The Asia literacy policy problem is like a snowball, has developed through successive governments and has became more entangled over time.
The Asia Literacy policy has been supported by both sides of the government since the 1970s, however it has had marginal success in creating an ‘Asia literate’ population. While the “policy does not produce the outcomes it seeks to achieve”, Halse (2015) refers to ‘Asia literacy’ as a ‘wicked policy problem’, where the “policy problem is so entangled that is impossible to find an easy solution or resolution”.
Halse’s approach in the article was descriptive in nature, and drew on discourse analysis is describing the social realities over time. There are three main “eras” in the development of Asia literacy policies from ‘Advocacy’ (1970-1991), the ‘Golden Age’ of funding (1992-2005), to ‘Consolidation’ (2006-present). The past decade seems to be the most interesting era, as political parties each try to redefine policies to appear different to the last. Asia literacy policies have an inconsistent vision and an inconsistent funding despite support from both sides.
Halse acknowledges that while policies were created as a solution to a problem, the solution then makes implementation of Asia literacy even messier.
"By defining Asia literacy as a deficit languages and cultural knowledge that can be solved by injecting additional resources..." (Halse, 2015, p.26)
She highlights that policies don’t define ‘Asia literacy’ or what the perceived problems are and specifically how their ‘solutions’ will be implemented and their intended outcomes.
"...some fundamental matters have been sidelined: the epistemological and ontological meaning of Asia literacy schooling; the manipulation of school curriculum by political and economic conditions and agendas; the problems that federalism creates for schooling agendas deemed in the national interest."
Halse, C. (2015) What makes Asia literacy a ‘wicked policy problem’?, Asia Literate Schooling in the Asian Century, 13-29.
Master of Education Policy (International), The University of Melbourne.