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Chapter 1.  Introduction   Universal Primary Education - The Ever Receding Goal.

Globalisation Of Education Policies: Extent Of External Influences On Contemporary Universal Primary Education Policies In Papua New Guinea - excerpts are from the complete text of Thomas Webster - book from the University of Papua New Guinea Press, July 2000.  1SBN:  9980-084-094-3

| What is UPE? | Structure of 7 chapters of book | back to Introduction & contents | Chapter 3 |

Universal Primary Education (UPE) is a goal stated in many national development plans and pursued with vigour by governments of most developing countries. Primary Education is seen as the first step in laying the foundation for future educational opportunities and life long skills. Through the skills and knowledge imbued, primary education enables people to participate in the social, economic and political activities of their communities to their fullest potential. It is also seen as a basic human right that frees human beings from a state of ignorance and helps to reduce the negative effects of poverty, relating in particular to health and nutrition. In an increasingly competitive global economy of free markets, a well educated high quality workforce is seen as vital to a country's economy in order to attract foreign investments that generate jobs and create wealth. Hence, good quality primary education is increasingly recognised as an important foundation for economic growth and seen as instrumental in the attainment of other development objectives.

Its pursuit as a goal by development agencies acknowledges its dual function as a factor in economic growth and in reducing the incidence of poverty (World Bank,1990a and 1995a). The humanistic and liberation goals of primary education are featured most in the work of some development agencies whilst the instrumentalist and economic goals emerge more prominently in others.

Yet, for all the inherent goodness that primary education offers and the zeal with which it has been pursued by all concerned for some decades, the goal of UPE remains beyond the reach of many developing countries (see Chapter 3). A disturbing trend noted in many developing countries during the 1980s was a decline in enrolments and in the quality of education. This is in part attributed to the effects of financial austerity measures imposed along with structural adjustment programmes by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (Reimers & Tiburcio,1993). The negative effects of these measures were not limited to education. Other critical services such as health and the welfare of children were equally affected bringing sharp rebuke from sister UN development agencies. This spurred various studies to highlight these effects, particularly those commissioned by UNICEF, (e.g.Cornia et al,1987; UNICEF,1990), and UNESCO (Hallak,1990). These studies influenced the development of the first UNDP Human Development Index Report of 1990, and a movement away from a reliance on economic growth as an end goal and the use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the sole comparative measure of development trends. The UNDP index embraces a wider set of indicators relating to human welfare such as health and education

This rejuvenation of educational enthusiasm calling for more concerted efforts inspired the 1990 Jomtien Conference on Education For All (EFA), where renewed support for basic education, particularly primary education, was sought from governments (developed and developing) and from major international development agencies. Political leaders including several heads of state, senior policy makers from 155 countries, representatives from 20 intergovernmental bodies and 150 Non-Government agencies gathered to put education back on the global agenda. It had three principal objectives;

1. to highlight the importance and impact of basic education, and renew commitment to make it available to all;
2. to forge a global consensus on a framework for action to meet the basic learning needs of children, youth and adults;
3. to provide a forum for sharing experiences and
4. research results to invigorate ongoing and planned programmes.

The goal of UPE is embraced within a larger framework for attaining a global literate society under Article 5 of the Declaration; "Broadening the Means and Scope of Basic Education" (WCEFA,1990:159-160). Strategies to attain EFA include the establishment and utilisation of pre-school programmes, out of school programmes for adults and youths who have not had the opportunity to attend or to complete full-time primary schooling and expansion of primary school education to cater for a growing school age population.

A number of similar international forums had been organised previously by UNESCO but the Jomtien Conference was the first time where the world community including the major international development agencies of the UN, (UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank) reached a consensus on attaining EFA. The week long conference included round table discussions led by various experts on the current status of basic education and on proposals for strategies to move forward. Resolutions were adopted calling for a concerted effort to work towards EFA, including specific programmes of activities to be co-ordinated by an EFA Secretariat located at UNESCO, Paris. Global, regional and national meetings would facilitate co-operative efforts between and among all parties for sustained progress.

PNG participated at the Jomtien Conference led by the Minister for Education, and, being fully committed to the goal of EFA, was involved actively in the preparatory as well as the follow up activities. These included a country status report for UPE to the preparatory conferences (Department of Education,1989), of carrying out an Education Sector Study (Department of Education, 1991) and in the development of an EFA plan (Department of Education,1994). PNG also participated in the Asia Pacific regional conferences on EFA to report back on progress (Tagis,1992 and 1993).

