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Quality audit through school inspection in Swedish municipal adult education
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1835-8505
2019 (English)In: ESREA 9th Triennial European Research Conference, Adult education research and practice between the welfare state and neoliberalism, University of Belgrade, Serbia, September 19-22, 2019., 2019Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Throughout recent years, quality in adult education has become an increasingly important topic in Sweden. As a consequence of a rapidly changing society, many adults need to re-qualify their skills in order to be prepared for the labour market. Additionally, the intensive immigration flows require a well-developed adult education system. However, the Municipal Adult Education (hereby MAE) has over years been criticised for its inefficiency to satisfy individual’s need for more skills as well as to fulfil labour demands, (Bjursell, Chaib, Falkner, & Ludvigsson, 2015)not least in the media, where the topic is debated frequently (Lindgren, 2018; Suhonen, 2016).

As an implication of the increased need for audits and quality controls in MAE, the Swedish School Inspectorate (hereby SSI), is auditing and inspecting schools, by order from the state. The SSI’s role in shaping of the quality concept is brought up since they interpret national policy in order to conduct their inspections. Since no previous studies have scrutinised school inspections in adult education in Sweden, the need for research that explores the still unchartered field is motivated (Segerholm & Hult, 2018). In this specific article, one of the SSI’s audits focusing on quality in MAE will be studied, therefore bringing up the question of how quality is enacted in different settings of MAE. 

Thesample consists of observations of school inspectors’ interviews with school actors from six different municipals. The sample includes municipalities that organise MAE in different ways, ranging from organising it by themselves, to outsourcing it through tendering from private companies.In addition to the observed and recorded meetings between school inspectors and school actors, other forms of data such as the SSI’s official decisions and reports regarding the six municipalities are included in the sample as well. The empirical material has been transcribed and then coded and analysed. 

Guided by the theoretical framework of policy enactment, three different dimensions of quality have been identified in the sample (Ball, 2012). The first dimension of quality focuses on the enrolment to the MAE where questions of how often students should be enrolled during the school year are emphasised. The second dimension regards questions of how the adult education is organised since it varies a lot between the municipalities. Some of the municipalities outsource the education and other municipalities organise it themselves. The third dimension that was identified concerns the way that courses are organised when it comes to distance teaching and classroom teaching and regards the implications for the different forms of course designs. Drawing from the different dimensions that were identified in the sample, it is argued that the question of quality in adult education often is left out in the conversation between the school inspectors and the school actors as much attention instead is drawn to questions that regard the requisites of the education. The result of the study can provide insights for how quality is enacted in different settings of MAE, and thus have significance for the discussion of adult education in the neoliberal era.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Adult education, Sweden, Quality, School inspection, Swedish School Inspectorate
Keywords [sv]
Vuxenutbildning, Komvux, Sverige, Kvalitet, Skolinspektion, Skolinspektionen
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-160560OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-160560DiVA, id: diva2:1355323
Conference
ESREA 9th Triennial European Research Conference Adult education research and practice between the welfare state and neoliberalism
Available from: 2019-09-27 Created: 2019-09-27 Last updated: 2019-09-27

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Mufic, Johanna

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