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Special Issue "Sustainability on Education Policies"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2021) | Viewed by 9446

Special Issue Editors

Dr. María Teresa Ballestar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Academic Department of Economy and Finance, ESIC Business and Marketing School, 28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain
Interests: electronic commerce; big data; data analytics; machine learning; public policies; customer behavior; digitalization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Aida J. García-Lázaro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom
Interests: labour economics; technological change; education social mobility and social inclusion; higher education and re-skilling programs; education for sustainable development; migration and skills; inequality, and UBI

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue of Sustainability on education policies will monitor education policy priorities and policy developments from early childhood education to adult education. The purpose is to provide a comparative understanding of the effect and impacts of education programs. We will focus on key education priorities examining recent interventions spanning from early childhood education and care to higher education and lifelong learning on topics related to school improvement, evaluation and assessment, governance and funding. 

Papers will tackle issues such as the division of responsibility between national and local authorities and schools, improving teacher qualifications, skills and training and defining national education priorities and goals. There is growing evidence indicating that teachers and school principals influence students’ achievement. Several studies have found that teachers and principals’ “value-added” (i.e., school-level year-on-year gains in student achievement, accounting for student and teacher and principal characteristics) varies widely across and within schools over time, reflecting that management and teachers practices matter for students’ opportunity to learn. Strengthening the teaching profession remains another crucial area of analysis (OECD Education Policy Outlook). Some of the articles will examine the efforts focused on promoting collaborative approaches, developing specific incentives or stimuli to attract and retain teachers and raising professional development standards and quality. Some of the articles will also use information based on international external and standardized tests such as PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS that are key to provide governments with diagnostic information on student performance and to make them more responsive to students’ needs. The choice to which school to send their child is another topic that will be analyzed. Economists have devoted considerable attention in the literature to school quality and student outcomes, and to the effects of school choice. Importantly, this literature mainly focuses on academic performance at school as the outcome of interest and often ignores that parents might value different school attributes when choosing their child's school.

In spite of the importance of education as a main driver of economic growth, not enough attention has been paid to the issues focused on in this Special Issue, which have a significant impact on learning. Education is considered one of the fundamental factors of economic growth and social progress. Furthermore, instruction time is the most obvious input in the production of education. The interest in education policies and human capital has multiplied with the emergency of the covid-19 crisis, which has led many countries to implement lockdown policies with drastic alterations of instruction time in many cases (DELVE Initiative, 2020; Burgess, 2020; Burgess and Sievertsen, 2020; Santibanez and Guarino, 2020; Kuhfeld et al., 2020). However, a precise estimate of its consequences on educational output will be only possible with the benefit of hindsight once international databases containing post Covid-19 information will be available. Even then, in many cases it will be difficult to appraise the specific contribution of the decision to close school doors on academic performance as this information will be contaminated by changes in other social and economic variables related to Covid-19, such as income and health. The contribution of this Special Issue of Sustainability would be to shed light on the policies that can compensate for the impact of school closures on student learning.

This issue will be related and will supplement existing literature such as:

Burgess, S., and Sievertsen, H. H. 2020. Schools, skills, and learning: The impact of COVID-19 on education. CEPR Policy Portal. Available online: https://voxeu.org/article/impact-covid-19-education.

Burgess, S. 2020. How we should deal with the lockdown learning loss in England’s schools. CEPR policy portal. Available online: https://voxeu.org/article/how-we-should-deal-lockdown-learning-loss-england-s-schools.

DELVE Initiative. 2020. Balancing the Risks of Pupils Returning to Schools. DELVE report No. 4. Published 24 July 2020. Available online: https://rs-delve.github.io/reports/2020/07/24/balancing-the-risk-of-pupils-returning-to-schools.html.

Kuhfeld, M., Soland, J., Tarasawa, B., Johnson, A., Ruzek, E., and Liu, J. 2020. Projecting the potential impacts of COVID-19 school closures on academic achievement. EdWorkingPaper: 20–226. Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University, https://doi.org/10.26300/cdrv-yw05.

OECD 2019. Education Policy Outlook 2019. Working Together to Help Students Achieve their Potential. OECD: Paris, France.

