Developing capabilities and the management of trust: Where administration went wrong

Year: 2004

Author: Bates, Richard

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Sen and Nussbaum have suggested that one of the major sources of inequality lies in the unequal opportunity to develop certain fundamental capabilities. While restrictions in the development of such capabilities lie broadly across many social institutions, education has a fundamental role to play in their fostering. However, in many societies schools and teachers are regarded with increasing suspicion by governments leading to the imposition of elaborate systems of accountability over both what is to be taught, how it is to be taught and to whom. As O'Neill (2002) points out this new culture of accountability 'seeks ever more perfect administrative control of institutional and professional life' (p46). It seems unlikely that the capabilities sought by Sen and Nussbaum can be developed within the context of mistrust engendered by these new forms of accountability. This paper examines some of the contradictions between these new forms of accountability and the aspiration of schools and teachers to develop capabilities in their pupils.