Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guardians themselves? An institutional evaluation of the New Zealand State's educational 'watchdog' agency: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Year: 2000

Author: SMITH, R

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

ERO states it is an "... internationally recognised leader in education evaluation" (ERO, 1998a: 31). ERO is the State's agent of accountability or quality assurance in the education system. It evaluates the "performance of all providers in the pre-tertiary education sector in terms of their effectiveness in the education of young people and their accountability for resources" (ERO, 1998b: 2). In 1997 the agency was the centre of unprecedented interest and critique when it was the subject of two external reviews (one a Ministerial and the other by secondary the other by the secondary teachers' industrial organisation). This year it will be subjected to another Ministerial Review by the new Labour-led Coalition Government. The organisation has a stated policy of transparency and public accountability, for example "openness to public scrutiny is a stringent test for the Office" (ERO, 1998a: 31). This claim and other issues concerning the concepts of accountability, surveillance and self-review will be investigated within the context of educational evaluation. ERO has been an active supporter of neo-liberal policies such as increasing marketisation and managerialism in education and it will be evaluated as to its changing practices over the decade of its existence.