Santibanez, L. and Guarino, C. 2020. The Effects of Absenteeism on Cognitive and Social-Emotional Outcomes: Lessons for COVID-19. Annenberg Institute at Brown University. EdworkingPaper: 20–261. Available online: https://www.edworkingpapers.com/index.php/ai20-261.

Dr. María Teresa Ballestar
Dr. Aida J. García-Lázaro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability education
  • education policies
  • public policies
  • education priorities
  • education programs
  • school improvement
  • teacher qualifications
  • national education priorities
  • students achievement
  • students performance
  • school quality
  • students outcomes
  • academic performance
  • education measures
  • human capital
  • educational output

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Investigation on Human Development Needs, Challenges, and Drivers for Transition to Sustainable Development: The Case of Qatar
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3705; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063705 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 659
Abstract
Human development has been widely accepted as both the primary goal and driver of sustainable development. Human development is critically important for countries attempting a radical transformation from a resource-based economy to knowledge-based, sustainable development, like Qatar. This paper examines Qatar’s human development [...] Read more.
Human development has been widely accepted as both the primary goal and driver of sustainable development. Human development is critically important for countries attempting a radical transformation from a resource-based economy to knowledge-based, sustainable development, like Qatar. This paper examines Qatar’s human development needs and challenges with respect to its economic, demographic, and educational development goals. Following a comprehensive literature review, domain-specific documentary information and data were collected and analyzed, along with qualitative insights and data obtained through semi-structured interviews with local professionals from various sectors, to gather opinions about the needs, challenges, drivers, and recommendations for human development. A preliminary integrated policy framework and set of recommendations for human development planning are proposed as a guide, for Qatar and similar countries, for transitioning from a resource-based economy to knowledge-based sustainable development. This framework and the understanding of the needs, challenges, and drivers based on the qualitative research, in conjunction and in comparison with the literature analysis, are expected to assist decision-makers in devising, and more importantly implementing, tailored policies and roadmaps focused on four key dimensions: skills (education), citizenship, leadership, and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
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Article
Research Production and International Visibility in Higher Education: The Evolution of Romanian Universities from 2011 to 2019
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13362; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313362 - 02 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 559
Abstract
The international visibility of Romanian universities is relatively weak, even when compared with neighboring countries. This is explained by the historical heritage of the former communist regime and the lack of a clear vision for a post-communist strategic policy that could guide the [...] Read more.
The international visibility of Romanian universities is relatively weak, even when compared with neighboring countries. This is explained by the historical heritage of the former communist regime and the lack of a clear vision for a post-communist strategic policy that could guide the research enterprise. This study examined whether the higher education reforms launched in 2011 had an effect on the research output, impact and international visibility of Romanian universities. The researchers used bibliometric data and university ranking data from ARWU, THE and QS Rankings. Trends in aggregate bibliometric indicators were analyzed for 38 universities as a whole, and by type of institution. Additionally, the Theil index was utilized to measure the degree of concentration of the research output across three institutional types. The findings reveal that there was significant growth in research output during the first years following the 2011 Education Law. However, this growth could not be sustained beyond 2014, except for Teaching & Research Universities and medical universities. This suggests that the reforms are producing the expected results at institutions that implemented and enforced new evaluation systems heavily oriented toward research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
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Article
Analysis and Assessment of New Permanent Teacher Training Activities under the Erasmus+ Program from the Perspective of the Participants of Spain in Times of COVID-19
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11222; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011222 - 12 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 695
Abstract
The Erasmus+ program (2014–2020) is one of the main initiatives developed by the European Commission in the field of education and is the final joint evolution of other minor and prior actions that provide schools and teachers with funding to carry out international [...] Read more.
