Xavier Rambla Sociologia

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Des 02 2019

Observar y analizar las políticas sociales

Posted in L'aprenentatge a l'educació superior per Xavier Rambla |

En las prácticas profesionales del Máster de Política Social (UAB) los y las estudiantes participan en un proyecto que una administración pública, una entidad del tercer sector o un grupo de investigación esté llevando a cabo. Esta actividad formativa pretende tender puentes entre la educación académica y el mundo profesional.

En la evaluación de estas prácticas participan el tutor/a de la entidad que recibe al estudiante, y el equipo docente que coordina el módulo docente que corresponde. La primera evaluación se lleva a cabo rellenando un breve formulario con escalas de valoración (de 1 a 5). La segunda requiere elaborar un diario de campo y un breve análisis de la organización.

Los estudiantes aprender a aplicar los conceptos teóricos del máster. En ocasiones, para ello tienen que desempeñar tareas que presuponen un nivel avanzado de técnicas de investigación social. Si esta exigencia les provoca inseguridad, la coordinación académica de las prácticas les ofrece apoyo especializado para que puedan llevarlas a cabo. Además, las prácticas requieren que los futuros profesionales aprendan a desenvolverse en unas organizaciones que son muy distintas a la universidad que imparte el máster. Por este motivo, elaboran un análisis de la organización, el cual además de aplicar conceptos teóricos, afianza su competencia de orientarse en entornos profesionales de muy distinto tipo.

El diario, pues, es una de las principales actividades de evaluación. Al mismo tiempo que los/as estudiantes están desempeñando sus tareas en la organización, es conveniente que vayan tomando notas de varios aspectos significativos. Un buen diario se compone, al menos, de tres tipos de notas:

  • Descripciones de tareas. En lugar de presentar una lista de tareas realizadas, el diario requiere dar un paso más. Las descripciones deben contener información sobre las tareas realizadas así como una breve narración de las circunstancias en que se han ejecutado dichas tareas.
  • Observaciones etnográficas. La etnografía recoge información científica a partir de la observación directa de las acciones sociales. Si bien no es imprescindible que cumplan con los estándares de la investigación, unas observaciones iniciales del contexto de las prácticas proporcionan muchas ocasiones para relacionar los dilemas de la rutina profesional con los conceptos teóricos que se utilizan para comprender las políticas sociales. Los módulos docentes del máster, de hecho, presentan y discuten estos conceptos.
  • Reflexiones sobre los propios aprendizajes. Algunos ejemplos de los posibles temas de dichas reflexiones pueden ser ilustrativos: la distancia entre punto inicial y el punto final, la aplicación de técnicas de investigación social, la revisión de prenociones, el descubrimiento de problemáticas desconocidas, la valoración de las propias habilidades de organizar el trabajo y/o de comunicarlo, o la capacidad de contextualizar la experiencia de colaborar con un equipo. Estos y otros temas pueden inspirar reflexiones muy interesantes.

Para completar con éxito las prácticas, también es indispensable que estos/as estudiantes escriban un breve pero consistente análisis de la organización con la que han colaborado. Un análisis consiste en formular una hipótesis sobre varios aspectos, y en sugerir algunas referencias empíricas que permitan sustentarla. No se trata de demostrar nada ni de completar una investigación propiamente dicha, sino de acreditar hasta qué punto alguien puede formular los juicios más comunes entre los expertos en ciencias sociales. Por supuesto, no es necesario argumentar el fundamento teórico de la hipótesis, y el valor de las referencias empíricas puede ser muy relativo. Un análisis de este tipo simplemente tiene que elaborar un argumento convincente, breve y claro. Varias herramientas ofrecen instrumentos para realizar este análisis.

