Volume 4, No. 1, March 2013
Education Inquiry is an international online, peer-reviewed journal with free access in the field of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education. It is published by the Umeå School of Education, Umeå University, Sweden and is issued four times per year (March, June, September, December). Education Inquiry can be downloaded in full extent as well as selected articles.
Nafsika Alexiadou & Linda Rönnberg
Every issue of Education Inquiry publishes peer-reviewed articles in one, two or three different sections. In the Open section, articles are sent in by authors as part of regular journal submissions and published after a blind review process. In the Thematic section, articles may reflect the theme of a conference or workshop and are published after a blind review process. The Invited section feature articles by researchers invited by Education Inquiry to shed light on a specific theme or for a specific purpose and they are also published after a review process. This issue of Education Inquiry contains a Thematic section.
The focus is on ethnic diversity and schooling in various national education systems. There are nine articles in this issue, along with an editorial introduction by Daniel Faas who provides an overview of the discussions relating to this very topical theme, and comments on the significance of each of the contributions.
The first article by Yvonne Leeman and Sawitri Saharso draws on research in the Netherlands over the last 30 years, and offers an assessment of the changing political and educational frameworks for inclusion and multiculturalism. They draw lessons to be learned from this research and point towards future research agendas.
Mary Darmanin follows with an article that is highly critical of the dominant discourses around cultural and ethnic diversity in Malta that are rooted in the country’s history of domination as a former British colony, and a strong emphasis on Catholicism as a “marker of ethnic identity”. The country’s small size is also taken into account in the presentation and critique of contemporary education practices in relation to the integration of immigrant and ethnic minority pupils.
In the third article, Farzana Shain presents a critical account of attempts by the British state to manage the ‘problem’ of ethnic minorities, and the associated English education developments in the post-war period. She examines state policies in relation to race and ethnicity and traces the development and evolution of discourses of ‘containment’ policies of ethnic minorities and their education.
Staying within Britain, Cecile Wright argues that the neoliberal education policies followed by successive governments have exacerbated inequalities which are particularly stark in the performance of black children in schools. The lack of serious political will to address the issue has led to students attempting to use ‘the community’ as a resource to overcome the disadvantages conferred by the education system.
In the next article, Christina Hadjisoteriou and Panayiotis Angelides focus their analysis of intercultural education policies in Cyprus on the higher levels of policy-making, and in particular the Ministry of Education and Culture. Their work highlights the gaps between the rhetoric as expressed in the content of policy documents, and the practice as discussed by Cypriot policy-makers during interviews.
Our next article highlights the institutional mechanisms necessary for the success of second-generation ethnic minority students. Philipp Schnell, Elif Keskiner & Maurice Crul draw on a combined quantitative and qualitative analysis of data from research on disadvantaged pupils with a Turkish ethnic background in France and the Netherlands. The article foregrounds individual experiences, and situates these against the structural disadvantages the students face, but also the institutional arrangements and personal interactions that have made educational success possible.
Next, Nathalie Rougier uses a critical discourse analysis approach to study the debate around the hijab in Irish schools. Her analysis highlights the complexity of ‘acceptance’ of religious and ethnic diversity in schools, in a system that is denominational and has traditionally had a small number of diverse students.
Moving beyond Europe, the next two articles explore aspects of race and gender equality in education. Kalervo Gulson and Taylor Webb present their research on the complex relationships and sometimes unexpected outcomes that are produced by neoliberal education policies intersecting with debates around race and difference. Their research explores these issues as they manifest themselves in the establishment of an Africentric school in Toronto, Canada.
Finally, Audrey Osler and Chalank Yahya discuss the difficulties of implementing human rights education in schools in Kurdistan-Iraq. They present research in the field with teachers and policy-makers who find themselves caught between the tensions involving human rights education in school practice, and a conservative, patriarchal society. Within a context of limited resources, gender equity is compromised.