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Introduction.. 8 (By the Editors)

“Educate Me”. 11 (Lenworth Wilson Jr.)

Welcome Speech.. 14 (By Mrs. Sarah Wescott-Williams, Dutch St. Martin's Commissioner of Education)

Key to a Brighter Future:  A Vision for Higher Education in the New St. Martin.. 16 (By Josianne Fleming-Artsen)

Three decades of innovations in Caribbean education systems:  Why some succeed and others don’t.. 21 (By Zellynne Jennings-Craig)

Dealing with the Historical Paradoxes of a Globalized Educationalisation – a way to write the “New” Cultural History of Education?. 50 (By Marc Depaepe)

Keep the heaps together!   Diversity, citizenship and education: St. Martin as a Caribbean immigration metropolis, lessons from Amsterdam and vice versa.. 68 (By Iwan Sewandono)

Pedagogy, identity, and politics  Educating in an identity (ethnic) crisis context: A study of the French West Indies case. 78 (By Max Bélaise)

The American University of the Caribbean:  Montserrat’s Loss, St. Marteen’s Gain   87 (By Gracelyn Cassell)

The General Agreement on Trade in Services  and Education in the Caribbean:  Three Case Studies.. 98 (By Marguerite E. Cummins-Williams)

The Evolution of Science Curricula in Developing Countries  and the Issue of Relevance   124 (By June George)

Letting the voiceless tell their stories Using oral sources for Caribbean history writing:  yet more biased accounts?. 133 (By Milton A. George)

What the Tamarind tree whispers:  Notes on a pedagogy of tragedy. 140 (By Francio Guadeloupe)

Changing Times — Creating  Inclusive Schools.. 145 (By Yegin Habtes)

Does Block Scheduling Decrease Instructional Time?  A Look at St. Croix’s Five Public Secondary Schools  using Four Block Schedule Types.. 162 (By Jeannette J. Lovern)

The concept of good governance  as a practical guide in education for public administration   177 (By Rob Paulussen)

Social and Emotional Learning: Is it the missing piece in our schools?. 184 (By Marilyn Robb)

Understanding Linguistic Diversity in Caribbean Classrooms: Ethnographic Methods for Teachers.. 191 (By Peter Snow)

Decolonizing the Educational System on St. Martin,  or How to Teach Globalization  under the Flamboyant Tree. 196 (By Maria Cijntje-Van Enckevort)

Progressive Education: an alternative or an illusion? About the implementation of educational innovations in Belgium and elsewhere. 205 (By Marc Depaepe)

Planning and Leading Change:  Creating a New Change Model for the implementation of a Teacher Education Program on St. Maarten.. 215 (By Josianne Fleming-Artsen)

Getting the Job done! Let the Sisters speak Historical development of Catholic Education on Sint Maarten (1890-1990): an oral history account.. 220 (By Milton A. George)

Doing Theology in a Caribbean Context:  The Caribbean and the challenges of becoming oneself. 236 (By Milton A. George)

Making sense of the Afro‑Caribbean concubinage  from a canon law perspective   245 (By Milton A. George)

What their modernity can teach us:  exploring the linkages between Black Atlantic identity formations in the Caribbean and consumer capitalism.. 257 (By Francio Guadeloupe)

How to Define St. Maarten Culture?. 264 (By Charlotte Hagenaars)

Educating our teachers in the Caribbean for the 21st century:  Challenges and prospects   269 (By Zellynne Jennings-Craig)

A Kingdom identity: mirage, illusion, or vision?  Some allochthonous thoughts on the European and Caribbean Dutch, unequal equals with an elusive common identity. 293 (By Silvio Sergio Scatolini Apóstolo)

Some thoughts on Education as Bildung.. 306 (By Silvio Sergio Scatolini Apóstolo)

Some thoughts on the Meaning of Education in the Learning Society. 311 (By Silvio Sergio Scatolini Apóstolo)

Some thoughts on Jean-Paul Sartre and Education.. 316 (By Silvio Sergio Scatolini Apóstolo)

Otto Huiswoud:  Political Praxis and Anti-Imperialism*. 322 (By Maria Van Enckevort)

Information about the authors.. 333






Copyright © 2006

University of St. Martin




St. Martin Studies 2006

1. Conference Proceedings:

Re-Thinking Education in the Caribbean: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. A local imperative in a global context


2. Papers on Education and/or the Caribbean





Maria Cijntje—van Enckevort

Milton A. George

Silvio Sergio Scatolini Apóstolo




Published by


University of St. Martin

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St. Martin

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To contact the editors, e-mail them to: (Maria Cijntje—van Enckevort) (Milton A. George & Silvio Sergio Scatolini Apóstolo)




St. Martin Studies 



























USM Conference Proceedings










Re-Thinking Education in the Caribbean:
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. 
A local imperative in a global context













Edited by













Maria Cijntje-Van Enckevort
Milton A. George
Silvio Sergio Scatolini Apóstolo













The colonial powers engineered a Caribbean fragmented in terms of languages, as well as legal, political, and educational systems. Even though the emancipatory movement of the last century began a process of regional exchange of ideas and ideals, active interaction and profound regional integration still remain a vocation to which the Caribbean is called. The USM Educational Conference of 2006 was conceived of as a propitious opportunity to promote the regional exchange of ideas and experiences, as well as to broaden visions and facilitate the creation of ever new networks across the Caribbean and beyond.

From the start, each of the groups that make up our societies has been confronted with the challenge to reinvent itself within the concrete geographical and historical coordinates within which it found itself—sometimes by choice, but often by force. Such a process of self-reinvention was innovatively undertaken: our forerunners managed to weave influences coming from different corners of the world into a tapestry of colours, sounds, smells, dances, tastes, languages, stories, songs, and more.

Today, our different Caribbean societies are being confronted with the challenges of an increasingly globalized world. Not only do many of our compatriots travel to foreign shores to study, work for a while, or settle down there for good, there are also thousands of newcomers who arrive on our territories with their own needs and dreams, hoping to “make it” among us. St. Martin has become a true immigration metropolis. Of all the Dutch island territories, Dutch St. Martin is the one where the foreign-born population is almost twice the size of the locally born. In such a context, even words such as “diaspora” need redefining. As always, it depends on the perspective of the one telling his or her story. Oddly enough, the stories of disillusionment and discrimination told by many of our compatriots who emigrated to apparently greener pastures resemble the stories related by the immigrants who are seeking to find a home among us. We become the other, for better and for worse.

The mobility characteristic of our transnational world entails that educators are often no longer educating their pupils and students just for their country of residence, but for the world.

Educating the future generations has always been a tall order. How to prepare our young for a world which, in a certain sense, does not yet exist; moreover, for a world that in many ways is not and will not be ours? Educating is about keeping the present in sight, which is the legacy of our past, while trying to predict and steer the course that our societies and the world will be taking.

No matter how daunting it may appear to us, the challenge to educate our young so that they can become fully-fledged members of our society is an imperative that our societies cannot neglect. We must all embrace the call to action and realize that our educational choices and deeds must be grounded on a thought-out and concerted reflection that surpasses the borders of our classrooms, schools, and even territories.

With this year’s Educational Conference, the University of St. Martin wished to contribute to the discourse on the nature, mission, shape, goals, and tools of the educational endeavour in our Caribbean region and beyond. Education is an open-ended reality, so too is the question how to do it in ways that are fair, efficient, qualitatively of high standards, and visionary.


The editors


“Educate Me”

Educate me, emancipate me, now hate me cause I’m not what you thought you created me to be...

Education has been the social tool, seeking to give meaning to our existence. “Boy go get your education so u can be somebody”.

Such a subtle tool used by the slave-masters and colonizers as they figured that this way… they wouldn’t get no resistance.

So they rape our thoughts and inject their indoctrination of superior relations, triggering an outbreak of segregation throughout my block, my town and even this wanna-be global nation.


And yet… We embrace education


Some of us use our education just to feed and caress our grand egos

Then sit around an office desk 18 hours a-day fantasizing about the Ritz Carlton and the Grand Lidos

Never getting a chance to know nor even peradventure to fulfill our telos

Trying to find the meaning of life while straying further and further away from our true purpose


And yet… We embrace education


“Education is the key to a thriving economy”, that’s what the politicians say

And of course they’re right… cause the more education you get is the more taxes you pay.

Calculus, Ecology, Statistics, Psychology, Accounting, Philosophy, History, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Technology

All this knowledge gained just to make sure that the society would acknowledge me

Acknowledging a piece of paper, rather than what truly makes us who we be.


And yet… We embrace education.


You show me a man liberated by education and I’ll show you a man enslaved by indoctrination.

Prisoners of philosophical ideals conjured up by matters of religious damnation.

Brainwashing us to think that we are being elevated by this brainwashing,

Then they leave us stuck in unemployment lines and make us redundant by employing machines.

Say they’re cutting cost of labor while the cost of education is constantly on the increase


And yet… We embrace education.


Certificates, Associates, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates degree

Propelled by self-imposed ambitions of what they want us to be

So we all wanna go to college and get into the Ivy League university

Not to be enlightened but to see what they want us to see.

Now I’m a rebel without a rebellion ‘cause I’m still paying the fee.

But this poem proves that in my mind I am free… so now I can say

You educate me, emancipate me, now hate me cause I’m not what you thought you created me to be...


Lenworth “Da Def Poet” WILSON Jr.

University of St. Martin, N.A. (Education student)



Welcome Speech

Dutch St. Martin’s Commissioner of Education




USM President, Mrs. Josianne Fleming-Artsen




Ladies and Gentleman,


Good evening!

On behalf of the government of St. Maarten I welcome those of you here, visiting our shores, especially if it is your first visit.

To all present and those yet to join you for this conference, I convey my wish for three most exciting days of deliberations, as you “re-think Caribbean Education.”

Your aim to re-think education cannot be momentary.

It cannot be a rethinking only of where we are today. We are where we are today, also educationally speaking, because of decisions we made, or did not make in the past.

Not only decisions about education and systems of education, but about our development in general. Politically, economically, socially as well.

So in my opinion, you rightfully place your aim to “re-think education” in a historic (yesterday), a present (today) and a future (tomorrow) context.

St. Maarten is privileged to host a gathering of so many distinguished scholars of Caribbean experiences in education and the educational processes of our countries. While we have not always walked the same road or done so at the same pace, many common historical issues shape our educational systems.

Our starting position, for some decades and for others centuries ago, is similar, coming out of a colonial system.

How we dealt with that legacy, what we maintained from that legacy is evident in varying degrees today in our individual educational systems.

So you have a plethora of issues that you dissect and reform, and which will still be familiar to all of us.

My own assessment is that the USM has selected a distinguished assemblage of scholars and educators from the region and beyond to do the critical examination of educational issues and matters in the Caribbean in the broadest sense of the word.

And as I stated earlier, St. Maarten is proud to host such a distinguished panel, and I add, somewhat vainly, “rightly so.”

In the words of Dr. Scatolini a few days ago: “This is a chance for the Dutch Caribbean to get on the map.” Permit me to paraphrase: This is our chance to position ourselves on the map. Not only geographically, but also educationally.

To position ourselves, we need to create the environment like USM has done now and on several occasions in the past. Bringing this calibre of scholars together.

The physical size of the University of St. Martin, while ever expanding, should never be a deterrent not to think big. In fact in today’s modern world, especially when it comes to education, the question of whether “size matters” or not, is a mute one.

As small nations, constantly seeking to stay on the cutting edge of global educational innovations, with the constraints we face, we often run the risk of overlooking our own inherent strengths.

What these are and whether they are strengths rather than occasional bursts of energy will be become evident during many of your discourses.

And finally, several of you will from varying angles be looking at the Caribbean individual, at us.

And hopefully this inspection or introspection will be the impetus to move beyond the often heard lamentations of why we are not all that we can be, but rather focus on whom we have come, despite it all.

Would that, Dr. Bélaise, from your reference, by any chance be the “new man or woman”?

Ladies and Gentlemen, again welcome, much success and even more inspiration.




Key to a Brighter Future:
A Vision for Higher Education in the New St. Martin

University of St. Martin, the Netherlands Antilles


Currently, the Netherlands Antilles are undergoing a constitutional change, which would separate all five islands, Curacao, Bonaire, St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius and allow each one to have its own relation with the Netherlands.

St. Maarten is looking forward to achieving this new status and thus is preparing for this new identity in which the University of St. Martin has its role to play.

The Conference on Rethinking Education in the Caribbean has inspired me to make a contribution to the preface of the Country St. Martin status. The theme I will address focuses on The Key to a Brighter Future: A Vision for Higher Education in the New St Martin. Some of the challenges facing tertiary and higher education on St. Martin are pertinent to the constitutional change debate and some guidelines for a vision for tertiary and higher education for the Country St. Martin are recommended.

An excelling tertiary and higher education sector will be key to a progressive, unified, and novel society in the country St. Martin. Education and training after the high school levels will be more important in realizing career directions and lifelong opportunities to achieve a balanced, unified and culturally and socially vibrant society, in which each and everyone can participate. With more emphasis on self reliance, the demand for more knowledgeable and research oriented human resources will also increase. For every St. Martin citizen, the ability of being able to unlearn and relearn, research and document, change direction or career paths will be paramount to survival and success. An onus will be put on tertiary and higher education to fulfil these demands.  

In St. Martin, serious work needs to be done in the tertiary and higher education sectors and there are considerable challenges. Although the island boasts a post secondary vocational institute, The St. Maarten Institute for Technology and Hospitality (SMITH), a hybrid commuter college, The University of St. Martin (USM), and a post graduate medical institution, The American University of the Caribbean (AUC), there is a fundamental need for a sound tertiary and higher education policy.  Recognition should be given to the fact that the majority of students at the AUC are not St. Martin natives or Antilleans, while at USM the ratio is 60% Antilleans to 40 % non Antilleans (University of St. Martin Annual Report, 2005). The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development states, in its report entitled Educational Policy Reform in the Netherlands Antilles, that “Tertiary education is a neglected area of educational provision of the Netherlands Antilles” (2001:26). On St. Maarten this is no exception and to add to this as Rowley points out, “Higher education institutions are recognized as being in the knowledge business and increasingly exposed to pressures in the market” (2000:1).

Currently, the significant increase in the number of St. Martin students seeking tertiary and higher education has put pressure on education officials and subsequently, because of the lack of proper planning, government is forced to take ad hoc decisions. These include decisions such as students being allotted scholarships to study anywhere and for whatever they want, types of assistance offered to tertiary institutions, and the omission of tertiary institutions and higher education institutions from round-table or constitutional talks or research projects. For tertiary or higher education institutions to receive the allotted federal government grants or subsidies requires surgical precision. Overall, based on how tertiary institutions are treated, government’s perception of these institutions may be as sine qua non. This is a blatant disrespect for local tertiary and higher education institutions and impacts the prosperity of the island nation as a whole.

According to Badejo (1989) in his book, Claude a Portrait of Power, “Prosperity…not always means the mere availability of money. But even by that yardstick, it is doubtful if St. Maarten can really be classified as a prosperous island” (p.170). Claude as cited in Badejo (1989) posited, “Only a limited number of people have gained financially and it is doubtful if those benefits can compensate the loss of Philipsburg to foreigners. Prosperity should therefore be redefined” (p.170). This statement still seems true today.  In this light the redefinition of prosperity must include tertiary and higher education for all St. Martiners. Country St. Martin will require more academic, intellectual and research prosperity in order to recapture our losses which include the capital.

Functionalism perceives the society as a living organism with many interrelated parts (Pai & Adler, 2001). These living interrelated organisms show some commonalities and according to Durkheim (1985), “Members of the society need to have a set of common beliefs, knowledge, and values for social unity and cohesion”… “for every society requires that its members have different roles” (21). This organic unity of society leads functionalists to speculate about needs, which must be met for a social system to exist, as well as the ways in which social institutions satisfy those needs. Social systems work together to maintain equilibrium. It is achieved through the socialization of members of the society into the basic values and norms of the society so that consensus is reached. Tertiary and higher education are considered microcosms of the larger society. The school perpetuates the established social, cultural, economic and political structures and norms (Pai & Adler, 2001). Universities have traditionally been seen as cloistered communities for reflection, and have now grown into open communities, thus giving more access. Policies ensuring access to tertiary and higher education to the Country St Martin’s tertiary institutions, colleges and universities must not be overlooked. Simpson and Wendling (2005), noted that the “sole purpose of colleges and universities is the advancement of knowledge and research” (p.385). In Country St. Martin, this should be no exception and tertiary and higher education should facilitate research and documentation, while enabling the expression of sound arguments based on research without fear.

Based on the social make-up of the island, tertiary and higher education in Country St. Martin will no doubt have an impact on the surrounding islands and region.

According to the United Nations in its State Party Report (1999) at the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination in the Netherlands agued that St. Maarten has a regular immigration from the “Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Haiti” (Article 5(e)(iv), 206). This means a regular inflow of students that becomes almost uncontrollable. This includes children from both the (documented and undocumented) foreign residents. These immigrants also proceed from the French (northern) side, because of our open border policy. Although this information is primarily focusing on the primary and secondary school systems, noteworthy is that tertiary and higher education sector is also impacted. Many migrants from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guyana and Dominica irrespective of their documented or undocumented status tend to seek tertiary or higher education. Thus, it is safe to state that on St. Martin the phenomenon of internationalization of education has been taking place in an unstructured and unplanned manner. However, in the Country St. Martin internationalization should become part of the economic existence and tertiary and higher education policy.

Considering the trans-nationalization of education, “the internationalization of tertiary and higher education, the international exchange of students, scholars, bilateral and multilateral agreements around knowledge, research, transfer of expertise and skills and flows of learners and scholars are all vitally important and must be pursued energetically and extended” (Asmal, 2006:4). With an increased demand for competent and qualified human resources in country St. Martin this internationalization of tertiary and higher education will become more pronounced and the proper policies and laws will have to be drafted and adhered to.

There is a constant discrepancy between educational supply and the demand of the possible educational resources. This issue is evidenced in the Bureau of Educational Research, Policy, Planning and Innovation report (2006, February), where data are provided on how many educators are delivered per annum. The USM has delivered from “2002-2005, 16 teachers” (p.7), and further information from the “study-financing section at the Insular Department of Education shows that the majority of teachers who study teaching in the Netherlands do not return to the island for employment” (p.8). In addition, on the tertiary and higher education level this is also the case in other sectors since most of the demands cannot be fulfilled in terms of the types of programs being requested by the students on the island. Furthermore, there are no economies of scale to support the offering of a wide variety of courses and programs. Thus, innovation is a necessity in this sector and in Country St. Martin the need for innovation and use of technology especially distance learning and e-learning will be greater. The University of St. Martin has had this experience with Mount Saint Vincent University and the University of the Virgin Islands and continues to innovate... 

Since the financing of tertiary and higher education continues to be an issue, the need for greater returns on investment in this sector will be paramount.  In the future, the role that governments will have to play in regards to tertiary and higher education will be more pronounced as the appropriation of tax payers’ resources for this sector will increase. In Country St. Martin the methodologies and laws governing the allotments of scholarships and grants to pursue tertiary and higher education will have to be revamped and redesigned. Although the review of the policies is currently taking place by government, the revamping and redesigning of these policies are a must. Students should be given access to scholarships through loans and contractual agreements.  Laws defining tertiary and higher education will have to be drafted specifically for Country St. Martin recognizing a wide variety of disciplines and degrees. However, it is at the policy level where differences will ultimately be made. The policy governing grants and scholarships for tertiary and higher education will have to be in concert with the changing and diverse needs of the country and its students; we must take advantage of new technologies, provide higher returns on investment of tax-payers’ funds and ensure the returns are internationally competitive in quality.  Thus, once these policies are implemented correctly, Country St. Martin will be in possession of internationally recognized (accredited) and qualified human resources and human capital.

Vision is the fundamental force that drives everything else in our lives and for Country St. Martin this is relevant. It encompasses us “with a sense of unique contribution that is ours to make. It empowers us to put first things first, compasses ahead of clocks, people ahead of scheduled things”(Covey, Merrill, and Merrill, 1994, p.116). A vision can also be described as knowing the results and outcomes and being aware of the implementation process through conceptual and creative thinking (Bennis and Nanus, 1985). Envisioning tertiary and higher education in Country St. Martin and developing vision into reality is a challenge and a work in progress.

To summarize, due to the pivotal role that tertiary and higher education will play in the new status for the island nation, a clear vision and understanding of this sector is necessary. This understanding should include a proper definition of tertiary and higher education, the role that tertiary and higher education plays on St. Maarten and in the region especially in relation to migration and trans-nationalization, new trends in this sector, sustainability and emphasis on the research element.  In addition, proper laws and policies governing tertiary and higher education sector are a must since these will provide more opportunities for participation for all our citizens, create improvement incentives for quality, research and information dissemination while encouraging citizens to realize its value.  The tertiary and higher education sectors should not be held solely accountable for bringing about the necessary changes. The community itself in Country St. Martin will be instrumental in actualizing the relevant prosperity.