  • El método DAFO (en inglés SWOT: Strenghts, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) y el análisis sistémico (Systemic Change) sirven para captar la estrategia de una organización. Aplicarlos permite determinar si es más o menos exhaustiva y su potencial para desencadenar cambios sociales.
  • El análisis de políticas públicas (Policy Analysis) invita a formular preguntas sobre los problemas, la agenda de prioridades, las formulaciones de las políticas, su puesta en práctica (o “implementation”) y la evaluación de dichas políticas. El Marco de Análisis de la Gobernanza se inspira en este enfoque para proponer un modelo muy operativo basado en dos ideas fuerza. En primer lugar, define cuatro componentes esenciales de la gobernanza, a saber: los actores, los puntos nodales, las normas sociales y los procesos. En segundo lugar, entiende que la gobernanza es un factor intermedio que influyen en el efecto de una serie de factores sobre una serie de resultados.
  • Las organizaciones no se implican permanentemente en los mismos procesos de trabajo. Por ejemplo, el estado del bienestar espera que una serie de administraciones, empresas y entidades sociales contribuyan de modos muy distintos a financiar, otorgar y gestionar prestaciones económicas; a diseñar, proporcionar y evaluar servicios educativos, sanitarios y sociales; y en definitiva, a proporcionar información para construir sistemas oficiales de indicadores e informes oficiales sobre el funcionamiento de todas estas actividades. Los actores políticos que participan en el estado del bienestar también despliegan actividades propias de los grupos de presión y de los movimientos sociales. Para analizar esta variedad de procesos, la European Foundation for Quality Management (mirad el video desde el minuto 4:40) ha dibujado un gráfico que señala las conexiones principales entre los procesos y el conjunto de la organización. El diagrama explora los factores o “enablers” (estrategia, liderazgo, procesos, red de colaboradores) y los resultados (para las personas, los clientes y la sociedad) de las organización, así como las crecientes ventajas de reformular los factores a la luz de la evaluación de los resultados.
  • El impacto de la investigación puede ser también objeto de análisis. Este impacto es multidimensional y depende de factores sociales como la implicación de los “usuarios” de la investigación. El UK Economic and Social Research Council propone una definición muy operativa de este concepto aquí.

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Des 01 2019

Academic guidelines for the internship programme of GLOBED

Posted in L'aprenentatge a l'educació superior per Xavier Rambla |

When completing the GLOBED master’s degree, students are capable to analyse education policies for global development through the lens of the social sciences as well as to evaluate their contributions to social justice and human development. In addition, they have acquired basic professional skills by conducing fieldwork, doing an internship and writting a thesis. The master fosters learning by both studying and doing at the same time.

The internship programme of GLOBED induces students to perform a varied array of tasks in an organisation where they improve skills such as abstract thinking, practical reasoning and creativity. In addition, the internship requires a few but systematic academic tasks that consist of reporting activity, reflecting on practice and analysing the organisation. These academic tasks bridge theory with professional experience. The academic tasks also trigger a form of professional reflexivity that help students to realise the underlying challenges and cultivate their career- management skills accordingly.

Mostly, the academic component of the internship lies in producing a reflexive journal that includes at least six substantial entries. Some of these entries simply narrate the routine of students in the organisation. Others highlight some aspects that indicate how students learn to perform in this context. A final type of entries draft some insights on the vision, mission, work processes, challenges and emerging changes of the organisation.

Experience goes hand in hand with analysis. Each type of skills feeds the other one. Students learn by going back and forth from one to the other, and back from the latter to the former.

Analysing consists of breaking complex phenomena into smaller parts whose close inspection and whose interconnections induce a deeper understanding of the whole. Although the internship does not expect students to theorise on the models that lead analyses in research, it proposes them to start with very simple and brief summaries and diagrams.

