International and national influences on universal primary education policies with special reference to Papua New Guinea.
The study examInes factors that have shaped policies for the
universalisation of primary education in developing countries with
specific reference to Papua New Guinea (pNG). It explores the premise
that ideas generated in international policy research influence and shape
the educational priorities of developing countries. A review of the related
literature highlights the dominance of international donor agencies,
particularly in directing the policy discourse that influences decisions on
educational problems and possible solutions. It is argued that many such
policy prescriptions are increasingly seen to be contextually irrelevant
and do not reflect the priorities articulated in context. Nor can they be
successfully implemented in the varying situations encountered. A case
study of UPE policy formulation in PNG is undertaken to analyse
critically the extent of international and national influences in the light of
the theoretical review.
The case study analysis focuses on three contexts of influence; the
shaping of ideas; the production of policy texts; and the implementation of
UPE policy. In the context of influence, the study examines how national
and international influences have competed for dominance in PNG. In the
second context, two key policy texts are analysed, the Education For All
(EFA) Plan where an international consultant was engaged and a more
home-grown Education Sector Study. Finally the context of practice is
explored largely through reflections on experiential knowledge,
qualitative interviews with senior administrative officers from the PNG
National Department of Education and three Provincial education
administrators and a brief survey of provincial education administrators.
In the light of the PNG research, a reconsideration of the theoretical
literature relating to the concepts of UPE and the effect on policy choices
is carried out. A strong case is also made for the conduct and analysis of
policy research in PNG and other developing countries.