References and/or complementary bibliography

Asmal, K. (2006). Higher education in a changing world: opportunities for transformation and renewal. Conference conducted at the meeting of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Queen’s Universities, Belfast.

Badejo, F. (1989). Claude, a portrait of power. St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles: International Publishing House.

Bennis, W. & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper and Row.

Covey, S. R., Merrill, A. R., & Merrill, R. R. (1994). First things first. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Bureau of Educational Research, Policy, Planning and Innovation. (2006,

February). Planning teacher supply against demand. St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles: Government Printing Office.

Durkheim, E. (1985). Definition of education. In J. H. Ballentine (Ed.), Schools and society: A reader in education and sociology (pp. 19-22). Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield.

Pai, Y. & Adler, S. A. (2001). Cultural foundations of education. (3rd ed.). New Jersey: Upper Saddle River.

Rowley, J. (2000). Is higher education ready for knowledge management? The International Journal of Educational Management, 14(7), 1-9.

Simpson, E., & Wendling, K. (2005, Nov.). Equality and Merit: A Merit-based argument for equity policies in higher education. Educational Theory, 55(4), 385-389.

University of St. Martin. (2005). Annual report, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles Ministry of Education. (2005). Tertiary education policy directions for the 21st century (White Paper). New Zealand: Government Printing Office.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2001, September). Education policy reform in the Netherlands Antilles. Curacao, Netherlands Antilles: Government Printing Office.

United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. (1999, July). The elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (CERD/C/362/Add.4). Washington, DC: Author.



Three decades of innovations in Caribbean education systems:
Why some succeed and others don’t

University of the West Indies, Jamaica



Why do some innovations succeed and others don’t? The term “innovation” itself may give us a clue.   An innovation   is an idea perceived as new; it need not be objectively new, but to those using it for the first time it is new. In other words, what is considered as a new idea in one setting is viewed as old and worn in another. It is a matter of perception. In a sense, innovation, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

This reminds me of the early 1990s when I visited the interior of Guyana, the only English-speaking country on the South American continent. I was doing workshops with teachers and principals with a team from the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD). The workshops were held in a place called Kato, surrounded by the Pakaraima mountains, and inhabited largely by Amerindians —the indigenous population. Here, transport was mainly by foot.  One day as we were walking up a steep hill, I noted that the stones at my feet were rather unusual. Some were hard, jagged edged and a deep red in colour; others very dark brown, a deep grey, a white-almost transparent. I was so fascinated by them that I picked up some small pieces and put them in my bag. By the end of the journey I had quite a collection.  Not only the Amerindians (who apparently could not stop laughing at me) but also my colleagues thought I was rather crazy and wanted to know what I was going to do with “those pieces of rock.” “They’ll make good paper weights,” I said.

On my return to  the capital city, Georgetown, I  discovered  some time later  from a geologist  that these were not ordinary  stones, but semi-precious ones and was advised to take them to the Ministry of Gold and  Diamond Mining which  had a lapidary where I could  get them cut and polished. I had most of them cut into different shapes and sizes and subsequently made into jewellery of red and brown jasper, rose quartz and granite. What my colleagues had dismissed as useless pieces of rock, I had seen as value. Indeed, I had seen beauty in them. Innovations are like this, too. It is often difficult to trace their origins. We see them as jasper, but don’t know that they began their life as a little piece of jagged red stone which would have gone unnoticed if someone with a perceptive eye who detected some value in them had not come by them. And having seen value in it, the innovation is then taken through a process and, like the stones being cut and polished, it is   invariably adapted and changed sometimes beyond recognition. Just as the success with the cut and polish of the stone, depends on the knowledge and skill of the lapidary, so the success of the innovation will depend on the knowledge and skill of its implementers, as well as on those who manage the implementation process. But each one of us looking at the finished stone will judge the success of the cut and polish differently. Some would prefer a rougher cut; others a smoother finish. We use different standards, depending on the standpoint from which we are looking at it. The success of innovations is judged in a similar way.

Stephen Heyneman  in 1984  in a discussion of what has been learnt about the impact of innovations in Third World education systems, asked ”Where is the Entebbe Mathematics now?” He concluded at the time, that “the result has been new curricula and new techniques for teaching, but classrooms left unchanged” (ibid., p. 296). In 1992, Larry Cuban asked a similar question about the platoon system, “a Progressive innovation begun in Gary Indiana, schools in 1906 that had elementary school pupils change classes for specialized instruction in academic, practical arts, and physical education rather than have them stay the entire day in self-contained classes” (p 169). Cuban then  proceeded  to  show how the  kindergarten , an innovation which began as an attempt to alter the relationship between schools and  communities  was introduced  in the United States in 1906 and  was still surviving   a century later but had been adapted  and altered over time to becoming  schools for preparing five year –olds for first grade.

Standards for judging success

There are many innovations that have been introduced into Caribbean education systems about which we could ask the same question as of the Entebbe Mathematics, or the platoon system– where are they now?  Implied in this question is the sense that if we do not know where they are, then they have not survived and therefore have failed. Survival over time is an indicator of an innovation’s success. But how much time? Cuban (1998) identifies ‘longevity’ as the single most common used indicator of reform success and adds that this is ‘not a mere year or two, or a decade, but a quarter or half century of survival” (p167). But what criterion is used to assess the success of an innovation depends on who is making the judgement. As Cuban (ibid) contends, there are certain innovations that capture the imagination of the people, spread rapidly, and have strong popular appeal (e.g. use of desktop computers). Popularity then becomes another important standard.   Policy makers, the media, administrators and researchers use the effectiveness standard which is essentially concerned with the extent to which intended goals have been achieved. The latter is usually   determined by students’ test scores and performance at external examinations. Policy makers and administrators also use the fidelity standard to assess   the success of an innovation. Success, in their view, is determined by the extent to which the innovation is implemented just as the initiators had intended. In other words, that it has remained faithful to the blueprint.  But those who have to implement innovations –teachers and principals –are invariably told not to use an innovation (e.g. a new curriculum guide) as a blueprint, but to feel free to adapt it to suit their particular situation. Thus the more adaptable the innovation, the more the implementers find it compatible with their needs and the better for them. To implementers of innovations, therefore, adaptability is the most important measure of an innovation’s success.

Aims of the Paper

The main aim of this paper is to examine why certain innovations introduced into Caribbean education systems have been successful, while others have not. In so doing I will firstly give a background to the education systems in the Anglophone Caribbean with a view to showing why these innovations became necessary. The main goals of the innovations will be highlighted and then I will discuss the extent to which the innovations conform to the standards of longevity, popularity, effectiveness, fidelity and adaptability as measures of success.  As the fate of an innovation is in large measure determined by the effectiveness of its implementation, I will also explore the extent to which planners took into consideration the main factors that research has identified as affecting implementation (i.e. the process of putting into practice an idea, programme or set of activities new to the people attempting or expected to change) (Fullan, 1982:54). Finally, I will discuss some   implications of the analysis.

The innovations selected for this paper are (i) a mathematics project for the primary level in Guyana (GMP); (ii) the Project for the Improved Management of Educational Resources (PRIMER) which was tried out in five rural All-Age schools (i.e. schools with intake of pupils from 6 to 15 years of age) in Jamaica.  This  project  was funded  by Canada’s International Development   Research  Centre (IDRC): (iii) the Primary Education Project(PEP)  funded by the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the United States Agency for International Development  (USAID); (iv) the Grade 10/11   programme in Jamaica; (v) the Resource and   Technology (R&T) curriculum in the Reform of Secondary Education (ROSE)  programme  in Jamaica; and (vi) The Caribbean Examinations Council  Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC). They are all innovative because at the time of their initiation they involved the use of ideas, or practices, which were perceived as new by their users and which were designed to bring about desirable changes. ‘Innovation’ is often used interchangeably with ‘change’.  Miles (1964) defines innovation as a deliberate novel, specific change which is thought to be more efficacious in accomplishing the goals of a system. ‘Reform’ and ‘change’ are also sometimes used interchangeably. For example, Cuban (1992) refers to fundamental reforms which seek to transform “to alter permanently … a complete overhaul, not renovations…fundamental changes” (p170). The changes explored in this paper are those that seek to bring about fundamental changes including new goals, structures and roles in schools, changes in organization of curricula, examination systems, etc. The main goals of the projects with which we are concerned give evidence of such desired changes. These are set out in Table 1 together with evidence for their success or failure drawn mostly from published research, evaluation studies and higher degree dissertation. 

Background to the education systems of the Anglophone Caribbean: Main Goals of the Innovations

The innovations addressed in this paper have been carried out in some 16 Caribbean countries listed in Table 1. Most of these have been designated small states (Bray & Packer 1993), characterized by isolation and economic dependency on the developed world. Many also suffer from a scarcity of human resources which necessitates education officials having to perform multiple roles, stretching some of them beyond their capability. Sometimes specialists with needed technical skills are not available locally thereby making it necessary to utilize expatriate expertise which invariably is   tied in with international funding for projects.

The countries in Table 1 all have in common ties with Britain as ex-colonies which have left the mark of the British on their education systems. For example, they all have primary schools which offer 6 years of education which culminates in the Common Entrance or 11+ Examination. This determines who enters the prestigious general secondary or high schools which are not unlike the British grammar-type schools, pursuing a predominantly academic curriculum designed for entry into colleges and universities or into the more prestigious jobs in the society. Children not selected for these schools go to schools which offer technical-vocational programmes geared to the world of work, or remain in the All-Age schools. These institutions are widely regarded as second-rate ‘schools for failures’.

Of the problems in education that all these countries have in common, three have particular relevance for this paper.  The first has to do with the fact that the wealth of most of these countries lies in the land, particularly in agriculture, and yet in most of these countries, negative attitudes towards agriculture and rural living persist. Youngsters who have been trained in agriculture opt for other types of jobs on leaving school (Jennings-Wray, 1982). Few wish to remain in rural areas and drift towards the towns and cities invariably to join the long queues of the unemployed. The education system has been partially blamed for this problem on the grounds that its ‘irrelevant ‘Western style curriculum nurtures in the youth both negative attitudes towards agricultural work and  unrealistic job  expectations. To counteract such irrelevance, many Caribbean countries in the 1970s diversified the curricula in their secondary schools by introducing vocational subjects and work experience programmes and by giving more emphasis to agriculture in schools. The Grade 10/11 Programme in Jamaica is one such example. This programme generally was designed to achieve goals of access and equality of opportunity – all central features of the democratic socialist ideology of the Jamaican government of the day (Manley, 1974).  Other major objectives of the latter programme were: introducing self-instructional materials in Jamaican education, encouraging independence in learning, and the development of self-reliance on the part of the learners.  Worth noting is the fact that the issue of relevance to the needs of the Caribbean region particularly with regard to  the  external examination  system  was high on the agenda for action of governments in the Caribbean in the  early 1970s. The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) was established in 1972, to offer its own Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) to replace the London and Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary level.

While the Grade 10-11 programme was taking hold in the Jamaican secondary system, an influential report was published by UNESCO in 1983. It was titled Jamaica: Development of Secondary Education.  The report outlined major problems in the education system, which included the variety of   types of secondary schools, the differences in the quality of their curricular offering and their terminal examinations, and the general unpreparedness of the graduates for the world of work.  The All Age Schools, whose curricula were more aligned to the primary than to the secondary schools, were the most disadvantaged in every respect (quality of school plant and facilities, teacher qualification, resources, etc.), even though they represented the largest group of schools offering secondary education in grades 7-9.  In 1993, Jamaica had 486 All Age Schools, 12 Comprehensive High, 58 New Secondary, and 56 Traditional High Schools. Based on the findings of the UNESCO report and with funds from the World Bank, the Government of Jamaica launched a major reform effort to rationalise the secondary education situation. The Reform of Secondary Education (ROSE) centred around the introduction of a common curriculum designed to improve access to, equity in, and the quality of educational offering at the lower secondary level (grades 7-9), as well as to improve the productivity of the graduates. The new curriculum for ROSE is centred around five core subjects: mathematics, language arts, social studies, integrated science, and “resource and technology” (R&T), with career education infused into all these areas.  In this paper, most emphasis will be on the R&T.

The GMP was also linked with the achievement of goals for transforming the Guyanese society. Two of the values considered relevant to the Guyanese society which were used as a basis for the re-organisation of education in Guyana during the 1970s were: 'collective work and responsibility' and 'cooperative economics'.  The former referred to the thrust of the Guyanese to build and maintain their communities and their nation 'through collective efforts and to solve common problems cooperatively' (Baird, 1972:8). In the same paper Baird makes the important point that the achievement of any national goal "is largely dependent upon the extent to which outcomes of a particular education programme supports these goals (my emphasis)' (ibid:3). The ‘working togetherness’ and the solving of common problems cooperatively were seen as outcomes of a methodology that continually emphasised the need for pupils to work together in groups. The belief was that if an independent Guyana was to be able to solve its own problems, its people needed to become self-reliant and well endowed with new ways of thinking that would enable them to solve common problems cooperatively. It is not insignificant that the chief consultant to the GMP should make this observation about group work: “Pupils would become more self-reliant, would have opportunities for use of initiative and to show originality and would work in cooperation –a basic tenet of the Cooperative republic of Guyana. Thus, the basis for these group methods is both psychological and ideological” (Broomes, 1975:8).

The theme of 'working together to solve common problems cooperatively', if not explicit in the PEP, was certainly implicit. But to appreciate this, one has to see the PEP in the context of attempts to promote cooperation amongst members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and ultimately to achieve regional integration. At the inaugural meeting of the Standing Committee of Ministers Responsible for Education (SCME) in 1975, the Ministers called for collaborative action at the regional and sub-regional levels in the promotion of educational development within CARICOM. The PEP, initiated in 1979, has to be seen as a response to the call for   such collaboration. 

The second problem relates to the fact that most of the countries have fallen short in meeting  two major objectives of primary education: namely, to produce a literate and  numerate population   and to provide a sound foundation on which further education can build. The World Bank country study on the Caribbean region concluded that the quality of primary education was low throughout the region,’ particularly in the areas of reading, writing and numeracy’ (World Bank, 1993:68). At the secondary level, the World Bank report noted the inadequate amount of time devoted in the timetable to mathematics and English and the low pass rates in these subjects in the CSEC.  But the problem has its root at the primary level where over the years performance in mathematics has consistently been weak. Guyana was one of the first countries to make a concerted effort to improve the teaching of mathematics at the primary level while at the same time addressing the issue of ‘relevance ‘to the country’s needs.  The cooperative approach to learning, which was a strong feature of the Mathematics, was considered consistent with the Cooperative Socialism ideology of Guyana. Worthy of note is the fact that both Project PRIMER and the UWI/USAID Primary Education Project sought to address the problem of literacy and numeracy.

The third problem relates to the content of the lower secondary curriculum.  While the CSEC exerts a strong influence on what is taught at the upper levels of the secondary system, traditionally schools have been given more leeway in determining the content of the lower secondary curriculum (grades 7-9). More and more countries, however, have been introducing a common curriculum at this level. But with the rapid advance of technology   and with the expansion of knowledge which has accompanied this technological advancement, Caribbean countries have been anxious   not to be left far behind the developed countries. What should be the content of the lower secondary curriculum has become quite an issue. How should technical-vocational subjects be treated? How can technology be incorporated into the curriculum and how can the Arts which have traditionally been neglected in the secondary curriculum (Tucker, 2002) be made an integral part of the education of all children? In addition to these concerns there is   also the question of how this content should be organized.  Given  that the grades 7-9 curricula should provide a sound  base for  the  subjects that  the students would  choose to take for CSEC,   the  question  has arisen  whether  it should be  subject-based  like the curriculum in the  prestigious high schools   or whether   it should  be integrated. Brain research which  has underscored   how  authentic learning is  facilitated  when content  is   presented in a more holistic  way (Caine and Caine)  has   given integrated curricula an added significance This paper presents   an   example of  how one   country-Jamaica- has dealt with these issues through its ROSE and in particular the R&T curriculum.

The evidence in Table 1 suggests that of the innovations at the primary level, the most successful has been the Mathematics project in Guyana, while Project PRIMER in Jamaica has been an outright failure. At the secondary level, by far the most successful innovation has been the CSEC, with both the Grade 10/11 Programme and the Resource and Technology curriculum being somewhat successful.

How do we account for such differential outcomes?  And by what standards are they being judged?

Factors that affect implementation

Fullan & Stiegelbauer (1991) categorize factors affecting implementation of an innovation in terms of characteristics pertaining to: (i) the characteristics of the innovation itself; (ii) local/school characteristics; and (iii) external factors. They  identify 15 factors which they maintain form a system of  variables that interact over time to determine success or failure; the more factors support  implementation, the more change in practice is likely to be accomplished while the  process becomes less effective if more factors work against implementation. Research in the Caribbean has identified additional factors that affect implementation, influenced by the fact that education systems in the Anglophone Caribbean are, for the most part, centralised, with ministries of education exercising control over the primary curriculum in the public schools.  As pointed out earlier, the upper secondary curriculum is largely determined by the syllabuses for the CSEC. Table 2 identifies 21 factors including those from Fullan. In the discussion that follows where a particular factor applies at more than one level (e.g. local and national), both levels will be discussed simultaneously.

Characteristics of the innovation

As can be seen from Table 2 there was clearly a need for the innovations which were also considered relevant to societal needs.  For example, in the case of the GMP, the methodology of teaching mathematics, in fact, was linked to the achievement of wider developmental goals of Guyana.   The project was described as being geared to "develop certain personality traits such as self-reliance" and "to encourage a cooperative approach to learning in schools” (Ministry of Education, Social Development and Culture 1977:10).  The PEP was introduced in response to the need to improve the curriculum of primary schools in the Caribbean, and both the G10/11 and CSEC were seen as responding to societal needs. Teachers, principals and students felt that R&T was essential for developing the skills needed for living in a technological society, for developing problem-solving skills and for promoting an holistic and student-centred approach to education (Jennings 1998). Differences in perceptions of need are evident in the case of PRIMER. From the perspective of educational planners PRIMER was relevant to the needs of Jamaican primary education as set out in the Five Year Education Plan (1978-83).For example it was observed in the plan that ‘approximately 53% of the children aged 11 years are not achieving at acceptable standards in literacy and numeracy” (Ministry of Education, Jamaica, 1977:32) and so an innovation like PRIMER was seen as helping to address this problem. However, from the perspective of the teachers in the PRIMER pilot schools, the project failed to respond to their personal needs.  They were disappointed in not having received any recognition for the extra work they had done, while the principals of the schools felt that the project had not ‘put their schools on the map’, as it should have done (Jennings1993:532).

In terms of compatibility to their values and needs, the teachers felt that the use of self instructional materials (SIM) in PRIMER fostered the development of independent study skills which they valued, but they felt insecure in the new role they were expected to adopt as facilitators of learning. Some teachers expressed the view that the SIM were of more use to them as textbooks than to the pupils. The Grade 10 -11 Programme was introduced into the Jamaican Secondary school system in an era when stated educational goals referred to "the creation of an egalitarian society based on the twin pillars of social justice and equality of opportunity" (Ministry of Education, Jamaica 1977:5) but it was introduced only into one school type. The thinking was that if students graduating from the New Secondary schools had been exposed to a curriculum that    gave them skills for the world of work and also had work experience, this would make them  more competitive  since their peers from the prestigious high schools would  have academic qualifications but no work experience. But in the eyes of employers, these academic qualifications still gave the high school graduate the competitive edge. The R&T also suffered from different perceptions of its value. The newly upgraded high schools (formerly New  Secondary schools) and the Junior High Schools (formerly All –Age) valued ROSE highly not only because they had  benefited from a change in name and status but also, for the first time, they  were given curriculum guides, textbooks, and curriculum materials, and received some supervision from the Ministry of Education (Evans 1997).  The Traditional High Schools, on the other hand, considered they had little to gain from the introduction of ROSE, and questioned the value of a common curriculum for all types of secondary school.   For one thing, the teachers felt it was an erosion of their social status and traditional academic standards for a common curriculum to put them on par with the former New Secondary and All Age Schools. Most traditional high schools either ignored the R&T or relegated its use for the low achievers.

