P20 Public education policy and management

Panel Chairs:
Michael A. O'Neill

Corresponding Chair:
Michael A. O’Neill, droneill@uottawa.ca

Education as an enabler of “Smart public service”

The second most significant area of public expenditure after health care in most OECD countries, public education has been increasingly recognized as a critical of societal and economic transformation and a key instrument of public policy in developing and developed countries alike.  Across the globe public officials, academic researchers, civil-society organizations, among others, point to education policy as key to increased income, better health, increased social capital, social integration, and individual happiness and well-being among other positive impacts.  In short, education policy is the critical to public responses to the 21st C. challenges of inequality, sustainable development, green growth and climate change, demographic change and the knowledge economy, among other challenges.

At the same time governments and other sectors recognize that educational attainment – a result of education policy decisions – is essential to ensure that people possess the capacity to navigate and keep up with the economic, social and technological transformations of the present and near future. The correlation between educational attainment and public policy results and outcomes has been conclusive demonstrated.

At the same time the education sector itself has been challenged by the same technological, economic conditions, and social transformations that are evident across societies.  This leads to important questions about the role of schools and the traditional institution-centred educational delivery model.  Thus, just like other sectors of public policy, education is not immunized the questions around relevance and appropriateness.  These changes have also raised important questions about  the governance arrangements of the education sector as new governmental and non-governmental actors, including the private sector, enter the domain.

Description of the panel and contribution to scholarship

Despite the salience of education as an area of public policy and administration, it is dwarfed by research in other sectors of social policy, such as health care.

The panel seeks to lead an empirical discussion of current education policy debates.  The panel takes a holistic view of the educational sector and policy and will thus consider papers covering education policy topics in all forms.  Interconnections between education policy and other public policies will be particularly welcome. The panel welcomes quantitative and qualitative analysis with a strong linkage to the literature and the most recent academic debates. Papers can be on national contexts, but comparative studies are particularly welcome. Examples of topics to be considered include:

  • Structure and history of the education system
  • Politics of education policy-making
  • Relationships among education and other social policies
  • Public resource allocations, using either a sector specific or whole of government-wide lens
  • Policy analysis and evaluation
  • Governance

Proposals on other topics are welcome. Preference will be given to papers that consider the Conference themes of Stewardship, Innovation and Impact.