Category Archives: Participants

Marketization, Managerialism and School Reforms: A Study of Public-Private Partnerships in Elementary Education in Delhi

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Vidya K.S.

Vidya K.S. joined the Max Weber Stiftung Transnational Research Group “Poverty and Education in Modern India” in 2014. She is a doctoral student at the Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi, where she works on the interaction between global and national discourses of privatisation in school.

Through the late 1970s, there was a fundamental repositioning of education in relation to the nation-state, most notably in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Part of larger processes of economic reforms initiated by New Right governments in these countries, a central feature of this trend was the move to “disempower centralized educational bureaucracies and create in their place devolved systems of schooling, entailing significant degrees of institutional autonomy and a variety of forms of school based management and administration” (Whitty 1997: 299). These reforms were advocated with the view of addressing the rising discourse of falling educational standards in public schools in these countries that blamed teachers and poor school management (Whitty 1997, Helsby 1999, Connell 2009, Maguire 2010).

In the run up to the reforms, various facets of the school came under public scrutiny. These included forms of management, kinds of curriculum, teaching and learning transactions and the structures of labour hierarchies within schools and across school administration boards. The project of educational reform led to new forms of partnerships between the state and the private sector. Principles of public management emphasising performance and outcomes popular in the corporate industrial sector were imported as alleviatory measures into the public school system. Increasingly, these typologies of reform are being imported into later developing countries, including India, as effective measures of repairing an increasingly maligned public school system. The modes through which these discourses of reform are interfacing with educational reforms in the context of a postcolonial country such as India present a complex picture today.

The focus of this research study is to examine these broader global discourses of reform and the complex nature of this interface with a heterogeneous government schooling system in India. The consequent changes that these reforms impose on the school will be examined through the lens of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) that are one of the key modes through which markets are entering elementary education in the country. Teacher training programs are an emerging form of PPP that are seen as central to improving school outcomes. Apart from a survey of the range and nature of teacher training PPPs, the study will examine the ‘Teach for India’ (TFI) intervention, one significant PPP in teacher training, that seeks to address educational inequity in teaching-learning transactions in the classroom.

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Educational & Professional Status of Scheduled Castes/Tribes: Attainment & Challenges

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Bharat Chandra Rout

Bharat Chandra Rout submitted his doctoral thesis on social justice and higher education in the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi. Currently he is a research fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research and assistant editor of the journal ‘College Post’, a quarterly journal of the Indian Colleges Forum.

Scheduled Castes [SC] and Scheduled Tribes [ST] constitute around one-fourth of the total population of India. Both of these communities are considered as deprived and exploited for various reasons. While SCs were (and even now are) subjected to discrimination and marginalization through the processes of untouchability and rigid caste practices, STs were deprived and exploited because of their socio-cultural and geographical isolation in Indian society. The caste system presupposes a form of social stratification in which people in the society are divided into different ‘strata’. The essential characteristics of a caste-based division of society into different hierarchical caste groups are, amongst others, the rigid occupational entitlements by birth, rigid caste identity based on endogamy and a lack of social mobility. The dominant and depressed caste groups in India are characterized by the differential access to societal opportunities and entitlements, social mobility and larger social/public resources. It is the lower strata of the society, particularly that of SCs and STs, to which social opportunities and economic facilities have long been denied. Access to public resources, institutions and even to basic needs were structurally guided by the system of social stratification. In other words, the caste system legitimized the forms and contours of neglect and deprivation and wilfully rationalized marginalization and discrimination of SCs and STs.

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Recasting the Self: Missionaries and the Education of the Poor in Kerala (1854-1956)

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Divya Kannan.

Divya Kannan is currently pursuing her PhD in Modern Indian History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her study seeks to examine the history of education and discourses on poverty in the late 19th and  20th century Kerala, particularly amongst so-called lower caste groups.