The Erasmus+ program (2014–2020) is one of the main initiatives developed by the European Commission in the field of education and is the final joint evolution of other minor and prior actions that provide schools and teachers with funding to carry out international mobility projects with a variety of formative activities. The benefits of carrying out international mobility activities to strengthen student learning and teacher training are well known and have been researched or reported even from the early stages of a program that was born back in the 1980s but has always been focused on the university level. When considering teachers at early levels (schools and high schools), the 2014–2020 Erasmus+ program was the main source of funding to grant Spanish teachers permanent training activities abroad with a direct positive impact on their careers. The year 2020 is the last year of the first evolution of the Erasmus+ program, which has been renewed, extended, and strengthened for a new six-year term (2021–2027). However, 2020 has also been a significant year. The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to affect the mobility of citizens within the different territories of the union and, thus, have a direct negative impact on international teacher and student mobility. Being 2020 the end of a cycle and a critical moment, it is the perfect time to conduct an analysis of the data associated with the participation of teachers and schools in Spain, their perceptions of the program, the different activities carried out, and the impact of the pandemic. This research study is based on an analysis of an opinion survey through a nationwide sample of teachers participating in KA101 Erasmus+ projects. This paper gathers and presents data and conclusions using information previously not available that most of the time is published in official reports globally without considering the particularities of the different states of the European Union. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
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Article
What Kind of School Organizational Decisions Serve to Enhance Sustainable Personal and Social Growth?
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9995; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179995 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Sustainable decisions in education are those which pursue long-term achievements for students. In many cases, the principals of the schools are those who must make these decisions. In this paper we explore some of the factors that influence the students’ long-term development by [...] Read more.
Sustainable decisions in education are those which pursue long-term achievements for students. In many cases, the principals of the schools are those who must make these decisions. In this paper we explore some of the factors that influence the students’ long-term development by means of an analysis of the correlation between certain organizational aspects of the schools which directly depend on the principals and the scores that their students have obtained in the International Assessment PISA 2018 in mathematics, reading and science. The results point to a better long-term student achievement when the organizational decisions are designed to enhance interpersonal relationships (teacher-teacher, teacher-student and student-student), responding to the specific needs of each person and based on trust. Conversely, it seems that when the organizational decisions are merely made to control academic life, they either bear upon academic achievement in a negative way or do not significantly affect it. The results suggest that carefully attending to interpersonal relationships is the key factor behind all the educational decisions which generate sustainable socio-personal development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
Article
School Failure in the Region of Madrid (Spain): An Approximation through Diagnostic Assessment in 2019
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179895 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 613
Abstract
Education is considered to be one of the main factors of development, economic growth and social progress. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. In Spain, school failure represents one of the main problems in the educational [...] Read more.
Education is considered to be one of the main factors of development, economic growth and social progress. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. In Spain, school failure represents one of the main problems in the educational system, with potentially dramatic consequences for the basic competences required in the labour market and job instability, with the risk of economic and social exclusion. In this paper, we aim to identify the factors that define the risk of school failure in Madrid (Spain) by applying logit models. In this process we use a definition of school failure risk which relates to the probability of scoring below level 2 in the evaluation of competences (diagnostic assessment), and we use grade retention as a proxy of school failure. The variables included in the model cover several areas, such as personal, family and school characteristics. The results show that it is important that the policies to strengthen the educational system begin with early childhood education, as educational delay symptoms are detected, and it is necessary to intensify efforts towards personalized assistance to help identify potential learning problems, especially in those groups in the worst socioeconomic situations, which are most at risk of school failure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
Article
Sustainable Development for the Open Secondary School Policy in Korea: The Approach of Historical Institutionalism
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9814; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179814 - 01 Sep 2021
Viewed by 743
Abstract
This literature overview analyzes policy shifts in the Open Secondary School (hereafter “OSS”) in Korea, and it applies historical institutionalism to make policy proposals. The research questions are as follows: What are the structural, institutional, and actor context factors that facilitate and constrain [...] Read more.
This literature overview analyzes policy shifts in the Open Secondary School (hereafter “OSS”) in Korea, and it applies historical institutionalism to make policy proposals. The research questions are as follows: What are the structural, institutional, and actor context factors that facilitate and constrain changes in the OSS Policy (hereafter “OSSP”)? What is the interaction among the structural, institutional, and actor context factors that facilitate and constrain changes in the OSSP? Historical institutionalism was used as a theoretical framework. This included an “integrated approach of structure, institutions, and actor levels” and the “view of gradual change”. This study constructed the four criteria to serve as a basis of this analysis: structural, institutional, and actor context factors, and policy shift path factor. The analysis results showed that these four factors facilitated changes in policy. In addition, the structural, institutional, and actor context factors interacted with each other to facilitate or constrain policy shift path changes. In this study, it was also determined that the OSS should be presented as a sustainable and acceptable model in the era of COVID-19, thereby improving the quality of education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
