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‘South-South’ Borrowing and Education for All Goals: Lessons from the Caribbean and Implications for Post 2015 Agenda

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Abstract:

This paper aims to draw attention to complexities of ‘education borrowing’ and outline considerations for reaching Education for All (EFA) goals in a post 2015 world. Although international policy documents advocate 'sharing best practices' or 'borrowing' between developing countries to achieve EFA goals, there is little written on successful cases of 'South-South' cooperation. Utilizing Phillips and Ochs' (2004) model of education borrowing and drawing on analytical frameworks by Steiner-Khamsi (2004, 2006, 2010, 2012) and Spreen (2004), data from qualitative interviews and classroom observations in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago is discussed. A post-colonial perspective was also used to help understand the perspectives of interviewees who resisted borrowing between developing countries and preferred to learn about best practices from industrialized countries.

These two island small states were selected as they have both made significant achievements in education yet have areas for improvement in EFA goals that could benefit from 'learning from each other', as identified through UNESCO and Commonwealth Secretariat literature. Phillips and Ochs (2003) also note the potential for borrowing in small states.

Over 50 qualitative semi-structured interviews with international consultants, ministry officials, administrators and teachers took place in both islands along with an extensive policy review to understand government interest in borrowing, curricular changes and perspectives from those on the ground who are expected to implement reform. There was a particular emphasis on understanding pulses towards borrowing and resistance to 'South-South' cooperation.

This qualitative research in the Caribbean indicates that best practices are not shared nor implemented. At best, foreign ideas from industrialized countries are used to legitimize local policies. While there is no interest in learning from other developing countries, respondents noted their preference to understand best practices in industrialized countries such as Singapore, New Zealand and emphasized their links with the USA and Canada. Interestingly, both islands did not feel they could learn from each other due to differences in context which historians and sociologists have noted are very similar. It appears that directives aimed at fostering ‘South-South’ cooperation do not account for cultural differences. There is also a lack of cross-national attraction as developing nations are more concerned about ‘international standards’. Policy development considerations for 2015 include a stronger emphasis on identifying locally driven approaches and goals in place of ‘South-South’ borrowing rhetoric. Abandonment of a common realm of values is not necessary; however the reduction of interventions by multilaterals may be a worthwhile goal for post 2015.

This paper is significant to the study of comparative education as it adds to the growing body of literature that queries the relevance and applicability of education borrowing which continues to be encouraged in policy reform in both the international community and local settings despite limited results. In particular, this research is unique as it focuses on borrowing in the Caribbean and has implications for 'sharing best practices' between developing countries. There is a dearth of research on small states and the Caribbean and this paper aims to help further our understanding of how we can best reach EFA goals that are supported by local education administrators and teachers in both policy and practice.
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Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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http://www.cies.us


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MLA Citation:

Lam, Elaine. "‘South-South’ Borrowing and Education for All Goals: Lessons from the Caribbean and Implications for Post 2015 Agenda" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p703276_index.html>

APA Citation:

Lam, E. , 2014-03-10 "‘South-South’ Borrowing and Education for All Goals: Lessons from the Caribbean and Implications for Post 2015 Agenda" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p703276_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper aims to draw attention to complexities of ‘education borrowing’ and outline considerations for reaching Education for All (EFA) goals in a post 2015 world. Although international policy documents advocate 'sharing best practices' or 'borrowing' between developing countries to achieve EFA goals, there is little written on successful cases of 'South-South' cooperation. Utilizing Phillips and Ochs' (2004) model of education borrowing and drawing on analytical frameworks by Steiner-Khamsi (2004, 2006, 2010, 2012) and Spreen (2004), data from qualitative interviews and classroom observations in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago is discussed. A post-colonial perspective was also used to help understand the perspectives of interviewees who resisted borrowing between developing countries and preferred to learn about best practices from industrialized countries.

These two island small states were selected as they have both made significant achievements in education yet have areas for improvement in EFA goals that could benefit from 'learning from each other', as identified through UNESCO and Commonwealth Secretariat literature. Phillips and Ochs (2003) also note the potential for borrowing in small states.

Over 50 qualitative semi-structured interviews with international consultants, ministry officials, administrators and teachers took place in both islands along with an extensive policy review to understand government interest in borrowing, curricular changes and perspectives from those on the ground who are expected to implement reform. There was a particular emphasis on understanding pulses towards borrowing and resistance to 'South-South' cooperation.

This qualitative research in the Caribbean indicates that best practices are not shared nor implemented. At best, foreign ideas from industrialized countries are used to legitimize local policies. While there is no interest in learning from other developing countries, respondents noted their preference to understand best practices in industrialized countries such as Singapore, New Zealand and emphasized their links with the USA and Canada. Interestingly, both islands did not feel they could learn from each other due to differences in context which historians and sociologists have noted are very similar. It appears that directives aimed at fostering ‘South-South’ cooperation do not account for cultural differences. There is also a lack of cross-national attraction as developing nations are more concerned about ‘international standards’. Policy development considerations for 2015 include a stronger emphasis on identifying locally driven approaches and goals in place of ‘South-South’ borrowing rhetoric. Abandonment of a common realm of values is not necessary; however the reduction of interventions by multilaterals may be a worthwhile goal for post 2015.

This paper is significant to the study of comparative education as it adds to the growing body of literature that queries the relevance and applicability of education borrowing which continues to be encouraged in policy reform in both the international community and local settings despite limited results. In particular, this research is unique as it focuses on borrowing in the Caribbean and has implications for 'sharing best practices' between developing countries. There is a dearth of research on small states and the Caribbean and this paper aims to help further our understanding of how we can best reach EFA goals that are supported by local education administrators and teachers in both policy and practice.


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Can international law ensure locally-relevant education? Including local assessments of educational quality in the post-Millennium Development Goal agenda.

Public-Private Schools and Universalization of Access to Secondary Education: Implications for Post 2015 educational development in India


 
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