The history of education in India is relatively a new field of research compared to its counterparts in sociology and psychology. Although, there have been studies on the system of modern education in the country from the 19th century onwards, most debates have tended to look at policy shifts. These can be broadly classified into two categories. One category of research comprises chronological histories of Indian education, detailing major policy shifts and the impact of western education on Indian society and polity. This group has argued within the simplistic framework of impact-response of the benefits of English education for India. One of the debates which has occupied scholarly attention in this regard has been the Anglicist-Orientalist controversy of the 1830s. Another loosely defined category, particularly in the post-independence period, has mined rich sources (albeit a majority of them official) to understand the trajectory of schooling in colonial India by looking at aspects of technical, vocational and mass education. The historical study of education has moved beyond the noting of enrolment figures towards assessing the role of education in shaping political contexts and social relationships. Questions of inequality, poverty, discrimination, assertion, empowerment and politicization have come to the forefront of new research on education.

Despite their evangelical agenda, mission schools became an important factor in local societies by enabling formal schooling opportunities to hitherto excluded groups. These mission schools provided instruction in the three Rs as well as subjects such as history, geography, elementary science and basic vocational training. For labouring populations, this opened up new opportunities, albeit limited, to develop new modes of expression, participation in the literate public sphere and to aspire for social mobility through new jobs. Missionary schooling, particularly for Christian converts also had a dual objective. European protestant missionaries aimed at moulding a new sense of self amongst their converts by attempting to break down caste markers. Education was the domain to introduce new habits, patterns of work, social organisation, gender roles and language for Christian converts.

It is this aspect of forging a new ‘individual’ that characteristically marks the project of schooling the poor in colonial India. It can be argued that it was a ‘double civilizing mission’ on the part of European missionaries and colonial government.  On the one hand, in tune with the colonial idea of a civilizing mission for Indians, as a whole, and on the other, ‘the civilizing of the lower caste/classes’ in particular.  In villages, missionaries opened schools for marginalised groups, and vernacular instruction was often provided only up to the elementary level, owing to financial constraints, among other reasons. They, however, actively engaged in the secondary and higher education in the towns, chiefly aimed at attracting the upper castes/classes and providing an English education which many wanted to gain government employment. This gulf in the educational provision tended to perpetuate existing social divisions. This research seeks to examine these overlapping motives by directing the historian’s lens to the education of the poor in the late 19th and 20th century Kerala, in south-western India.

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Higher Education and Profit Logic in the Education System. Social Consequences of the Expansion of Low-cost-private-universities in Peru

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Carmela Chávez.

Carmela Chávez is a researcher at the Pontificia Universidad Catòlica del Peru (PUCP) and is currently pursuing a PhD in sociology. She is interested in the relationship between state and society and the development of citizenship, particularly in Peru’s post-conflict context of democratic consolidation.

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Education Protests (photo: Quetzal-Leipzig.de)

This project explores the changes in higher education in Peru since the neoliberal economic reforms during the nineties, especially in the offer of low-cost-private universities. My hypothesis is that those changes, related with organizational and academic changes, have been part of a bigger social change in which either university students or investors are part of a new social middle class that values higher education as a private good for social mobility. Because of that, all the university system has changed and a new institutionalism has arrived related with education. These new universities have developed in a completely different way to traditional universities and have created new institutional models in terms of organization-administration, the organization of the academic community and mechanisms for student participation within the university community.

Over the last 20 years, the major change to have affected Peruvian universities has been the rise and dominance of the private university. Today, in 2014, there are 140 universities in Peru, out of which 64% are private universities and more than half are profit driven. The majority of these are run as businesses and cost less to attend than their traditional counterparts. They are profit making universities that are being set up and promoted by the so called new educational businesses (who often own other pre-school centers, schools, technical colleges, etc.), important national and international corporations and even political leaders from national political parties.