Clarity about goals and means and complexity are related. Complexity refers to “the difficulty and extent of change required of the individuals responsible for implementation” (Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991:71). Simple changes can be made clear easily   while the means for achieving goals of more complex changes may not be so easily communicated. The CXC, for example, has over the years organized training for teachers to ensure that they became clear about how to use the techniques of assessment related to the CSEC. Indeed, this was a major objective of the Secondary Curriculum Development Project funded by the USAID (Griffith 1981), but the use of school based assessment continues to pose difficulties for teachers particularly in terms of its demand on their time and the clarity of means of assessment. In the case of PRIMER there was a general lack of clarity as to what the project was supposed to achieve and how it was supposed to do so. Teachers perceived the use of SIM as complex largely because they were too advanced for the pupils for whom they were written on account of their low reading ability. A  serious problem, furthermore, was the fact that members of the project team were not altogether clear in their own minds about the use of SIM and they w ere unable to conceptualize the new behaviour required  of the teachers and communicate this to them (Minott, 1988). The difficulties experienced with the Grade 10/11 Programme stemmed from the remarkable speed of the change process. From May throughout the summer of 1974, the curriculum development and diffusion process proceeded at an unprecedented pace.  What had originally been slated to take place in one year was squashed into a period of less than six months.  Because an individualised instructional format was being used for the first time with these curricula, it was necessary to initiate both students and teachers into the skills and techniques involved in using these materials effectively.  Again this was accomplished with remarkable speed, largely through the use of the media.  'Model' classes were selected to demonstrate the new methods on television and radio.  This was hardly the ideal way of giving users the on-going support needed during implementation of an innovation.

Difficulties were experienced in implementing the methodology of the GMP. The technique involved the teacher asking each pupil a lot of questions and   to explain their answers or their thinking process. Being questioned was an unusual experience for most of the pupils. Cumberbatch (1972) also underscored the inhibition of Guyanese children and pointed out the difficulty that teachers experienced in drawing out the child, either because of the child's self-consciousness, feelings of inferiority or “unenlightened teacher reaction to  his indigenous language forms " (ibid., p.5), which make him passive. Such passivity is not conducive to situations in which “pupils direct questions not only at the teacher but also at one another". Most schools experienced difficulty in implementing all five elements of R&T and invariably they only managed two or three. This was largely due to lack of adequate physical and material resources as well as the teachers capable of teaching the areas. The mini-enterprises have also proven very difficult to implement.

With regard to quality and practicality, Doyle and Ponder (1977/78) refer to the ‘practicality ethic’ of teachers, underscoring the fact that teachers are very practical in their orientation. Consequently, innovations that involve use of curriculum materials need to ensure that they are practical in the sense that they fit well with the teachers’ situation and that they are of good quality. CSEC scores high marks in this regard. The case of integrated science is a good example. This subject was piloted for 5years in 30 schools in 7 participating countries and feedback from this project led to substantial revisions (Jennings 1994). CSEC has also triggered a virtual revolution in the writing of textbooks in the Caribbean, most of which are of a high quality and published by international publishing houses. The textbooks and other materials written for the GMP were developed by two leading mathematics educators in the region at the time and the fact that they have served as models for primary math texts produced in later years is testimony to their recognized quality. This cannot be said of the other innovations. While the teachers’ guides for R&T were of good quality, the teachers expressed reservations over the quality of the workbooks for the students.  The materials developed by the PRIMER writers were poor in quality and impracticable. This is evident from the fact that some 89% of the fourth form pupils for whom they were intended were found to be reading below the grade 2 level (Jennings, 1994). The speed with which the G10/11 was developed militated against the production of materials of good quality. One researcher described the production of Grade 10 materials in Language Arts as a ‘high-pressurised operation’.  Units were late in production. Great emphasis was placed on getting materials into the hands of students since the individualised format was being utilised. Consequently, the teacher's guides accompanying the students' materials usually went out late, and would reach the teachers after the students had covered the materials in their booklets (Miller, 1981).  Furthermore, the units had to be sent to the Ministry before their revision was completed.  This meant that improvements to draft units were sometimes not incorporated into the finished product, because of the pressure to meet deadlines. Such pressures did not allow for testing the materials in the schools and writers had to rely on feedback in the form of odd comments from students and teachers.

Characteristics at the School level

The strategy used for introducing innovation into school systems can impact positively or negatively on the implementation process. The  power-coercive or ‘top-down’ approach has been particularly  influential in developing countries since the 1960s.A repeated criticism of this approach, however, is that despite massive investment in centrally developed innovations, invariably the result has had  little, if any impact at all at the classroom  level. Since the 970s there has been strong advocacy for a ‘bottom-up’ approach wherein teachers are accorded greater participation in decision-making processes (e.g. whether they should participate in the project or not, or be involved in the curriculum development process) on the grounds that this would not only generate more realistic and relevant curricula but would enable more effective implementation of the latter.

As is evident from Table 2, the  ’top-down’ strategy for change was used for all the innovations, but in some provision was made for  teacher participation. In the CSEC, for example, teacher participation was facilitated through the use of subject panels. These consist of six members of the education systems of the participating countries, three of which must be practicing teachers of the subject at the level of the examination. These panels are appointed by the School Examination Committee to develop syllabuses, recommend methods of testing, receive criticisms and suggestions from teachers and consider examiners’ reports. In the case of the PEP the strategy used involved the commissioning of subject specialists in each of the four core areas of the primary curriculum. These specialists came from the UWI or the Ministries of Education in the region.  Each subject specialist collected syllabi, teachers' manuals and pupil materials from the participating territories and, from an in-depth study of these, drafted revised syllabi. These syllabi were then reviewed by teachers at workshops held at the regional, territorial and local levels. Each participating territory selected two subject leaders who were drawn from among curriculum officers in the Ministry of Education, lecturers in the Teacher Training Colleges, primary school principals or teachers.  These subject leaders served as participants in regional workshops and as resource persons and organizers of territorial and local workshops. The principals and teachers in the PRIMER schools were not involved in any of the decision-making processes.  They felt that the decision to   participate in the project was thrust upon them. Three principals expressed surprise that their schools were selected for the project, while another was not at all sure why his school was chosen (Minott, 1988).  Teacher participation was not a feature of the G10/11 either. Lecturers from the UWI and officers in the Ministry of Education were commissioned to develop curricula in Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science and Life Skills.

The leadership role played by the principal is critical to the success of any innovation and of particular importance is on-going support necessary for teachers during implementation. The leadership role that principals play has to be founded on a sound knowledge of the process of change. They need to be sensitive to the fact that an innovation deskills teachers in that it makes redundant all the wealth of knowledge and skills that they have for dealing with problems that may arise when they are using practices with which they have become comfortable. While principals were generally supportive in the case of the CSEC and PEP, the PRIMER team described the principals in the project schools as unsupportive; that they only paid ‘lip-service’ to the project (Jennings, 1994:317) and that they failed to give the teachers the help they needed and so the teachers were unprepared to get to grips with the innovative ideas of the project.  However, the leadership at the project level had its weaknesses, as is evident from the failure to ensure that the students’ reading levels were ascertained before the writing of the self-instructional modules began.

This unpreparedness on the part of the teachers in PRIMER has to be seen in light of their level of training. Most of them were either untrained or were going through a process of initial training which was not completed till after the termination of the project. While all the principals were trained teachers, none had training in educational administration. The training of both the projects schools’ staff and the PRIMER team was inadequate both in terms of duration and content. There is some discrepancy in the record of how much training was done.  McKinley (1981) reported that the teachers were given five weeks in-service training, while according to Cummings (1986) the teachers received ten days training in the use of SIM. In any case, it appears that the training never really gave the teachers the real help they needed. They reported that they would have liked the PRIMER team to give them demonstrations in the use of SIM which would have shown them specifically how to take on the new role required (Minott, 1988).

 Training to implement an innovation really needs to be on-going at the school level in order to be effective, but as Table 2 indicates provision needs to be made for training at the national level. This takes the form of training   organized by the Ministry of Education, often becoming an integral part of pre-service training at the Teachers Colleges. In 1975, in the G10/11, seven Implementation Officers were selected from amongst classroom teachers who were judged to have achieved success with the programme during the previous year.  They were used to help classroom teachers with any problems that they encountered in the programme but they could hardly be considered adequate support for teachers in over sixty schools. In the G10/11 also the lack of training of teachers was a major cause of the eventual demise of the Life Skills curriculum while in the R&T, while the Teachers Colleges have staff designated for training for the ROSE programme, research has highlighted weaknesses in the training in the methodology for R&T (Brown et al., 1998). As mentioned earlier, CXC has put much emphasis on the training of teachers, but at the same time expects individual countries to undertake initiatives that would help their teachers to implement innovative ideas. Some territories have organized training workshop successfully and the Curriculum Development Unit of the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago has produced a handbook on school-based assessment (SBA) in physics, using the expertise of its graduate teachers. Schools of Education and other departments at the UWI also organize training workshops for CSEC.

The two consultants and the Mathematics specialists in the Curriculum Development Centre in Guyana held Mathematics teaching laboratories across Guyana in an effort to introduce the teachers to the use of the new methodology in the GMP Between May and June in 1975, for example, the team held three teaching laboratories in different educational districts.  Apart from giving practice in the use of the teaching   strategies, these laboratories were designed to allow teachers to practice the skills that were needed to support the materials developed; for example, use of objectives in teaching, thinking of evaluation as a way of making decisions about teaching, and for providing teachers with the necessary mathematical background for teaching the content of the curriculum guide (Ministry of Education, 1975:4).

The PEP materials were implemented in schools in the participating territories and the general practice was for teachers to adapt the materials to suit the particular circumstances in the territories.  Following the close of the project, subject leaders and teachers in the project schools were expected to visit schools and give any necessary guidance to teachers in the wider school system that were using the materials. However, the evaluators of the project reported that some of the subject leaders were unsuitably qualified and that "most were inexperienced in curriculum development" (Massanari and Miller, 1985:52) and had to learn by doing.  There were even cases where subject leaders left the project and were never replaced.  The evaluators further describe the rate of  turnover of subject leaders, principals and teachers as "a major constraint on project implementation" (ibid., p.53) in some territories. In addition, the level of training of teachers in the pilot schools was low, as the evaluators observed: "Several countries had teaching forces of which nearly two-thirds were unqualified.  Some teachers not only lacked professional training but also basic academic competence-displaying serious gaps in knowledge of content" (Massanari and Miller, 1985:52).

When teachers attend training workshops especially during term time, they usually need the support of other colleagues in overseeing   their classes during their absence. The support received is variable and generally depends on the climate of support set by the leadership in the schools. In my discussions with teachers of R&T and those familiar with the G10/11 the ones who received support from colleagues are those whose principals encourage supportive relationships amongst their teachers. Invariably, however, one hears criticisms of teachers who attend workshops in posh hotels where their main concern is with the menu and on their return to schools are unwilling to share the knowledge gained with their colleagues. At the same time there are cases where the climate of the school is of such that the colleagues are not receptive to the new ideas that the teacher is willing to share from the workshop. All of this relates back to the nature of the leadership in the schools. Training workshops for CSEC tend to be organized during week ends or holiday periods at times when classes are not affected.

For the work of the school to succeed, whether the school is involved in an innovative effort or not, the support of the community is very important. More and more schools in the Caribbean area looking to their communities for support in terms of providing material resources and  equipment which their budgetary allocation cannot cover, and to assist in fund-raising  drives. The schools also rely on members of their communities with the required skills to assist the schools from time to time with their labour in improving the school premises or assisting the teachers in the classrooms. This is the sort of help that PRIMER had envisaged from the communities in which the project was located.   It did not materialize, however, because after some initial support in terms of cleaning up and painting school buildings, interest on the part of the community waned after it became clear that the government was not making nay effort to construct new buildings or refurbish old ones as promised.  Although it was surrounded with much scepticism in its early years, the communities in which the schools are located are supportive of CSEC, and over the years the initial anxieties over the international acceptability of the examination have been allayed. Most importantly, CSEC has received the support of governments in the Region.

A final factor to be considered at the school level is the location of the school. While there is no research evidence on this with respect to the other innovations, in the case of PRIMER this proved to be an important factor. The PRIMER schools were generally inaccessible. Public transport was not available in the area and they had to be approached on foot over rough and rocky roads. This proved problematic in the monitoring of the schools by the PRIMER project team. Distances between the schools exacerbated the problem. The project schools were some 60 miles from Kingston, the headquarters of the PRIMER team, while each school was between 5 and 15 miles from the headquarters from which the project was coordinated in Mandeville, the nearest town.

Characteristics at the national level and external to national system

The relationship between the PRIMER team and the teachers in the project schools deteriorated over time. The teachers perceived the team as highly critical of them, bent on assessing rather than helping and making them feel inadequate and incompetent. They felt threatened, pressurized by ‘too many changes coming too quickly’ and they expressed fear of failure both on their own and their pupils’ part. A member of the PRIMER team likened the situation to a ‘battle being waged’, with the teachers employing various strategies to prevent the team from observing them (Jennings, 1993). In the case  of the G10/11 the problematic relationship was   between the  Ministry of Education officials and the Government (i.e. Office of the  Prime  Minister), Ministry of Education officials were asked by the Government to design and develop the  curricula  as quickly as possible.  It appears, however, that these officials resented Government manipulation in this way and action was very slow.  Dissatisfied with this inertia, the Government intervened. There was a 'shake-up' of top Ministry of Education officials and, in April 1974, the Grade 10 -11 Programme was made a 'special project' in the Prime Minister's office with its own budget and specially recruited staff.  This enabled the curriculum development process to proceed at a remarkable pace.

One of the most critical determinants of thee fate of an innovation is “the continuity and commitment of those individuals responsible for its development and their immediate successors” (Cummings, 1986:20). In terms of staff to support the innovation PRIMER suffered miserably. The team never had its full complement of staff. During the second year of the project half the writing staff left. During the lifetime of the project over one-third of the original teachers left the schools. There was no editor for the materials developed and use of persons on a part time basis to edit proved counterproductive. Members of the PRIMER team found themselves ‘doubling up’ and operating in areas beyond their competence. The Project Director, for example, had to double up as a curriculum analyst. In the case of CSEC lack of staff in certain subjects has resulted in a reduction in the number of students taking the examination (e.g. physics, geography) and there are cases of schools having to cease offering subjects (e.g. French) on account of the same problem.

The importance of materials being of good quality and practical has already been discussed. Adequate lead time is needed for such materials to be developed and it usually requires a process whereby the draft materials are field-tested and evaluated and revisions or modifications made on the basis of the feedback from the evaluation before they are finally produced for system-wide dissemination. The PRIMER team took about one year to write the self instructional materials  for  language arts, but they did this before they had the  results of a  diagnostic test of the  students’ reading ability .Their time was wasted as the materials were way above the students’ level of ability. In  their effort to modify the materials in time for the new school year, the PRIMER team  had to work under so much pressure that it never had the time to do anything well. Interestingly, in Malaysia  which had a  similar project to PRIMER called INSPIRE (Integrated  System of Programmed Instruction for Rural Environments) the project staff also had to work under pressure to meet deadlines but  in the end produced materials  of good quality. Apart from excellent editing, time was taken to try out the materials in laboratory schools and final revisions were made before they were put into the schools (Cummings, 1986). CXC allots reasonable time for the development of subject syllabuses. For example, two years (1975-77) were taken up with the development of subject syllabuses in the five subjects that were first offered for examination in 1979.

The miraculous speed with which materials were developed for theG10/11 has already been mentioned. Although it has long been recognised that there were some serious weaknesses in the units of certain subject areas, for example, the Social Studies and the “Life skills” curricula, these remained unmodified for many years. Certain Social Studies units, for example, were criticised for the 'anti-imperialist' propaganda projected by the writers, and for their blatant attempt to indoctrinate students into socialist ideology.  There was, at one time, an outcry from some sections of the public against the images of violence in the illustrations of the Language Arts materials. The lack of revision, however, was due in no small measure to the lack of funds triggered by a deepening of the economic crisis in Jamaica in 1978.  Financial constraints also necessitated the withdrawal of the Implementation Officers, - which in turn resulted in the breakdown of communication with the classroom teachers.  This also brought to an end the feedback from these teachers, on which the modification of curricula was based.

Funding cuts or losses is one of the ‘environmental turbulences’ (Miles, 1983) which threaten the institutionalization of innovations. The larger the external resource, the less likely the effort will be continued since governments, already under financial pressure, are unlikely to be able to add the cost to their regular budgets. PRIMER fell victim to this threat. Once the IDRC funds had ceased there was no attempt to secure alternative sources of funding for the innovation. Since 1972 CXC has survived many changes of government in its participating countries and the examining body relies on those countries for financial support. Examination fees are an important source of funds, but CXC has been able to attract funds from donor agencies for special training or curriculum development projects.  Financial constraints were also at the root of the demise of the PEP. While advising against each territory producing its own set of materials, Massanari and Miller (1985) foresaw the costliness of commercial publishing.  Although there was much discussion about it at one time, the commercial publishing of the PEP materials was never realised. A major reason for this was the fact that the materials produced were not camera-ready and needed extensive editing in order to serve all territories in common.  Neither the individual territories nor the proposed publisher was prepared to bear the cost of this exercise. As long as the G10/11 remained as a special project in the Office of the Prime Minister, it was assured of adequate funds. However these halcyon days lasted for only two years. After that the programme was relocated into the Core Curriculum Unit of the Ministry of Education where it vied for its share of whatever funds were available. Once funding for the first phase of the ROSE programme had ended, there were no special funds from the Government for the R&T. The fate of R&T rested squarely on the shoulders of the principals and teachers in the schools.

Then there is the matter of foreign technical assistance. As table 2 shows, of the innovations studied, only one tried to ‘go it alone’. The team that negotiated for PRIMER with the IDRC convinced the funding agency that Jamaica had a cadre of well-qualified educators who were capable of managing the project without any outside help. And yet experience elsewhere has underscored the importance of such help. PRIMER was modelled on ideas in Project IMPACT in the Philippines And apart from PRIMER there were four other IMPACT-related projects in Indonesia, Malaysia Bangladesh and Liberia. All of these benefited from foreign technical assistance and all achieved varying degrees of success. That such assistance can be beneficial to recipients, is further underscored by McGinn et al. (1979) who argue that a major reason for the success of educational reform efforts in Chile and El Salvador in the 1960s was the fact that these countries “had more than ordinary amounts of  fiscal and human resources available through international technical assistance” (McGinn et al., 1979:222).

Provision for research and evaluation in the innovations was variable. Workshops conducted in the GMP were evaluated, but there was no summative evaluation of the GMP as a project. The PEP, however, had summative evaluators. In its design, PRIMER attached a great deal of importance to both research and evaluation. Five All- Age schools with similar characteristics to the project schools and which were located in the same geographical area were designated control schools. A pre-post test experimental design was envisaged and there were plans to conduct formative evaluations to provide information on the outcomes of the instructional strategies used. These, however, did not materialize because after the evaluator appointed at the commencement of the project resigned, there was no replacement. Evaluation of CSEC is provided for through a system of annual reports on the performance of students in each subject in each participating country and regular meetings to assess the conduct of the examinations, using foreign technical assistance when necessary.

Some Implications

In the preceding section I examined the extent to which those responsible for managing the implementation of the innovations planned for implementation by taking into consideration the factors that affect the process.  Of the 21 factors, 19 were present in CSEC, the most successful (see Table 2) while only 2 were present in PRIMER which has to be deemed a failure. This suggests that while the implementation of the former was well planned, PRIMER was poorly planned. The other innovations studied succeeded to some extent.  But by what standards are they being judged? There are three main points that I would wish to make in addressing this question?

(i) The success of an innovation has to be judged by more than one standard

Firstly, as Table 1 shows, the success of an innovation cannot be judged by one standard alone. Of the innovations studied, the most successful has been the CSEC. It is the only one whose success can be judged by the standard of longevity   based on the quarter century criterion of Cuban mentioned earlier. The CXC itself was established in 1972, but its initiation can be traced as far back as 1948 in Eric Williams’ book -The Making of the British West Indies which was published in 1948 - in which he called for the setting up of the University of the West Indies and an examination system relevant to the Caribbean. Eric Williams was the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago at the time that the CXC was established. Indeed CSEC could not have been introduced without the support of most of the Governments in the English-speaking Caribbean.  While many may be critical of the top-down strategy for change, CSEC is clearly one where it worked because with the support from the governments, there were numerous platforms   from which to persuade the general public of the need, relevance and value of  the Caribbean’s own examination  system. It is by such advocacy that popular appeal is won. But it is not only by the longevity and popularity standard that CSEC can be judged successful but also by the standard of adaptability. It was pointed out earlier that secondary schools have for years exercised the freedom to determine their lower secondary curriculum. What most of these schools actually did was to adapt the CXC syllabuses to suit the needs of their grades 7-9. The CSEC is also strong on the fidelity standard. Core features of CSEC have remained faithful to what the originators intended; for example, how syllabuses are developed, the operation of Subject Panels, etc. So, few schools have been able to implement all five elements of R&T that it fails miserably on the fidelity standard.