In this study (see especially chapter 5), two of the follow up activities, the education sector study of 1991 and the EFA Education Plan of 1994, are analysed to help ascertain the extent to which the ideas for universalising primary education discussed at the Jomtien Conference and in international development education literature in general have influenced UPE policies in PNG.

The Goal of UPE for Papua New Guinea.

UPE was a goal for PNG well before Independence was achieved in 1975 (Education Department,1958). It has since been stated and restated in various education and national development plans (Department of Education,1975, 1991), and reiterated by political leaders on many occasions. It is a goal enshrined within the preamble of the National Constitution that acknowledges education as a right of every citizen. It is also reflected in the Philosophy of Education Report commissioned by the government in 1986 where UPE remains a high priority to be pursued with vigour (Matane,1987).

This high priority is not just rhetoric but has been reflected in increased budgetary support for the primary education sector every year since 1978. Data collected for this study show that more than adequate funding was provided under the CEP, but much of it was not utilised.

Despite this policy stance and after twenty years of political commitment and separate waves of programmes to improve primary education, the goal, nevertheless, remains beyond reach. At this stage, more then 25% of the primary school age population (7-12) are still out of school. Whilst it is estimated that more than 90% of the school age population get a chance to enter grade one, about 30% are now dropping out before completing the final grade. Of those that do complete primary school, more than 50% of those that sit the national final exams do not pass at the required level, indicating poor attainment of the most basic skills of literacy, numeracy and general knowledge (Department of Education,1991; Webster,1993).

The Study

Aim of the Study

The study initially set out to evaluate three core areas of UPE policy in PNG to understand why the goal of UPE continued to be an elusive one. First, the study set out to document the current status of primary education in developing countries with regard to UPE and the strategies being pursued. This was to be done through library based research and through analysing policy documents of national bodies and international development agencies. Secondly, the study sought to establish the current status of UPE in PNG and describe the strategies being pursued, particularly those being carried out as part of the contemporary educational reform following the Jomtien Conference. This national profile would then be critically examined against the backdrop of the international data reviewed. Finally, the initial intention was to evaluate the policy implementation strategies being pursued in Papua New Guinea, and the knowledge basis for these strategies, with regard to their possible effectiveness in dealing with the constraints identified. However, during the course of carrying out the study, initial findings from archive material and from reflection on events that were taking place, the extent of the influence on PNG policy developments by international agency priorities was increasingly emphasised.

First, the researcher was astonished by the changing stance over time of the World Bank with regard to policy priorities in the development of primary education. McKinnon (1974) speaking at a Waigani seminar, cited the case of a report by a World Bank team sent to write up a development strategy report that recommended PNG to pursue a strategy for the rapid expansion of high schools, technical colleges and tertiary institutions in order to create a work force for economic growth. The report in particular called for those institutions to be located in areas that were already well developed in order to be cost effective (IBRD,1965). This would have effectively denied a large proportion of the population access to schooling. Mckinnon (1976:192-193), says that this strategy was vehemently rejected by the newly created National Education Board members (mostly Papua New Guineans), who wanted a policy of expanding primary school education to ensure that areas with low levels of access to primary education that had only recently come into contact with the outside world would get priority, before expanding higher levels of education. However, the Australian Colonial Government acknowledged and endorsed the recommendations of the World Bank mission and gave priority to expansion of secondary, technical and higher education as reported in the PNG Report for 1970-71 (Commonwealth of Australia,1971:64).

If early PNG education policy had focused on developing primary education in an equitable manner at independence, as desired by locals, perhaps the attainment of UPE would no longer be an issue. The World Bank today with hindsight points out that many countries with high economic growth rates such as South Korea and Taiwan expanded at the base (primary education) before expanding at the secondary and tertiary level and recommends that developing countries should learn from this.

Secondly, during the period of field work, PNG was negotiating for a loan from a consortium of donors (Australia, Japan, Asian Development Bank), led by the World Bank and the IMF under a structural adjustment program. A number of conditions that included managerial and legislative measures were to be satisfied before the funds could be released. Government cost reduction measures included the introduction of user fees for health services and higher education and the framing of legislation in Parliament relating to land and forestry management. Proposed legislation for land tenure led to wide spread protest marches in all the major towns. Some conditions were re-negotiated but most were adopted due to the no-win situation. It began to dawn that policy was not being developed by a sovereign state articulating popular values through a democratically elected government, but being dictated by international agencies.