There is a new type of university student who have high expectations for achieving social ascendency via higher education, but limited capacities for competing at an academic level and social restrictions (higher standards required in entrance exams, agreements signed with first class schools, language proficiency as a prerequisite for completing studies, etc.) which, in turn, means low cost, private universities bring down their standards of quality to allow for the admission and continuation of their university students. However, there are serious doubts about the quality of this higher education and the medium-term consequences of this in terms of how these new professionals will then access a labor market that is constantly more and more competitive and demanding. Within this context, it is important to study the transformation of the private university as a key institution for preparing new generations of young professionals and for developing a new type of educational institution. Underlying this question is the debate over whether or not higher education is a public good or a private exchangeable good.

 

Educational Governance and Inequality in Higher Education: The Case of the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Jane-Frances Lobnibe.

Jane-Frances Lobnibe is a lecturer at the University for Development Studies, Ghana. Her research interests center on globalization and international education, diversity and social justice, gender relations, ecofeminism and sustainability.

In 1992, the University for Development Studies (UDS) was established with a mandate to increase higher education access for students in deprived rural regions of the country and northern Ghana in particular. As the first higher educational institution in the northern part of the country, the siting of the university campuses in three regions of northern Ghana serves in part to address the structural inequalities brought about by both colonial and post-colonial development policies as well as helps to address issues of access and affordability to bridge the human development gap between northern Ghana and the rest of the country. After twenty years of its existence, how far has this pro poor university fulfilled the socio-economic and equity imperatives of the four northernmost regions? This question needs to be addressed  in the context of contemporary research on structural inequalities in higher education that concentrate on conceptualizations that locate the politics of governance in processes that include or exclude certain groups from participation, representation and access  to educational and social practices.

This paper draws on interviews conducted with university administrators, and an analysis of enrollment trends and profiles of the students admitted into programs of two major faculties (school of Medicine and Agriculture) to assess UDS’ role in addressing educational inequality in the country within the framework of national accreditation standards and university policies. It attempts to unearth the silences of UDS governance that include/exclude social actors, perpetuating the very inequality it is purported to address. It will examine the extent to which the potentially equalizing effects of education have been ordered by the national accreditation board and UDS’ governance, and the implications for students enrolling from the deprived regions. The paper contends that the university has paid little attention to issues of access and representation of groups of social actors, but has rather adopted the narratives and production of images and principles that have historically been used to exclude the very groups from higher education participation for which it was established. It further argues that attempts to correct inequalities in higher education created by British colonial and post-colonial development policies cannot be done without engaging and confronting the very mechanisms and structures that have created the divide. To live up to its mandate UDS will have to rethink its governance principles as well as the narratives and images that are used to qualify or disqualify specific individuals from entrance.

 

Hauptschüler. The Role of Education in Exclusion Processes in Germany

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Stefan Wellgraf.

Stefan Wellgraf obtained his PhD from the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder. His dissertation dealt with problems of exclusion in Berlin, Germany. In 2015, he will start a research project on the affective dimension of exclusion.

The German terms “Hauptschule” and “Hauptschüler”, loosely translated as general secondary school and its students, are associated with a range of negative associations. Consequently, the learning conditions at “Hauptschulen” have become increasingly problematic and reputation of those schools has deteriorated. Education plays a crucial role in this processes. In German, the term “Bildung” has a double connotation: On the one hand, it stands for an ideal of self-development, for the deployment of human capacities and for a transformation of the relations to oneself, to others and to the world. This ideal of “Bildung” can be traced back to German Idealism around 1800 and was therefore often regarded as a specifically German interpretation of “Bildung”. On the other hand, there is an idea of “Bildung” focusing more on the acquisition of those skills and certificates which promise economic benefits. This tendency has often been linked to an “American” or “neoliberal” model of education. Both models were never neatly separated, but coexisted – both in Germany and in the USA – in diverse and historically changing constellations. Taking both sides into account nevertheless helps to understand contemporary forms of exclusion in German “Hauptschulen” and reactions to them by “Hauptschüler”. The problem of the “Hauptschule” is that it cannot live up to either of the two versions of “Bildung” and has instead become an institution of only negative selection. A transregional perspective could help to compare these phenomena and situate them in a global context of historic and contemporary politics of education and labor. The role of the state as well as transregional processes of neoliberalization will come into focus from this perspective. Such a view is particularly relevant, given that the majority of “Hauptschüler” in Berlin are migrants. In a way, they transform the schools into transnational spaces from below.

