education would hope Source: J-M. Saussois: Scenarios, international comparisons, and key variables for educational scenario analysis. Think scenarios…, OECD, 2006

3 How to renew educational governance in order to realise the transformation scenario? The context –Challenges and future trends in governance beyond educationChallenges and future trends in governance beyond education –Uncertainties, risks and increasing complexity in education systemsUncertainties, risks and increasing complexity in education systems Facing the new regulation challenge in educationFacing the new regulation challenge in education Using complexity thinking in renewing educational governanceUsing complexity thinking in renewing educational governance

4 Can futures thinking help the renewal of education governance? Leaders and decision makers involved in futures thinking inevitably face complexity Those who try to understand and master unpredictable futures may be better equipped to cope with the complexity of the present Futures thinking may enhance realism and modesty in leadership (through the continuous confrontation of the desirable with the probable)

5 Thank you for your attention!

6 In a the transformation scenario the public service is meant to… –…be capable to adapt its services to the growing diversity of individual user needs, –…while achieving the major common public policy goals (e.g. equity, quality, efficiency). The relevant key questions: –How to manage the increasing complexity that characterises this situation? –Can a renewed public service achieve this or only the market can do? –How to renew educational governance in order to create a demand sensitive public system?

7 21th century governance: future trends and risks Old forms of governance – in both the public and private sectors – are becoming increasingly ineffective Fixed and permanent allocation of power (embedded in the structures and constitutions of organisations) may be broken Initiatives may shift from those in senior positions to others in various positions Source: R. Miller: 21st Century Transitions: Opportunities, Risks and Strategies…, What Schools for the Future? OECD. 2001

8 21th century governance: future trends and risks Those who are not actively creating the new rules may perceive changes as driven by external and dangerous forces and may be affected by feelings of risks and insecurity Institutional inertia and resistance may generate conflicts and stifle efforts to transform old methods and invent new ones A backlash from diversity and democracy may happen with the survival of inadequate governance forms Source: R. Miller: 21st Century Transitions: Opportunities, Risks and Strategies…, What Schools for the Future? OECD. 2001

9 Examples of growing uncertainties, risks and complexity in the education sector Planning provisions becomes complicated as the heterogeneity of student population grows and many groups demand special provision The risks for individuals to make wrong choices increases as the variety of programmes grows Matching outputs of training with economic needs becomes more difficult as the needs of companies change rapidly National authorities have difficulties to follow what happens in the education system as there are too many autonomously acting local actors

10 Examples of growing uncertainties, risks and complexity in the education sector School level selection of teaching material becomes difficult as supply and variety increase Quality assurance of teaching materials becomes complicated as there is an infinite variety of multimedia and internet resources Teachers cannot understand and follow the goals of central reforms as changes become frequent and communication channels more noisy People find difficult to assess the value of various qualifications issued by different educating agencies

11 The regulation challenge in education (from the perspective of the teaching profession) High level professional commitment of teachers Education is a highly complex professional activity that is difficult to standardise Education is a relatively simple professional activity that can be easily standardised Low level professional commitment of teachers Type 1: THE GOOD OLD SCHOOL (detailed input specification based on cultural and professional consensus) Type 4: NEW AUTONOMY (autonomy combined with strong feedback systems) Type 2: THE SCHOOL FACTORY (meticulous, continuous supervision of individual teachers) Type 3: EDUCATION MARKET (market becomes the main orientating force) Source: Halász, G.: Public management reform and the regulation of education systems. Networks of innovation …, OECD, 2006 Here is the great regulation challenge

12 Where can regulation systems go in education in a context of growing complexity? Bureaucratic control Market regulation The renewed public system THE GOOD OLD SCHOOL THE SCHOOL FACTORY Conservation scenario Survival scenario Intelligent accountabilityIntelligent accountability Network buildingNetwork building The regulatory stateThe regulatory state

13 Building blocs of intelligent accountability (following David Hopkins interpretation) Autonomous schools Feedback and support mechanisms Intelligent schools capable of using the feedback and willing to improve System improvement through continuous school level improvements Incentives forcing schools to react to feedback

14 ReciprocityCompetitionSubordinationCulture DiplomacyHaggling and courts Rules and commands Means of conflict resolution and coordination TrustPricesAuthorityMedium of exchange InterdependentIndependentDependentDegree of independence Resource exchange Contracts, property rights Employment relationship Basis of relationships NetworksMarketsBureaucracy Source: Rhodes, The new management of British Local Governance …, Palgrave Macmillan, 1999

15 What is complexity? Complexity is more than complicated (high number of autonomous agents interact and this leads to unpredictable outcomes) Through the unpredictable interaction of many autonomous agents small inputs may result in great output changes Complex adaptive systems (CAS): systems adapting themselves to their environment through multiple feedback loops.

16 Why complexity becomes increasingly relevant in education systems? Because autonomous local agents (e.g. schools, students, pressure groups)… –…become increasingly driven by an enormous variety of demands, –…their interdependent actions have a growing impact on the behavior of the whole system, –…and their interactions, their communication and network creation is increasingly encouraged by the new regulatory environment. Complexity thinking is already widely used in public policy but still very little in educationin education

17 I am convinced that the nations and the people who master the new sciences of complexity will become the economic, cultural and political superpowers of the next century. Heinz Pagels American physicist (1939 – 1988) http://www.hcs.ucla.edu/DoEreport.pdf A report commissioned by the US Department of Education

18 The strong regulatory state (following Fukuyamas State building) Strong state Regulatory state Administrative state Weak state A demand driven open LLL system can develop only here

19 What should a strong regulatory and enhancing state do in education (1)? Enhance future oriented strategic goal-setting Drive the system towards the strategic goals by targeted developmental interventions Enhance standard creation processes Continuously monitor local processes (trying to understand the impact of the behaviour of autonomous local agents on the system) Create high quality feedback to local agents (communities, schools and teachers) Provide support adjusted to the need of local actors

20 What should a strong regulatory and enhancing state do in education (2)? Enhance competency building (particularly leadership development) Provide rich information to local actors (schools and the users of services) about options and risks Enhance knowledge creation and innovation Targeted intervention in case of failure Provide mediation service in case of unsolved local conflicts Continuous trust building (through enhancing communication and network creation)


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