IEF Seminar: Neoliberalism and education policy in Japan

Precarity as Freedom? Youth, Neoliberalism and the Dissolution of ‘Japan, Inc.’Precarity as Freedom? Youth, Neoliberalism and the Dissolution of ‘Japan, Inc.’Details of our next seminar are appended below. All welcome!

The implications of a 21st century example to neoliberal education policy

Date and time: Thursday 15 March 2018, 1.00pm – 2.00pm
Location: De Montfort University, Hugh Aston 2.41
Presenter: Sam Bamkin (visiting from Japan)
Registration: All welcome, no registration required

Neoliberalism in education policy is pervasive, as are its mechanisms of accountability by measurement that drive performativity in practice. Though embracing the Great Education Reform slightly later, Japan has similarly developed sets of performativity tools underpinned by neoliberalism. However, education reform in Japan is developing along two tracks – one unmistakable in its search for standards, accountability as measurement, and competitive enterprise; the other significant track is reliant on local actors to design and implement, and is presented – even in policy documents – as inherently unmeasurable and cooperative. (That is, comparing against the four convergent themes of neoliberalism identified by Michael Apple, the latter set of reforms are not promoting measurability, enterprising individuals, privatisation or marketisation). I briefly present an analysis of two such examples from Japan: ‘relaxed education’ policy (1990s-2000s) based on secondary research; and the strengthening of moral education (2015-2019) based on primary research. Both were driven at cabinet level, through the Ministry of Education, to achieve change without measurement.

Rather than focus on the context or practice specific to Japan, I am interested here in considering how this counter example might contribute to the broader debate on neoliberalism. When is it possible in the 21st century for ideology – whether underpinned by conservatism, social welfare, etc – to take precedence over measurability? What, if any, is the importance of these developments to education practice?

See also: Precarity as freedom? Youth, neoliberalism and the dissolution of ‘Japan, Inc.’

December seminar: ‘Peace Education: Pedagogy and Interventionist Research’

Dr Rob Perry (Education Studies, HLS) will facilitate this workshop through active learning in HU 2.32 from 1-2.30pm on Wednesday 13 December 2017.

All are welcome. No booking required.

Peace Education is ‘about Peace and for Peace’. Peace Education relates to a variety of topics: Human Rights, Disarmament, Development, Environment, Multi-culturalism and Conflict Resolution…and seeks to understand context, background, causes and effects….it also seeks to make an intervention, to changes mind sets, to Educate in order to change.  In Northern Ireland (as elsewhere) I argue that ‘Peace Education’ requires ‘Integrated Education’. My research contains the views of Primary School and Secondary School Principals and Head teachers to ‘Peace Education’ in Northern Ireland.  I also sought via my research to encourage politicians in Northern Ireland, to consider and reflect on how historical events are commemorated in a post conflict society, and what bearing they have on reconciliation.

Film screening of Tested

On Thursday 9 November we are presenting a screening of a documentary about the selective schooling process in New York. It is a powerful commentary on class and race inequality in the USA state schooling system. The LA-based director Curtis Chin is visiting especially, and will do a Q&A session after the screening.

This is a collaboration with the DMU Media School and the Documentary Media Centre, who have secured a venue for the screening in the City Centre. As places are limited, attendance will be on a ‘first come first served’ basis via email, so please let Professor Sarah Younie (address below) if you would like to book a place. We look forward to seeing you there.

DMU, Institute for Education Futures and the Leicester Media School present:

‘Tested’ – Film screening and Q&A with Writer/Director Curtis Chin

Date and time: Thursday 9th November 2017 – 6pm-8.30pm

Location: Documentary Media Centre, 1st Floor, 10 Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AF

Presenter: LA-based Director – Curtis Chin

Registration: booking required, please email to confirm attendance

Key contact details: Prof Sarah Younie


Curtis Chin is an LA-based independent documentary film maker, whose film explores students experiences of selective schooling in New York. Curtis states, ‘nabbing a spot in one of New York City’s best public high schools can change kids lives…but who gets in?’ This documentary, which follows a diverse group of students and explores critical issues of equal access, stereotypes, affirmative action and the model minority myth. For more information –

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Curtis has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the San Diego Asian American Film Foundation. He has spoken at over 400 universities and non-profits in the US and internationally, with guest appearances on MSNBC, CNN and NPR, and in the publication Newsweek. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at NYU.

Screening in partnership with DMU Institute for Education Futures and Leicester Media School. For further information please see