Comparative educational policies under two military governments : the case of Argentina (1976-1983) and Chile (1973-1990)
This PhD. research is devoted to producing a comparative study of educational policies in two Latin American countries, under the military governments of Argentina [1976-1983] and Chile [1973-1990], and to explain the differences and similarities in their educational policies, based in the following working hypothesis: Military education and professional expertise have strong similarities in South America. This fact facilitates similar patterns of action in most of their professional activities, but strong differences show up when they rule a country, and seemingly the biggest ones appear to be in the educational field. This hypothesis is based on the strong pattern of characteristics of armed forces officers, a pattern that marks heavily their life, culture and way to solve problems. Despite the fact that their education is the most successful, in order to obtain its goals, among all educational systems, being able to produce patterns of conduct that last for life. Nevertheless, when they become rulers, they can differ heavily in producing and elaborating ideas that afterwards are transformed into governmental policies for their countries. This fact does not diminish their ability, in the military field, to act in similar professional patterns. The working hypothesis proved to be wrong, along the development of this research it became evident that similarities in wide scope educational policies were marked by a common set of values. The differences were mainly a product of constitutional, political and cultural issues. Besides, the military had to accommodate, negotiate, or transact their set of values with other social actors due to these differences. The level of these accommodations, transactions or negotiations produced the main differences between both military regimes in relationship to their educational policies. This research is divided in three parts: I. A characterization of both military regimes by means of using the most relevant theoretical trends and the state of the art in this field. In this stage analysed are: (a) the essential authors used as sources and cited by most scholars in this field, from the point of view of the usefulness of their work to Explain Armed Forces governments in the countries under study; (b) The contributions made by a sample of a second generation of researchers, their different trends, and their usefulness to explain similarities and differences in educational policies in these two Armed Forces governments; (c) A general review and characterization of both governments in the fields of economic development, human rights conflicts, and general policy designed for both countries, as a general background of their educational policy; (d) Based in the study of the Armed Forces literature, and the general background a theoretical framework based on military values was developed. As a result of this first part of the research a profile of the Argentinian and Chilean military was compiled and individualized a set of values that characterize both. It was evident that the most helpful theoretical trends were the ones developed by authors that have become classics in this field: Huntington and Janowitz. Later trends of research have proved of little used for this study, thus raising more questions than answers. As an exception it could be stated that the 'developmentalist school' was helpful in-at least-to produce a balanced an impartial view of the military as rulers. II. The second part is devoted to analysing main educational policies in both governments, from the perspective of the theoretical frame previously developed. Included in this analysis were their political statements, goals, and underlying values, together with the planning, laws, decrees and documents; at the same time, a complete discussion and evaluation of a bibliography is given. From the analysis and reviews were isolated the intervening factors in the formulation of the educational policies emanating from both Armed Forces governments, their points of contact and of divergence, in agreement with the theoretical framework. The main emphasis was given to explain the marked differences found in the educational field. The main trends in educational policy developed in the period under study are: (a) Introduction of order into the educational system, perceived as chaotic by the military, using decentralization of management as the main feature; (b) Reinforcement of the sense of nationality, sovereignty, and belonging to their respective nations, by means of education; (c) Reformation of universities, as a tool of economic development by means of training good professionals in quantities relevant to the needs of their countries, and to produce high quality research. We can assert that: (a) The working hypothesis worked properly in the first part related to their professional expertise and patterns of action; (b) The second assertion proved to be wrong, it was assumed that strong differences would be found when ruling a country, due to their cultural, economic and social settings. On the contrary, we found the existence of strong similarities in the educational policies developed in both countries. These similarities, according to the theoretical framework, were due to a clear set of military values, different from the civilians in degree rather than in kind. III. Two chapters were devoted to discuss different social, economic, human rights and other aspects-not strictly related with education of Argentinian and Chilean society from the point of view of scholars, international institutions and the press. This part of the research aimed to present some distortions about the real work performed by the two governments under review, and to produce some enlightenment concerning the profile of the public and self perception of Argentinian and Chilean military.