Social Origin and Inequality of Opportunities in Colombia: Analysis of Educational Achievement and Occupational Attainment among University Graduates

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Andrea Cuenca Hernández.

Andrea Cuenca is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Education, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In her dissertation, she examines how socio-demographic factors, institutions and contexts influence educational achievement and occupational success.

This doctoral project analyzes the impact of social origins (SO) on educational achievement and occupational attainment of higher education (HE) graduates in Colombia. The questions addressed are: to what extent and through what mechanisms do SO determine the educational outcomes of individuals in the completion of a first university degree and the attendance of postgraduate education? To what extent and through what mechanisms do SO determine the occupation destination of graduates? And more generally, is the Colombian educational system contributing to equalize opportunities among individuals or reinforcing the inequalities associated to SO?

The research design consists of two main parts: (1) a statistical analysis of large existing datasets from the national information systems at the secondary and tertiary education levels, and; (2) of primary data collected from an online graduate survey. The first method allows capturing an overall scenario, by identifying the trajectories of university graduates (n=16,892) since the last year of school until their entrance into the world of work. The second part provides a deeper analysis on the explanatory mechanisms lying behind the reproduction of inequality of opportunities among a sample of this population (n=1,086).

Results from the first part suggest that SO have a significant impact on educational outcomes during secondary school but also at higher educational levels and in the later transition into the world of work. They point out that SO operate directly through socioeconomic status and cultural capital. The effects from the latter are particularly strong on the academic achievement at secondary education. SO also operate indirectly, through the segmentation of educational paths, on the academic quality of the institutions attended, and on income.

Two main complementary interpretations follow form these findings. On one hand, they are in accordance with the reproduction theories: highly-educated families through the parental credentials along with their economic capital, promote efficient learning environments for their children, who are more likely to reach the same educational level or higher. On the other hand, the mediation of family education between origin and destination suggest that it is also a device for social mobility. In this particular case, the quality of secondary school (strongly affected by parental credentials) is of special importance for later success at the university and the labor market. These findings emphasize the key issue of qualitative inequalities. Providing academic quality at secondary public schools is a way the Colombian educational system could break the existing link between origin and destination. At the HE level, however, while privatization has furthered participation of non-traditional students, it also has reinforced inequalities insofar as quality in private education continues to be a privilege.

Gender Inequalities in Medical Education: Accessibility of Orthopedic Training for Female Interns in Egypt

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Marwa Schumann.

Marwa Schumann works as an instructor at the medical education department, faculty of medicine of the Alexandria University. She is currently researching gender inequalities in medical education.

Feminizations of medicine and gender inequality are paradoxical factors with an increasing influence on the field of surgery in general and orthopedic surgery in particular. The increased number of female medical students and graduates has led to a paradoxical shortage of orthopedic surgery residents; only a very small proportion of female graduates choose to become orthopedic surgeons. Reasons included female disinterest in orthopedics, the long working hours, increased physical demands, male domination and male nature of the field causing biases and stereotypes about and against women. Female exposure to negative attitudes discouraging them from choosing a specific “male-dominated” career show how education can function as means of reinforcing social and gender inequalities rather than correcting them.

Main objectives of the research are to determine the gender influences on access to education and training of interns, to explore the motivations and expectations of a female intern training in the orthopedic surgery department and to explore the challenges facing the first female intern choosing orthopedic surgery training.

