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Title: Shaping policy at the confluence of the global and national : Ghana's education strategic plan
Author: Amoako, Emefa Juliet Afi
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
The thesis examines how education policy in aid dependent developing countries is formed. It looks, in particular, at the case of Ghana, specifically the development of the Education Strategic Plan (ESP). In a departure from the policy text deconstruction or historical overview approaches to understanding educational policy or its emergence, this study looks at the development of policy at the point of interaction. That is it looks at the factors at play when international donor agencies and national governments engage with questions of how to address the challenges of education. It examines the actions and interactions that shape the ESP of Ghana when the Ministry of Education (MoE) and donor agencies meet. Research into the nature of "engagement" has been scant. There is, however, much rhetoric about the "rules of engagement", for example, for "country-led partnerships", but there is still no robust understanding of how these rules of engagement play out in reality. This study responds to persistent demands for examining partnerships, and to the need for a deeper understanding of donor- recipient interactions, because of their impact on the development of education. The thesis also addresses the call for an open examination of country-led foreign aid partnership discourse and aims to contribute to bridging the existing gap in the educational aid and policy literature. While the existing literature portrays an understanding of policy and its processes as constituting different contexts and stages of a cycle, this study aims to add another dimension by depicting the policy formulation process as occurring in a conceptual space referred to in the thesis as the "confluence" or the place where different worldviews and assumptions, different actors and ideas meet. Although policy is understood in terms of stages and contexts in a cycle we do not yet understand the notion of policy formation at the point where different actors and ideas meet. The study is, therefore, a study of how policy emerges on the cusp of the national and the international, the local and the global and argues the salience of the concept of the "confluence". The research employs a case study strategy, as described by Yin, within a qualitative research genre and adopts the interpretative approach of investigating actions that emerge from the MoE-donor agencies' interactions and their shaping of the ESP in their natural setting. In a period of six months, data were generated through participant observation of the MoE-donor events both within and outside the MoE, in- depth interviewing of the MoE and donor officials, and the analysis of relevant documents. Data are qualitatively analysed systematically on multiple levels. First, the analysis is data-led using Blumer's notion of inspection. Inspection characterised by analysis demands a rigorous, focused scrutiny of the MoE-donor interactions and their shaping of the ESP and of whatever analytic categories that emerge. Most of the categories and themes emerge from the data. The findings emerging from the analysis bring to light various formal goals and informal cultures of the MoE-donor interactions, which are explicit or implicit and the way in which they shape the ESP. They suggest why and how the ESP formulation was more donor-led than MoE-led albeit the potential of the ESP to propel the MoE into leadership position. Another level deals with the interpretation of these findings through the lens of Bourdieu's and Lukes' theories of power. In the light of these theories, power in the MoE-donor interactions is interpreted as three-dimensional and symbolic violence. The implications of external and internal ideologies, generated by foreign aid partnerships and globalisation processes for education policy-making in the intersection between the global and national spheres, are also considered. The study thus challenges current discourses on country-led partnerships that dominate the educational aid process and demands a redefinition of donor-recipient interactions in practice. It also calls for efforts to translate the country-led partnership rhetoric into reality. The findings challenge the MoE and donors to adopt an alternative approach in educational aid delivery. The key contribution that this study makes is to offer a deeper insight into specific interactions between development partners such as the MoE and selected donor agencies; the shared beliefs about donors and recipients of educational aid and the actual rather than the stated or proposed norms that guide MoE-donor interactions in education. It is hoped that such research will help to enhance donor-recipient interactions and to provide a deeper understanding of educational aid and policy actions and their implications for education at the confluence where national governments meet donors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.550837  DOI: Not available
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