Politics of Educational Innovations in Developing Countries: An Analysis of Knowledge and Power

Politics of Educational Innovations in Developing Countries: An Analysis of Knowledge and Power

Politics of Educational Innovations in Developing Countries: An Analysis of Knowledge and Power

Politics of Educational Innovations in Developing Countries: An Analysis of Knowledge and Power

Synopsis

In the educational arena, new ideas often compete as solutions to recurrent problems, making the concept of "innovations" a widespread discursive term. While expectations are substantial for each innovation, implementation of ideas has shown them to be more modest in practice. This book examines innovations in several developing countries, presenting case studies of technological, curricular, and organizational innovations selected for their magnitude in financial investment, scope, and duration. The case studies explore the social and political contexts that shaped the features of these innovations and what they accomplished over time in terms of teacher cost reduction, status mobility, access to education, and national unity. The experience of countries such as Brazil, Lesotho, the Philippines, and Namibia, and the influence of international agencies such as the World Bank are described and analyzed against theories of social and organizational change. The case studies themselves also serve as subjects for reflection on the prevailing positivist approaches to research and knowledge. The Politics of Educational Innovations should be of considerable interest to students of educational change, wither in the academic world or in the fields of government and international cooperation.

Excerpt

This series of scholarly works in comparative and international education has grown well beyond the initial conception of a collection of reference books. Although retaining its original purpose of providing a resource to scholars, students, and a variety of other professionals who need to understand the role played by education in various societies or world regions, it also strives to provide accurate, relevant, and up-to-date information on a wide variety of selected educational issues, problems, and experiments within an international context.

Contributors to this series are well-known scholars who have devoted their professional lives to the study of their specializations. Without exception these men and women possess an intimate understanding of the subject of their research and writing. Without exception they have studied their subject not only in dusty archives, but have lived and traveled widely in their quest for knowledge. In short, they are “experts” in the best sense of that often overused word.

In our increasingly interdependent world, it is now widely understood that it is a matter of military, economic, and environmental survival that we understand better not only what makes other societies tick, but also how others, be they Japanese, Hungarian, South African, or Chilean, attempt to solve the same kinds of educational problems that we face in North America. As the late George Z.F. Bereday wrote more than three decades ago: “[Education is a mirror held against the face of a people. Nations may put on blustering shows of strength to conceal public weakness, erect grand façades to conceal shabby backyards, and profess peace while secretly arming for conquest, but how they take care of their children tells unerringly who they are” (Comparative Methods in Education, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964, p. 5).

Perhaps equally important, however, is the valuable perspective that

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