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Article
The Academic Portfolio System (APS) Usage Intention of Senior High School Students in Taiwan
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158394 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Taiwan began to implement a new high school syllabus nationwide, in 2019. The Ministry of Education has also established a high school student Academic Portfolio System (APS) to collect the learning process of high school students for future university admissions references. However, during [...] Read more.
Taiwan began to implement a new high school syllabus nationwide, in 2019. The Ministry of Education has also established a high school student Academic Portfolio System (APS) to collect the learning process of high school students for future university admissions references. However, during this period, high school students and their parents had many opinions on the implementation of the new system. There were even groups of students protesting. The main purpose of this research is to explore the factors that affect the system usage intentions of high school students. Based on the theory of reasoned action (TRA) and the technology acceptance model (TAM), this research established a research model. The research variables include system interface design, usefulness, ease of use, attitude, subjective norms, and usage intentions. A total of 712 questionnaires were collected from high school students in northern Taiwan. Data analysis is carried out in three stages: descriptive analysis, measurement model verification, and structural equation modeling. The results of the study found that system interface design has a significant impact on the perceived ease of use. Factors such as ease of use, usefulness, attitude, and subjective norms also have a significant positive impact on usage intention; ease of use and usefulness positively affect attitudes toward using. Finally, according to the results, some practical implications were proposed for implementation references from the perspectives of education authority, high schools, teachers, and students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
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Article
University Teaching Planning in Times of COVID-19: Analysis of the Catalan Context and Proposal for a Future Model from ESIC Business and Marketing School Experience
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5936; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115936 - 25 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
On 14 March 2020, Spain came to a standstill and the movement of people was restricted with the publication of Royal Decree (RD) 463/2020 and the education sector had to reinvent itself with new rules and procedures. The purpose of this paper is [...] Read more.
On 14 March 2020, Spain came to a standstill and the movement of people was restricted with the publication of Royal Decree (RD) 463/2020 and the education sector had to reinvent itself with new rules and procedures. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the impact of the different government regulations and their effect on university teaching planning. Since the approval of RD 555/2020, educational competences were returned to the autonomous communities and each of them implemented different public policies. We will analyse the specific impact on teaching planning and models applied in Catalonia and their development, which vary according to the evolution of the number of COVID-19 infections and which has been marking the political, economic and social agenda since the beginning of the pandemic. The university has moved from teaching in a face-to-face environment to a virtual or semi-virtual or blended learning environment. This change implies a paradigmatic transformation in communication, education, organisation, evaluation and planning, among others. At ESIC Business & Marketing School (ESIC) these pedagogical paradigm shifts have contributed to transform the learning processes in a context of pedagogical innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
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Review

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Review
Token Economy for Sustainable Education in the Future: A Scoping Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 716; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020716 - 10 Jan 2022
Viewed by 847
Abstract
This research aims to examine the use of a token economy for education sustainability. It presents a recent review and evaluation of the token economy used among young learners and learners with special needs for behavior management and learning engagement in teaching. Online [...] Read more.
This research aims to examine the use of a token economy for education sustainability. It presents a recent review and evaluation of the token economy used among young learners and learners with special needs for behavior management and learning engagement in teaching. Online articles from Google Scholar, ERIC, and UKMLibrary were used. The terms used for reviewing the articles were token economy, token systems, positive reinforcement, and rewards. The scoping review protocol was used for this study. A total of 60 relevant articles published from 2000 to 2020 were filtered and grouped into three major themes for review: behavior management, learning engagement, and types of tokens. Findings suggested that although previous research had examined the impact of a token economy on behavior management and learning engagement, there was limited research on the correlation between teaching methods and social fairness. Teachers as the main participants in assessing the effectiveness of a token economy, were also lacking. Additionally, the use of social and physical reinforcers was found to assist in obtaining the desired behaviors and learning engagement from participants, thereby enabling them to sustain learners’ interest in future lessons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability on Education Policies)
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