Crossing Lines: Research and Policy Networks for Developing Country Education

By Noel F. McGinn | Go to book overview

NETWORKING, ADVOCACY, AND ADVICE: AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Kenneth King

The origins of the Northern Research Review and Advisory Group (NORRAG) can be traced to about 1986, but the origins of the concept of a group that would be concerned with research, review, and advice go back much earlier, perhaps at least ten years earlier, to 1974-75. They are inseparable from the entry of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada into the donor community, as a new kind of bilateral donor concerned solely with research and anxious to make its mark in the several different fields where it had chosen to work. And, in turn, the IDRC's concerns with education policy were to some extent shaped by the mood of international donors at the very beginning of the 1970s.

In brief, the consensus that was emerging in the period between 1972 and 1974 was that investment in education needed to be rethought. The high-level manpower crisis that had confronted donors in the previous decade had passed and had been substituted by a crisis of the opposite sort: too many educated people chasing too few appropriate jobs. It was this imbalance between education and employment that had attracted the attention of the great International Labour Office (ILO) Employment Missions to Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Kenya (between 1970 and 1972). The same dilemma was to produce Dore Diploma Disease in 1976. It would lead McNamara in the introduction of the World Bank's Education: Sector Working Paper ( 1974) to say that "it [the policy paper] states convincingly that educational systems in developing countries are all too often ill-conceived and are not adapted to their developmental needs. The educational policies themselves are not always at fault; they have tended to serve only too well the basically irrelevant development strategies they were supposed to uphold and sustain" ( World Bank, 1974, p. 1).

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