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Ideological constraints on Australian education, 1945-1975


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Johnston, G L(Gerald Louis),1937- 1979 , 'Ideological constraints on Australian education, 1945-1975', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Four major Australian educational policies adopted between
1945 and 1975 have fallen short of the objectives set for them.
This study is intended to describe those policies and to account
for their shortfall. The central theme is that the four policies,
'selective', 'comprehensive', 'open', and 'community' education
can be seen as manifestations of broader 'ideologies': 'elitism',
'egalitarianism', 'individualism', and 'collectivism' respectively.
It is argued that this ideological source of educational •
prescription has been a constraint in the pursuit of policy
A characteristic of 'ideology' as defined for this study is
that some of the central beliefs of the system of values and
beliefs of which it is constituted are uncorroborated or in error.
It is shown that at the time at which these four policies were
adopted by Australian education authorities the beliefs which they
were based upon had not been the subject of any rigorous investigation
and thus reflected ideological commitments rather than the
application of tested educational knowledge.
The uncorroborated methodological beliefs in the four prescriptions
can be seen as distinguished by either 'rationalist' or
'romanticist' characteristics, that is, as derived from either the
exercise of untested reason or, alternatively, from faith in
emotional response as means to valued objectives. Several other
influential educational prescriptions adopted or advocated since
1945 can be categorised under one or other of these two social
The concept of the 'dialectic' in social theory is briefly
examined as a means of accounting for the frequent changes in
recent Australian educational policy and for the light it might
throw upon the disappointing achievement associated with this
To conclude, a general outline is given of an approach to
educational innovation which emphasises an 'applied' science
perspective. Translated into administrative terms this is seen
to imply the advisability of a flexible application of 'action
research' for increased effectiveness of future educational

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Johnston, G L(Gerald Louis),1937-
Keywords: Education and state
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1979. Bibliography: 1. 422-438

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