PISA, policy making and political pantomime: Education policy referencing between England and Hong Kong

Robert Damian ADAMSON, Katherine FORESTIER, Paul MORRIS, Christine HAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Since the mid-1980s,a number of East Asian societies have consistently performed well in international tests, and these ‘high performing’ education systems have emerged as models of ‘best practice’. Policy makers in England (as well as some other Western systems) have been keen to reference Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and South Korea when developing and promoting their own reform agendas. Although Hong Kong has been extensively cited and praised by politicians and their advisers in England local dissatisfaction with the education system has prompted a series of major education reforms. This mismatch between the two policy communities in their perceptions of the strong features of Hong Kong education is explored in this paper using documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with policymakers and other key stakeholders. We analyse the ways in which features of Hong Kong’s education system are reconstructed, used, and manipulated in policymaking in England. We argues that the referencing of Hong Kong is an act of political theatre, reminiscent of a pantomime, a traditional performance built around stereotyped villains and heroes, narratives of good conquering evil, and comical set-pieces that sometimes verge on the farcical.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

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political education
Hong Kong
education system
reform
mismatch
South Korea
theater
Singapore
best practice
politician
education
stakeholder
narrative
interview
society
community
performance

Citation

Adamson, B., Forestier, K., Morris, P., & Han, C. (2016, June). PISA, policy making and political pantomime: Education policy referencing between England and Hong Kong. Paper presented at The XXVII Comparative Education Society in Europe 2016 conference (CESE 2016): Equity in and through education: Changing contexts, consequences, and contestations, University of Glasgow, Scotland.