(ii) Performance on the effectiveness standard

Secondly what is evident from the discussion in this paper is that if the effectiveness standard is applied, most of the innovations would fail miserably. This applies even to the CSEC   which fares so well when judged by the other standards.  While  the CXC has been successful  in introducing exams to replace the GCE ‘O’ Level and in developing syllabuses relevant to the region,  it is widely recognized that the CSEC does not test a wide ability range,  even   though   this was the  original intention  in offering the examination at  two levels :the  general proficiency (GP)  level  for those  students who   were preparing  for further study  at college or university  and the basic proficiency (BP) level for the   less academically  able who  did not want to go on  to  further study. The BP proved unattractive to students   as well as to prospective employers who tended to opt for applicants with qualifications at the GP level. The latter were largely those from the traditional high schools.  CSEC in fact tests between 20% to 45% of the relevant age cohort at the secondary level in countries like Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, with the larger percentages being in the latter two countries. In Jamaica   ‘mock exams’ are used   in some schools as  a selection device to weed out those students  likely to reduce their pass rate  and jeopardize their ranking  on the league table for CSEC passes.

Some of the innovations fare badly on the effectiveness standard because the goals  they  set out to achieve were far too grandiose and unrealistic to achieve within the  life of a project  and educational planners have been remiss in not  thinking through how  specially funded projects become integrated into the  normal operations of  Ministries of Education  so as to  contribute towards the achievement of  national educational goals. The G10/11 is a case to point. By the mid-1980s the self instructional materials had either disappeared completely from the classrooms of a number of New Secondary schools or, where they were available in small quantities, the students had to share them or the teachers used them as textbooks (Jennings-Wray et al., 1985).  By then the rationale for their use appeared to have been forgotten because the dominance of the teachers in the classrooms was much in evidence as the UNESCO Report (1983) noted that most of them dictated or had students copy notes.  Not only did the use of the self-instructional materials not result in the development of self-reliance and the independent approach to learning that the government had hoped, but the objective of tackling the unemployment problem was not realised either. Research has consistently shown that New Secondary School graduates experience difficulty in finding jobs after leaving school.  In their investigation of the first graduates of the Grade 10 -11 programme, Lowe and Mahy (1978) found that those who specialised in Business Education and Industrial Arts were likely to find jobs, but those who did Agriculture tended to opt for jobs in areas outside their field of specialisation.  Later research has shown that while some students got jobs in the places where they did their work experience, many of them were unemployed (Jennings-Wray and Teape 1982).

In the case of the ROSE  programme, the study by  Evans (1998) showed that the teachers varied in their ability to implement student-centred teaching.  Some showed little understanding of group work and while they placed students in groups they used the group activity for individual reading.  Others made little attempt to alter their teaching method; and they relied on expository teaching or lecturing, and written work on the chalkboard for students to copy in their notebooks Rainford (1998) conducted research on the science curriculum in the ROSE programme, which included an examination of the knowledge of science content and the acquisition of process skills according to school type.  Her findings showed that students from the Traditional High Schools outperformed the Junior High Schools on their knowledge of science content. Rainford concluded that students exposed to the science curriculum in the ROSE programme were not learning as much as they should in science, and that “although all types of schools have access to the same curriculum, it seems that the quality of education is not the same among them” (Ibid., p. 87). The Junior High school students remain just as much at a disadvantage as before, on account of teacher quality, school facilities and the ability of their students. Thus, ROSE’s attempt to change pedagogy as a means of improving educational quality and equity had floundered.

Research on R&T raises questions as to whether it is in fact maintaining its focus on using technology to provide solutions to problems.  The physical and material resources (including relevant textbooks) and equipment needed by the schools are not adequately provided for.  In fact, a survey by Brown (et al., 1998) revealed that, of the schools in the survey, none had all the recommended items for teaching all the elements, and for those elements being offered, some schools had none of the equipment.  There is also clear evidence that teachers and students from the Traditional High Schools are not taking to R&T in the same way as their counterparts in the Junior High and Comprehensive High Schools. Their attitude to R&T is negative (Jennings, 1998).  Furthermore, while many teachers thought the integrated approach to teaching R&T was appropriate, as it enabled the students to see the linkage between subjects, many were not effectively using the thematic approach to teaching, and so the integration of the elements of R&T was not taking place.  Training for integration as well as time in school for team planning to effect integration, difficulty in addressing themes and in covering the content of the syllabus adequately, the low proficiency and literacy levels of students were other difficulties apparent in the schools.  Evidence suggests that affective goals relating to the achievement of cooperation, peer appreciation and tolerance through group work are also not being achieved; and many teachers were of the view that instruction in the different elements in R&T was inadequate in laying the foundation for the CSEC syllabus which the students need to cover in the upper grades (Brown et al., 1998).

If the ideas in the GMP were implemented effectively, one would expect to see this reflected in performance at the Secondary School Entrance Examination (SSEE) which is taken by children  of   age  11 + for  entry to secondary schools.  From an examination of the SSEE Mathematics results for the whole of Guyana over a ten year period (1981-1991), Goolsarran (1992) reported that, where the maximum score was 60, the mean score in this examination ranged from as low as 13.16 in 1984 to 19.70 in 1988. The more visionary goals of the project such as   developing self reliance, a cooperative approach to  problem –solving were not achieved, one reason being  certain cultural characteristics rooted in the society such  as the inhibition of Guyanese  discussed earlier. And so in classrooms where we should have been seeing problem –solving through cooperative learning, recall of information remained the dominant way of learning. 

In discussing the impact of the PEP, Massanari and Miller described it as "a watershed in Caribbean Education" (ibid., p153, and as an "outstanding success" (ibid., p. 206).  The Social Studies curriculum, they claimed, revolutionised the teaching of Social studies in the participating territories, while the Primary Science curriculum succeeded in demystifying Science as the preserve of the academically brilliant. But the true measure of the impact of a curriculum project, however, lies in the use of the products in classrooms in ways that make a real difference to teaching and learning.  Massanari and Miller's evaluation of the PEP did not provide any evidence of this. That the PEP succeeded in getting some CARICOM Member States to develop supplementary materials for use in their own schools, underscores the positive outgrowth of collaborative action in the region. On the other hand, the fact that the project did not achieve the desired goal of commercial publication was not just a matter of cost.  It can also be seen as the persistence of individual territories to guard their own identities by ensuring that whatever goes into their education systems bears their own stamp.  The absence of a strong regional identity and the concern of individual territories to forge their own national identities, bolster national sentiments, instead of a regional consciousness which would have supported the use of common curricula in the primary systems of the region.

From the preceding, it is evident that although Cuban (1998) maintains that the effectiveness standard is the primary one used by most policy makers, media editors, etc, in judging the success of an innovation it is not an easy standard to measure. This is not only because the use of test results is inadequate but also because innovations usually have more than one goal and not all can be measured quantifiably. The results of the SSEE for the GMP tell us nothing about the achievement of the more affective goals.

(iii) Forgotten but not gone: infusion of core ideas

The third observation brings me back to where I started in this paper. When I look at my red jasper pendant, what I see is a beautiful semi-precious  stone. And yet I always remember that once it was a jagged piece of red rock that I picked up at my feet in the Kato area of Guyana. But who will remember these years from now when my pendant survives me and ends up at an antique auction perhaps? 

The fate of some innovations is not far different from this. We don’t hear about the G10/11 today. In its heyday,  it had the most  potent advocate of all-Prime Minister Michael Manley, one of the most popular and charismatic leaders that Jamaica has had since its  independence. The G10/11 benefited from his popularity. The Budget Debate Speech in 1973 when the decision to initiate the Grade 10 -11 Programme was announced was the first one of Manley’s Democratic Socialist Government that had been elected to office the previous year.  The G10/11 was like a keeping of a promise to faithful voters who had brought the party to power.  But with its removal from the Prime Minister’s office, the programme lost its popular appeal. Much of what was associated with it, for example the Life Skills Curriculum (which in later years was dubbed ‘the Dead Skills’ curriculum) we  would prefer not to remember and yet there are certain core elements of the G10/11,  like ‘life skills’ itself  and  the work experience programme which have become mainstream  features of secondary  education. Ideas from the Guyana Maths Project were infused into the Skills Reinforcement Guides developed by the National Centre for Educational Resource Development in Guyana in the early 1990s (Jennings 1993) and the cooperative approach to learning and the development of problem solving skills are core elements in the teaching of mathematics and numeracy in the primary curriculum in most if not all Caribbean countries today. The PEP has long since been washed out to sea by unrelenting currents, but  it too has left its mark in that it served as a stimulus to  the reform of existing syllabuses  in some participating territories.  For example, with financial assistance from the Organisation for Cooperation in Overseas Development (OCOD), Mathematics resource teachers in St. Kitts and Nevis, under the guidance of Mathematics tutors from the Teachers College, prepared a curriculum guide to supplement the PEP materials developed for Mathematics.  This guide provided, inter alia, an outline of the scope and sequence of the Primary Mathematics curriculum for St. Kitts/Nevis (Jennings, 2002).It can therefore be said that the G10/11, the GMP, the PEP are like the red jagged pieces of rock which were shaped into semi-precious stones, because something of them have survived in the new initiatives that followed them. Cuban (1998) made a similar observation about the Platoon schools. They are largely forgotten  today , he says, “yet the core notions of using buildings fully; offering a diversified curriculum combining academic subjects, practical tasks, and play… have become mainstream features of elementary schooling” (p 454).

(iv) Adaptability is common to all successful innovations

The fourth observation evident from table 1 is that adaptability is common to all the innovations that succeeded, even to some extent. Indeed, their adaptability was highlighted explicitly by their developers. For example, to ensure that cultural concerns unique to a particular territory were addressed, the developers of the PEP materials advised teachers to adapt the materials, as is evident from this statement from the Social Studies team: “Although this programme is structured, there is flexibility in both content and activities to permit a teacher to adapt to local and pupils' needs and to the availability of instructional materials (PEP Social Studies Curriculum Outline, 1985:2).

Usually innovations go through a process of mutual adaptation (Mclaughlin, 1976) wherein the innovation is adapted and the user adapts his /her situation to accommodate the innovation.  Based on his experience with a literacy project designed to promote leisure reading among reluctant readers in secondary schools in a Caribbean country, Warrican (2006) wrote: ‘if teachers can see that they can adapt a solution to fit their circumstances….. they are more likely to  adopt a change  and see it  as their own” (p12).

The R&T is implemented differently in each school, depending on the resources available. Very few schools are able to implement the Visual Arts element   due to a shortage of teachers trained in that area.  All involved in R&T have had to adapt in some way or other. Because the schools   do not have the resources, the onus has been put on students to provide materials needed for making products. Teachers of R&T have had to become accustomed to doing many things differently.  For example, they have had to adapt themselves to a team approach to planning and doing this planning during school time.  This same cooperative endeavour they have also had to encourage in the students, particularly through group work.  The teachers have also had to adopt a more student-centred and integrated approach to teaching, new assessment procedures, improved record keeping and they have had to learn to be resourceful. For example, one teacher commented on ‘having to teach keyboarding skills to a group of 51 with only 10 typewriters’ (Jennings, 1998:42).

There is an absence of local research on how teachers adapt curricula and how mutual adaptation actually takes place.  The research by Drake et al (2006) in the UK which found that teachers had different ‘models of curriculum use’ as they adapted a mathematics reform –based curriculum is illuminating in this regard. In the Caribbean there is a tendency to think that although teachers are encouraged to adapt curricula, they often use the curriculum guide as a blueprint since the curriculum is presented to them as a package. In the PEP Social Studies curriculum, for example, each   lesson outline begins with a statement of the theme, the topic based on the theme, organising concepts and generalizations, main ideas and the skills to be developed.  This is followed by a statement of behavioural objectives, content outline and suggested activities.  In some cases, there are even suggestions on 'Teacher Preparation', i.e. what the teacher should do to ensure adequate preparation for the lesson. Sample questions are also given together with background information on the topic and some evaluation exercises. While the teachers are advised to modify the outlines to suit their individual situations, the outlines are so detailed as to leave little to the imagination and inventiveness of the teachers.  Many are indeed reduced to 'passive consumers' (Jennings 2002).


To judge an educational innovation or change   as either a success or a failure is to misrepresent reality. They succeed to varying degrees and, rather like rocks which the relentless currents wear away over the years and shape into stones of different hue and form, these innovations are also worn away over time but  something of them endures in  initiatives that come after them. Change and durability are to rocks and stones as they are to educational innovations. It is the rare one, however, that seemingly vanishes without a trace, like the stone worn away by the currents over the years until it disintegrates to grains in a white-sanded Caribbean beach.  This paper has provided one example. PRIMER was closed down following the original experiment (and half a million Canadian dollars added to Jamaica’s national debt) and not surprisingly, since an IDRC official on a visit to the project schools observed ‘one has to look very hard to detect the innovation in use within Project PRIMER’ (Stromquist, 1982:7).  But Table 2 shows how relentless the currents wore away the fabric needed to sustain the innovation. The  supports  that were needed for it to be  implemented successfully were just  not there: the users being  convinced  of its need and relevance,  provision of good quality materials, participation  in decision-making on  the part of those responsible for implementing the ideas, lead time  for materials development, provision for evaluation, principals’ support for the teachers, support from the community. CSEC had all of these stacked in its favour.

But there are some educational innovations which seem born to die. Educational planners in developing countries can do much to rescue their countries from some indebtedness, if they only heed the signs. For PRIMER there were two signs early in its life which showed the writing on the wall. Firstly, soon after the proposal for PRIMER was accepted, the IDRC changed its priorities from involvement in high-cost development projects such as PRIMER to research (Cummings, 1986).Because the funding agency lost interest in PRIMER it did nothing to intervene when there were clear signs even in the early days of the project that things were not going well. Its lack of intervention has been attributed to the funding agency’s policy of not being overly directive but simply getting its officers to visit project sites and to “share their reflections with project staff and generally avoid.. …offering unsolicited advice” (Cummings, 1986, p.13).  Secondly, the government that negotiated the funding of PRIMER by the IDRC was defeated in the General Elections of October 1980.This was just about one year after the project was initiated.  Every one of influence who could have served as an advocate for PRIMER was removed from office. The new government, while giving verbal support to PRIMER, watched as it drowned when funding from the donor agency ceased. PRIMER failed to achieve its objectives and so was ineffective.  It was never implemented as originally conceived. It left nothing to be adapted, and its life was nipped in the bud.

So what have we learnt from all of this?  I would hope that we have a better understanding of how critical effective implementation is to the success of an innovation and that judgments about the success of an innovation should take these factors into consideration. Using particular criteria to evaluate success is a complex undertaking because innovations have multiple goals the achievement of which has to be judged by different standards. Some goals are achieved, others are not.  We have also learnt that most innovations do not die as their core ideas are taken up by initiatives that succeed them; that adaptability is a characteristic common to all the innovations that succeed.

 That all of this gives   a sense of continuity  and durability in the change process  may serve as some solace to those of us who are concerned  about the  project –driven nature of  our education systems in the Caribbean:   a new project replaces the old  in five year cycles and we seemingly  continue to step in the same river twice. But I would hope that it has also struck pangs of conscience in the hearts of initiators of projects such as PRIMER. The fact that evaluation and research tend not to be built into such projects has the effect of absolving such persons from accountability. Yet no project leaves the schools in which it is implemented unscathed. What happened to the teachers and principals in the PRIMER schools during and after its termination? Were their relationships affected? Most importantly how did the project’s failure impact on the children in those schools? Did we stand by and watch as they too drowned with the project? We should have answers to these questions. We should be more accountable for what happens in all our schools, but even more so in schools where innovations fail.


Factors affecting the implementation of selected educational innovations in the Caribbean

Key √ =present  X =absent # =present to some extent


A.  Characteristics of the innovation

                                      G10/11 R&T         CSEC       PMR        PEP        GMP

(1) Need and Relevance   Innovation is perceived as  relevant to community/societal needs


(2) Compatibility Innovation is perceived as compatible to values, existing practices,  etc.




(3) Complexity  Innovation  is perceived as  difficult to   understand and use


(4)  Clarity  Innovation goals are clear to users  and means of implementation made explicit





(5)  Quality and Practicality Programme materials are of  good quality and practicable






B. Characteristics at the school   level

                                      G10/11  R&T         CSEC       PMR      PEP       GMP

(6) Participation   Change strategy involves participation by teachers and principals





(7)Leadership  Principals offer good leadership





(8) Training Adequate and appropriate training of teachers and principals




(9)  Relationships   Staff relationships are healthy and supportive






(10)Community support   The  community is involved and supportive






(11)School location Accessible and allows easy communication with /by project team








C. Characteristics at the national   level

                           G10/11  R&T         CSEC       PMR      PEP         GMP

(12) Model of Change   Change strategy power  coercive/top-down

(13)  Relationships good relations between  school /Ministry of  Education staff and project team /Government






(14) Leadership  Sound leadership by project director


(15)  Staffing    Adequate supply of staff in  project  team


(16) Evaluation & Research Provision for continuous monitoring and evaluation





(17) Government  Support  Continuing government  support




(18) Training Provision for ongoing teacher training /staff development





(19)  Lead Time for materials development   Realistic time  span for materials development




D. Characteristics external to the national system

                                     G10/11  R&T          CSEC     PMR      PEP         GMP

(20) Funding by donor agency   Realistic time span for funding






(21)  Technical assistance  provision of international /local technical assistance



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Dealing with the Historical Paradoxes of a Globalized Educationalisation
a way to write the “New” Cultural History of Education?

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven-Kortrijk, Belgium


I am convinced that if we are not able to appreciate the relativity of the categories we use, we run the risk of not gaining anything, and of losing everything” (Eco, 1990, p. 111).


Every scientific discipline is continuously subject to change. This truism applies both to the knowledge generated within a particular field of research and to its educational translation into a teaching subject. When the subject of “history of pedagogy” (conceived as a history of educational thought) entered the curriculum of European universities in the 19th century, the legislators had completely different objectives and content in mind than the ones so-called “new cultural historians of education” proclaim today (see, e.g., Compère 1995). That we ourselves prefer to speak of “educational historiography” manifests this and illustrates the historicity (and also relativity) of the developments in the history of the “history of education” as a specific field of knowledge. Not only because such an outcome is partly itself the result of historical processes, but also and in particular because the process of knowing as such always takes place in a perspectivist (and, therefore, to a certain degree also in a “presentistic”, e.g. a time-bound) manner. Our observation of “reality” is made literally on the basis of a particular (biological, historical, social, cultural, ideological) “point of view” in time and space, while knowledge of (and therefore thinking, speaking and writing about) this “reality” is always shaped via the reductionist incision of the concrete word. Knowledge – and certainly knowledge of the past - comes about via time-bound linguistic concepts, the significance of which is predominantly dependent on the specificity of cultures in which such concepts are used and therefore continuously varies in relation to the present.

Epistemological step-up to a “new cultural history of education”

In general historiography, L. von Ranke is regarded as one of the founders of historicism. In the context of this intellectual movement, attention was already being drawn to the necessary historical content of phenomena. History had to be seen in relation to the norms each age brought with it. They were thought of as being an immanent part of the historical reality. They were active principles that gave the past itself shape. The intervention of the historian was regarded as that of a passive, photographic plate. His language was, as it were, a mirror of the historical reality, without autonomy.

During the course of the 20th century, however, it was realised that things are not as straightforward as they appeared in the perspective of 19th-century historicism. The historical reality is, to paraphrase the Dutch historian F.R. Ankersmit (1990, 1996), not a reality specified a priori but a reality that is only created in the interpretation, thus, a posteriori. The historian constructs the past within the contours of the applicable historiographic tradition. By means of an historical story, a context in the past is created that the past itself did not know. Every historical researcher inevitably starts out from an artificially created collection of data that are grouped (and regrouped) into a text, and this text, in the view of M. de Certeau (1978), through its own structure and construction carries within it an unité de sens. Language is thus not an autonomous mirror or a photographic plate. It is, in fact, not a mirror at all; it represents the expression of ourselves and of what structures our thoughts. Only in historical discussion, in conversation with other researchers, does it articulate historical knowledge. The forming of historical knowledge is, therefore, not to be sought in the past itself but in the interpretative traditions of the “historiographic operation”, which is related to the way in which the historical “evidence” is produced by historians. It assumes a distance in time, which makes possible the projection, the subjective historicity with which the researcher discovers and constructs the “different” in and the “being different” of the past. Such historical intervention, although it is never entirely “certain” of itself, is, however, not necessarily pure fiction. To the extent that the manufacturing of the past, in consultation with the usual practices of the present-day “historiographic operation” is able to distinguish the false from the falsifiable, it can undoubtedly lay claim to being scientific. The exercise of history – and here de Certeau follows P. Ricoeur (2004, p.180), who sees the past as something that is not but that has been – operates as critical hermeneutics. It arises from the break with the myth and rhetoric that previous historiographers have left behind and consequently results in something midway between “fiction” and “science”.

