Announcement of Ph.D. Dissertation Defense: The Impact of Global Intervention on Local Innovation in the Liberian Educational System

Thursday, November 14, 2019 9:00am - 11:00am

GSE 11

My study aims to uncover the extent to which global intervention in educational development in Liberia is helping or hindering local innovation in policy formulation, approaches to teaching, and in the content and nature of the curriculum. The study provides a “Southern perspective” and postcolonial critique of the experience of global intervention in educational development in Liberia that can also inform understandings of Northern involvement in the Global South more broadly. This research is done in the context of the severe political and economic instability of contemporary post-conflict Liberia where there is heavy reliance on global donor support for funding for educational development. The vulnerability of Liberia as a whole, and the Liberian education system in particular, makes the influence of international donors and agencies disproportionately powerful. In conjunction with postcolonial perspectives, I frame my study using the Vertical Case Study approach which provides a robust framework for investigating questions relating to how extra-local forces shape educational policy and practice. Drawing on content analysis of global and national policy documents; quantitative analysis of financial and administrative data from national agencies; and in-depth interview and observation data from global, national and local administrators and educators, I examine the extent to which educational policy, teaching and curriculum in Liberia are shaped by global forces and the extent to which there is evidence of Liberian local innovation in shaping policy and practice to reflect the historical, political, cultural and social realities of the Liberian context. Findings document how extra-local forces shape educational policy and practice. The amount and nature of funding from global donor agencies for the Liberian educational system will be compared with the amount that is coming from the Liberian government itself. Relative amounts of funding likely correspond to the relative power for educational decision making. The study considers the extent to which reliance on the support of global agencies such as the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and other bilateral partners for educational development, has made the Liberian educational system susceptible to the influence of global educational policies that are often contradictory to its social, political, cultural, and historical values. Furthermore, the proposed study will investigate the degree to which the strong reliance on global agencies for educational development hampers the promotion of local innovation in policy formulation, approaches to teaching, and in the content and nature of the curriculum.

     

Who to contact:

Daniel Henry Smith

dhs77@scarletmail.rutgers.edu