This is a qualitative study carried out within the framework of a narrative inquiry methodology where data is generated in the form of stories. It is situated in constructivist epistemology where knowledge is “socially constructed”. Purposeful sampling was carried out to conduct semi- structured interviews with the first female intern training in the orthopedic surgery department to explore her motivation, expectations, preparation and challenges she faced to get the approval for orthopedic training. A focus group discussion is chosen to elicit the attitudes of peers. Interviews and focus group discussions will be audio-recorded, transcribed, translated and analyzed.

Gender issues seem to affect the training and learning experience of house officers in general and those training in the surgery departments in particular. Sexism and negative attitudes towards women working as physicians in general and as surgeons in specific, act as barriers against achieving expected skills and competences. The hidden curriculum plays an important role in gender discrimination. Negative effects of gender discrimination among house officers extend beyond de-motivation of trainees and limiting the career choices to affect the quality and safety of healthcare provided. Equal training opportunities should be provided to medical interns regardless their gender.

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Youth Experiences in Secondary School: Massifaction, Dynamics of Inequality and Figures of Citizenship in Argentinia

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Pedro Núñez.

Pedro Núñez is currently teaching at Universidad de Buenos Aires. His research is related to the analysis of the relationship between schools, youth and political participation.

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(Foto: Pedro Núñez)

In recent years, alongside a greater visibility of youth political participation, youth studies devoted considerable attention to the relationship between the youth and policy, which resulted in a growth of research that addressed different issues and events featuring young. Studies of secondary school are part of this trend. Also, educational research in the country and the region has a long-standing tradition, since the 80s, in the study of the incidence of the educational processes in the production and reproduction of social and educational inequalities. The present project seeks to problematize these issues, by studying the topics of citizenship, the feelings of injustice and the situations of discrimination, and by incorporating to the analysis the voice, perceptions and practices of young people in secondary school.

Starting from these initial ideas it wonders: Which changes and innovations take place in the way of “teaching” and signifying citizenship at school, from the moment on certain social groups have access to the level to which they had historically been excluded? What figures of citizenship emerge under the educational fragmentation process? What demands gain primacy in this context and what are the experiences in relation to the visibility/marginality based on the sexualities/genders, the social class and different forms of discrimination and construction of distinctions? What are the injustices that activate student movements?

This work in progress is part of a line of research that problematizes ways of building citizenship and participation in secondary schools. It presents a brief characterization of the situation of secondary schools in Argentina, especially of the changes in school enrollment, mainly in terms of coverage and the process of educational fragmentation. It is focusing on three urban centers (City of Buenos Aires, Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires and Rosario). The main interest is in the study of the perception that the students have about the rules that regulate school interactions, the situations of discrimination, the injustices and the formal spaces for participation – like coexistence agreements and student centers.

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Working Class Youths and Education in Post-Industrial Mumbai

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Sumeet Mhaskar.

Sumeet Mhaskar is an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen. He is currently working on a project that examines rural urban linkages in globalising Mumbai city with a particular focus on rural labour migrants’ urban experience.

During the last two decades of the 20th century large scale industrial closures took place in major Indian cities such as Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Kolkata and Mumbai. The industrial closures resulted in the retrenchment of a large amount of workforce as well as a sharp decline in the employment opportunities in the formal manufacturing sector. The implications of industrial closures on the workforce and to a certain extent on their families have received significant scholarly attention. However, there remains a major gap in the literature that investigates the implications of industrial closure on working class youths’ educational and occupational attainment. Whilst studies have hinted at the negative implications of workers’ retrenchment on their children’s education and overall life chances this aspect remains largely understudied. This project aims to fill this gap by examining both working class youths’ educational attainment as well as their occupational choices. In order to explore this phenomenon this project relies on the quantitative survey data of 924 ex-millworkers families that was collected during 2009 and qualitative interviews with ex-millworkers children, workers, trade unionists, school teachers and social and political activists. In addition, personal documents, biographies, relevant reports have been consulted.

Migration of African Muslim Students to West-Malaysia

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Frauke-Katrin Kandale.

