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2011 - 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society Words: 273 words || 
1. Klees, Steven. and Edwards, Brent. "Participation in development and education governance in low-income countries" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2019-06-19 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In hopes of clarifying the diversity of meanings which development professionals, scholars and activists invoke when using the term participation, the present paper delineates three distinct perspectives on participation in development and education governance: neoliberal, liberal, and progressive. While there is overlap among the perspectives, the neoliberal perspective is founded in the principles of efficiency, accountability and competition; it emphasizes market- and accountability-based forms of school management. Liberal forms attempt to compensate for the lack of formal participation by individuals and community members in macro-level policymaking or project design. Such efforts are always structured and facilitated by existing multilateral institutions and nongovernmental organizations, and thus often serve institutional needs more than those of the people for whom they enhance participation. In contrast to these perspectives, the progressive approach begins with a critique of the market and existing institutions and seeks alternatives to them which allow for participatory governance and sustainable and just development. Consequently, this approach pursues strategies that result in personal conscientization, group action and structural transformation.

The last section discusses three policy cases (one for each perspective) from El Salvador. These cases include (a) EDUCO, an education management decentralization program, (b) Plan 2021, a national-level process of policy formation, and (c) a peasant movement during the civil war of the 1980s in which communities self-governed and implemented popular education teaching methods. We conclude with reflections on these cases in light of the tripartite framework delineated and call for further investigation within the context of El Salvador on the origin and interests of those actors who advocate more shallow forms of participation while opposing deeper and more progressive forms.

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