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Evaluation: the (not so) softly-softly approach to governance and its consequences for compulsory education in the Nordic countries
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2011 (English)In: Education Inquiry, ISSN 2000-4508, E-ISSN 2000-4508, Vol. 2, no 4, 671-687 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Public sector reform involving decentralisation and marketisation has led to “soft” indirect forms of governance aimed at steering more fragmented systems. Although based on information and guidance rather than hierarchy and legislation, these new methods of regulating through evaluation and quality control may be as powerful as more direct control methods. Frequently embodying practices building on values concerning consumer choice and competition, they may challenge values of equality and social justice associated with the Nordic model of education. Drawing on a qualitative analysis using documentary data concerning evaluation structures and techniques, the development of an evaluative culture and consequences for compulsory education in the Nordic countries are examined. Although soft governance techniques of evaluation and control have impacted on compulsory education in all five countries, there are differences concerning the extent to which the Nordic model’s values have been challenged. Further, there are signs of resistance and reluctance to abandon the model’s basic tenets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 2, no 4, 671-687 p.
Keyword [en]
evaluation, soft governance, self-regulation, calculative practices, Nordic model of education
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-53530OAI: diva2:513145
Available from: 2012-03-30 Created: 2012-03-30 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Evaluation(840 kB)