Frauke-Katrin Kandale is a postdoctoral researcher in the transdisciplinary research project “Africa’s Asian Option” and a lecturer at the department of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe University Frankfurt. Her current research investigates the migration of African students to West-Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley.

Malaysia as a Muslim majority society experiences an influx of students and migrants from different African countries. Compared to other preferred destinations for study and living, as the UK or US, growing numbers of African students opt for Malaysia due to comparably easy accessibility of entry visas and affordable living costs. Especially after September 11, 2001, Malaysia positioned itself as an alternative study destination for those international students from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa who were not able to enter North American universities because of their Islamic religion. For the Malaysian private higher education sector, African students from upper middle class backgrounds turned out to be a well-paying target group. Approximately 25 000 African students are currently enrolled at public and private institutions of higher education in Malaysia. The Islamic religion, as well as English as the language of instruction, become important pull-factors when choosing Malaysia for study.

Although Malaysia is a multireligious and multiethnic society, African students are still a new phenomenon. Thus, they are sometimes labelled as Awang Hitam (black guy) actively engaged in the black market and in dark businesses. In this process of Othering, African migrants are being stereotyped as bogeyman by the Malaysian media. This paper will give insights in the lives and the coping strategies of young Africans from Nigeria and Sudan studying and working in the Klang Valley.

Primed to Labour: ‘Education’ in Industrial and Artisan Schools of Colonial India (1860s-1940s)

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Arun Kumar.

Arun Kumar is a doctoral candidate in Medieval and Modern History at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Georg-August-Universität Gottingen. His research interests intersect educational and labour histories in colonial South Asia with focus on education of ‘labouring poor’, transnational circulation and transformation of ideas and practices in twentieth century, and everyday restructuring of caste hierarchies.

This thesis is about the poor and their education in colonial India. It enquires into the nature of education which was imparted to ‘educate’ poor children who were deemed unfit for book-centred, ‘proper’ schooling in didactic institutions such as industrial, reformatory and factory schools, rural schools, orphanages, children’s homes, workhouses, and railway workshops set up by Christian missionaries, ‘natives’, and colonial masters. The subject of these institutions were the ‘unruly and indolent’ class of low castes and untouchable poor, artisans and factory workers, peasants, beggars, vagrants, juvenile offenders, fakirs, gamblers, thieves, and criminal tribes. The thesis analyses the tension between the stated objectives of these institutions which was to produce an educated, disciplined, and semi-skilled work force and the poor’s aspiration for social and material upward mobility by getting a post in colonial offices.

This thesis will look into the issues of poor childhood, child labour, production and reproduction of social hierarchies. While looking in and out of the British Empire, the thesis will also look at the flow of pedagogic ideas and practices from Germany, Britain, and America in colonial geographies to show how the local institutions were fitted in the global pattern and yet were not global. It examines the circulation, contestation, appropriation, and transformation of ideas to educate, train, regulate, order and reform both morally and physically the bodies of the poor children in colonies. By looking at the everyday histories of schooling for the poor in India at the fin de siècle, this work unfolds the shared global vision of an education attempting to reform the figure of the ‘poor’ in nineteenth and twentieth century. To trace these networks of clues, this thesis uses missionary and colonial writings, school records, vernacular literature, and oral testimonies.

The Informal Education Sector in Egypt: Between State, Market and Civil Society

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Sarah Hartmann.

Sarah Hartmann is a doctoral candidate at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests include youth, education and social class in the Arab World as well as anthropological and political science approaches to statehood and informality.