The thought that all our knowledge must be viewed as a conversation (and not as a correspondence between knowledge and reality) has been developed in particular by the American philosopher R. Rorty, who has also pointed to the significance of hermeneutics in the debate on the theory of knowledge (Boomkens, 1992). According to Rorty there is no neutral language of observation to which all scientific theories (and more particularly what T.S. Kuhn has referred to as “paradigms”) can be reduced, so that they can be compared with one another on the basis of their relative plausibility. Knowledge presupposes the language in which it is formulated, hence the epistemological need for interpretation and interpretative skills. Within the scheme of contemporary time a bygone culture can only be understood by engaging in a conversation with it, that it to say by acquiring experience of it (through texts) and developing new concepts. Only in such dialogue will we gradually be able to “seize” the past, which necessarily presupposes a change in our own categories and standpoints. Meanwhile, this blurred the distinction between philosophical argument and literary story-telling (or narrative) and the distinction between the purity and certainty of the avowed “objectivity” and the impurity and uncertainty of the ubiquitous “subjectivity”. Rorty (1982) emerged as a supporter of a pluralistic society, in which the novel, the literary story-telling, formed the core.

This “linguistic turn” led in historiography to the strict division between historical science and language also being overturned. For some, the blurring is so great that that there is virtually no longer any difference between the historiographic novels of historians and the novelised history of literary producers. However that may be, the history business, as a result of the linguistic turn, has gained more and more attention for the role of language, discursive practices, and the narrative structures in historical story. “If the linguistic turn teaches us anything, it teaches us to read differently, we must begin to write differently. There is no single correct approach to reading a historical text; there are only ways of reading. Different reading strategies will constitute a historical text in different ways. The linguistic turn forces us to reconsider what kind of act the writing of history is, what our forms of emplotment permits or constraints, what kind of story we want to tell, and what kind of story we actually do tell”, Cohen (1999, p. 81 f.) argues. The grand theory of post-structuralists plays a decisive role in this new cultural history of education, of which S. Cohen is only one exponent. There is agreement with Foucault that it is not the unique human individual who is the author of the text and the intentions contained in it, but the desubjectified “exposition”: the principle of the grouping of words, as a unit and origin of the meanings contained in it, and as a collecting point for the relationship that exists between them (Ankersmit, 1996, p. 122 f.). Instead of dealing with texts naively (as transparent windows onto the past), the new cultural historians of education draw attention to “textual silences” and “blind spots”. Such signals betray, as it were, the unconscious aspect of a text. Texts do not refer unproblematically to what exists outside the text, but are, as has been said, the material externalisation of structures and processes that have made the production possible. The new cultural educational historian therefore tries to understand how language and culture give intentionality to our deeds through their own logic. He tries to grasp the sphere of discursive orders, symbolic practices and media techniques that structure the involvement of the individual in society. “Our interest is in a historical imagination in the study of schooling that focuses on knowledge as a field of cultural practice and cultural production. It is to historicize what previously was subservient to a philosophical ‘unconsciousness,’ that is, the objects that stood as the monuments that projected its moral imperatives and salvation stories. This historicizing does not reject commitments but considers how commitments are interned and enclosed through the making of objects of interpretation, reflection, and possibility(Popkewitz et al., 2001, p. 15).

Focusing on the history of education, the linguistic turn therefore implies the re-orientation of a number of basic assumptions of modernism, which are related to the Enlightenment Project. First, the generalised progress thought was brought down. More specifically, a purely linear and teleological view of history was dismissed. In such a view, it is not only assumed that the “makeable” person and society can become “better” through development, but that this aim is at the same time revealed in the inherent dynamics of history. Second, the role of the subject as actor in history is rendered greatly problematical. Rather than on the impulses to educational innovation and improvement that would have been based on the individual, the focus now is on the discursive space which structures the educational field. One examined how the discursive space comes about, how it develops, how it constructs subjects and social activities (such as upbringing, training and education) and what forms of power and suppression are consequently produced and organised. In this way, the new cultural history aims to distance itself clearly from the paradigms that preceded it. Ultimately these are, according to T. Popkewitz et al. (2001, p. 13 ff.), still rooted too much in historicism. This historical tradition finds it difficult to live with the thought of an absent subject in history. The philosophy of awareness of the Enlightenment brought forth the idea of a self-aware actor, a creative and a priori subject that could be emancipated via universal knowledge and could consequently steer history in the direction of more humanity. Linked to the conceptions of liberalism and the modern state (which was thought of as the emancipation of a collective will), this provided stories of progress on the blessings of upbringing and education and the good life of children, educators and society. The irony of this historicism was, however, that, by positing a supra-historical idea of progress, it wiped out history – history was, as it were, made blind to the way in which historical conditions determined the finality and direction of stories on history. This “irony” of historicism has been described by W. Benjamin as the emptying of history by history.

In order to puncture the “false” historical awareness to which historicism has given rise, use can be made of the techniques of “deconstruction” (a concept taken from Derrida). This means that the “track” of the linguistic “drive” that such an historical awareness has brought forth must be exposed, or formulated differently, that the foundations of the linguistic code that structure and construct this exposition must be made visible. Following Foucault, it is assumed that history of human knowledge and science comes down to the unravelling of the hidden regime and the general policy of “truth” that is active in it. On the basis of the awareness of this Sisyphean task, we have, in the context of educational historiography, repeatedly argued for a demythologising perspective (Depaepe, 1997). Demythologising is – in the sense that Rorty has attributed to it – a “cartographic” activity: mapping the field of discussion. In view of doing this, it is far from unnecessary to consider here what have been the dominant “paradigms” among historians of education, and to look for the “narratives” these more or less generally accepted approaches to the educational past have given rise.

Paradigmatic developments towards the “new cultural history of education”

Kuhn (1979) used the term paradigm in the sense of a model approach, a “disciplinary matrix” of coherent entities of laws, theories, applications and instruments that belong to the consensus of a particular group of scientists. Paradigms are pivots around which the “revolutions” in the physical sciences turn. Kuhn emphasises in particular in these revolutions the discontinuity with what preceded them. The transition from one paradigm to another, he argues, ushers in a crisis state from which a new form of “normal” science can flourish. This transition in his view is not a cumulative process. It is more an “envelope” in which the points of departure for the redefinition of the specialist field become visible. With regard to writing history of education, the argument of successive paradigms to some extent holds true, but in relation to the context of radical breaks in which that would happen we have considerable reservation. We conceive the development in the history of science of the discipline of history of education far more as a continuum (see, e.g., Depaepe, 2004). This continuum presents itself as richly chequered process of intersecting outcomes. The break lines, to which Kuhn has alluded in the context of his analysis of the natural sciences, are, with regard to educational historiography, principally breaks in “self-discourse”. The aim was to demonstrate via methodological, theoretical or historiographical reflections on research how revolutionarily different the “new” approach was, so the category of “discontinuity” was obviously needed more for this than was “continuity”.

It is easy on the basis of self-discourse in an international perspective to distinguish three to four phases in the post-war development of the history of education as a field of research. The preference for the new cultural history of education, which gained ground particularly during the course of the 1990s, was preceded by the (new) social history of education. This “paradigm shift” in the direction of a more socially or sociologically substantiated educational historiography is said to have taken place chiefly in the 1960s and 1970s. The new social history of education, according to the internal conceptualisation in the field, replaced the “outdated” history of ideas of the great educational thinkers, which is said to have taken root particularly in the 1950s, partly in the context of teacher training. Following the 19th-century tradition, a “canonising” encounter with one’s own past, directed towards opening up the educationally valuable in the heritage of the history of ideas, offered a good platform for legitimising contemporary educational action. From the point of view of the history of the history of education, such an approach based on the history of ideas in turn contrasted with the antiquarian and chronologically constructed acts-and-facts history, which was often encountered in the context of institutional educational history. Such “school history”, although it was not devoid of the modernist belief in progress, had, all things considered, turned out to be less functional in the context of teacher training.

However, anyone who on the basis of actual publications of educational history wishes to investigate the specific evolutions and revolutions in the specialist field will soon come to the conclusion that the development of the research reality has been far more complex than these broad generalisations of the self-image of the discipline suggest. To begin with, the paradigms cited here intersect far more than is usually assumed. Social and cultural historiography on education is certainly not an invention of the late 20th century. In the wake of German historicism, attention was already paid to the study of the organic growth that could be established in the relatively autonomous cultural field of education. This study naturally had a different appearance than the present-day profiles of social and cultural educational historiography, but this does not deny that outpourings have continued to occur to the present to give the discipline a professional and educationally relevant appearance. To an extent, sedimentations of previous paradigmatic layers are still active. In addition, the heterogeneity of “new” impulses for both social and cultural historiography on education cannot be ignored. Far from having been a monolithic paradigm, the preference for social educational history was (and is) borne by a sturdy methodological debate on the role of history in theory-forming, in which diametrically opposed positions are often adopted: from empirical source description of social  ties to education through the integration of sociological models and theories – an anything but flat contours of schools and directions of research, which we cannot examine in detail here owing a lack of space.

With a view to a better understanding of contemporary educational historiography, we merely point out that complicated sociological models are at the basis in part of what is known as the world system analysis, which is currently much in vogue in the framework of comparative approaches. Studies of the “neo-institutionalist school” – which argues for a more sophisticated form of the traditional functionalism in sociology and with which the names of J.W. Meyer, F.O. Ramirez, and J. Boli are associated – demonstrate that the educational institutions and the education system as such have been of decisive significance for the consolidation of the “modern” nation state and the positioning of the individual in it. In “modern” times, the “nation state” has gradually taken over the task of intermediate bodies, such as classes and guilds, as well as of cosmo-politically-oriented churches of traditional society. Education became the secularised version of the ecclesiastical message of salvation: as an outstanding rite of initiation, the school promised progress and deliverance for individual and nation (Caruso & Roldán Vera, 2005). Despite the political and social characteristics of various states, the build-up of education for the masses in the western world followed a similar route. There is discussion in this context of a “symptomatic isomorphism”. National and cultural unity, to a significant degree, was acquired through the school. It propagated and incarnated as an institution values such as the manipulability of the individual and society, the associated belief in progress, as well as the scientific rationality of this modernistic dream which gradually took on a transnational, universal and universalistic appearance - certainly after the Second World War, when the school and the associated ideology of redemption had gained worldwide support (Schriewer, 2004). According to neo-institutionalist thinking, the school as an institute for the masses first integrated various population groups in dominant “nationalities”. This process took place principally in the 19th century, although the impetus for it had clearly been given in the 18th century (see Pereira de Sousa, et al., 2005). The core of this process was based on the formation of the notion of “citizenship”– the ethically constructive attitude that was expected of every individual as a member of the society with respect to the state. The idea of citizenship gradually developed to that of “world citizenship”- the ethical loyalty with respect to the imaginary culture of the global community, to which people were bound as a result of the transnational modernisation processes that were taking place.

As a result of globalisation thinking, great social movements such as secularisation, the rise of industrial capitalism, the intensification of international contacts through trade and industry can be relatively easily described and understood, including for parts of the world that do not belong to the centre of western society. But it is obvious that the practical details of such vastly conceived paradigms can vary widely depending on the historical contexts to which it is de facto directed. Mutatis mutandis, the same applies to the disciplinisation thinking that without doubt occupies the most significant place as a grand theory within the new cultural history of education.

Narratives of civilisation, disciplinisation, normalisation, globalisation, colonisation, educationalisation and feminisation: traces of paradoxes of “post-modern” educational historiography?

As is well known, the western process of civilisation is in essence traced back by Elias (1969R) to making people ever “neater” and “tamer” by means of complex forms of social and mental influence. Imitation of social reference groups plays a great role in this. One imposes on oneself the pattern of others, which gives rise, as it were, to a spiral of civilising work. As lower groupings try to take over the more refined forms of social intercourse and the living and behaviour standards of the upper social layers, these upper layers themselves, desiring to be distinct, then impose on themselves even stricter behaviour control, which then evokes an urge to imitate among these others, and so on. Insofar as the process of civilisation is disciplinisation and/or drill, Elias's theory can easily be linked to the normalisation thinking of Foucault, who focussed just as much on history for the development of his ideas. Both made use of the “genealogical” method, aimed at understanding the social changes on the basis of themselves. Both studied long-term social processes; they examined the rules whereby these processes are structured, what is inherited from the past, and what is manifested as innovation. They both arrived at an internal dynamic, based on relations of power and dominance, that is constitutive for the occurrence of a particular (modern or western) form of society, just as much as for the occurrence of particular types of knowledge as for the process of subjectivisation (Varela, 2001). Foucault searched for knowledge incorporated into the complex institutional system and arrived at the discursive practice of power. This power permeates the whole of society and is manifestly present at all its levels. It cannot be localised but is expressed as a chain of events in which supervising, punishing and controlling are permanently present as a common motif (Foucault, 2004R, p. 215). The ultimate aim of this disciplinary strategy (which was manifested from the 16th and 17th centuries on through the “great interment” of the poor, the mentally ill, the prostitutes, and so on) is to “normalise” people, that is to say to transform their bodies into obedient machines with good health, a “correct” mentality, and an appropriate (that is to say, socially desirable) needs structure. What is normal is ultimately determined by the production of the knowledge and science itself, which, principally from the Enlightenment on, has come to play an essential role as part of a more perfected technology of power. As disciplinary exercise of power becomes invisible, the subject has come more to the fore as the object of science. As power comes to function more anonymously, individualisation over those on whom the power is exercised arises: each individual is articulated as an object of science and control.

The integration of normalisation thinking à la Foucault has without doubt enriched educational historiography. Examples are legion, certainly in the field of “special” education, which has made itself available as an excellent field of application for a cultural offensive with all kinds of normalising effects – albeit that this cultural compulsion often takes a unilaterally negative colouring, in the sense that little attention has been paid to the emancipating effects that this cultural compulsion could possibly have had (Dekker, 2001). From this point of view, the question remains to what extent normalisation thinking, despite its instructive value for the direction that educationalisation has taken as a process, is capable of spanning the entire set of effects relating to the promotion of personal, social and cultural welfare. Such effects cannot be viewed in isolation from the perception of individual people, and – insofar as educational historiography has given a definite answer – it appears that this cannot be pushed without qualification into the straitjacket of one or other disciplinary “master plan”.

Indeed, Foucault he himself has not exclusively nor primarily defined disciplinisation negatively. Thus, possibly “person-promoting” outcomes of this process certainly need not be regarded as unintentional side-effects (whether or not thought of as resistance from the lower classes). Like Elias, Foucault appreciated just as much the productive aspects of the exercise of power (Varela, 2001). It is precisely social compulsion, which through inner normalisation becomes self-compulsion that, according to him, produces the person, the individual. Only that individual does not exist as a being in which unity or a free will can be detected. People are merely combinations of positions in diverging structures, which function according to their regularities, and the ideology of the free and creative unit subject – itself a product of discipline – entails a limitation of human capabilities. Foucault, therefore, refused to accept in history a kind of centre or subject from which a network of causal relations might originate. It was not without irony that he pointed out that freedom could not be equated with the overthrow or denial of the existing order. Freedom was not the opposite of power or compulsion, but was, like the lack of freedom, associated with it in a complex manner. The educational task of humanity was therefore not “liberation” – the great dream of Enlightenment and modernity – but “living in freedom” – a notion also expressed before him by A. Gramsci (Boomkens, 2004). Gramsci, who wrote many of his works in prison under the Mussolini regime, pointed out before the Second World War that the idea of “revolution”, a single battle against a bastion of corrupted power, had been overtaken by such things by the democratisation of politics, the increased influence of economic power with ramifications around the world, and the growing significance of public opinion in Europe as well as in the United States. In highly developed, complex and sharply differentiated societies, “the” authority and “the” power had many kinds of faces and effects. In connection with the generalisation of public education imposed from above, for example, Gramsci stated that this could remove the lower classes from ignorance. The school enabled them to rise above the folklore, superstition, fear, and magic of the traditional view of the world (Simon, 1987).

Therefore, there are difficulties with the image of unilateral control of the individual to which, rather than the normalisation thinking of Foucault himself, the derivations from it – including in the educational history – have given rise. In the view of de Certeau, what is more applicable here is the conclusion that people, despite the existence of tenacious and compulsive structures in society, try constantly to escape this imposed compulsion and eventually also succeed. Instead of an ordered whole, “the” society emerges as a well-nigh ungovernable swarm of individuals who are moved by individual emotions, insights and experiences, on which the controlling interventions of planners, sociologists, psychologists, educationalists, and the like, all things considered, have only modest influence. It is difficult to think of processes such as “normalisation” and “civilising” as linear, modernistic stories of progress. Rather than as single and simple narratives, they point to the complexity and multiplicity of the final result of the “civilisation” – a theme that resonates all the more strongly in the present-day “stories of globalisation”: “For the first time in its long linear and cumulative history, civilisation is not described just in terms of increased transparency, increased freedom or increased diversity but principally in terms of increased chaos, indefiniteness, ambiguity, doubt. That this is possible – and not just possible but also fruitful – can become apparent only if we are prepared not so much to drop the concept of civilisation, or the whole idea of the Enlightenment or modernisation, as to show how such processes are the result of more than one source or authority” (Boomkens, 2004, p. 6).

The outcome of globalisation cannot be interpreted univocally any more than the result of disciplinisation can. Some call them “hybridisation”, “creolisation” and such things (attention being invariably drawn to the occurrence of new differences within globalisation that is thought of all too homogeneously); others speak of “glocalisation”, by which is meant that globalisation at the same time also signifies localisation and delocalisation. Civilisation does not emerge from one centre but is the complex result of multiple influences and practices, which, despite the general tendencies present in it, can produce differentiated results in the short and long term. No internationalisation without indigenisation, as J. Schriewer (2004) recently wrote. But this does not alter the fact that the generalised dependency on the global economy, bringing in its wake accelerated despatialisation via the Internet, “assaults” us as a fate hardly to be averted. Just as in civilisation and normalisation processes, the paradoxical nature of globalisation appears to consist in creating “freedom in dependence” or perhaps better still “freedom as dependence”. In the same way that advancing institutionalisation, structuring, and isolation of the world in which children and young people live in the name of “emancipation” through upbringing, training, and education appears to encourage increasing patronisation, it is a paradoxical observation that the “liberal”, “democratic” market society, in the name of free circulation of people and goods, is not just increasingly regulating itself but is also ruling out any alternative for society – which easily continues to arouse fears among “different-globalists” and “anti-globalists” of standardisation, “coca-colonisation”, “McDonalisation” and all manner of other ironic terms.

To the extent that such a “progressive” heritage keeps open other paths for society, it probably also has a historic mission. Not to harness history before the cart of its ideology, but to demonstrate that the slogan of those, who considered it necessary to proclaim the end of history on the basis of globalisation, ultimately holds little water. As the Gramsci-inspired educational historian B. Simon once remarked, history (and that of education in particular) leads to the “liberating” insight that things have not always been the way they are now and therefore neither do they need to remain the way they are now. Or, to put it in the more contemporary terms of the sociologists and educationalists who, on the basis of the world-system theory described above, propagate a symbolic “world culture” of universal human rights: “There was nothing inevitable about Western ascendancy nor is there any reason to believe that this is a permanent world condition” (Ramirez, 2003, p. 10). The generalisation of education by the systematic institutionalisation of the school may well be responsible for homogenisation and universalisation of society in the direction of the neo-capitalist and neo-liberal model; the isomorphic educational regime of globalising society also lies at the basis of the broadening of the awareness of the individual: “schooling has too many amphetamine-like effects to serve as opiate for the masses” (Ramirez, 2003, p. 11). This once again leads to another, albeit intriguing paradox, namely that the universalistic aspirations (aroused by education) for finding of identity, like the need (also aroused by education) to substantiate this rationally will perhaps lead to a “dewesternisation” rather than a “westernisation” of world culture...

