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M. Omar Faruque

Abstract

How do disparate grievances join to form an agenda for collective action? This article analyses the articulation of movement demands and solidarity building during the formative phase of a popular mobilisation against a multinational mining company in Bangladesh. Drawing on a conceptual framework derived from Laclauian discourse theory, I explain how local community resistance inspired various social groups to support an anti-corporate social movement, ultimately defeating the mining company. I explain how the construction of an empty signifier had the capacity to connect disparate groups to oppose a common enemy. This analysis is based on a set of interviews with activists and a close reading of organisational documents. The examination of how movement demands are articulated emphasises the role of movement intellectuals and enriches the theorising of social movements in the Global South.

Alexander C. McCormick

Abstract

As higher education attainment has become increasingly essential for both individual socioeconomic outcomes and the economic competitiveness of nation-states, and as the cost of financing the higher education enterprise continues to rise, university quality has become an urgent concern for students, families, and policy makers around the globe. The widespread interest in assessing university quality manifests itself in the rise of global rankings (Hazelkorn, 2015) and the increasing use of so-called performance indicators by government agencies. This paper focuses on the latter phenomenon. The first part of the paper examines the benefits and limitations of higher education performance indicators as conventionally implemented, and the second part advances a set of suggestions to address these shortcomings by adapting performance systems to represent and incentivize evidence-informed improvement efforts.

Brendan Cantwell

Abstract

This paper reviews a set of considerations for evaluating academic units in complex universities and higher education systems. Methods of evaluation should match evaluative goals. Assessment should be sensitive to context and recognize the realities of contemporary higher education. Because a one-size-fits-all evaluative regime may be inappropriate, a capabilities-based approach is advanced. The capabilities-based approach focuses on meeting an overall goal of designing higher education systems that meet social demands.

Dirk Van Damme

Abstract

Globally, higher education is expanding at an unprecedented pace. But two competing forces seem to be at work. The first is globalization: higher education systems are globalizing, especially through international research networks and global rankings which fuel competition on a global scale. Internationally comparable qualification frameworks, credit transfer, internationalization policies and quality assurance and accreditation arrangements work towards globally exchangeable qualifications. But the second force, driving institutions to deliver skills which are relevant for the national and regional economies, works against convergence. The skills equivalents of national qualifications remain very different across countries. The skills agendas, driven by countries’ position in global value chains, drive unequal outcomes. The consequence is that the global higher education system will remain characterized by huge inequalities, which are perceived as quality differences. Higher education policies need to find a balance between integration in the global higher education order and serving the domestic skills needs.

Hamish Coates, Lu Liu and Jinghuan Shi

Abstract

In this article we introduce the five papers published in this issue of the International Journal of Chinese Education (IJCE). We begin by discussing complexities shaping the analysis of education, then turn to each paper’s nature and contributions. The article concludes by introducing revised IJCE editorial arrangements.

Ida Ah Chee Mok

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed an increase in research focused on studying on perspectives of Chinese mathematics instructions. The sustained interest is partly due to the outstanding performances of Chinese students in international studies such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) (Mullis, et al., 2012) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2010); and partly due to the shared interest in comparative studies of instructional practice across different cultural systems. What have we learned about in mathematics classrooms from international studies? Findings of international studies suggest that how the teacher used the tasks so that the cognitive demand of the learning tasks could be sustained is very important. Despite the good performances of Hong Kong students in international studies, there is a gap between traditional classroom practice and the long established goals for promoting generic capacity in mathematics learning; most of the traditional learning tasks in Hong Kong classrooms are apparently routine and serving a demonstrative purpose as a result of the highly competitive systems. Based on triangulation of the findings of the analysis of the mathematics lessons at different levels, the study shown some robust features in the traditional mathematics teaching practice in Hong Kong classrooms in contrast to some innovative scenarios in a special mathematics lesson. Finally, the author re-examines the robust features in the context of curriculum reforms and the cultural context of Confucian tradition.

John Murphy

Abstract

Indonesia’s National Social Security System (SJSN) aspires to universal coverage of insurance for health, retirement, and occupational benefits, such as employment injury. This article surveys the successive layers of policy development since the 1960s, in pensions and health benefits for some, and in social assistance programmes for the poor in the Reformasi era. Clarifying the nature of prior developments helps to understand the challenges facing the SJSN. These initiatives are assessed in terms of the literature on welfare regimes, applied as an interpretative tool, rather than in the expectation Indonesia fits the often-rigid categories of welfare typologies.