In the light of this, new questions that began to emerge were:

  • To what extent did international agencies influence education policy developments in PNG ?
  • What mechanisms were used to influence the policy making process?
  • How did national perspectives on policy, if any, counter the international perspectives?
  • How were developments in primary education affected by these influences ?

The literature was explored in trying to understand the nature and purposes of educational policies articulated by the international development agencies and implemented in many developing countries. It became evident that most were similar in nature and scope and that ideas on priorities for what kinds of education to pursue, the perceived causal factors that constrained the development of education systems and what strategies to pursue had changed over time (Carnoy,1980). These ideas had been shaped to a great extent by the discourse on policy research conducted and commissioned by the development agencies themselves, particularly the World Bank (King,1991).

The aims of the study therefore evolved into the following:

  1. To identify and document international trends and priorities relating to UPE policy in the light of a review of the relevant literature, with particular reference to the influence of the Jomtien Conference on Education for All.
  2. To assess to what extent international trends and priorities have influenced national education policy formulation in PNG relating to UPE policy.
  3. To evaluate the appropriateness of current UPE policy and implementation strategies for the development of education in contemporary PNG.
  4. To explore the implications of the PNG case study in the light of the literature relating to globalisation, international transfer and primary education.

Design of the Study

Decisions on the design of any study influence all subsequent work by including or excluding certain areas of investigation, what Miles and Huberman (1994:16) refer to as "anticipatory data reduction". Seddon (1996) considers this important for other reasons in policy studies, referring to it as setting out the "principles of choice", where selection of topic, the research strategies adopted and tools used are set out clearly for other researchers to see. Such a process also acts as a validation device, sometimes referred to as an "audit trail" in qualitative research (Schwandt and Halpern,1988). There are two components to the design of this study to meet these requirements.

First, the conceptual framework sets out the premise that establishes the parameters of the perspectives, theories and tools used in the study. A brief discussion outlining the perspectives considered and the concepts and themes that guide the research are outlined. The second component discusses and sets out the methodological orientation adopted for the PNG case study and the data collection methods.

Conceptual Framework.

The Premise.

The study examines education policy developments relating to UPE within an international context to provide a theoretical framework for the analysis of the detailed PNG case study. The study explores the premise that dominant theoretical paradigms and development assistance agencies have shaped the priorities for international education policy research and development. These priorities have then shaped global education policy perspectives in the light of which national situations are analysed. Donor agencies then influence national policy priorities and perspectives leading to the formulation of common UPE strategies as proposed in many national education plans. PNG plans for UPE following the 1990 Jomtien Conference on Education for All are analysed to assess their contextual relevance and to tease out the extent of national and international influences in the light of this critique.

The significance of the analysis is under-pinned by the fact that there is much international concern with perceived global agendas and the uncritical international transfer of education policy and practice. Carnoy writing in 1980 elucidates;

In my opinion-having observed since the mid-1960s international agencies operating in the field- they have a rather well-defined ideology which they quite systematically impose on the low-income countries. The agencies insert themselves in the conflicts over development occurring in those countries, attempting to legitimize, through the concept of 'expertise' and 'advanced technology' certain types of reforms world-wide. These reforms, in turn, are developed within the context of explicit division of labour and organization of production in the low-income countries. And behind this expertise is, of course funding or access to funding to implement the suggested changes (1980:281).

Since then, the stranglehold on education policy developments in developing countries by international agencies had tightened due to a period of economic crises and subsequent structural adjustment programmes (Hallak,1990). Moreover, it is argued that partly due to the paucity of research information available in many developing countries, donor and international development assistance agencies have been heavy handed in analysing country situations from a global perspective (King,1991; Jones,1992; Watson,1994; Crossley and Vulliamy,1997). Such analyses and policy prescriptions made by donor agencies and their personnel (often flying in northern consultants) with little input from local specialists, often do not take into account the contextual factors specific to that country (Crossley & Broadfoot,1992). This helps to perpetuate inappropriate policy decision-making and further implementation failures.

However, at the specific field level, it is not clear how external ideas enter and play out in the arena of national policy making where both international and national views are assumed to influence and shape policy (Buchert et al,1996). The study therefore also applies a case study approach to examine this. In this case, the impact of the international policy agenda and donor influences on UPE policies in PNG is the focus of the research. Full details of the methodology employed in researching the case study are presented in the methodology section.

Theoretical Framework.

