Who Governs Educational Change? The Paradoxes of State Power and the Pursuit of Educational Reform in Post-Neoliberal Ecuador (2007-2015)

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This study identifies and compares competing policy stories of key actors involved in the Ecuadorian education reform under President Rafael Correa from 2007-2015. By revealing these competing policy stories the study generates insights into the political and technical aspects of education reform in a context where state capacity has been eroded by decades of neoliberal policies.

Since the elections in 2007, President Correa has focused much of his political effort and capital on reconstituting the state’s authority and capacity to not only formulate but also implement public policies. The concentration of power combined with a capacity building agenda allowed the Correa government to advance an ambitious comprehensive education reform with substantive results in equity and quality. At the same time the concentration of power has undermined a more inclusive and participatory approach which are essential for deepening and sustaining the reform.

This study underscores both the limits and importance of state control over education; the inevitable conflicts and complexities associated with education reforms that focus on quality; and the limits and importance of participation in reform. Finally, it examines the analytical benefits of understanding governance, participation and quality as socially constructed concepts that are tied to normative and ideological interests.