The following list compiles basic presentations of models that have proven helpful in previous editions of the master. These outline the main concepts that inspire the most intriguing and interesting questions:

  1. Policy Analysis invites to ask questions on the problems, the agenda of priorities and the formulations that lead policy-making, as well as on the implementation and evaluation of these policies.
  2. Organisations are not permanently engaged in the same work processes. Significantly, although some international organisations and NGOs have been involved in delivering schooling in many (mostly, low-income) contries, nowadays these organisations also engage in other processes such as lobbying, advocacy and research. The European Foundation for Quality Management (see video since minute 4:40) has developed a diagram that plots the crucial connections between processes and the whole organisation. The diagram explores the connection between the enablers (strategy, leadership, processes, stakeholders) and the results (for people, customers and society) of organisations and the emerging advantages of calibrating the enablers according to feedback on previous results.
  3. SWOT analysis is an easy and instrumental tool to think about strategies. Basically, it requires to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organisation. Some models also shed light on strategies insofar as they highlight complexity, non-linear changes and contingencies. This one sets a good illustration.
  4. Finally, some tools analyse the impact of research As mentioned above, research is not only a process of higher education institutions but also a common endeavour of many interantional organisations and NGOs.

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Set 05 2019

Can education policies prevent early school leaving?

Posted in Educació i polítiques socials per Xavier Rambla |


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Mai 30 2019

Global governance, institutional design and struggle

Posted in L'aprenentatge a l'educació superior per Xavier Rambla |

Current debates on global governance often revisit an old debate in the social sciences. While some theories argue that good or bad ideas on how to design institutions are the ultimate cause of political developments, other theories insist that this ultimate cause lies in struggle and negotiation. Rational-choice and historical institutionalism represent the two perspectives in political science.

The same type of discrepancy divides experts on global governance nowadays. For instance, Jeffrey Sachs considers that coherent arguments on the potential of the SDGs are capable to make a difference by persuading the elites. In contrast, Aart Scholte highlights a complex array of social relations that condition global governance.

In 2018-2019, the students of Social Change and Globalisation evaluated the insights of these diverging theories. Their work focused on such issues of the global policy agendas as nutrition and education. On the one hand, Nestlé claims that it is producing shared value, while FAO works for achieving the SDGs that concern agriculture and food. On the other hand, GEMS Education claims that its activity fosters access to education, while the Global Campaign of Education warns that private education threatens the right to education.

Global nutrition and education policies entail a number of implications for the social sciences, political philosophy and practical decision-making. This exercise focused on one of these implications. An influential standpoint suggests the following research question: Are the current problems in these areas the consequence of good or bad previous institutional designs? However, another widespread perspective suggests a different research question: Are these problems the outcome of old struggles and negotiations?

Certainly, qualified and sound analyses must draw on the whole array of expert opinions in order to achieve consistent conclusions. However, halfway positions are not convincing simply because their premises are intermediate. Although all  experts assume that both institutional designs and struggles play a role, the order of factors eventually alters the product. If designs set the the pattern, struggles only take place on the flaws of the initial designs. If struggles set the pattern, designs reflect an equilibrium of power. The floor is yours.


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Mar 18 2019

Policies Supporting Young People in their Life Course. A Comparative Perspective of Lifelong Learning and Inclusion in Education and Work in Europe

Posted in Educació i polítiques socials per Xavier Rambla |

The final newsletter of project YOUNG_ADULLLT summarises key insights and recommendations (here)


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Gen 31 2019

Erik Olin Wright va generar molts recursos pedagògics

Posted in L'aprenentatge a l'educació superior per Xavier Rambla |

El sociòleg Erik Olin Wright ha mort al gener de 2019. Aquest obituari explica força bé la seva enorme obra acadèmica.

A més de les teories i recerques, també ha llegat un veritable repositori de recursos per a la docència universitària. Entre molts, en podem destacar tres:

  • L’obituari remarca la seva recerca sobre l’estructura de classes. Una de les millors maneres d’aprendre ara mateix les bases del debat teòric és el llibre “Si la classe és la pregunta, quina és la resposta?
  • Des dels anys noranta l’experimentació i la recerca sobre la participació ciutadana a la política han crescut considerablement. Al seu llibre “Aprofundint la democràcia” ell va elaborar un dels marcs teòrics més sistemàtics i exhaustius sobre aquest tema.
  • A hores d’ara la sociologia es preocupa de les connexions entre diversos fenòmens socials i les polítiques públiques (policy sociology), el seu curs sobre “Teories de l’estat” sistematitzava una teoria neomarxista sobre aquestes polítiques públiques a partir d’una extensa bibliografia de la sociologia històrica, que està disponible al seu web.