Initial reading of contemporary studies in education policy studies indicated that much of it is located in an analysis of the state (Ahier and Flude,1983; Dale,1989; Ball,1990; Bowe et al, 1992,), but defining the boundaries of the state has been problematic (Dale,1992; Meek,1994). Thus theoretical perspectives generated from empirical work based on concepts of the state of western countries, such as those proposed by Dale (1986), (systems theory, pluralism, Marxism/Neo-Marxism and Neo-liberalism) were seen to be inadequate as well as problematic in capturing the dynamics of policy making that transcend national boundaries (Arnove,1982). Some, such as dependency theorists working from a neo-marxist perspective, have explored the influence of international agencies as extensions of dominant western states on education policy in developing countries (Bray,1984a). However, the extent of such influences has been questioned and the evidence is not conclusive (Watson,1985). In the same vein, post dependency theorists utilising neo-liberal perspectives (James,1997), and the dynamics of a globalised economy (Ilon,1997), also attempt to explain current educational policies and trends. However, applying such prisms, in the hypothetical-deductive mode of investigation, while useful in explaining events from one perspective, potentially exclude other plausible explanations from emerging. Such an approach was considered to be inappropriate in an exploratory study that sought to elicit meanings rather then to impose ideas to explain phenomena.

On the other hand, the contribution of organisational theory to the study of the policy process in mapping out the dynamics of influence were more helpful in shaping the study. These focus on who is involved, and on what perspectives and ideas they bring to bear to the decision making process (Weiss,1993; Snare,1996). The process is also important, as an inclusive and exclusive mechanism, that allow for some ideas to emerge while shutting out others (Hallak and Demsky,1995). Bowe et al's (1992:20), concept of a contested terrain in policy discourse of control over critical sites of influence; in conceptual discourse at the agenda setting stage, in policy text production and of policy implementation (see figure 1), was helpful in strengthening the research focus and in situating the boundaries used for the analysis of data

Figure 1. Contexts of Policy Making. figure 1 - contexts of policy making graphic

Here, the context of influence at the international arena was explored on two fronts. First, a critical study of the literature as set out in chapter 2, explored the evolution of dominant views on education policy research and on policy priorities as articulated by international agencies. Critiques of these perspectives in the debate were also taken into account. Secondly, in chapter 3, the policy priorities for UPE as articulated by the international agencies along with the changing concepts and strategies for UPE since the 1960's are highlighted. By evaluating the UPE policy discourse inspired by the Jomtien Conference, the main themes for contestation are established.

A case study approach to UPE, to illustrate and evaluate how international ideas influence national policies, is undertaken to examine the impact of the themes raised at Jomtien on UPE policies in PNG (Chapters 5 and 6). The study illuminates how these dominant ideas get into the contexts of national education policy texts by analysing two key education policy documents produced after Jomtien in PNG, and the processes involved in their production. Alternative national perspectives were identified through documentary analysis and qualitative interviews undertaken with senior policy makers at the national level.

Next, the study moves on to the context of practice by identifying the perceptions and meanings held by key policy makers and provincial education administrators responsible for implementation of UPE policies in PNG. In chapter 6, the in-depth interview data contrasts the perspectives at the implementation level with those articulated at the international level and in the national education policy texts.

By contrasting and critically analysing these sets of data, the dissertation assesses which perspectives have been most dominant in shaping policy for UPE in contemporary PNG. Implications of the analysis for PNG and for related theoretical literature are then explored.

Key Concepts Used.

The term policy is understood to be the "authoritative allocation of values" and policies as , "statements of prescriptive intent" (Kogan,1975:55). The study therefore explores the literature to identify dominant values that emerge in the international discourse on education policy priorities, how and where these have permeated national education policy documents in PNG and how these are reconstructed in the context of practice by key UPE policy makers and implementers.

The notion of paradigms is important here in capturing meanings and how it influences outcomes. Paradigms provide a framework through which views on policy debates are shaped; in agenda setting and problem identification, in selecting options, in implementation and in policy evaluation. Morgan (1990) points out that within organisations, people are committed to ideas that frame their way of thinking about what the problems are and they also have ideas about what solutions will be effective. Boyd (1992:505) encapsulates the power of the paradigm in the policy process in the following manner:

...it is essential to scrutinise the paradigms or theories that influence our thinking and the consequences, for good or ill, of the biases built into them. To the extent that we are captives of particular paradigms, we are prisoners of their vision. How we think about our problems determines both what we see and what we fail to see.(Underlining is my emphasis)

Weiss' (1982) notion of endarkenement, where the existence of a paradigm may endarken policy makers to other alternatives is of importance. Ball (1990:3) also refers to this when pointing out that, "discontinuities, compromises, omissions and exceptions" are just as informative to understanding policy outcomes as it is to identifying the dominant influences. As pointed out in rejecting the hypothetical-deductive model of inquiry, adopting a particularly dominant conceptual framework (i.e. a theory or dominant paradigm), may seem to illuminate our understanding of a particular problem. However, other dimensions not highlighted may preclude consideration of pertinent factors.

