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Title: A critical evaluation of the effects of neo-liberal (market-driven) reforms in achieving the goal of human security in Sierra Leone
Author: Conteh, Abdulai Abubakarr
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 203X
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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This case-study provides a critical evaluation of the effects of neo-liberal (market-driven) reforms in achieving the goal of human security in Sierra Leone after the civil conflict in 2002. In the context of Sierra Leone, there are fundamental questions about the basic security of the population. This mean the ability to live without fear of conflict and the security to do with the ordinary lives of Sierra Leoneans. This is absolutely central to the post-war reconstruction of that country. It represents a major concern for the international community, the Sierra Leone Government, foreign government donors as well as the NGO communities. Underlying these issues is the subject of which development paragon is best suitable in addressing these questions, and what impact will it have on the people. To understand this, the study has framed the issues of education and health, the two aspects which this thesis focuses upon, as a commitment to human security. Human security has become a dominant theme for many development organisations around the world because of it connection with security and development. Education and health are important because they are crucial social and basic human right that should be provided without any form of unfairness by the state. Because of their multiplier effect, they assist in eradicating poverty and further the attainment of human security. The reforms, which includes privatisation and decentralisation, has been imposed primarily by the World Bank and the IMF to transform the education and health system in order to improve the human security of the Sierra Leonean people. Proponents of these reforms argued that it would provide equal access, make the system more efficient, provide more choices for the population, and enhances accountability and citizens’ participation in governance. As a result of these, the study is important for three reasons: first, it assesses the success of these reforms; second, it offers a better understanding of socio-economic development related to education and health as they are now viewed as a commodity; and third, it suggests ways of enhancing the performance of its delivery intended to assist the population. The evaluation is informed by critical theory, the theoretical framework because: of its usefulness in understanding the concept of power/knowledge, ideology and governance, as neo-liberalism has become a discourse of global common sense that frames policy options as though they were natural or not to be questioned, and yet serve to reinforce the interests of dominant groups. Critical theory enable us to make sense of the hidden power relations in the way knowledge/policy is constituted. Second, critical theory is also a qualitative approach and hence comes as a way of critiquing quantitative methodology. The study argues that it is very problematic to imagine that this strategy (neo-liberal reforms) is actually for the great masses of people living in poor conditions, while it does not address their needs and does nothing to deal with the security of their lives. The study found that the reforms were considered undemocratic, and has led to unequal access thus augmenting fears of stratification on the basis of an individual being rich or poor. Therefore, the study recommends that if the goal of human security is to be achieved, it is important to strengthen citizens’ and other local actors’ voices in governance to develop effective local policies; and government intervention and commitment is also needed to improve the performance of public schools and health care institutions in order to make them more competitive so that they can co-exist with their private counterparts. Key Words: Neo-liberalism, critical theory, education policy, health policy, human security, privatisation, decentralisation, social justice, socio-economic development.
Supervisor: Wilkin, P. Sponsor: CARA (Council for Assisting Refugees Academic)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education policies ; Healthcare policies ; Critical theory ; Socio-economic development ; Political practices in Sierra Leone