Building the Future of Education: The Case for More Research, Experimentation, and Innovation in Education

Building the Future of Education: The Case for More Research, Experimentation, and Innovation in Education

Stavros Nicolaou Yiannouka (WISE, Qatar Foundation, Qatar)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0267-8.ch001
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Abstract

The chapter will begin with a discussion of the current array of failings in the education systems of both developed, and developing countries, and will continue with an analysis of the concept of the iron triangle. Within that context, suggested goals of education, as well as an agenda as to how these might be attained will be presented. At the end, discussion of i2Flex (Avgerinou, Gialamas, & Tsoukia, 2014) as an educational innovation will unfold with the view to addressing how the earlier mentioned educational issues could be solved via its implementation.
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Mind The Research Funding Gap

I recognise that the thought experiment that I have described above is now, as my colleague Keri Facer (2011) notes, “[a] familiar and banal [part] of the educational discourse” (p. 2). However, as Facer admits “there are elements of this story for which there is some evidence and empirical support” (p. 3). And it is not difficult to plausibly explain why education lags so far behind healthcare in terms of the application of scientific discovery to the norms and practices of the discipline; and this has very little to do with the inherent conservatism or technophobia of policymakers and educators. Simply put, as a global community we have over the past several decades invested far more in researching healthcare and related disciplines than we have done to understand the mechanics of education. In data published by the United States National Science Foundation (and reproduced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) covering the period 1970-2014, education does not even feature as a separate discipline (www.aaas.org). Presumably, education is lumped together with the rest of the social sciences, the category (along with Psychology and ‘Other’) that consistently receives the least amount of research funding. By way of comparison, in 2014 the social sciences collectively received just over $1.2 billion in federal research funding as compared with almost $11.5 billion for engineering and almost $32 billion for the life sciences. Even allowing for the fact that research in engineering and the life sciences is generally more expensive than research in the social sciences, this is still a staggering difference. Whilst I do not have access to data for other developed countries, I suspect that the picture will be quite similar.

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