The focus of the study was therefore to explore and tease out the dominant ideas, how these had evolved and shaped perspectives that were brought to bear on the problem of Universalising Primary Education. In particular, what meanings and perspectives were held by the international agencies, the key individuals involved in UPE policy formulation and those involved in the implementation process.

The particular methods applied in data collection and the implications are discussed next.


While it is evident that there are divides in the epistemological debates on the qualitative, quantitative dimensions of research (Hammersley,1992), this is not an issue explored in this study. Rather, the approach was not determined by a particular epistemological position but from a stance akin to that maintained by Lewin (1990:47):

My position is that the researcher has to make choices, predominately on the basis of research questions, to select approaches and methods most likely to provide insights and explanations into matters of concern. Though epistemological assumptions underlying approaches do differ, this does not seem to me to lead to the conclusion that a research study is bound to a single set of these for all its data collection and analysis. Rather the researcher should exploit those data collection techniques which offer most promise of useful insights, and recognises the epistemological assumptions which may accompany them.

The focus on "meanings", in perspectives and of the "social construction of ideas", elements critical to this study are expounded in the qualitative research literature (Hammersley & Aitkens,1983; Bogdan and Biklen,1992) and of particular relevance in that relating to developing country contexts (Crossley and Vulliamy,1997). It is therefore useful to highlight some key epistemological assumptions.

Qualitative Research.

The two distinctions in social research, quantitative and qualitative research, stem from different concepts of what constitutes social reality (Cohen and Manion,1987:6-10). Many quantitative research principles are embedded in the view that the social world is organised and bound by rules (i.e. universal causes and effects), and the purpose of research is to uncover these laws. These often apply the "hypothetico-deductive model" of inquiry (Anderson et al,1988; Hammersley,1990) in uncovering such relationships leading to the development and challenge of theories.

The qualitative research dimension on the other hand originates from philosophical, anthropological and sociological traditions of investigations in trying to better understand the complex nature of societies and social phenomena. Many qualitative researchers hold the view that whatever rules there may seem to exist are perceptions created by individuals and given meaning, and that these can be understood best from the social context in which this occurs. The concept of "grounded theory" (Glaser and Strauss,1967; Strauss and Corbin,1990) is often used to emphasise the "inductive" approach to generating meanings, concepts and theories. Key research strategies emphasised in qualitative research (Burgess,1985, Bogdan and Biklen, 1992) which Finch summarises well argue for the use of ethnographic methods in the study of the policy process. This captures many essential elements critical to this study. She argues that ethnographic studies:

...can provide descriptive detail about particular settings. Secondly, they can provide data upon "natural" settings rather then those which have been artificially constructed for research purposes (such as a formal interviews). Third, they facilitate study of situations in the round, reflecting the complexity of the total setting rather then studying certain features which have to be decided in advance. Fourth, they can move beyond the simple documentation of outcomes and focus upon the processes through which they are produced. Finally, they make it possible to study such processes over a period of time moving away from the cross-sectional analysis taken at a single point in time which is characteristic of most quantitative work. (1988:188)

Such an approach was pertinent to this study where the objective was for the researcher to get into the context to uncover "meanings" that were embedded in the context of dominant ideas in the international policy research and priorities, in the two policy texts analysed and in the interviews conducted with UPE policy formulators and policy implementors.

The Researcher as the Research Instrument.

Aspects of the concept of "grounded theory" in qualitative research are sometimes overstated by many researchers (Bryman and Burgess,1994:6). In this study for example, the researcher was to a large extent the instrument and as such, could not approach the study as a tabula rasa. Rather, the choice of topic, the methods of investigation, the manner in which data is collected and analysed and the organisation of themes and concepts that emerge from them, are influenced by the training, experiences and interests of the researcher.

