Research has shown that there is not a single system of education and educational policy that would be best for all the stakeholders, including learners, teachers, parents, local communities, school boards and the regulatory bodies such as the central government. …
While this articulation of the experiences learners are expected to undergo is quite vital to learning, it would not pay without a proper educational policy making and implementation by all stakeholders in the education sector (Ball, 2009a). The role of education policy in the realization of academic and professional growth for learners cannot thus be overemphasised. In its general sense, an education policy refers to the various systemic and structural arrangements by which the expected experiences and outcomes in an educational system can be achieved (Ball, 2009a). Importantly, these arrangements must maximize the attainment of these outcomes for students. However, in most cases, the policy structures and arrangements designed and implemented do not translate into the expected learning experience and outcomes. Unfortunately, the pressure piled upon schools, colleges, universities and their administrators, managers and teachers by stakeholders such as government authorities, school boards and parents for improved performance and experiences are partly responsible for the failed educational policies (Ball, 2009b).
As a result of this kind of pressure, school managers and administrators end up having incoherent and mixed up policies that are not only hard to design but also to implement to fruition. Hence, instead of supporting learning institutions to achieve what is expected of them by the government and parents, schools end up failing due to excessive pressure and interest from the many stakeholders in the education system. Research has shown that there is not a single system of education and educational policy that would be best for all the stakeholders, including learners, teachers, parents, local communities, school boards and the regulatory bodies such as the central government. In education, just like other social issues, policies depend on various aspects of life in the target population (Les, 2006). In other words, education policy solutions are more based on case-to-case scenario instead of universal standards. Hence, discrepancies on education standards must be addressed based on the immediate situation, which obviously has its complex and intertwined social, cultural and economic issues. Nonetheless, solving educational policy issues in whatever setting is never a complex task; all stakeholders are expected to do is to step aside and let education policy experts to design, develop, implement, evaluate, monitor, and reform education policy. These experts are also expected to incorporate the input of all educational stakeholders in executing their mandate. State and local skills and knowledge, educators, communities, parents are some of the stakeholders who must be involved in these exercises to design educational systems that function to achieve the expected experiences and objectives. This paper explores the concept of education policy with regards to policy making, implementation, ideology and interest groups or stakeholders. The Ideology and the Making of Education Policy Many an education policy is based on a market-based education system and reforms characterised by programs and strategies that promote choices and ready solutions to social, economic, political and cultural problems (Hanushek & Woessmann, 2008). However, some oppose this ideology for education, arguing that such an approach misperceives the function and objectives of education. In addition, the market-based approach to education is considered to weaken and threaten the democratic philosophies of education. However, both ideologies have been shown to have strengths and weakness and each jurisdiction may weight its options before adopting the ideology on which to base their ...
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