Restructuring the Governance of Portuguese Schools (1998-2008): Policies and Practices
Sociology of Education Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa Lisboa, Portugal
The educational agenda of recent decades has been characterised by ongoing attempts to "restructure" and "deregulate" state schooling. This process has, however, been highly controversial, with major divergences of interpretation in almost all the aspects pertaining to the reform in school governance: its goals, principles, foundations, outcomes and "effective" level of internationalisation.
The current research aims to contribute towards a clarification of certain aspects of this debate and, in particular, of issues relating to:
- the impact of reform on organizational structures and practices; - the influence of neo-managerial perspectives in societies which differ considerably from the more developed countries. Indeed, Portugal has been defined as a semi -peripheral country, with very specific approaches to the development of the Welfare State and mass schooling.
The investigation describes and analyses the organizational, professional, social, cultural and political transformations taking place in six Portuguese primary schools, during the period 1998-2008. The analysis took into consideration the main issues and controversies to which the reform in school governance has given rise in contemporary literature : emergence of new models for social regulation (market, neo-managerialism, performitivity); changes in professional and organizational patterns (collegiality, school culture, leadership); new relations between the school and the community (consumer power, "privatisation").