In particular my own academic training and work experience influenced the manner in which the investigation was undertaken. I brought insights on how UPE policies were implemented having worked as a primary school teacher and headmaster and then at provincial administration levels in PNG. Later, I worked at the national level in policy formulation, particularly in policy text formulation as policy officer and education planner. These experiences were useful in identifying the policy process sites and the relationships of individuals in that process. As education planner, I was involved in the analysis of UPE problems including the identification and development of suitable indicators for monitoring developments in primary education (Webster,1989). These have to some extent also influenced the concepts and definitions of UPE, an aspect discussed in chapter 4.

Later, I joined the academic community at the University of Papua New Guinea. Questions about why the goal of UPE had not been achieved were explored. Many noted researchers in PNG (Weeks,1991; Avalos,1993), have attributed this to a lack of commitment by politicians and a lack of funding, a view in congruence with the dominant international perspective based on empirical evidence derived from other developing countries (Colclough and Lewin, 1993). This perspective did not resonance with me as an indigenous person. Insider experiences and intuition indicated that all successive political governments had been committed to the goal and had backed it with adequate levels of funding since 1978, (except for 1986 and 1987, when a political directive to move funding from higher education institutions to primary education was not implemented by bureaucrats).

Hence alternative explanations were explored, mainly from a functional, rationalistic approach. These included arguing that funds allocated to primary education were not fully utilised because the CEP project fund disbursement procedures and the government budget cycle did not synchronise with the school calendar (Webster,1994). Other possible causal factors investigated were that nationally developed strategies were inappropriate for dealing with local level constraints and that school level operational approaches could be more effective (Webster,1993), or that the information systems used were inappropriate for monitoring progress and for allocation of funds for effective UPE programs (Webster,1995a). As pointed out earlier, a similar line of enquiry would have been pursued here had it not been for the data and events that unfolded during the period of the study.

The researcher's educational training in a variety of disciplines was also influential in the critical reading and interpretation of texts and in generating meanings. In particular, exposure to the disciplines of economics and development studies, and in education, of international and comparative education and of education policy and planning, provided useful insights. Training in educational planning techniques of data analysis was useful in re-organising the data obtained at the international level and for processing of PNG data, and helped me to perceive the problems and prospects for UPE in ways different to that stated in the literature.

A multi-disciplinary approach as well as the exploratory nature of the study led to the choice of a case study strategy. The reasons for selecting this strategy are discussed next.

A Case Study Approach.

A case study approach permits the researcher to concentrate on a specific instance or situation and to identify, or attempt to identify, the various interactive processes at work particularly, when the "boundaries between phenomena and context are not clearly evident" (Yin,1994:33). It also permits, the "triangulation of various data sources and processes, obtaining various perspectives of those involved, to present a more rounded and complete picture of phenomena" (Hakim,1992,63).

The second factor in choosing the case study approach had to do with the availability of material. The Jomtien Conference and the follow up activities of agencies and the PNG Department of Education provided ample material on international and national perspectives for UPE. In PNG, the two critical policy texts were available for analysis, and the researcher's own experience with the policy text production process facilitated a critical analysis of the means through which dominant views had emerged.

The researcher's previous work experience and contacts with the Ministry of Education at the policy level were also of importance to the design of the study. The researcher knew what to look for, where to look, what material was relevant and who to interview. The frankness of information collected from in-depth interviews and discussions with officers of the Ministry and the sharing of ideas that followed was something an external researcher, even someone from PNG, would probably not have had access to.

I was thus an outsider yet felt like an insider during the period of the research. Hence the dilemmas of impartiality and bias associated with insider researchers were balanced with being informed by exposure to outside perspectives. The researcher was looking for information and for ways which these experiences could be brought to play in processing and making meaning of the data. Key decisions on the research design, in the analysis of the policy texts in PNG and on the context in which these had evolved would not have materialised without this inside knowledge.

The various data collection techniques used in this study are discussed next.

Data Collection Methods.

Data were collected using two main techniques. These were textual analysis of primary and secondary documents and selective in-depth interviews. The former involved the textual analysis of international documents and of those primary sources pertaining to PNG. Interviews were at two levels, that of senior policy formulation officials at the national level and secondly of provincial education administrators, responsible for UPE policy implementation. A short survey questionnaire was also used to gauge the perspectives of 13 provincial education administrators. The methods and sources of data collected and the means used for analysis are discussed briefly below.

Documentary Sources.