Indeed, as far as our research on the history of education in the former Belgian Congo has indicated (e.g. Depaepe & Van Rompaey, 1995), the study of the colonial educational past, more even than that of the Western history in general, revealed the systemic faults and the pedagogical paradoxes of the 'modern' educational project. One of them certainly encompasses the discrepancy between the educational objectives and the educational effects. The colonization of the area, which was accompanied largely by the destruction of the existing culture, set off educational processes in the autochthons that, in the long term, turned out to be incompatible with the points of departure of the colonization, casu quo, evangelization. Far from adopting the stereotypical, leftist-revisionist coloured discourse of the missionary as the stooge of a lobby lusting for economic gain the thesis of an ambitiously orchestrated educational plot against the blacks does not hold true as such it still cannot be denied that the colonial education did not give directly evidence of much emancipatory power. In our opinion, there is enough evidence to argue that the Belgian civilizers, including the missionaries, played the tutelage card for too long. It is true that the Church in the second half of the 1950s increasingly lined up behind the Congolese people, but the heritage of the past weighed heavily. At the time of independence in 1960, the Congo did not have the necessary functionaries and know-how to govern the country effectively. Instead of striving to broaden awareness, the missionaries as well as the colonists tried as best they could to socialize the pupils entrusted to them to become docile helpers of the colonial system. Insofar as critical thinking was still promoted, it appeared all in all to be little more than an undesired side effect. In any case, one was aware and this was the fundamental paradox the educational agents saw themselves confronted with that the success of the colonial adventure required a certain introduction to “modern” (Western?) critical thought and cultural pattern, particularly for the 'elite', but one also knew all too clearly that too much education could lead to the destabilization of the autochthon life. The question of 'how far can/must we go' thus hovered constantly in the background of the quasi-exponential expansion of primary education for the masses.

The fact that resistance regularly arose against the all too stringent disciplining from above illustrated, however, as did the relatively high dropout rate, that the Western educational machine ran anything but smoothly (see also Depaepe, 1998). The dysfunctioning of agricultural education, which was intended to halt the flight from the land and the accompanying loss of control over the masses, constituted perhaps the best example of this. But also the increasing dissatisfaction of the évolués, who had been able to push through to the scarce forms of continued and higher education, points, all in all, in the same direction. According to the educational dream of the Belgian policy makers in the Congo, the autochthons should be prepared for independence slowly but surely. This was done by paternalistically preaching the development of a harmonious cooperation model so that the Belgian interests in the area could be assured. It is true that the African identity had to be strengthened by means of education, but the Western civilization model continued to be directive. The internal dynamics of the Western civilizing process produced among the autochthons a repugnance for manual labour and caused social disintegration by emigration to the city and the penchant for a job in governmental administration. In the countryside, elementary education after Independence headed for catastrophe, and in the urban centres, too, the double-tracked nature of education manifested itself ever more painfully. In addition to an increasing group of excluded people, education delivered an elite, who were saddled with inferiority complexes who could give vent to their frustrations on subordinates with impunity.

Without wanting to ascribe the bankruptcy of present education in Congo completely to a failing colonial system, we must admit that some of the present problems go back to the Belgian educational past. Together with the educational structures from the colonial era, the authoritarian-hierarchical viewpoint of the whites was “appropriated” by several Congolese leaders with little if any hesitation. Belgian education in the Congo resembled not a successful enterprise but a runaway locomotive that, in spite of all the good intentions, inevitably raced to its own destruction.

Probably, an interesting parallelism is still to be discovered here (see, in this respect, Depaepe, Briffaerts, Kita Kyankenge Masandi & Vinck, 2003) between the postcolonial “appropriation” of modern (i.c. western, neo-liberal) educational standards in developing countries at the one hand and the neo-liberal “transformation” of the progressive educational heritage in the “modern” world at the other hand. In “old” Europe as well as in “new” world of North America, the reception of “progressive” educational thought did not occur according to a linear logic of one or another idea-historical chain but according to the dynamic and capricious principles of imputation and appropriation. If the leading educational philosophers and great thinkers (see De Coster, Depaepe, Simon & Van Gorp, 2005; Popkewitz, 2005) were read at all by educators, they projected into their writings what they ultimately wanted to read or see or what they simply felt. The so often cheered pedagogical reception history must, in our opinion, then at least be complemented by a pedagogical “perception history” in which instinctive, psychological processes such as perception, empathy – Be-eindrücking, as is said so well in German – are considered at least as important as the receptive rational. The romantic, theological-pastoral discourse of the elevation of the people of God (formulated by Pestalozzi among others) was, for example, adapted, in our opinion, not so much in function of one’s own pedagogical, political, and social considerations and implications as in function of its servitude to various political, pedagogical, social, and economic agendas of the “consumers” – agendas of the moment that, possibly, can be embraced in larger-scale modernisation processes, such as nation formation, secularisation, pedagogisation or educationalisation, professionalisation, and so on. Such ideologisations, rationalisations, and legitimations, which are generally the result of historical filtering processes, transformations, and appropriations of pedagogical concepts constitute in any event, as “working history”, an essential component of the modern historiography of education. They bring the story of the history of educational thought within a culture-historical line that Michel Foucault and others have drawn by conceiving history as a discourse about discourses (see also Depaepe 1992 & 2006).

However, the discursive story line of pedagogical ideas does not stand alone within the “new” cultural history of education. It is constantly brought into relation with what the concrete pedagogical practice yields as its own exposition structures. In contrast to what the classic history of ideas paradigm accepts in line with philosophical idealism, the relation between “theory” and “practice”, or, if you will, between “idea” and “action”, is conceived here not as a one-way street from the one to the other. The historical dynamic (dialectic?) that occurs between the two poles (sometimes conceived as a somewhat more complex tension curve across a broad middle field of “mentalities”) is, in my opinion, much more complex than what a simple “top-to-bottom” relation of theory and practice would lead one to assume. As has emerged from our own research, this dynamic must be conceived rather circularly: pedagogical practice does not simply endure the terror of theory; it itself also transforms theory in function of the legitimation of its own actions. What remained in the concrete practice of the progressive-pedagogical, also within the most progressive educational circles, was, considered from this perspective, often little more than slogan language, separated from and even opposed to the original intentions. In relation to the implementation of educational innovations, the dynamic between what we have elsewhere called higher and lower pedagogy (Depaepe et al 2000) exposes precisely one of the fundamental causes of why pedagogical-didactic reforms proceed so slowly. Paraphrasing Larry Cuban (1993), we can state that educational reform movements – including their theoretical backgrounds and starting points – change not so much the school and education themselves than, inversely, are controlled by the “grammar of schooling” active in it.

We shall return to this “grammar” immediately, but let us first point out that this does not, however, alter the fact that the idea of globalisation of the educational space, including in the Foucauldian sense, can be critically questioned at its discursive level. It forms part of a continued liberal administrative regime in which the social democratic ideology and strategy of the active welfare state is no longer experienced as a problem of social inequality but as one of inclusion and exclusion. For Popkewitz (2004), the criterion of this exclusion forms the manufactured concept of “lifelong learner”, which at the same time serves as the impetus for a new type of cosmopolitanism, by which the spirit is “made” and the self is “managed”. Masschelein and Simons (2003, p. 76 ff.) see the emergence of this new globalism as an economisation of the social. On the one hand, it fits in which the propaganda for the usable, “managing self” and on the other it gives the “experts” (therapists, psychologists, educationalists etc.) the opportunity to “sell” their expertise, which in our view presupposes educationalisation in a dual manner. However that may be, the invitation to conceive social relations as the enterprising choice of an autonomous, independent subject with individual motives meanwhile provides the ironic paradox with discursive anonymity itself.

Quite apart from this critique of the contemporary orientation of the trend towards globalisation, with and without a cultural history colouring, there is obviously also the question to what extent the story of globalisation in itself offers an adequate impetus for the construction of educational historiography. With regard to the neo-institutionalist research tradition, in any event, this large-scale approach risks surveying educational development too hastily, too superficially and too linearly (Caruso & Roldán Vera, 2005). In addition, there is a danger that this “school” of research, which situates the educational “isomorphism” of globalisation principally at the macro- and meso-level of educational action (Schriewer 2004) also merely gazes at those levels (de Sousa et al, 2005), while the quasi-uniform patterns of action at the micro-level have presumably worked just as strongly in a “homogenising” and “globalising” way. The latter meanwhile appears to be the outcome of studies on the grammar of schooling, first undertaken by American educational historians like L. Cuban, D. Tyack and W. Tobin (Cuban, 1993²). The archetype of this grammar of schooling can be easily found in museums of “education”, all over the world. That these education museums breathe the same spirit almost everywhere proves how universal the “text” of this school grammar is – even though the social and cultural “context” over the various periods has brought with it important differences of nuance. And it proves just as much how deeply the grammar of the school is interwoven with the process of modernisation, globalisation and educationalisation. In various languages and against the background of different cultures, the same “educational regime” became established almost everywhere in the “civilised” world: a similar complex of actions with the aim of training the students (for later) by disciplining them. This is evidenced not just by the educational behaviour and how children are dealt with didactically but also by the determinants of the school culture.

School culture, which to a great degree structures the content and outlook of the disciplinary “educational regime”, was studied in particular by the French school of history, educational and otherwise. School culture can be defined in this tradition as the entire set of norms that determines the directions of education and determines the practices to obtain the desired knowledge contents and social behaviour from the students (Nóvoa, 2001). Significant research in this connection is also being done in the Spanish-speaking world. Educational historians are searching for what is known as the Arqueología de la escuela (Viñao, 2001). The “archaeology” of teaching and the associated rituals of school life cannot be seen, however, in isolation from the “educational” significance of running a school. It is only on the basis of the “basic semantics” of educational theory (e.g. Oelkers, 1991) that the American concept of grammar of schooling can be fully interpreted. In our view, the “grammar of educationalisation” (or “educationalising”) is therefore an unavoidable complement to the “grammar of schooling” (Depaepe et al., 2000).

The polarity between schooling and educationalising, alongside the irony of educational innovation, reveals the more fundamental educational paradox from which the process of educationalisation can best be interpreted. Better education, according to the “enlightened” ideal of the late 18th century, was to result in more mature people, but this did not prevent this “emancipative” objective invariably presupposing an asymmetric educational relationship as a means. Training was dependent on the subjection and obedience of apprentices to the authority of the “master”. The latter was in charge of an educational adventure that increasingly made use of a specified curriculum. He knew the path that had to be followed and the techniques that could be employed for this purpose. The proclaimed ideal of self-development could be founded on unbridled freedom as little as it could on blind obedience. The school, as the prediction and at the same time reduction of real life, required a compromise between freedom and bondage. Children had to be able to develop under the invisible – as far as possible because the ideal of punitive sobriety applied with regard to punishment – yet firm hand of the leader. More pedagogy and pedagogics, therefore, did not necessarily result in more autonomy for the child but could, conversely, also culminate in prolonged dependence (infantilisation). It was essential to this, however, that the brutalising elements of physical violence through the “sweet smile” and a “forced atmosphere of harmony and contentment” were “professionally” altered to mental threats and emotional blackmail.

Such educational flair came ever close to the vicinity of the ideal, considered to be female, of gentleness, which in turn touches on another educational paradox, that of “feminisation” versus “feminism”– a movement that as such aims for emancipation of women (and not stereotyping of women in function of one or another occupational group). Our hypothesis is that it is difficult to view the feminisation of the teaching profession in isolation from the professionalisation of the sector. Women are, as it were, trained in sensitivity for the educational outlook. The educationally correct “outlook” as it were became the trademark of the purported “femininity” of women and consequently legitimised the traditional division of roles between men and women (hard sector versus soft sector). Hence, as the influence of education increased, the feminisation of the teaching profession and of training also increased – a phenomenon not even brought to a halt by the undeniable “emancipation of women” in recent decades. It is notable, however, that this paradox until now has received little attention in the feminist-inspired historical writing on education. This historiography, nevertheless, has brought about significant adjustments in the usually “male short-sightedness” of traditional educational historiography (cf. Lowe, 2000). J. Herbst (1999) even welcomed it as the most significant innovation in a field in which he otherwise saw little evolution since the heyday of American revisionism in the 1970s: one more reason to see, in the unravelling of the subtle paradoxes to which the process narratives of disciplinisation, normalisation, globalisation, educationalisation, feminisation and so on have given rise, one of the great challenges of “contemporary” educational historiography. By way of conclusion, therefore, the question arises of the extent to which the study of these paradoxes is compatible with the conceptualisation of the new cultural history of education. In other words:

Is this truly “new cultural” educational historiography? 

Ultimately, the answer to this probably adds little. To the extent that the educational paradoxes relate to the epistemological condition of perspectivism (with which people as cultural and biological beings necessary look at the past), they are also applicable to the labels people have wanted to attach to the history of education. As C. Barros (2004), among others, has noted with respect to the methodological debate in general history writing, it is mostly a matter of overcoming the dichotomies prompted by characterisations as “old” and “new” by striving for new syntheses through a mixing of historical genres and lines of research. And this has consequences not only for the theoretical positioning in the historiographical debate but also for of the concrete research “design” (the elaboration of research questions, the selection of source materials, the collection of data, the construction of the text as the “result” of the research, and so on). The study of educational paradoxes does not in any way exclude a fuite en arrière (although the great return to the traditional empirical and/or “modern” social history, referred to by Barros, 2004, as the positivist turn, in our view must be radicalised and made absolute as little as the linguistic turn, which is said to have ushered in post-modernism). In the context of feminisation research, for example, a rigid statistical substructure – a kind of quantitative prosopography – is a conditio sine qua non that must precede any new-fashioned interpretation. Figures are, therefore, by no means a bad thing; on the contrary, they can help to prick “educational” myths.

What is needed, all things considered, is a “mix” of approaches, of “ways of seeing” – a plurality of insights. As a result of being able to change perspective, we become better armed to deal with the heterogeneity of linguistic games and expositions from the educational past – as well as with the ensuing irony. Educational life, like political life (see Ankersmit, 1990, who points out that the serious, radical French revolutionaries who strove for a society free of injustice and brute force achieved the precise opposite – a society in which anyone suspected could end up on the guillotine) is not intrinsically ironic, but it only becomes so through historical insight. This irony takes place through the realisation that the results of education and training can differ dramatically from what the educational activity had initially intended, just as the outcomes of politics can differ greatly from the objectives on which it is based. In this sense, we plead with Barros et al. (2004, p. 43) neither for purely objectivistic historiography in the manner of von Ranke nor for the purely subjectivist approach of post-modernism: “We propose a Science with a human subject that discovers the past as people construct it” – which at the same time contains an awareness of one’s own relativity (and the associated modesty). Indeed, if we are not able to appreciate the relativity of the categories we use, we run the danger of not gaining anything and of losing everything...


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Keep the heaps together! 
Diversity, citizenship and education: St. Martin as a Caribbean immigration metropolis, lessons from Amsterdam and vice versa

Open University of the Netherlands, the Netherlands


1. Introduction: a conceptual framework

In this paper I develop a conceptual framework for integrated debate and deliberation on policymaking that goes beyond economic bipartitions and controversies between state and market, demand and supply, or individualism and collectivism. For effective policymaking these antagonist approaches produce mainly sterile and fruitless visions.

I was triggered directly by one of the proposed themes for this conference: diversity, citizenship and education. My work includes advising the Amsterdam government on diversity and integration. Some reflections lead me to perspectives and theses that I shall elaborate on in this lecture.

Of course the scale of government in Amsterdam and St. Martin is different. This will not be an academic exercise in making a comparison between apples and pears. I shall stick to issues and questions relevant to policy. The lessons we produce maybe more about omissions (what is not done) than about existing policy (what do we do). I claim that both governments have some important traits in common and can probably learn from each others experiences.

Like St. Martin, Amsterdam is a global metropolis to which people from other areas migrate. Metropolis refers to a geographic centre that attracts people from more peripheral regions. This results in an immigration surplus. In Amsterdam, the last decades, new migrants originate mainly from Morocco, Turkey, Surinam, and the Dutch Antilles. Together, they constitute the greater part of youth, which means that the demographic future of Amsterdam is coloured and diverse. Effective and inclusive policymaking for all Amsterdam people, with or without a personal history in the city, can be considered as the hardcore of good governance in the Dutch capital.

This is far from easy; the citizens experience a great many discomforting events again and again, especially regarding safety. Not everybody feels safe in the Amsterdam metropolis. Therefore, the Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, made this his personal and administrative mission: No matter how difficult, we are keeping the heaps together!

In St. Martin, the demographic situation is not fully clear. Figures are non-existing or unreliable. Essentially, here we meet three broad groups: 1) people born on the island, 2) people who came from overseas and have a formal status on the island, and 3) migrants without formal status and therefore nearly invisible for the government. As a result, members of the third demographic group stay outside the direct reach of medical care, education, and security. As a matter of fact, these undocumented inhabitants have no full human rights. Even rough estimations of their number are hard to get. It appears very much a political question. I noticed that those who are actually working with undocumented migrants tend to give much higher rates than those who prefer to ignore them. The percentages which I have heard range from 10 to 30, which makes quite a difference!

It appears to me that neither of the island’s governments [i.e. the French and Dutch Antillean] can allow itself the luxury to leave immigrants, with or without formal status, outside the reach of their policy making.

This group may not be ignored, not only for the sake of human rights, but also for the future economic growth of the island. These people are part of the workforce, and you may need them badly when economy booms. Also for the sake of security and safety since this part of the Caribbean has a great strategic importance.

The foregoing considerations bring me to three theses that have relevance for this conference and will be supported in the following reasoning, concerning both St. Martin and Amsterdam:

-         Diversity is a fact and

-         Citizenship is a challenge.

-         In policymaking on greater issues, education on itself is an insufficient solitary tool and needs to be supported with well directed flanking approaches.

2. Diversity: a fact

The concept of diversity refers to the existence within a metropolis of a variety of ethnical and cultural backgrounds among the inhabitants. There are two possible visions: one in terms of vicious circles and another in terms of positive circles.

In terms of negative or vicious circles, diversity is an exclusive concept. The characteristics of a negative view on diversity are threefold and, unfortunately, ubiquitous. First, there exists a great and inconsolable grief that traditional bonds between integrated groups (in-groups) are breaking up, which results in the crumbling of the social texture. Many people do no longer participate in the Civil Society. Secondly, there is a great deal of sad complaining about the steadily growing segmentation in society. The existing social groups do not fit together anymore: they become inward-looking, turn their backs on each other, and hold on to their own disconnected lifestyles.

Thirdly, there is fear of unbridled growth (proliferation) of intractable new out-groups. They might create new lifestyles, unknown so far, outside the existing order. They may also have an inclination to alien and unsocial values and norms. Therefore, they are considered as a threat for the political, economic, and social system as a whole.

This easily leads to foolish governance —with politics like raising war on terror and other intangible evils. That means mopping the floor while the tap is left open. It would be much wiser to direct policy towards the causes of the problems than to their outward symptoms. I do not reject a strong security policy by any means, but good governance requires that this be flanked and supported by more structural policy approaches —right into the heart and causes of the problems!

Contrary to this negative vision, there is an inclusive view. This is embedded in positive circles. Its characteristics are twofold. Firstly, a positive and inclusive policy considers diversity as a broad base for new innovative creativity and inspiration in society. Secondly, an inclusive view is directed to the formation of new social capital. Later in this paper, I shall go such an inclusive view based on positive circles in more detail.

3. Citizenship: a challenge

I would now like to change the subject to citizenship. Citizenship refers to the political and structural integration within the framework of the nation state. Citizens take a crucial position in a democratic nation state. They certainly do belong. They count. And they live up to their rights and obligations. They are the integrative power base of the nation state, the basic social bond.

Citizenship does not come into existence by decree. All of you are citizens of St. Martin by next Monday! That does not work! Citizenship must first be generated. Where it already exists, it must be herded, watched and guarded carefully since it is a great good for society. Let me be very clear: the formation of citizenship is a basic assignment for government or, even more, a challenge.

The shrinking of citizenship is commonly seen as an intractable problem for the administration. However, for the sake of good governance it would be an agonizing idea that people in diversified societies like Amsterdam and St. Martin no longer are interconnected. Three intangible developments are now challenging government in Amsterdam and may also do so in St. Martin.

First, there is the notion that some well-established voluntary associations and other traditional bonds in the civil society which legitimate and back the nation states are breaking down. The research presented in Robert Putnam’s book entitled “Bowling alone” is a good foundation for this challenge. Secondly, many leading politicians fear that new emerging out-groups are easily mobilized by political one-issue parties that disintegrate the traditional concept of parliamentary democracy. Thirdly, good citizenship implies rights and obligations. But who is going to take civic responsibilities in a consumer society of calculating citizens who consider themselves only as clients of the government?

My view on the concept of citizenship fits in with my vision of diversity: for the sake of good governance, I prefer to consider citizenship as a resource for future-oriented policymaking. Therefore, I coin two approaches at the same time. First, focus on newly emerging citizen initiatives. Secondly, scout, recognize, support and facilitate these new citizen initiatives and provide them with empowerment by all means.

