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School autonomy and 21st century skills in the Israeli educational system: Discrepancies between the declarative and operational levels

Adam Nir (School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Adi Ben-David (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Ronit Bogler (The Open University of Israel, Raanana, Israel, and)
Dan Inbar (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Anat Zohar (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 12 September 2016

1161

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze two parallel processes in the Israeli educational system: first, the idea of school autonomy, exploring its origins and its pedagogical implications and effectiveness; and second, the development of the progressive education evident mainly in the cognitive domain of twenty-first century skills (21st CS), focussing on fostering “deep knowledge” and children’s thinking skills. The manuscript explores the various “waves” of progressive pedagogies that have taken place in the Israeli school system over the years, describing and analyzing the processes that characterize them.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a historical perspective, the paper describes chronologically the main developments related to school autonomy and 21st CS policy initiatives, based on a literature review and analysis of policy documents.

Findings

The review indicates that the Israeli educational system is still caught in the “centralization trap,” inhibiting major changes in the patterns of central control and degrees of freedom granted to school-level educators. As for school pedagogy, it is evident that most of the changes in pedagogy suggested by the numerous policy documents over the years have not resulted in sustainable, system-wide change. In both issues a large disparity is evident between declarations about innovative pedagogies and school autonomy and their actual implementation.

Originality/value

The review reflects the idiosyncratic articulation of policy plans conducted by the Ministry of Education, producing discrepancies and incongruences at the school level. Some implications of the “declarative culture” created are further discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Nir, A., Ben-David, A., Bogler, R., Inbar, D. and Zohar, A. (2016), "School autonomy and 21st century skills in the Israeli educational system: Discrepancies between the declarative and operational levels", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 1231-1246. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-11-2015-0149

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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