At the international level, primary documentary sources included policy documents published by the international agencies on education policies, particularly the World Bank (e.g. 1995, Priorities and Strategies for Education) and UNESCO (e.g. 1992, Education For All; The Requirements). A secondary source was the critique of these policies found mainly in journal articles (King,1991; Samoff,1996a; Lauglo,1996). In PNG, government policy documents and memos from working files were key sources of data on national perspective and insights to UPE policy developments. This was supplemented with secondary sources from local research publications and of journal articles in local journals (e.g. PNG Journal of Education) as well as international journals (e.g. Comparative Education,1993; special edition on Education in the South Pacific).

The study of these texts involved critical analysis of the contents, by engaging with the literature through a process of interpretation and the creation of meanings. Bowe et al (1992:11) label such texts as "writerly texts", where the reader is engaged actively in a process of interpretation and giving meanings to policy values articulated. The other form identified as "readerly texts" imbue fixed meanings and values where the reader is not actively engaged in creative interpretation. It was recognised that not only was the researcher giving meaning to the texts, but that other secondary sources such as the critiques of the education policy statements of international agencies, were also writerly texts by those authors. The interpretation also involved reading such texts as historical documents reflecting the perspectives of particular authors recognising that the researcher as an historian re-interprets those documents (Carr,1985). Through a process of reading and critical analysis of the texts, the changes in education policy research and priorities over time, and in particular the changing concepts of UPE that led to changes in choice of strategies, began to emerge (see chapters 2 and 3).

These documents were obtained from a variety of sources as acknowledged below.

Library Based Research.

Library research in PNG was conducted using the University of Papua New Guinea's rich archival material held in the New Guinea Collection. The official government policy is that copies of all research carried out in PNG must be made available to the University's New Guinea Collection because of its expertise in handling and storing such material for reference. The PNG Journal of Education's regular special issue of the "Bibliography of Education" that ranges from thesis work to newspaper articles and policy position papers by the Ministry of Education proved to be a useful guide to locating material. The New Guinea Collection also collates newspaper stories and letters to the editor from the Post Courier, the main national daily paper and the weekly Times (now the Independent), on microfiche and was used to locate stories and material other then official government documents relating to primary education. This proved to be a rich source of local views on problems affecting the education system, a source also appreciated by other researchers (Harber,1997). This was supplemented with material, particularly government documents, held at the Government's National Library at Waigani.

The facilities of the Bristol University library at the Graduate School of Education, the Social Science Library and the School for Policy Studies were also utilised. These were particularly useful in providing an understanding of the background from which international education policy research had evolved and was being articulated.

UNESCO Documents.

Some material relating to the Jomtien preparatory documents, reports of the proceedings and follow up of EFA program documents were obtained from the EFA Secretariat at UNESCO. Material relating to the Asia Pacific Region were obtained from the PNG UNESCO Secretariat in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea during field work. Contacts with UNESCO Paris were useful in obtaining further documents particularly the document "Analyses, Agendas and Priorities for Education in Africa" (UNESCO,1996a), which Samoff (1996a) had referred to but was not available at Bristol nor through the inter library loan facilities. This document later led to the researcher requesting further material that was cited on the work of the Policy and Sector Analysis Division of UNESCO in education sector studies (UNESCO,1995). This proved to be critical in locating the PNG education sector study examined in chapter 5 within the wider international framework of UNESCO's recent work in facilitating local capacity for carrying out education sector studies.

PNG Government Documents.

PNG Government documents included plan documents, position papers, and reports and of correspondence held in files of the PNG EFA Education Plan working papers. The Secretary for Education gave approval for access to all documents and files that were pertinent to the study. The memos presented personal views to the people to whom they were addressed. One particular working draft position paper which reflected the views of the international consultant, which had been incorporated in the EFA Plan document, was of special significance in this study. While the researcher was privy to much confidential information, discretion has been applied in respect of the trust given, to maintain confidentiality where necessary, and to use whatever material needs to be drawn on for this study.

Government documents of particular significance to this study are;

1. The PNG Country Position Papers presented at the Jomtien EFA Conference.
2. The EFA Education Plan of 1994-2000.
3. The two subsequent follow up reports on initiatives taken following the EFA conference.
4. The Education Sector Study Report of 1991.

