Explaining institutional changes in educational systems: social, political, cultural, and economic forces – PhD Project Nigel Kragten

In this PhD project we aim to improve our understanding of educational policy reforms. We focus on the post-World War II period, a period in which several educational institutions have changed substantially. Often these changes are in response to inequalities and/or poor performance resulting from existing educational structures. Early tracking has been replaced by comprehensive education in a number of countries (Scotland, England & Wales, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France) but not in others (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium); the vocational sector has been weakened in some but strengthened in other countries; and standardized testing and increased levels of school autonomy have been introduced in many countries in the past two decades. The project combines and analyses data on educational reforms, combined with party manifesto data, public opinion data, and economic indicators, in order to understand the circumstances in which reforms are or are not made.