Autonomy, Collaboration and Competition: The Impact of Education Management Reforms which Aim to Increase School Autonomy on Relations between Schools
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In recent decades, the neoliberal education policy has been implemented in many countries, by reducing the state’s role in education management. Lithuania is one of the countries which aft er the restoration of Independence in 1991 and collapse of the Soviet Union has decentralized its education management system by giving more autonomy to schools and local authorities. Education-management reforms, which have already been implemented or are currently being implemented in response to social, economic and political changes in the country, have an impact on relationships between schools. Purpose: Th is article reports the fi ndings of a study which reviewed education management reforms aimed at increasing school autonomy and their impact on inter-school collaboration and competition. Research Method: Th is study employs a qualitative research design with semi-structured interviews. Twenty-four elementary and secondary school principals from diff erent regions of Lithuania were interviewed. Findings: Th e results reveal that a signifi cant infl uence on relations between schools comes from government decisions which relate to school autonomy, school choice, allocation of funds, school ranking, and the like. Implications: Th is study generates discussions on the impact of the education management reforms which aim to enhance school autonomy on inter-school relationships. In order to answer that question, a theoretical model of research was developed, including the theoretical basis of school autonomy, collaboration and competition, as well as the characteristics of Lithuanian education governance.
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