Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies
reviewed by Saheed-Ahmad Rufai - December 06, 2013
Title: Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies
Author(s): Antoni Verger, Mario Novelli & Hulya Kosar Altinyelken (eds.)
Publisher: Bloomsbury, London
ISBN: 1441143904, Pages: 240, Year: 2012
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This edited volume, Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agenda, Issues and Policies, is a welcome addition to the vast body of literature on educational policy and international education. Its creative analysis of issues and fresh associations among existing concepts are among the unique features of this great contribution by Antoni Verger and his colleagues. The work, which comprises three parts, contains 14 preliminary pages, runs to 287 pages of revealing discourse, and also contains an 8-page index.
Part One, Introduction: Theoretical and Methodological Insights, comprises two chapters, one of which titled Global Education Policy and International Development: An Introductory Framework is jointly contributed by Antoni Verger, Mario Novelli and Hulya Kosar Altinyelken. This chapter, which covers pages 3 to 33, inevitably comes across as the bedrock on which the entire book is grounded. For instance, it provides a good background to the work, identifies its problem and its purposes and articulates its significance and specific contribution to knowledge. The introductory part of the chapter sums up the direction of the entire work in the following words:
Today, as we speak, similar education reforms and a common set of education policy jargon are being applied in many parts of the world in locations that are incredibly diverse both culturally and in terms of economic development. Education policies and programmes such as child-centered, pedagogies, school-based management, teachers accountability, public-private partnerships or conditional-cash transfer schemes are being discussed and implemented everywhere to the point that they have acquired the status of global education policies (GEP). (p. 3)
While the above quotation captures the background for the work, the rationale for it may be identified in the authors claim that existing research on GEP does not always incorporate processes of globalization into its analytical framework, at least, in a comprehensive way (p. 3). That explains why the contributors to the volume venture to address various challenges posed to education policy analysis by globalization. In specific terms, their efforts are intended to analyse the reasons, agents and factors behind the globalization of educational policy and, by doing so, reflect on the structures, processes and events through which a global education landscape is being constituted (p. 4).
Chapter Two, Research Global Education Policy: Angles In/On/Out (pp. 3357), contributed by Susan L. Robertson, contains details of how to identify and employ new epistemic paradigms that are capable of facilitating a good understanding of our changing social worlds (p. 33). Other issues addressed in this chapter are the global in education policy, angles in/on in researching the global in education policy and international development as well as steps towards a critical processional account concerning angles out.
The largest part in the volume is Part Two, contributed by D. Brent Edwards Jr. and Steven Klees, that runs to 192 pages, and addresses various case studies of global education policy in ten different chapters. Chapter Three comes first in this section and focuses on participation in development and education governance from three different perspectives, namely the neoliberal perspective (p. 56), the liberal perspective (pp. 57-59), and the progressive perspective (pp. 59-63). The highest point of this chapter lies in the illustrative examples (pp. 65-74) as well as their extensive explanation provided by the authors.
Chapter Four, Silences, Stereotypes and Local Selection, Negotiating Policy and Practice to Implement the MDGs and EFA (pp. 78-76) by Elaire Unterhalter, pursues its theme in Kenyan and South African contexts while Dary Stenvoll-Wells and Yusuf Sayed discuss Education Decentralization in South Africa and Zimbabwe with special attention to the gap between intention and practice (pp. 98-110). Anja P. Jakobi, the author of Chapter Six, focuses on the implementation of global policies in various African countries, especially with regard to the conception of lifelong learning as basic education (pp. 119140). Countries covered in this chapter include Angola, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Uganda, Zambia and others.
In Chapter Seven, there is an analysis of conditional cash transfers in education for development, with a focus on emergence, policy dilemmas and diversity of impacts (pp. 141-160), followed by Chapter Eight by Margriet Poppema on School-Based Management in Post-Conflict Central America (pp. 161-188). Chapter Nine focuses on ethnic/racial diversity in education policy, especially in the Brazilian context. In that chapter, Renato Emerson dos Santos and Into Soeterik discuss such concepts as multi-scale processes, the emergence of race on the education agenda, and the emergence of ethnic/race issues in Brazil while Hulya Kosa Altinyelken devotes Chapter Ten to what he describes as A Converging Pedagogy in the Developing World? Insights from Uganda and Turkey (pp. 201221). In Chapter Eleven, however, Mario Novelli and Lopes Cardozo address the globalization of educational interventions in zones of conflict and pay special attention to the role of Dutch Aid to Education and Conflict (pp. 223243) while Antoni Verger and Sanne Vander Kaaij devote Chapter Twelve to issues concerning the national politics of global policies especially in connection with public-private partnerships in Indian Education (pp. 247226).
In the concluding part of the volume, Part Three, are just two chapters, Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen. In the former, Gita Steiner-Khamsi provides a penetrating discourse entitled Measuring and Interpreting Re-contextualization: A Commentary (pp. 269-279) while the latter contains a piece by Roger Dale entitled Global Education Policy: Creating Different Constituencies of Interest and Different Modes of Valorization (pp. 280287).
There is no gainsaying the fact that the edited volume is both a rich mine of information and a good source for students, lecturers, researchers and policy makers in the area of education, which is why it is strongly recommended, particularly in view of the valuable insight it provides into the discipline of education policy and international development.
However, the editors may need to take care of the minor linguistic errors in this edited volume. Such errors include rationale and cohesive entity (p. 9) instead of rational; the consequences of transfer remains (p. 23) instead of remain; and deterritorialistion (p. 44) instead of deterritorialisation. Another flaw lies in the fact that most of the contributors to the volume portray their chapters as papers written for other purposes and not necessarily as chapters prepared as parts of an edited book project. For instance, Dary Stenvoll-Wells and Yusuf Sayed write in Chapter Five that This paper has examined processes of education decentralization (p. 114). Xavier Bonal, Aina Tarabini and Xavier Ramba also talk about this paper (p. 144) in Chapter Seven.
Conversely, Margriet Poppema rightly conceptualizes his contribution as a chapter in an edited volume where he writes, This chapter can be taken as a post-analysis (p. 175). Antoni Verger and Sanna Vanderkaaij follow suit by stating in Chapter Twelve that This chapter analyses (p. 245) and the chapter is structured (p. 246). The duo of Verger and Vanderkaaij unfortunately write Their main source of cost-effectiveness relies on the low salaries they pay and the editors may need to decide whether the auxiliary verb is should not replace the phrase relies on. Yet these minor deficiencies cannot out-number the multiplicity of strengths of this very useful book.