Distrusting contexts and cultures and capacity for system-level improvement

Baxter, Jacqueline (2021). Distrusting contexts and cultures and capacity for system-level improvement. In: Ehren, Melanie and Baxter, Jacqueline eds. Trust, Accountability and Capacity in Education System Reform. Global Perspectives in Comparative Education. London: Routledge, pp. 78–101.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429344855-4


Capacity of education systems to improve is recognised as key to a well-performing system linked to high levels of system-wide trust at micro, meso and macro levels (Cerna, 2014). However, a number of systems suffer from climates of distrust, which infuse the system at every level, undermining motivation and commitment of staff and proving inimical for capacity. This chapter considers how distrust permeates education systems and how distrusting cultures undermine capacity and, concomitantly, learning outcomes. It concludes with a discussion of how distrusting cultures can be overturned and capacity restored, arguing that, in order to do this, a system-wide perspective must be adopted, and changes effected at every level within it.

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