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Education, Democracy and Development
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Education, Democracy and Development

does education contribute to democratisation in developing countries?


2012 paperback 190 pages, £34.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-71-7

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About the book

Education is often seen as the key agency in international development and poverty reduction. Frequently the emphasis is on the economic and social role of education in development. This book, on the other hand, is unusual in explicitly examining the political role of education in development. In particular, it sets out the theories, evidence and arguments concerning the potential and actual relationships between education and democracy and critically explores the contradictory role of formal education in both supporting and hindering democratic political development. A key theme of the book is the importance of considering the type and nature of the education actually provided and experienced – what goes on inside the ‘black box’ of education? Currently in developing countries and elsewhere this is often at odds with democratic principles but the book also provides many examples of successful democratic practice in schools in developing countries as well as discussing a detailed case study of South Africa where democratic change in education is a key aspect of the policy agenda.  



CHAPTER 1 Politics, Democracy and Political Development
Politics and Democracy; The Idea of Development; Political Development Theory; Democracy as Development; Conclusion

CHAPTER 2 Education, Democracy and Political Development
Education and Politics; Education and Democracy; Education and Democracy: is there any evidence?; Conclusion

CHAPTER 3 Education for Democracy?
Introduction; What Does a Democratic School Look Like?; India: Neel Bagh School and Sumavanam School; Ecuador: the Pestalozzi School; UNICEF Child Friendly Schools; Education Policy; Leadership, Management and Pupil Voice in Decision-Making in Schools; Curriculum, Learning and Teaching; Teacher Education and Professional Identity; Initial Teacher Education; In-service Teacher Education; Action Research and Reflective Practice in In-service Teacher Education; Taught Programmes in Education for Democratic Citizenship; Assessment; School Inspection: a case study; Conclusion

CHAPTER 4 Obstacles to Greater Democracy in Education
Introduction; The Bureaucratic Legacy in Schools in Developing Countries; The Authoritarian Legacy; Whole School Organisation, Ethos and Culture; School Discipline and Corporal Punishment; Classroom Methods and Assessment; Teacher Education; Politics, Resources and Culture; Conclusion

CHAPTER 5 The Roles of Education in Relation to Political Development: South Africa as a case study
Introduction: development goals for education in post-apartheid South Africa; Modernisation or Disorganisation?; Democracy and Peace or Authoritarianism and Violence?; A Democratic Curriculum?; Democratic Structures: school governing bodies; Continuing Non-Democratic Features of South African Education; Contradictions and Tensions in Post-apartheid Education and Development; Conclusion

CHAPTER 6 Democratic Educational Change?

References; Notes on the authors


If you were to glance at a political map of the world 30 years ago where authoritarian and totalitarian regimes were coloured blue, and democratic and semi-democratic ones were coloured red, then most of Africa, South America, Asia, and the Middle East would be coloured blue. The same map 30 years later would look strikingly different, with large parts of the 'developing' world now coloured red rather than blue, but the Middle East would have remained stubbornly blue. In recent years, however, the 'Arab Spring' has also witnessed a wave of democratic protest and reform across the Middle East. As will be discussed in chapter 1, such changes in the politics of developing countries are far from perfect or complete, but there is no doubt about the general direction in which change has occurred.

Much writing on education is concerned with access to education, or the quality of education in relation to educational outputs, such as literacy and numeracy or examination scores. There is also a strong focus on the role of education in relation to economic development. However, we have long been interested in the potential role of education in facilitating, supporting, and sustaining democracy - or not. As far as anybody is aware, human beings do not have any genes determining whether they are democrats or autocrats, therefore democratic or authoritarian values and behaviours must be learned. There are many such agencies of such learning - the family, the media, and religious groups - but we have been particularly interested in the school as a source of political learning. As this book shows, we are not alone in this interest as there has been a long-standing concern with the relationships between education and democracy amongst philosophers, social scientists and educationalists. However, in this book we have chosen to explore not just the relationships between education and democracy, but to focus in particular on how these relationships manifest themselves in so-called 'developing' countries.

While the first four chapters of the book take a broad geographical perspective on education and democratic political development, chapter 5 is a detailed discussion of one particular country - South Africa. South Africa, which was ranked 123rd on the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Development Index (out of 187 countries) in 2011 (UNDP, 2011), provides a useful case study of educational and political change in one country because of its authoritarian apartheid past, the role of education in the struggle against apartheid, and the overt attempt to use education as a tool of democratisation in the post-apartheid era. Both authors are familiar with South Africa, one being a South African citizen, and feel that education there is a microcosm of many of the tensions and contradictions inherent in the relationships between education, democracy and development that are described and analysed in more general terms in the rest of the book.

Finally, we would like to thank the Leverhulme Trust for their support in providing an Emeritus Fellowship to Clive Harber which greatly facilitated the sustained academic collaboration that led to the writing of the book. Thanks also to Noriko Sakade for her help in reviewing education policy statements on Ministry of Education websites for inclusion in chapter 3.


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