Education Policy Convergence through the Open Method of Coordination: Theoretical Reflections and Implementation in ‘Old’ and ‘New’ National Contexts

Jul. 15, 2010

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 9 Number 3, p. 345‑358. (2010).

The current article addresses two key questions about the convergence of education policies in the European Union (EU).

How does the open method of coordination (OMC), a new governance instrument for the Europeanisation of education policies, change existing national education policy making? and

How can the OMC and national responses to it be researched?

The authors argue that the OMC brings to national policy making a particular set of ideas about education, such as an emphasis on the contribution of education to building competitive economies and a new public management approach.

The authors further suggest that the significance of such policy ideas in national education policy making can be best analysed through a combination of sociological institutionalism and discourse analysis.

Hence, ‘implementation’ of EU education measures – which have been developed through policy learning – should be understood as a combination of a ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ policy-making process that links EU and national levels.

Finally, the paper suggests – on the basis of a preliminary exploration of the implementation of education OMC measures in the United Kingdom and Slovenia – that education OMC policy ideas resonate to varying degrees in ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states.

Updated: Jan. 25, 2011