Ministry Files consulted were;

1. The Working papers of the EFA Education Plan.
These were files containing papers, copies of memos and drafts of the EFA plan.
2. CEP Files.
The CEP as discussed in chapter 4 was the main source of funding for UPE related projects administrated by the Education Department. The files held information on funds allocated by the Ministry of Finance and the break down of these to provinces. Only files for 1989-1991 held by the Planning Branch were viewed. Frequent changes in the administration of the programme made it difficult to locate and get an exact picture of what was happening. However, interviews with the manager of the CEP revealed that funding for UPE was adequate, contrary to views expressed by the policy makers and those found in the national plans; but these funds had not been used. This was followed up in interviews with provincial education administrators.

Statistical Data.

Statistical Data for Education and other key areas for UPE at the international level were obtained from UNESCO's 1993 World Education Report. These were analysed and reworked as presented in Chapter 3. Raw data for PNG were obtained from the Planning Branch of the Department of Education. This was processed and woven into the text indicating trends and the current status of UPE as presented in chapter 4.

Qualitative Interviews.

Interviews allow for the researcher to get inside the context and understand the perspectives of those who are involved (Burgess,1984). In-depth interviews were conducted in PNG to elicit information at two levels. First, that of policy making at the national level which would influence and shape the contents of the policy texts for UPE. However, crucial decision making takes place at the provincial level for implementation of UPE policies in important areas, such as school location, expansion and the employment and deployment of teachers. It was therefore also vital to get the insights of those responsible for interpreting and implementing UPE policy strategies formulated at the provincial level. Nine officials at the national level and three provincial education administrators were interviewed.

The interview strategy therefore involved taping an open ended conversational style interview in a relaxed atmosphere matching what Davies (1997) prefers as "structured conversation" and not the stimulus-response image the term "interview" connotes. The researcher knew all of those officials on a personal basis and the structured conversations in retrospect were as Davies,1997:134) describes; "a social event ..... where two or more people are talking, and using and interpreting language in a conscious and unconscious manner". In many instances, these involved sharing of experiences rather then eliciting new information because many of the interviewees and the researcher had worked together before on UPE policies and they knew that the researcher knew as much as they did about UPE issues in PNG. This can also be an obstacle as things taken for granted could reveal more insights to the cultural stranger if the most basic questions are asked (Davies,1997:143), but one which was unavoidable in this instance. In the course of the conversations, the interviewer was careful in ensuing that the informants' perceptions of the nature and importance of UPE were captured rather then imposing or influencing the informants responses. Questions were not put directly, rather, the interview guide with questions and notes served to guide the conversations. The interview data were then transcribed in full and the texts were read and analysed to identify and tease out the key themes and concepts held.

Structure of the Book

This chapter has set out the rationale and intellectual context for the study. The methodology section then presented the design of the study in detail, setting out the terrain and the key concepts used in the study. The methodological issues leading the choice of a case study approach set within a theoretically informed review of the literature, and providing an effective way to illuminate and critique the process of international transfer of ideas were considered. Finally the data collection techniques were presented.

In the second chapter, the emergence of international policy research riding piggy back on donor aid and the inherent problems this poses for policy and planning to improve education systems in developing countries are identified. In particular, the chapter explores the dominance of certain paradigms in research and policy priorities that exclude other perspectives along with the disjunction between the agendas of education policy research and priorities of international agencies and those of developing countries.

The third chapter examines the concept of UPE and the difficulties with measuring its status. It looks at contemporary indicators and provides a global view of the current status of UPE. International ideas on what the major constraints are and what developing countries should do to move forward are also critically examined. The agenda for the Jomtien Conference and the international case for UPE is discussed.

The fourth chapter looks at policy developments in Papua New Guinea, setting out the contextual background within which UPE policies have been pursued. It discusses the impact of two key projects undertaken to universalise primary education and reviews the current status and strategies.

Chapter Five analyses the two key policy text documents produced in PNG following Jomtien, the PNG Education Sector Study and the EFA Education Plan. It identifies who was involved, what perspectives were brought to analyse UPE problems and what UPE policy strategies emerge in the documents.

Chapter six identifies the national perspectives on UPE as presented in official documents and reflected in in-depth interviews with key officials. It offers additional insights into the influences on the outcomes of the policy texts and of national perspectives on UPE policy. This is then contrasted with the perspectives of provincial education administrators to assess the impact at the implementation level.

Chapter seven, the concluding chapter further analyses and discusses these findings and the evidence that has emerged from the study. It examines the implications for UPE in PNG as well as for the international level. Secondly, the extent of international influences on national policies are discussed within the three contexts of policy making; the context of influence, the context of policy text production and the context of practice. Finally, the implications for international education policy research and in particular the lessons derived from the Education Sector Study are discussed.

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