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Visions of reform in post-socialist Romania: Decentralization (through hybridization) and teacher autonomy

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Abstract:

This presentation focuses on meanings of decentralization in the context of post-socialist reforms in Romania. The main purpose is to examine the circulation of decentralization reform in what is generally considered to be a highly centralized country. Drawing on policy analysis and in-depth interviews and focus groups with teachers and school administrators, the findings reveal contrasting perspectives and hybridized ideas about the meanings of decentralization reforms in Romania. These reforms should be seen in the context of larger trends toward marketization (McGinn &
Welsh, 1999). With the emergence of discourses on modernization and a ‘‘return to Europe,’’ Romanian political culture has offered a complementary, legitimizing base to the decentralizing reform of administration and education. In line with the recent history of these reforms, most interview participants view 1998 as the peak of real ‘‘institutional autonomy,’’ followed by a decline or even a slow recentralization in subsequent years. They also refer to ‘‘self-assigned’’ or ‘‘reclaimed’’ autonomy, which every teacher can adopt ‘‘in their own class, once the doors are closed.’’ Significantly, most agree that the latter type is essentially the same as in the communist period, prior to the 1989 political changes. We will thus investigate the contrasting perspectives expressed by scholars, teachers, and in policy documents, as well as the hybridized ideas which together result in various visions of reform. The analysis of post-socialist changes, both as real and imagined processes, leads us to conclude that the Romanian education transition should be seen as a complex process.

Author's Keywords:

decentralization; Romania; post-socialist transformations; educational change; hybridization; teacher autonomy
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493385_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Mincu, Monica. "Visions of reform in post-socialist Romania: Decentralization (through hybridization) and teacher autonomy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493385_index.html>

APA Citation:

Mincu, M. "Visions of reform in post-socialist Romania: Decentralization (through hybridization) and teacher autonomy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493385_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: This presentation focuses on meanings of decentralization in the context of post-socialist reforms in Romania. The main purpose is to examine the circulation of decentralization reform in what is generally considered to be a highly centralized country. Drawing on policy analysis and in-depth interviews and focus groups with teachers and school administrators, the findings reveal contrasting perspectives and hybridized ideas about the meanings of decentralization reforms in Romania. These reforms should be seen in the context of larger trends toward marketization (McGinn &
Welsh, 1999). With the emergence of discourses on modernization and a ‘‘return to Europe,’’ Romanian political culture has offered a complementary, legitimizing base to the decentralizing reform of administration and education. In line with the recent history of these reforms, most interview participants view 1998 as the peak of real ‘‘institutional autonomy,’’ followed by a decline or even a slow recentralization in subsequent years. They also refer to ‘‘self-assigned’’ or ‘‘reclaimed’’ autonomy, which every teacher can adopt ‘‘in their own class, once the doors are closed.’’ Significantly, most agree that the latter type is essentially the same as in the communist period, prior to the 1989 political changes. We will thus investigate the contrasting perspectives expressed by scholars, teachers, and in policy documents, as well as the hybridized ideas which together result in various visions of reform. The analysis of post-socialist changes, both as real and imagined processes, leads us to conclude that the Romanian education transition should be seen as a complex process.


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