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Nov 27 2018

EU Lifelong Learning Policies and the Vulnerability of Young Adults

Posted in Desigualtats, Educació i polítiques socials per Xavier Rambla |


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Jun 10 2018

Highlights of GLOBED Internship

Posted in L'aprenentatge a l'educació superior per Xavier Rambla |

GLOBED students undertake three-months internships in international organisations, NGOs, national aid agencies and higher education institutions. This post draws on the reports of the first (2015-17) and second (2016-18) cohorts in order to briefly outline their activities and observations. The post also collects a small repository of tools that are helpful for analysing these institutions.

Learning by doing

  • A few GLOBED students participated in research projects. For instance, the main themes had to do with public-private partnerships, the education of refugees, socio-economic segregation and inclusive sports.

  • Most of them collaborated in writing policy reports and literature reviews for international organisations, NGOs and charities.

  • Some of them were asked to update repositories of documents that may be helpful for practitioners in different professional areas.

  • A few GLOBED students contributed to providing services such as scholarships or social support to students coming from specific target groups.

  • Each edition one or two students collaborated with consultants in the field of educational planning.

A few analytic insights

The Introduction of GLOBED Internship for the third (2017-2019) cohort states that assessment will require completing a journal and producing a brief analysis (see your digital portfolio in Inici-E-Portfoli on the left column of GLOBED General Moodle Room).

The following list points out some insights of the analyses produced by the first and the second cohorts.

  • International organisations (UN and other) significantly contribute to education policies for global development. Thus, their ‘core processes’ (see EFQM model below) normally include building on the capacities of the governments of low- and middle-income countries. But other typical core processes consist of collecting documentation, conducting policy-driven research, providing assistance to national plans, promoting curriculum development, and issuing policy papers are the main activities. For them, a crucial challenge is how to coordinate all these activities as well as how to balance the role of stakeholders.
  • Civil society organisations are involved in international aid, but many of them have engaged in advocacy too. These policy actors are particularly reflexive regarding their vision, their mission and their own potential.
  • Some partners who offer internships deliver services directly, mostly in order to foster the mobility of students. In Europe, there is a growing concern with the international mobility of refugee students. These organisations must respond to huge challenges in order to build a sufficient network of stakeholders. They are also experimenting with on-line learning.
  • Research is becoming a ‘core process’ for many official and civil society organisations involved in education and sustainable development. Not only programme evaluations require a research component, but the participant institutions of GLOBED internship also associate research with many other endeavours, namely: diagnosis, policy review, advocacy and governance (‘by numbers’).

Analysis toolkit

European Framework for Quality Management

Systemic Change

SWOT Analysis

Social Impact of Research


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Mai 21 2018

Educación y desarrollo sostenible en América Latina (3): conexiones entre ODS

Posted in Educació i polítiques socials per Xavier Rambla |

Aunque la educación está directamente conectada con otras dimensiones del desarollo sostenible, entre 2000 y 2015 los planes educativos internacionales apenas las tuvieron en cuenta. Afortunadamente, desde 2016 el Global Education Monitoring Report ha enmendado este error. Desde entonces los organismos internacionales, gobiernos, negocios y representantes de la sociedad civil interesados en el desarrollo sostenible tienen en cuenta que cada dimensión afecta a las demás y recibe el impacto de estas. Así, la educación surte una serie de efectos sobre la productividad, la salud pública o la confianza en las instituciones, tal como ha observado la teoría del capital humano. Pero los avances y las limitaciones en la distribución del ingreso, la construcción de ciudades habitables y la seguridad también dejan refuerzan o constriñen el potencial de la educación.

