Kan kvalitetsarbete vara utan kvalitet? En diskursanalys av utbildningsaktörers tal om problem och lösningar för skolan
The aim of this study has been to examine how different actors in the Swedish educational system are producing a discourse based on the concept of quality focusing on problems and solutions in order the improve the Swedish school system as a whole. The empirical material used in the thesis consists of a Government proposal concerning a certification system for teachers, a publication from the unions Lärarförbundet and Lärarnas Riksförbund that organize teachers and a document from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, whose mission is to audit schools. The theoretical approach used is based on the discourse theory of Michel Foucault; consequently, the analysis focuses on power and knowledge. Throughout the study, the results have shown that the perception of the concept of quality varies amongst the different actors. Neither opinions regarding ends, nor means have been shown to comply fully with each other between the different groups. The concept of quality as seen by the government seems to refer to the standa dization of teachers' certifications, in addition to their ways of teaching. The government is aiming to create conformity regarding the students’ achievements. Meanwhile the teachers’ unions hold another perspective. According to the two organisations, quality is generated when a school promotes quality management – not specifically when the students demonstrate high capacity. Regarding the Inspectorates view on quality, they have a strict focus on governance and the principal’s role in the educational work. When it comes to the problems and solutions in the educational policy area, the three groups both show differences and similarities concerning how they perceive these. According to discourse theory, the production of knowledge in this case focuses on the lack of status of the teaching profession and a declining equivalency throughout Swedish schools. Elements of power have been found as products of the quality discourse among the different actors. They are characterized by the government’s promotion of legal certainty, a readmission of the teacher’s professional role and a somewhat changed view of the principal’s responsibilities.