THE DEVELOPMENT OF GLOBAL EDUCATION POLICY: A CASE STUDY OF THE ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION OF EL SALVADOR'S EDUCO PROGRAM
Edwards, Donald Brent
Klees, Steve J.
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The Education with Community Participation (EDUCO) program began in El Salvador in early 1991, near the end of the twelve-year civil war. It not only represented an extreme form of decentralization in that it transferred the responsibility for hiring, firing and supervising teachers to rural communities, but it was also the first reform of its kind in Latin America. During the ensuing 20 years, the program has received tremendous attention. Indeed, within the country it became the central program through which the education sector was rebuilt and expanded in the post-war era of the 1990s and 2000s. Internationally, the program has been widely recognized as a successful and desirable example of community-level education management decentralization. In fact, the program has become a "global education policy" in that it has been and continues to be recognized, promoted and adapted around the world. To date, however, the majority of research on this program has been a-historical in nature and has focused narrowly on whether the program "worked" - statistically speaking and with regard to such outcomes as student achievement. In contrast, in this dissertation, I analyze the dynamics of how the policy was developed. I shed new light on the trajectory of the EDUCO program by focusing, from an international political economy framework, on how the program was developed, scaled up, and internationally promoted. In so doing, I am able to highlight relevant political economic structures that impinge on education reform, as well as the various mechanisms of transnational influence that contributed to its advancement within and beyond El Salvador. In a number of different ways, international organizations are central to the policy development process. Methodologically, I focus not only on the process of development itself, but also on the ways in which actors and forces from multiple levels (local, national, international) interact and intersect in that process. Theoretically, by choosing to analyze EDUCO's origins, I attempt to contribute to our understanding of how (i.e., through which mechanisms of transnational influence) and why certain policies come into existence and subsequently go global.