DISSERTATION DEFENSE ANNOUNCEMENT Ph.D. in Education Program: Daniel Henry Smith “Paternalism and Resistance: The Impact of Global Intervention on Teacher Training in Liberia”

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Educational development in Liberia has been reliant on the funding and technical support of international organizations. Liberia, like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, suffered the consequences of extractive colonialism and global capitalism. It has been plagued by political instability and civil war. The vulnerability of Liberia as a whole, and the Liberian education system in particular, makes the influence of international donors and agencies disproportionately powerful. My study aims to uncover the role of international organizations in educational development in Liberia and the implications of their involvement. To what extent has the involvement of international organizations fostered or suppressed Liberian voices in educational development in Liberia? The study provides a “Southern perspective” and postcolonial critique of the experience of global intervention in educational development in Liberia that can also inform understanding of Northern involvement in the Global South more broadly. The study gives voice to and makes visible the perspectives and experiences of Liberian educators at all levels. Results from the study can be used to inform teacher training and professional development that aims to promote critical awareness regarding the necessity of the local communities, and the capacity of Liberian educators for innovation. In conjunction with postcolonial perspectives, I framed 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 data from global, national and local administrators and educators, I examined 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 Liberians resistance to global norms in shaping policy and practice to reflect the historical, political, cultural and social realities of the Liberian context.

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