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Bureaucratic response to policy change: implementation of adult education policy in Norway

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Abstract:

Our main concern was to investigate the implementation of the new Education Act, giving adults the statutory right to complete upper secondary education. Referring to a 'top-down' and a 'bottom-up' perspective we have investigated how the representatives of the county authorities (the bureaucrats) interpret and practise the specific section of the Act in relation to their definition, moral evaluation and economic view. The interpretation of the section in the Act and the practice varied. Two counties were proactive, result-oriented and generous, while four counties were passive, act-oriented and restrictive in their implementation. The implementation was influenced by the bureaucrats' attitudes, decisions and actions. They had their own agenda, moral standard, interest and so on, which influenced their interpretation and practice. Our study indicates that it is not enough just to formulate a right. How it is formulated, and how it is interpreted and perceived may affect the implementation process.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370701803583

Affiliations: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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