The Politics and Progress of the 1997 Education Reforms in Sri Lanka
Paper presented at the Symposium on The Politics of EFA Policy Formulation and Implementation at the UKFIET conference Sept 15-17 2009
Angela W. Little
Development agencies regularly appeal to ‘political will’ as a key requirement for progress towards EFA and the MDGs. Research Questions What is Political Will and where/how does it operate? How does Political Will interact with the Non Political Dimensions of Reform?
Case study Sri Lanka 1997 General Education Reforms
EFA achievements, high levels of political will and donor support for EFA policies and plans have been strong features of Sri Lanka’s 1997 policy reforms. But implementation has not ‘plain sailing’
1930-1970 Political Drivers Policy Machinery Nationalism Public debate, transparency of policy Colonial vs National Independent Public Service appoints Uneven
1970-1990s Youth Unrest Less debate, loss of transparency, political whim, donor influence Left vs Right Cabinet appoints Uneven
Regime Tensions Bureaucratic leadership Education Conditions
access Private, public, ‘central schools’ and others Media: English, Sinhala and Tamil
quality International/private National, provincial Media: Sinhala, Tamil, resurgence of English
▲Increasing politicisation of implementation ▲
What is national political will?
Public commitment to the need for policy and plans from highest political authority and continued interest in ‘results’ Establishment and personal leadership of Task Force when bureaucratic progress of the Bureaucracy is slow Close formal and informal relations between politicians, senior policy makers and implementors Financial commitments
Reform Equitable distribution of ‘excellent’ junior and senior secondary education Outcome Few gains Drivers National political will Politicians Technicians Donor...
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