Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 25, Issue 5
Welcome to the fifth issue of the year which contains six papers which are truly international in flavour, with authors from the UK, Dubai, India, the USA, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Abu Dhabi (UAE).
In the first submission, Stephen Wilkins of the University of Bath and Alun Epps of Middlesex University based in Dubai write on student evaluation websites as potential sources of consumer information in the United Arab Emirates. The purpose of the paper is to investigate the attitudes of students in the UAE towards non-institutionally sanctioned student evaluation websites, and to consider how educational institutions might respond to the demands of students for specific information. The findings suggest that although there exists no UAE-based web site that carries student evaluations of faculty/teaching, 13 per cent of the survey participants had previously visited a site that held student ratings, 85 per cent said they would consider posting on one if it existed in the country, and just over half of the students were in favour of such web sites being established in the UAE.
Kunal Sharma from the Institute of Management studies HP University in India submitting a piece on critical success factors in crafting strategic architecture for e-learning at HP University. From the research questions for implementing e-learning it was found that current practices for institutions are satisfactory. The centres where personal contact programmes are not sufficiently equipped for the training of learners, have resource staff who are ICT literate but who have lost some interest in the programmes because of the failings due to lack of resource availability.
Two papers follow on education developments in Hong Kong, the first of which is joint authored by Alan Cheung of John Hopkins University and Ping Man Wong at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The subject relates to the effects of the school heads’ and teachers’ agreement with curriculum reform on curriculum development progress on student learning in Hong Kong.
In 2001 the Education Bureau of Hong Kong launched a ten-year comprehensive curriculum reform hoping to raise the overall learning capacity and achievement level of all students in the primary and secondary school sectors. The reform strives to enable every student to achieve an all-round development according to his/her own attributes. Overall, the reform attempts to develop a new culture of learning and teaching by shifting from the transmission of knowledge, to learning how to learn, and then to make an impact on student learning. Seven key sets of results were evident. First, the majority of schools have achieved modest progress in organising the school based curriculum developments. Second, most schools have strengthened the implementation of the Hong Kong tasks. Third, the majority of schools felt that significant progress had been made on students’ critical thinking skills, creativity and communication skills. Fourth, the majority of participants agreed that their schools had made good progress in strengthening the cultivation of students’ positive values and attitudes. Fifth, in terms of changing teachers’ practices, most teachers have adopted different strategies, for learning and teaching, assessment for learning, four key tasks, and the use of different kinds of learning/teaching resources. Sixth, most schools had achieved progress in adopting the school based curriculum to achieve smooth transitions. Seventh, the level of overall agreement was generally higher for senior management than for frontline teachers.
In the second Hong Kong paper, Y.C. Cheng, Alan Cheung and Timothy Yuen (of HKIE) look to the Hong Kong case for being a regional hub. Taking Hong Kong as an emerging case it examines through literature and international comparison the relationship between educational development and higher education development, as well as the strategic functions of an educational hub to the future development of Hong Kong. It was found that the development of an educational hub was closely linked to the demand for HE in the Asia Pacific region as well as the internal dynamics of HE and society in Hong Kong. The requirements for successful implementation include the huge demands for HE in the region, the strength of the HE sector, the supporting policies and measures for international students and education service providers, and the leadership and support of central agencies.
In the fifth paper Sukirno of the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, and the Yogyakarta State University, Indonesia, offers work on participative decision making and the impact on lecturer performance in HE. This topic has attracted the attention of both business and education researchers but not perhaps in a significant way. However, this study finds that participative decision making and academic rank have a significant effect on lecturer performance. Also amongst all of the demographic variables taken into account, only academic rank significantly affects lecturer performance.
Essam Zaneldin of UAE University offers a paper on a dynamic system to manage changes in course material. The author’s basis for writing is the contention that despite the popularity of existing course management systems they do not consider the management of course material changes, particularly courses that require more than one instructor. The main purpose of this study is to instantly communicate course material changes to all instructors teaching the same course. Also it is considered important to communicate approved changes to students registered on a course. The fundamental hypothesis tested was whether the developed system effectively communicates changes in a timely manner. The level of students’ acceptance of this new system was also tested. The author states that developments made in this study will help in developing other useful applications for teaching.