Citation

EFA - (Equity+Social Justice) = EFA-qua-neocolonialism

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Abstract:

1. Objectives/purposes of the paper: In this paper, I posit that Education for All, in its current, discursively-restrictive iteration, is a form of neocolonialism. With its gaze centered on access, and not equity and social justice, it can, and does, inadvertently, reinforce and perpetuate social disequilibrium, leaving the status quo of postcolonial social stratification intact. This paper represents both a conceptual and empirical critique of EFA.
The school system in Trinidad & Tobago (TT) has been transformed by the globalized impetus of EFA. The TT Ministry of Education (MoE) has gone beyond the international call for primary education for all and has now instituted secondary education for all. This feat ought to be lauded. My study however seeks to expand the parameters of the educational discourse in TT around EFA from one of universal access to one of equity and social justice.
2. Theoretical framework: My conceptual framework is Postcolonial peace education and Bourdieu’s social reproduction theory. Peace education is concerned with both direct violence and structural violence. My study has been focused on characterizing educational inequity in TT (a former British colony) as structural violence. Despite an embrace of EFA, the national educational system mirrors and helps maintain a class-stratified society. This combined framework best facilitates my deconstructive analysis of EFA-qua-neocolonialism.
3. Analytical methods/mode of inquiry: My study started 3 years ago at a secondary school in Trinidad. I spent seven months from December 2009-June 2010 collecting data. I returned for a three week period this year in June (2013) for a follow up and to conduct classroom observations. I have also launched a longitudinal study of some Grade six boys at this school and I intend to follow-up with several of them for the next few years. In a year and half, I will return to this school to spend another 7 months. I will also enlist another school (from the tier of academically well performing schools) for a comparative study and I will collect data from primary schools.
4. Data sources or evidence: My case study has involved observations, semi structured interviews with teachers, administrative staff, deans, safety officers, and some MoE officials (total of 32 interviews), classroom discussions/focus groups with students (total of 9), and archival research. When I am not at the research site, I stay in contact (via email and social media) with some of the students and some teachers/deans.
5. Results/outcomes: This study that started 3 years ago has morphed into a longitudinal study. My long term aim is to track the movement of some Afro Trinidadian male students through the TT educational system. Apart from this group however, I have been collecting data on other students at this research site, since the institution of EFA in secondary schools in TT. It is premature to make definitive pronouncements on the comprehensive efficacy of EFA. However, dropouts rates in TT are still very high and violence is still problematic in schools. My main aim is to interrogate how the national conversation has stalled on access and omits significant considerations of quality and equity. My research site, which features students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, has not witnessed any major structural alterations necessary to disrupt the social reproductive processes and effects of the national educational system.
6. Significance to study of CIE: Critical Peace education studies can help to interrogate stagnant and hyper-bureaucratized educational discourses and practices. EFA is not without its successes, but critical researchers and pedagogues need to push the dial forward toward one of social justice, with regards to educational structures and curricular/pedagogical content and form. CIE can benefit from critical postcolonial studies so that the field itself does not become a conduit for globalized educational neo-imperialism/neocolonialism.
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p706938_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Williams, Hakim. "EFA - (Equity+Social Justice) = EFA-qua-neocolonialism" 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/p706938_index.html>

APA Citation:

Williams, H. M. , 2014-03-10 "EFA - (Equity+Social Justice) = EFA-qua-neocolonialism" 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/p706938_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: 1. Objectives/purposes of the paper: In this paper, I posit that Education for All, in its current, discursively-restrictive iteration, is a form of neocolonialism. With its gaze centered on access, and not equity and social justice, it can, and does, inadvertently, reinforce and perpetuate social disequilibrium, leaving the status quo of postcolonial social stratification intact. This paper represents both a conceptual and empirical critique of EFA.
The school system in Trinidad & Tobago (TT) has been transformed by the globalized impetus of EFA. The TT Ministry of Education (MoE) has gone beyond the international call for primary education for all and has now instituted secondary education for all. This feat ought to be lauded. My study however seeks to expand the parameters of the educational discourse in TT around EFA from one of universal access to one of equity and social justice.
2. Theoretical framework: My conceptual framework is Postcolonial peace education and Bourdieu’s social reproduction theory. Peace education is concerned with both direct violence and structural violence. My study has been focused on characterizing educational inequity in TT (a former British colony) as structural violence. Despite an embrace of EFA, the national educational system mirrors and helps maintain a class-stratified society. This combined framework best facilitates my deconstructive analysis of EFA-qua-neocolonialism.
3. Analytical methods/mode of inquiry: My study started 3 years ago at a secondary school in Trinidad. I spent seven months from December 2009-June 2010 collecting data. I returned for a three week period this year in June (2013) for a follow up and to conduct classroom observations. I have also launched a longitudinal study of some Grade six boys at this school and I intend to follow-up with several of them for the next few years. In a year and half, I will return to this school to spend another 7 months. I will also enlist another school (from the tier of academically well performing schools) for a comparative study and I will collect data from primary schools.
4. Data sources or evidence: My case study has involved observations, semi structured interviews with teachers, administrative staff, deans, safety officers, and some MoE officials (total of 32 interviews), classroom discussions/focus groups with students (total of 9), and archival research. When I am not at the research site, I stay in contact (via email and social media) with some of the students and some teachers/deans.
5. Results/outcomes: This study that started 3 years ago has morphed into a longitudinal study. My long term aim is to track the movement of some Afro Trinidadian male students through the TT educational system. Apart from this group however, I have been collecting data on other students at this research site, since the institution of EFA in secondary schools in TT. It is premature to make definitive pronouncements on the comprehensive efficacy of EFA. However, dropouts rates in TT are still very high and violence is still problematic in schools. My main aim is to interrogate how the national conversation has stalled on access and omits significant considerations of quality and equity. My research site, which features students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, has not witnessed any major structural alterations necessary to disrupt the social reproductive processes and effects of the national educational system.
6. Significance to study of CIE: Critical Peace education studies can help to interrogate stagnant and hyper-bureaucratized educational discourses and practices. EFA is not without its successes, but critical researchers and pedagogues need to push the dial forward toward one of social justice, with regards to educational structures and curricular/pedagogical content and form. CIE can benefit from critical postcolonial studies so that the field itself does not become a conduit for globalized educational neo-imperialism/neocolonialism.


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