In St. Martin, the design of a new constitutional structure provides a window of opportunity for explicit new roles of the civil servants in strengthening citizenship. The challenge will be not to start this top down, in the sense that the department designs the goals, targets, and approaches for an integrated cultural policy. It will be more feasible to scout new hallmarks and stepping-stones for strengthening the civic culture of the island. This requires participatory methods in policymaking that must be learnt and trained. New interactive forms of governance may be learnt and carried out. Civil servants need to learn to listen and watch, to recognize and respect what citizens already do and what they can do.

4. Education needs flanking approaches

It is not my aim to produce here an academic exercise on education. I shall stick to my profession as a scholar of policymaking. Moreover, education is only partly a goal in itself. I see education as an indispensable vehicle for reaching goals and targets in general policymaking on important societal questions.

However, in practice, both in Amsterdam and St. Martin, education is too much of an autonomous field of policymaking. I see education as a complex but solitary tool, steered and managed by politicians, civil servants, and school boards who act autonomously, with few regards to other policy fields like economics, fine arts, health, and security/safety. This relative independence of the activities in education easily leads to a sterile policy that can never reach societal goals on its own and for its own sake.  Education therefore must keep track with the great challenges of our time.

Scholars of education in the Caribbean, please follow our economists in their call for a stronger workforce in the young generation, both at high and lower levels. And, follow me in my urgent call to strengthen the social bond in St. Martin. As lecturer in Public Administration on the island, I try to contribute to the professional strengthening of a few leading officials in your civil service. We work on extending their expertise and sharpening their feeling for ethics, and we tickle their professional attitudes. You will need very good bureaucrats to challenge your politicians. Meek civil servants make weak politicians. And that goes at the cost of good citizenship.

We also need civil servants with adequate education in lower brackets of bureaucracy. Examples are reliable policemen in the streets, friendly servicemen behind the public office counters, and capable garbage collectors, as well as welcoming and hospitable personnel in the hotels.

Do realize that education must also provide skilled labourers for the near future. Think about bricklaying, roof thatching, bench fitting. And who will drive buses and do our bookkeeping?

We must distinguish between education in the sense of schooling and education in the sense of upbringing at home. About the lifestyles at home: Who sets examples as a significant role model for children, who stimulates and supports children in fatherless families, and who prepares healthy family meals? However important family life and the upbringing at home may be, I shall focus on the politics of schooling.

A challenge for education both in Amsterdam and St. Martin is that too many people have an insufficient education and do not fully develop their talents. This becomes a trans-generational problem as it often will be transferred from mother to daughter. This results in unfavourable effects on the economy, workforce, security/safety, and on the citizenship in our societies. That is too bad for these youngsters themselves, and also for Amsterdam that needs skilled youth for the workforce, and for St. Martin suffering a great lack of skilled labourers for the booming building projects all over the island. One observes clearly a considerable drain of skilled labourers from one Caribbean island to another. Is this a temporary phenomenon or are they really migrating with or without their families?

Three facts about the position of the Amsterdam youth:

-         The greater part of Amsterdam youth has its family roots in Morocco, Turkey, Surinam, the Dutch Antilles and Aruba.

-         Most migrant youth live in ghetto-like city parts of Amsterdam New-West and South-East. In many cases, they hardly ever leave their neighbourhood; they do not even know other parts of their city!

-         Most young migrants attend the lowest level of education, which unfortunately does not prepare people for the minimal job qualifications needed in Dutch society.

The debate on education appears to have lost track! There is so much debate on structural, organizational, and specialized educational issues, as seen in the educational practice of the last decades, that the origins of the discussions on education are blurred or even out of sight. I select two prominent themes from a stance on diversity, citizenship, and survival of the metropolis:

I shall leave the formation of basic skills to economists and others.[1] I shall finish this lecture by throwing some light on a few issues in policymaking that may have a constructive meaning in the field of education in St. Martin. The first issue concerns how education may serve the metropolis as a centre and breeding ground for creativity and creative industries. The second refers to the contribution of education to the formation of social capital. Finally, I shall treat the shortcomings of an exclusive and one-line historical view on creolization as cultural matrix for education on St. Martin.

5. The metropolis as centre and breeding ground for creativity: an issue in education

How important is culture, especially how important are fine arts for the social bond in the metropolis? Let me start with but a few observations.

In the eight wars that in the nineties destroyed the Yugoslavian state, the Serbs deliberately destroyed the cultural heritage of Croats, Albanians, and Kosovars. Why? What was the deeper meaning of this targeting the cultural heritage? Why was the centuries-old heart of the Croat city of Dubrovnik destroyed by the Serbs?

In Afghanistan, the Taliban-regime destroyed centuries-old Buddha sculptures. Why?

The famous Buddhist temple Borobudur near Yogyakarta on Java, in Indonesia, is one of the seven world wonders. It has been target of a few Muslim onslaughts. Why does the Indonesian government keep this secret? What would happen if this had been made public? The old country Sri Lanka is governed by Buddhist Singhalese, who are challenged by the Hindu Tamil Tigers. The story goes that government keeps secret that the oldest findings of archaeologists are no Buddhist artefacts, but Hindu temples. Why keep that secret?

Why all this destruction of historical artefacts and why keeping it a secret? The answer is that culture and local and regional fine arts probably have great meaning for policymaking in international metropolises. They are effective vehicles for social binding, for connecting, even for bridging contrasts and controversies among the citizens.

I shall not defend blind chauvinism. But a mild form of metropolitan chauvinism provides a strong binding factor. Identification with one’s own metropolis appears to be even stronger than with one’s country as a whole. In Amsterdam, this counts for the older inhabitants as well as for the newer citizens. During World War II, white labourers in Amsterdam went on strike against the German occupation under the slogan: The bloody Germans must keep their bloody hands off our bloody own Jews.[2] As long as the enemy is situated outside, they feel as one. Amsterdam will always back the football club Ajax.

In St. Martin, a still unpublished discussion paper on culture policy reads:

“A cultural policy is the catalyst of creativity and the means to preserve the national heritage, which consists of both the tangible and intangible heritage. A cultural policy must create conditions, conducive to the production and dissemination of diversified cultural goods and services through cultural industries, organizations, institutions and individuals that have the means to assert themselves at the local and global level.” 

These are complicated formulations. I agree with the committee concerned only if they implement this stance in such a way that the culture policy on the island will not impede further development of folk culture and both lowbrow and highbrow expressions of any artistic value. Production and consumption of culture and artefacts take place in practice, far from any government intervention. There can be no direct governance lead in culture politics. Culture policy should work with the energy of the grassroots and the professional arts alike. Here the task of civil servants is to scout, recognize and facilitate authentic cultural expressions from grassroots breeding grounds to elite levels. 

How important is a generous culture policy for a metropolis? To set an example, Amsterdam considers itself an important international marketplace for creative services, museums, orchestras, entertainment, ICT, and New Multi Media arts. More than 25 percent of all creative jobs in the country are situated in Amsterdam City, where this makes for about 7 percents of all worksites. If we also reckon the much greater volume of directly connected worksites in the fields of hospitality, transport, commercial services, etc., we may even come to 20 percent! The international melting pot of young high tech professionals makes the city very lively and attractive for other knowledge professionals. Their free and open lifestyle is an important economic asset for Amsterdam. 

The city government develops an ambitious so-called Program Creative Industry 2007-2010. This aims at bringing together people, ideas, and money for realizing a series of concrete projects: the connection of education and creative industry, making use of the cultural diversity (e.g. the hip hop scene), stimulation and empowerment of creative entrepreneurs, enhancing joint enterprises where culture media and ICT meet, recognizing and supporting existing and newly emerging accommodations for creative industry, and the promotion of Amsterdam as breeding ground and marketplace for joint creative industries.

A second campaign of the city government is Amsterdam Topstad [Top City]. The new city government sees great opportunities for Amsterdam as internationally attractive centre for the development of new creative industries and invests 70 million Euros in extremely ambitious new plans, concepts, and ideas. These activities keep pace with a few private campaigns started by employers’ organizations aiming at a deliberate Human Relations policy targeting young migrants.

Culture politics of mobilization and vitalization may become a success formula for any metropolis as international centre and breeding ground for creativity. I raise the question: what can education contribute with here?

6. Social capital, an issue in education

Recently serious warnings were presented to the city government of Amsterdam. The film director and publicist Theo van Gogh, icon of absolute freedom of public speech, was brutally murdered by a frustrated radical Islamist in Amsterdam. In the banlieue of Paris young migrants without prospects for the future took over the nightly power in the streets.

Researchers collected appalling figures about the lack of communication between different ethnic groups in the city.[3] Not only the inter group are interactions feeble, the reciprocal images are also negative. Only some weeks ago Amsterdam citizens of Moroccan and Surinamese origin engaged in a street fight after some tragic murder incident resulted from a conflict about a parking lot.

This became the upbeat for a continuous campaign to strengthen the reciprocal trust among the various ethnic and cultural groups in the metropolis. This triggered, as said before, the Mayor of Amsterdam for his mission statement: Keep the heaps together.

The city government now seeks both categorical and integrative solutions for migrant groups of youngsters, women, the elderly, those who are in and out of work, etc.

In the formation of social capital, the city government sees substantial communication in co-productions as a possibly effective way to break through negative conflict dynamics. But before they participate in public affairs, even for their own sake, people must feel safe, trusted, and respected in their own circles. The establishment or revitalization of social bonds inside groups may be primary conditions for the establishment of social bonds outside these groups. This refers especially to groups that differ ethnically and culturally.

Various initiatives, activities, and neighbourhood campaigns have been started and endorsed by the city government of Amsterdam. It is now policy to strengthen the identification of young migrants with the city of Amsterdam and to stimulate them in following the behaviour of the few young migrants who play significant roles in Amsterdam and Dutch society. We find these role models in football, entertainment and in professional life.

One step further is that the city district governments (since sixteen years government in Amsterdam has been decentralized) enable and stimulate co-production as a supreme act in citizens’ initiatives. This demands the development and apt implementation of adequate strategies for empowerment. That means scouting, recognition, facilitation, and support for initiatives and activities that rise and develop bottom up.

Now, co-production means long time cooperation. A Dutch saying goes that bureaucratic mills work slowly. Co-production with mobilized and activated groups in society may work even more slowly! But there is no quick fix for empowerment either.  Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities in Amsterdam. For a few years I researched the citizens’ self-organizations in Amsterdam-West and New-West. Especially around the big scale renovation projects, there are new opportunities and a widely felt sense of urgency among people of different classes and origins. Here we find already organized clusters of people who have a record of cooperation and reciprocal trust (be it often experienced in cooperation against the government!). The question arises again: What can education contribute with to the formation of social capital?

7. Creolization as social bond

What is the cultural matrix for education in St. Martin? Colleagues I met in visits to the Caribbean for teaching and conferences have widely differing backgrounds. Students in my Master course on the island are well informed high ranking civil servants of various departments. Their first hand information is valuable.

There apparently exists an overt feeling of insecurity about the cultural identity which provides the core of the social bond on the island. Recognizing ones weaknesses is an honourable intellectual act and stepping-stone for strengthening every development.

In St. Martin, one cannot avoid the concept of creolization or the creolization-process, a matter of both the development of language and culture. It strikes me that creolization on the island (the Simaartn language and culture), as explained to me, is essentially based on the English language and culture, enriched with a great many other influences.

The concept is rather exclusive and local. French-based and Spanish-based creolization on the island are commonly considered as different processes, developing on their own and disconnectedly. Dutch cultural influences on creolization usually tend to be marginalized in debates on everyday life and behaviour on the island. Even to such a degree that Dutch orientations and practices have become nearly neutral external standards that St. Martiners now can use at free will (!) as technical resources in strengthening their organizational and institutional life. This paradox contains a smart pragmatic use of old colonial capital.

How sustainable is creolization as a cultural orientation for St. Martin as East-Caribbean metropolis? Anyway, this does not do justice to the many French- and Spanish-speaking St. Martiners (from Haiti, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic) who soon may outnumber those who commit themselves to the English-based creolization process. Not to forget the fast growing numbers of residents of Indian, Chinese, and Lebanese/Syrian origin. People from these groups are here to stay! Before they engage in integrative activities and interaction, they need recognition and a sense of security.

8. Quo vadis St. Martin?

Reasoning from a geo-political angle, it may be expected that Cuba soon will become the main metropolis and St. Martin the secondary metropolis in the North-East Caribbean. When Cuba really opens up, within a few years, St. Martiners who do not speak Spanish will be considered as illiterate on their own island.

Fortunately, Caribbean people have a flair for spoken languages. And, apparently, among St. Martin intellectuals there is a high level of poetic literacy, and their commitment to the written language of their choice is great. So, individually, St. Martiners may cope very well. One may, however, fear the effects of exclusive, parochial, and backward looking orientations in processes of creolization, especially if they guide politics on the lower levels of education.

This parallels my concern in the foregoing paragraphs dealing with exclusiveness of the political and administrative practices on the island. An open, inclusive, and inviting culture provides the best means for sustainable development of St. Martin as a metropolis. Favourable conditions for peaceful and prosperous future development of St. Martin as a Caribbean metropolis may be found in a combination of a careful and realistic interpretation of the island culture, full acceptance of existing broad-based diversity, a deliberate policy on citizenship (also for the numerous undocumented inhabitants), and the formation of social capital by educational policy. Now, education is at stake.


Pedagogy, identity, and politics
Educating in an identity (ethnic) crisis context:
A study of the French West Indies case

University of Martinique, French West Indies



The French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique bear some specificities that single them out in the Caribbean Sea region. First of all, because of their specific political status, they are full members of the European Union and constitute what is usually called the “tropical Europe”. For many observers, such as political analyst Fred Reno[4], a research professor from the Université des Antilles—Guyane, this adhesion is more motivated by economical interests more than cultural ones.

In such a peculiar context, one could wonder what education means in the Francophone Caribbean. This paper will not deal with -but just mention- the Haitian case because it would imply another philosophical approach. The case of the French Overseas Departments (the official denomination for Guadeloupe and Martinique) needs a real debate. Indeed, these territories share a common history with the languages of the other islands: they derive from the plantation society, yet they have to cope with deep dilemmas, such as the European concept of assimilation or the search for a specific identity. Different concepts have been expressed: the “négritude” (Negritude) of Aimé Césaire, Edouard Glissant’s notion of “antillanité” (Caribbeanness), and the concept of “creolité” (Creoleness) as developed by Raphaël Confiant, Patrick Chamoiseau and Jean Bernabé.

For the French West Indians, what does it mean to be educated in a context that runs the risk of dispossessing them of their personality? According to François Flahault, a French philosopher, Europeans are “convinced that they hold the universal message”[5]. How to protest in front of the European epistemological posture that posits that: “we hold the universal message, but the others do not”.

In his essay Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon[6] wondered if the “school inspectors and the headmasters are aware of their role in the colonies. During twenty years, with their school programs, they endeavour to turn the Negro into a White man. At the end, they release him and then say: you have for sure a dependence complex towards the White man”.

Is Fanon’s paradigm “out of date”? Was his way of thinking too revolutionary? This paper will show that Fanon’s thought is still topical. For instance, Edouard Glissant assimilates pedagogy to demagogy. For him, the system is perverted: it does not meet the needs of the Martinican people.

Many analysts share this point of view. Yet the situation is not easy because, as Césaire said in a recent interview: “We [the Martinican people] are complex people, we are this and yet we also that. What matters is not to cut ourselves off from ourselves.”[7]

In the educational field we find the same complexity. According to Jean-Marie Theodore, a research worker in education sciences: “Il faut admettre que pendant que les intellectuels et les idéologues contestaient la domination coloniale par divers moyens, ils continuaient à perpétuer en reproduisant de manière mimétique son enseignement.”[8]

So, how to educate in such a context? How to promote men and women if we can define an appropriate philosophy of education which could reconcile all the different options in these islands, and how to allow them to be really in tune with their immediate environment? What is to educate in a Creole world and/or a global world?

One can assume that the fundamental cause is the acculturation of the education in a context of identity crisis. By the same token, it may be said that an ontological collapse is the main cause of crisis of education. Furthermore, how to deal with the political centralism of France? 

Our aim in this paper is first to elaborate on the contradictions present in reality, trying to show how a real philosophical thought based on the Socratic posture: “Know yourself” will be a way to cope with those difficulties. Our second step will be to debate what an authentic identity as result of a correct education would entail. At a third moment, before concluding, we shall focus on the fanonian man, the one he dreamed for our area and whose emergence would result from authentic education.  

1. The political context and the paradoxical education endeavour

Ever since the French revolution, since 1788, French people are convinced of one thing: their culture is a universal one. So, seen from this principle, it appears as normal to civilize others, if necessary by imposing “civilization” on them. Such a universal culture was adopted by those who were colonized as they gave up their own.

In the West Indies, the African slaves experienced such postulate by alienating themselves, which means that they had to renounce their habits, their gods, their traditional way of education. Little by little a strange idea inhabited their consciousnesses: to look like the masters and to acquire their culture—the sovereign one because of its universality. In a word, this is the Caliban complex about which many Caribbean philosophers have spoken—the Antiguan Henry Paget, the Martinican Aimé Césaire, etc.

Today things have not changed for those two actors in the Caribbean. The French continue to believe in the superiority of their culture. The descendants of the African slaves, most of them, are aspiring to this open sesame for a place in this world. This is the reality that one can appreciate. However, what is the matter with it?

The French consideration of its universal culture is contested today by many native research workers; furthermore, some important anthropological works confirm that no one culture is more important than another. Nevertheless, such feeling is today insidious in the French national education system. It has been revealed recently by the arrivals of millions of migrants in Voltaire’s country and by riots in the suburbs of the main towns. Following those events, sociologists, historians, and other scientists have examined the problem. According to them, the problem depends on this atavistic character that the rejection of any multiculturalism hides. Thus, in his analysis, Alain Touraine, a French sociologist considers that: “Le républicanisme français s’identifie à l’universalisme, ce qui entraîne le plus souvent le rejet ou l’infériorisation de ceux qui sont ‘différents’. Ces obstacles à l’intégration ont des causes profondes […] Nous sommes marqués par une tradition coloniale.”[9]

The researcher is virulent concerning such a posture: it cannot survive any longer—which he intends when he declares:  “Il n’est plus acceptable de penser et d’agir comme si la France était le dépositaire des valeurs universelles, et avait le droit de, au nom de cette mission, de traiter comme inférieures ceux qui ne correspondent pas à ce moi idéal. La fausse conscience des Français quand ils parlent d’eux-mêmes explique la faible ouverture aux sciences sociales.”[10]

This strong criticism is becoming more and more common among the intellectuals and the scientists of education because of a rainbow pupil and student population, because education has an important role: to break away from the wrong idea that “School has to transmit a universal and complete education.” For Esther Benbassa[11], this purpose which the mathematician and philosopher Condorcet assigned to the school institution during the century of the Enlightenment is no longer adequate.

In fact, what is defended is a new purpose for what is called the republican school. However, what does this concept mean? One hears the pleas for a school whose aim is no longer to deliver ethnocentric teachings. In other words and in terms of the present, it should be a school which crystallizes the new rainbow configuration of the nation and the fact of multiculturalism, instead of considering this reality as a threat.

However, the enlightenment weltanschauung, or worldview, did not and does still not leave any room for the overseas cultures. The Caribbean islands which belong to France must forget their culture to adopt the French one. About such an assimilation, a politician from Guadeloupe has stated: “La République accepte une décentralisation technique. Vous allez gérer les routes, le tourisme, la formation, l’artisanat et que sais-je encore! Mais vous ne gérer pas le symbolique. Vous ne gérez pas la langue, la culture, votre âme, votre avenir.”[12]

Really is it possible to live such alienation by assimilation without damaging the essence of the West Indian communities? The question is not easy to answer. But we must remember Césaire’s appreciation: we are complex people; a way to say we do not know what we want and we are divided ontologically. The foundation of this argument is that historically in the two French departments in Caribbean, only one thing motivates people: to get the same rights as all other French citizen. As Césaire gives us to understand, the political leaders had no choice: it was no time to philosophize[13].

Today, many political tendencies are noticeable among the people: the autonomist, the independentist, the departmentalist. To the latter belong those who do not want any new political status except the status of French department.

We may not forget Fanon’s dialectics concerning those who are victim of what he called the lactification. Complex. According to him, “The Martinican is a French-man, he wants to remain part of the French, he asks one thing, he wants the idiots and the exploiters to give him a chance to live like a human being.”[14]

This will implies a counterpart, so the price of such (material) welfare is an abandonment of one’s identity, a master element in the educational endeavour. Furthermore, all the benefits of the anthropological philosophy of education are left unconsidered.

