The role of foreign institutions and experts in the evolution of the decentralization process

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The public action under consideration is the decentralization of the pre-university education system, in that the number and role of the actors is very varied. This section discusses the role of international actors in the public action.

1. Definition

The supranational actors are those institutions and experts who have an agreement with the Romanian state, and based on this agreement they took part in the preparation and implementation of the decentralization process of the pre-university education system. This role might mean investigative works and reports, elaboration and operation of sub-projects, or consultative role. The supranational actors are experts and institutions in the same time, and if the experts are employees or delegates of supranational institutions, their activities are generally financed by the supranational institutions they come from. In some extent the decentralization processes that took place in other countries and the EU expectations as well are also part of this group of ’actors’, because they have embody exemplary models that were previously tried out elsewhere.

2. Taking part in the public action

As we have found out, the foreign institutions and experts had a decisive role in the first cycle when they ensured the professional knowledge and financial background for the projects within the PA. In many cases they also undertook the organization of the projects, sub-projects as well. In the second cycle these institutions reduced, then stopped their work. Henceforth the Phare Project of the European Union had a very important role. From the middle of the second cycle the role of foreign experts was reduced to the elaboration and/or assistance of writing reports.

3. Their role in knowledge production

The supranational organizations and experts brought ready-made knowledge and application methodologies into the PA process. They tried to hand this over to the central and regional actors of the PA in form of documents, studies, conferences and training programmes. It is an essential element that in this imported knowledge they counted on the Romanian situation and on the larger professional/scientific experiences and policy contexts that drew up the objectives, tasks and methodologies for decentralization. It is another important element that they elaborated analytic materials about several segments of the Romanian education system and about the PA process as well. In these materials the foreign analysts are often critical: they criticize the way how the national projects are prepared, similarly the postponement of implementation. Admitting the national circumstances, they are critical with the national actors of the PA process. Considering the entire process these actors produced knowledge for a short period of time, but even so they elaborated more reports, studies and evaluations than the national experts and actors did during the entire PA process. This can be explained by the fact that starting with the second cycle the model of knowledge production and knowledge circulation represented by the foreign experts was not taken over by the national actors. Exceptions are those official, annual reports that present annually the situation of the Romanian education. However, these only partially deal with the process of decentralization (one of the few analyses that followed the model offered by the international experts was written as a dissertation for an MA programme in England (Domnisoru, 2010)).

4. Their relationship with other actors

These actors had a strong relationship especially with the representatives of the central administration and the corporations organized by the central administration. During preparation they made contacts with the representatives of regional institutions (school inspectorates), actors of the regional and local councils. The media periodically gave information about their work. Besides decentralization these actors have dealt with other programmes as well, consequently their publicly known role is not directly linked to the PA process.

BIRÓ Zoltán A. & KISS Adél (2010), The decentralization of the pre-university education system, KNOWandPOL Report, http://www.knowandpol.eu.

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  • DOMNISORU Ciprian (2010), Consecințele descentralizării învățământului preuniversitar, http://politicasociala.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/consecintele-descentralizarii-invatamantului-preuniversitar1.pdf.

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