This PhD project explores the relationship between Egyptian citizens and the state through an analysis of the widespread practice of private tutoring for school students, i.e. by taking a closer look at the coexistence, interdependence and entanglement of formal institutions and informal practices in the Egyptian education sector. Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Cairo in 2009-2010, it provides a detailed account and analysis of some of the institutions, actors, social relations, and discourses involved in the provision of supplementary tutoring for school students, with a special focus on tutoring centers in lower income neighborhoods of Cairo. Despite its socio-economic and political significance, no in-depth ethnographic study of this phenomenon has been undertaken so far. The project aims to contribute to current debates on statehood and informal institutions in anthropology and political science. While tutoring developed as a coping strategy to compensate for the deficiencies of an underfunded and overburdened public education system, a means for teachers to supplement their meager salaries, and a strategy for students and parents confronted with the pressures of a strongly examination-oriented education system, it has turned into a generalized and deeply engrained feature of Egyptian educational culture during the last decades, with social, economic and political effects and implications that go far beyond the teaching and learning process itself. The ideal of the welfare state is increasingly replaced by neoliberal values of entrepreneurship, consumerism, and the privatization of risk and responsibility, rendering access to education and other services dependent on the financial means of the individual.

The politics of higher education and the everyday life of students in Jordan and Egypt

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Daniele Cantini.

Daniele Cantini is a senior research fellow at the research cluster “Society and Culture in Motion” at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the Jordanian university system and its students. Currently, he is editing a volume on ethnographies of private universities.

This research takes the university as a vantage point to look at continuities and changes in the ways in which youth in Egypt and Jordan is socialized, citizenship is built, and differences are created and sustained. Both Egypt and Jordan witnessed a post-colonial nationalist and more or less socialist state, in which the function of the few state universities was clearly to serve the state in its efforts to modernise the country and its citizenry. This trajectory was ultimately altered in the ’90s, when the effects of the new international economic policies and the changes in the demographic composition of the countries contributed to erode the role of the state in providing employment and sense of belonging. These pushed for new directions in university policies–opening up to private universities, also of foreign origin, and partial privatizations within the public ones that were becoming less and less able to fulfil their roles. Through an ethnographic analysis of how the university concretely works, the project looks at this crucial institution to try to make sense of the most recent changes in its governance. Here the interest lies in understanding the different contexts, the local and the global, and their numerous intersections and conflicts. This project then looks at how all these affect the lives of youth. It explores in particular three dimensions of youth´s subjectivity, namely the political, the religious and the social (their place in the wider society as reproduced within the microcosm of the university campus and life).

Teachers’ Struggle for Income in the Congo (DRC). Between Education and Remuneration

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Cyril Owen Brandt.

Cyril Owen Brandt is currently a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam. He is researching teacher pay in contexts that are conflict-affected and lack functioning public administration.

As the ambivalent role of education for sustainable peace building is gaining increasing attention in international debates, it is important to analyze the conditions under which education is taking place. The provision of education in so-called conflict-affected and fragile countries depends on a range of factors, among which teacher remuneration plays a pivotal role.

The Congolese education sector is characterized by a gradual retreat of the state in the provision of education and an increasing authority and decision-making power of local actors. The predominance of uncodified practical norms causes constant negotiations between different actors. Among these, teachers have the particular role of providing education to the students. They must do so in a multi-scalar context of reconstruction agendas, inadequate payment, erroneous administration, practical norms and competition between schools for students. Moreover, there are a range of ambiguous effects from global and national agendas, e.g. around free primary education.

Previous studies have outlined the structural impacts on teachers, but none focused on their agency. If teachers are still coping with their very basic needs due to their income situation, quality of education is not the primary or sole concern of their everyday actions. Hence, they have developed a range of strategies to exercise their agency in relation to their income.

Teachers must invest time and money for different purposes in order to be registered and paid. They do so vis-à-vis governmental brokers in a corrupt environment. At other times, they have common objectives with parents with whom they cooperate. Moreover, there is not one teacher employment status, but a range of de facto statuses. For instance some teachers are only paid locally by parents and do not receive any governmental money.

The research design is based on the Extended Case Method and was conceived in order to allow a thorough analysis of the complex multi-scalar political economy concerning the school and teacher registration system and teacher payment. Theoretical choices include the Strategic-Relational Approach and a focus on Real Governance.

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