El enfoque de capacidades analiza estas conexiones dobles dentro de un marco conceptual muy fundamentado. En principio, el valor intrínseco de la educación se desprende de su contribución al desarrollo de las capacidades humanas básicas.

Es preciso entender las conexiones instrumentales entre la educación y las otras dimensiones del desarrollo sostenible dentro de este marco. Estas conexiones instrumentales discurren en dos sentidos: desde las otras dimensiones hacia la educación, y desde la educación hacia estas otras dimensiones.

 

Por último, es innegable que la educación genera valores posicionales en tanto en cuanto proporciona ventajas relativas a quienes obtienen titulaciones y competencias superiores. Tal como demuestra la Word Inequality Database on Education, estas ventajas relativas se reparten de modos muy dispares entre clases sociales, hombres y mujeres, grupos étnicos, habitantes de zonas urbanas y rurales, y otras categorías sociales.


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Abr 28 2018

Education and sustainable development (2): TVET in Latin America

Posted in Educació i polítiques socials per Xavier Rambla |

Since UNESCO convened the 3rd International Conference on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in 2012, this issue has gained momentum. Interestingly, the conference defined TVET as a system whose components are school programmes, training courses, apprenticeship schemes, scholarships, qualification frameworks, career guidance services, labour market intelligence and governance.

Looking back to the historical debate on TVET, this definition is the cornerstone of a significantly new approach. To the extent that educational planning simply relied on building new vocational schools, in the sixties and seventies the systemic features of TVET were seriously disregarded. Critics quickly noticed that the policy rationale assumed a fallacy, since these schools were not effective at all unless their activity was properly aligned with the education system and the labour market policy. In the eighties, TVET was deleted from the agenda on the grounds that increasing enrolment in primary education yielded higher rates of return. But critics also noticed that this strategy eventually provoked a bottleneck as far as transition to post-primary education was not guaranteed.

Currently, most Latin American countries work hard to build their TVET system. An array of popular initiatives indicates that policy-makers want to sort out many different problems. For instance, in Mexico the Build Yourself programme (ConstruyeT) enhances the socio-emotional capabilities of students so that future graduates get the most out of career guidance. In Brazil, before the present fiscal and economic crisis, the National Technological Programme (PRONATEC) struggled to underpin enrolment wih scholarships at the same time as new regional TVET colleges were created. In a different vein, Chilean governments have strengthened the qualifications framework at the same time as guidance services (Chile Valora).

Thus, a wider curriculum of secondary education, a expansion of school-based courses and the coherence of qualificatinos have become key focuses of reforms that aim at building TVET systems. The point is not only how effective each measure is, but mostly, to what extent these programmes contribute to build a system. The making of these systems is one of the most relevant current changes of education policies in the continent. In 2015, SDG4 highlighted the importance of these changes by requiring governments “by 2030, [to] ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university”.

This statement unveils quite important connections between TVET and other dimensions of sustainable development. The relationships with basic education and “decent work and economic growth” (SDG8) are particularly remarkable. However, so far progress has not been enough as far as these other dimensions are concerned.

On the one hand, statistical indicators capture a number of youth who are not enrolled in lower secondary education. Since perfomance is weak in basic education (see quotations from TERCE in the previous post) and a part of each cohort drops out of lower secondary education, it is noticeable that the making of TVET systems will not be sufficient to guarantee the right to education to all. In fact, the first figure below shows how net enrolment in lower secondary education has stalled despite a previous positive trend.

On the other hand, despite educational expansion during the recent decades, youth unemployment has not significantly decreased in Latin America. In contrast with the widespread causal belief in mechanical correlations between education and economic returns, it is noticeable that the trend of youth unemployment does not follow the expected pattern. A complex set of processes contributes to this fact, not least the complex “classification struggles” that sociologist Pierre Bourdieu analysed. The status of young people as students, workers or something in-between is a continuous bone of contention. In short, the second figure below records a stable trend of this indicator.

 

 

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