2. Identity phenomenology due to an authentic educative act

The main negative consequence of assimilation is the lack of development of one’s identity. There are several arguments in support of this not surprising result. Particularly when we know that to be accomplished it is necessary to dialogue with other cultures, to learn from the genius of others. Today more than yesterday, in a globalized world, we can measure what such a dialogue means so that we may be sure that one culture cannot take advantage of the others. Believing the contrary proceeds from pretentiousness, as Alice L. Conklin[15] pointed out. So, everyone can claim—as current research on ethno-anthropology of education does—that “Chaque culture a son ethos propre qui donne une coloration particulière, intellectuelle morale et affective à l’éducation dispensée en son sein.”[16]

One could object that the French West Indians cannot complain because they receive an education in direct link with their Frenchness. In the words of Césaire, Glissant and other writter-pedagogists (most of whom are ancient teachers, active teachers, educators), this is not the case. We find this remark in Césaire’s last book (an interview with a political analyst of London University): “L’éducation que nous avons reçue et la conception du monde qui en découle sont responsables de notre irresponsabilité.”[17]

It seems that this education is the main cause of our ontological collapse. Glissant who is a radical maintains that the education received is a demagogy. Nevertheless, he agrees that the system respects its own logic: the total insertion of the Martinican in the European community and of the European in Martinique, concedes the Martinican philosopher[18].

In short, the system is not in tune with the island(s). Despite the great number of physicians, druggists, scientists, and other high qualified specialists the education given does not respect the Martinican and the Guadeloupean in what they feel deeply. It is worth stressing the same reaction in Haiti. An article in a daily paper brings to light the sufferance of this people under the cultural influence of France: “La plupart des ouvrages que nous avons ne correspondent pas aux réalités du pays. Les manuels, jusqu’à date, reproduisent le modèle français, même quand ils sont conçus et produits en Haïti.”[19]

P. Chamoiseau, an important writer of Martinique, expresses some objections about the concept of universality, about which he energetically protests. His criticism is severe when he draws our attention: “L’Universel était un bouclier, un désinfectant, une religion, un espoir, un acte de poésie suprême. L’Universel était un ordre.”[20]

There is no doubt that on the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique (mainly in the latter), everyone is glossing over the identity problem in connection with education. For sure, the pain has been identified: it is this political and philosophical doctrine of which Césaire[21] says that it tends to hide away the particularities of a person and to kill its personality, namely assimilation. But we are responsible for a situation that seems impossible to accept. Consequently, some observers suggest to get rid of any attitude of self-denigration in order to believe in us[22].  Some medications have been prescribed. To many of us, they consist only of rhetoric: we have to do this, we must do that. Thus, everyone agrees that “we must integrate our area [the Caribbean basin] but at the same time, we develop a discourse of withdrawal into oneself”, replies Jean-Pierre Sainton[23] a historian of the Université des Antilles-Guyane. Some of us would talk of Caribbean phobia!

This paradoxical posture is not surprising. We know the solutions for our difficulties: to educate from our point of view and conception of the world, not getting rid of our symbolic production, what we have been doing up to now without a real transformation of the school programme, of our methods of teaching, etc. Is this a declaration of principles?

So, faced by this disaster, we must ask ourselves: What must we do to promote ourselves—to be proud of our culture (proverbs, sayings, dance, etc.) and to develop pedagogy of pride as encouraged by Pierre Erny, a French ethnologist of education? This researcher, who has spent a long time overseas in Africa, is sensitive to these questions and concludes: “A human group which ignores itself and which is not proud to be itself is socially ill. Sometimes pedagogy may play a cathartic role.”[24]

We can no longer accept to walk in the direction we have been going till now, ignoring our culture and not being able to add our humanity to the younger generations (the basis of a philosophy of education). By the way, is this not the definition suggested by the Spanish philosopher Fernando Savater, who said that “L’éducation est la marque concrète de l’humain apposée là où ce dernier n’était que virtuel[25]?

We must fabricate this new man using endogenous cultural materials in order to operate the mutation. It is to surpass our handicaps, to realize our idiosyncrasies according to Kant’s anthropology[26]. It is significant that we have never done that seriously and not jokingly. An anecdotic pedagogic production is not enough.

3. The new man’s ontological development

Fanon reminds us that in a colonized and civilized society, people suffer because “all ontology is unrealizable.”[27] The psychiatrist and philosopher advocate for the sudden appearance of the new man, one whose ontological development is not disturbed. However, despite the success of education in these islands (too many graduates), may we honestly consider that their education has meant the blossoming of those educated? They are split in their inner being/life. Undoubtedly, Fanon was prophetic in his thoughts.

The fanonian aspiration to invent this new being means that the opposite course must be taken. We can exemplify this by referring to the development of the Creole language. It has been a long battle for the teaching of it to be authorized by the French government. It is true that we were not the only region, on the national territory, which suffered such discrimination. In this connection, France did not accept to validate European law concerning the regional languages in Europe. Most certainly our linguistic situation is not the same as in Haiti. But most of the French West Indians are creolophone—it is the common language. As Fanon said, “Practising a language is to assume a world, to inhabit a culture,”[28] or, said otherwise, it is to possess a tool to access to our essence and existence.

In our islands, we are used to taking the posture of consumers. We consume all that has been produced outside our territory, even the concepts made in Europe. The French West Indian subject is under this dictatorship condition. Our own experience in Haiti close to some teachers gave us the impression that most of the schools were dependent on old books out of recent programmes that they received from Guadeloupe, Martinique, and France. They were unable to cogitate and elaborate their own reflections, to apprehend their universe and to make dialectics. Have they mastered Descartes’ aphorism, “I think, therefore I exist.”

Practising this advice is the guarantee to place one’s life under the logic of self-surpassing. It is also a mean to liberate one’s creativity and to allow a choice of life. In fact, to assume our life on this earth –if we follow Augustine’s dialectics of the two cities, here on earth and in the celestial one. According to Jean-Paul Sartre, “L’homme est non seulement tel qu’il se conçoit, mais tel qu’il se veut.”[29]


Kant’s opening to his essay On education reminds his readers of this fundamental postulate: “man is the only being who needs education. For by education, he added, we must understand nurture […] discipline, and scholar […].”[30] In a word, the act of educating is the duty of each generation in each culture.

The Greeks thought about the way of practicing this important act of life. Socrates, the conceiver of philosophy, separated himself from his colleagues the Sophists and did not follow their teachings. By his ethics, he initiated another method of teaching based on the idea that the Athens needed some well‑prepared politicians. In this sense, Plato testifies to his master’s purpose in his dialogues.

About our Caribbean area, we know the intellectual effervescence to apprehend our reality. The recent constitution of a Caribbean philosophical Association (CPA) is a sign of this will.

It is true that till recently the French islands were isolated. But the ideas go beyond the natural border that separates us to know, the Caribbean Sea. So, more and more, our thoughts are spreading from island to island. Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Édouard Glissant, Chamoiseau, Confiant are increasingly being read in the Caribbean and more decision-makers are beginning to understand us.

Education has to take advice from anthropological research, even despite the politicians whose posture relies on the postulate that “The republican school despises all cultural singularities.”[31] According to this discipline, which is necessary for the philosopher,[32] “L’éducation des êtres humains s’inscrit donc dans un milieu spécifique qu’il faut caractériser à travers les conditions extérieures qui vont l’influencer, tel que l’environnement physique, social et culturel. Il s’agit de repérer les caractéristiques de la société dans lesquelles l’éducation s’inscrit, tant du point de vue de son système économique, idéologique que du point de vue social et culturel.”[33]

This postulate is accurate and fitting to our archipelago. The problem for its French compound is that it shares its history and destiny with a European nation. So, it does not have the same opportunities as Jamaica or other islands of the Caribbean basin, a creolized archipelago. Despite everything, we can share with the others what gathers us: our common African, Indian, and/or European past.


References and/or complementary bibliography

Benbassa, E; .Bancel, N, “Le passé colonial de la France: Un écueil historique,” in Le Monde de l’éducation, no 338, juillet-août 2005, p. 90-93.

Cegarra, M., “Vers une anthropologie de l’éducation : entre attirance et réserve,” in Spirale, no 11, 203, p. 19-25.

Césaire, A., Nègre je suis, nègre je resterai, Paris, A. Michel, 2005, 136 p.

Césaire, A., Discours à la maison du peuple, Fort-de-France, Editions : PPM/SLND, p. 25-58.

Chamoiseau, P., Une enfance créole II/ Chemin-d’école, Paris, Gallimard, 1996, 202 p.

Descola, Ph., “Offrir ce magnifique moteur qu’est la curiosité,” in Le Monde de l’éducation, no 349, Juillet-Août 2006.

Dorwling-Carter, G., “A quoi sert l’éducation donnée à nos enfants?,” in Antilla, 10 mai 2006, p. 5.

Erny, P., Essai sur l’éducation en Afrique noire, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2001, 345 p.

Fanon, F., Peau noire, masques blancs, Paris, Seuil, 1952.

Flahault, F., Le paradoxe de Robinson, Paris, Mille et une nuits, 2003.

Glissant, Le discours antillais, Paris, Seuil, 1997, 803 p.

Kant, E., Anthropologie d’un point de vue pragmatique, Paris, Vrin, 1991, 170 p.

Kant, On education (Ueber Paedagogik) The Online Library of liberty.htm, 91 p.

Legrand, J.-L., “Place de l’anthropologie dans les sciences de l’éducation,” in Spirale, no 11, 203, p. 4-17.

Léotin, M.-H., “Agir pour l’éducation,” in Cahiers de l’UGTM-éducation, no spécial, octobre 2002, p. 29-31.

Maldonado-Torres, N., “Frantz fanon and C.L.R. James on intellectualism and enlightened rationality,” in Caribbean Studies, vol. 33, no 2, July-December 2005, p. 149-190.

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The American University of the Caribbean:
Montserrat’s Loss, St. Marteen’s Gain

University of West Indies, Montserrat



Montserrat, a tiny, 39.6 sq miles or 102 sq km, British Overseas Territory, is located in the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands.  Antigua lies approximately 25 miles to the North East while Guadeloupe is around 30 miles to the South West.  Like many other island microstates, Montserrat suffers from having a small open economy, a small population and as a consequence, a small local market. The island has always had to depend on exports and foreign direct investment for foreign exchange earnings.  Economic development thrusts are further exacerbated by the high cost of transportation and a poor resource base. 

Prior to July 1995, Montserrat could be described as “a middle-income country with admirable sturdy housing stock, little unemployment and an economy that was in fair shape.” (Young, 2000)  Since then, the island has been in the throes of a volcanic crisis that has had a major impact on all aspects of life.  Two-thirds of the island, including, the capital Plymouth, the seaport, Bramble’s airport in the east, and a significant portion of the tourism plant of historic sites and accommodation in the southern part of the island have been destroyed by pyroclastic flows. The population which for more than 100 years was constant at slightly under 12,000 dwindled to 3,500 once the British Government in 1997 provided an assisted evacuation package for those who found living with an active volcano too difficult.  Many persons relocated to neighbouring Caribbean islands, to the United States under a programme offering Temporary Protected Status, while the majority relocated to the United Kingdom. 

In 1978, the final year of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP)’s tenure in government with P. Austin Bramble as Chief Minister, several projects were introduced in an attempt to chart a path to sustainable economic development.  One of these projects was the American University of the Caribbean (A.U.C.).  In the late 1970s, Paul S. Tien approached the Government with the idea of setting up an offshore medical school offering pre-clinical training for students recruited mostly from North America.  Not everyone in the government supported the idea, but discussions were eventually concluded with the government granting a license for the start of the school.  As outlined in the PDP’s 1978 Manifesto, it was expected that “the recently registered Medical School” would “provide many job opportunities and generate significant income and revenues for Montserrat.” (p6)   This was all part of an effort to create full employment on the island.  Bramble recognized that having the School on Montserrat would stimulate the economy in a number of ways as well as create linkages with the tourism industry.  He saw the direct benefits for the commercial sector and the construction industry.

A.U.C., the first offshore medical school on Montserrat, was the second school of its kind to be established in the English-speaking Caribbean.  In 1977, St. Georges in Grenada started its programme and Ross University in Dominica opened its doors for business in 1979.  By the 1980s, there were three more schools operating in the Commonwealth Caribbean, Spartan Health Sciences University in St. Lucia (1980), Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts (1982) and the University of Health Sciences in Antigua (1983). These for-profit medical schools responded to an unsatisfied demand for graduate medical education and a shortage of doctors in North America.  Johnson, Hagopian, Veninga, Fordyce, & Hart explain: “Beginning in the 1950s, increasing numbers of Americans trained abroad, either as a first choice or because they failed to obtain entrance into U. S. schools.  Between the 1950s and the mid-1970s, U. S. medical school admission became more restrictive and numbers of slots declined relative to residency program opportunities.  Competition in the United States, coupled with the ability to return there for residency training made overseas medical education attractive for U. S. students, especially in Italy, Belgium, Spain, France, and Switzerland.  In response to the rising demand for medical education from their own citizens, European schools placed restrictions on admissions of American students.  Schools in Mexico … responded by increasing recruitment of U. S. students.  Additionally, new “offshore” foreign schools opened during the late 1970s and the early 1980s.”  (p3)

A.U.C.’s Early Days

In addition to getting an investment package which included a 15 year tax holiday and duty-free importation of materials and equipment, Tien had negotiated for assistance with the acquisition of land on which he would construct a Campus.  The Bramble government asked that Tien put some EC$250,000 in escrow for construction of the campus. Tien also wanted the government to get the school listed in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Directory of Medical Schools.  The request for WHO Listing, coming as it was from a British Colony and not a member of WHO, was not accepted and Chief Minister Bramble, accompanied by Tien, went to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to present their case for the British Government to make the request on Montserrat’s behalf.  According to Bramble, (personal communication, September 27, 2006) the British Government was concerned that by recommending the listing it would be accountable for something over which it had no control.  It needed reassurance that the School would not bring its name into ill-repute.  It was only when Tien agreed to finance an internationally recognized review team to assess the school’s academic programme for the maintenance of standards that the British Government agreed to make the application for WHO listing.  This listing enables students to apply for federal grants/loans for their medical education.

The island’s weekly newspaper, the Montserrat Mirror, (New Caribbean School Holds First Classes on Cincinnati Campus, 1978) using an excerpt from the American Medical News (1978, September 1), reported as follows: “A new British West Indies-chartered medical school began its classes in Cincinnati, Ohio, last week because the school’s $3-million campus on Montserrat island wasn’t ready for occupancy. The American U. of the Caribbean, School of Medicine (A.U.C.) which bills itself as “the closest foreign medical school to the continental United States offering an MD program in English,” has rented space for its 107 first-year students on the Cincinnati campus of the College of Mt. St. Joseph.  A.U.C. has rented classrooms, labs, and office space for one year. The new school, which offers a 33-month curriculum, has attracted mostly American students.  Tuition is $2,500 per trimester plus a $500 registration fee. A.U.C. officials say the school has been certified by the United Kingdom and will be listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools, published by the World Health Organization. The article went on to explain that the new medical school was founded by Paul S. Tien, Ph.D., listed as the institution’s chief executive and administrative officer and that he was a former President of Belmont Technical College in St. Clairsville, Ohio, a two-year state school and a former chairman of engineering technologies at Cincinnati Technical College.  (p5)

A.U.C.’s early days in Ohio were not without problems and Tien has to be given credit for not abandoning the project at that point.   According to Lawrence, who refers to Tien as a China - born electrical engineer claiming to have a Ph.D. in educational administration from the Union Graduate School, “One of the newest of the Caribbean medical schools that have sprung up to cater to U.S. Students unable to gain admission to schools here is still operating -- in Cincinnati, Ohio—despite more than six months of legal and administrative battles with Ohio educational authorities… Although Ohio authorities have been arguing since before A.U.C. opened that it cannot hold classes within the state without being certified by one of Ohio’s two educational boards, the school claims it is exempt from state regulations because it is a foreign institution, incorporated on the tiny British dependency of Montserrat…and it is only in Ohio temporarily.”  (153-4)

Lawrence goes on to describe further legal complications affecting A.U.C.  Two former A.U.C. students had filed a lawsuit against the school charging it with fraudulent misrepresentation in several areas.  They wanted their money back in addition to $100,000 in punitive damages.  They also asked that “for the class of all students, former students, and future students of A.U.C., a permanent injunction prohibiting defendants from soliciting students and promoting A.U.C. in a false and fraudulent manner, and compensatory damages of $1,500,000.”

At the same time Lawrence’s report shows that the student population ranging in age from 22 to 62, had increased to 210 with 90% of the student body American and 10% from other countries but with US resident status.  The faculty of three had been increased to 6.

Almost a year later, it was finally reported (A.U.C. Ready to Break Ground, 1979) that tenders were to be awarded to local contractors with fourteen of them bidding for a slice of the 72,000 square foot structure.  Dr. Tien was still optimistic that the buildings would be completed in time for an early January move of students from temporary quarters in Ohio. However, there were several delays that affected the construction process including delays with procuring materials and delays caused by bad weather.  But by the end of the year the school had long outstayed its welcome in Ohio and Tien had little choice but to move to Montserrat in January of 1980.  The resulting unhappy state of affairs that led to students walking the streets of Plymouth with their beds and mattresses in protest over conditions in the dormitories (Three Weeks of Classes at A.U.C., 1980) was eventually resolved once the dormitories were completed.  When the Campus itself was completed, it became a tourist attraction on Montserrat.  As Model says: “The Campus at A.U.C. is an impressive purpose built brick complex consisting of an administrative block, two teaching blocks containing large lecture rooms (one with closed-circuit television along the aisles), laboratories, and a library, and dormitory blocks containing 160 large two-bedded rooms each with bathroom. In addition, there is a recreation room and a restaurant open to the Caribbean.”  (p. 952)

Model gives us an idea of the costs involved for the student attending the A.U.C. in the 80s.  “Tuition fees are about $10,000 a year, and the students tell me that board and food cost a further $4,000.  The Montserrat course thus costs about $42,000 to which must be added the cost of fares back and forth to the USA.  Hospitals that accept students from A.U.C. for clinical training are paid $2,000 a year for each student.  (p. 952)

The impact of the presence of the School on Montserrat was significant.  By 1984, it was reported in the Montserrat Times that a World Bank report credited A.U.C. with the economic boom on the island.  “Because of its small size, the economy of Montserrat tends to be extremely sensitive to major investment projects.”  The report attributes the 14.5% growth in GDP during 1979 and the first half of 1980 to construction of the college and to the arrival of 450 students. Almost two years later, when the Montserrat Times reported (Brandt Represents A.U.C) that Government had threatened to close the off-shore medical school by January 3, 1986 for non-payment of license fees, the question was asked “What will happen if A.U.C. is forced out of Montserrat next January?  Over sixty Montserratians will be thrown out of work, many persons would lose rental income on which they have been depending, taxi men would suffer and shopkeepers will lose their business.” 

During the 1980s, the school faced several challenges while on Montserrat.  The People’s Liberation Movement (PLM) government which got into power in 1978, replacing the Bramble regime, immediately set about extracting direct benefits from the presence of the school on island.  The PLM government introduced the The Universities and Colleges (Licensing and Control) Ordinance in 1980 and also introduced a student permit fee of US$500.  A license fee for the school was also introduced, which according, to a report in the Opposition newspaper, (How Osborne’s PLM has Harassed the A.U.C., 1983) moved from EC$60,000 in 1981 to EC$120,000 annually thereafter.  Tien saw this as a breach of the agreement arrived at with the PDP government and took the PLM Government to court arguing that the license fee was a violation of the School’s 15 year tax holiday.

On December 17, 1985, Tien received a letter from Attorney General Odel Adams (A.U.C. Pays Up, 1986) indicating that “With effect from the 3rd day of January 1986, no further issue of work permits will be made to the academic staff of your institution and all existing work permits shall be reviewed.  Secondly, no person shall be allowed admission to Montserrat either as an existing or prospective student of the A.U.C.  Finally it is Government’s intention to withdraw its support for the inclusion of your medical school in the sixth edition of the WHO’s listing of medical schools now in the preparatory stages of publication.” The Montserrat Chamber of Commerce had to intervene to settle the problem and Tien paid EC$240,000 which he claimed was a gesture of goodwill.

Tien was also embroiled in an industrial dispute with the Montserrat Allied workers Union in 1982.  It seems (MAWU Sets Out its Case Against A.U.C., 1982) that the Union attempted to have dialogue with Tien once the school started operating in Montserrat but Tien refused to meet with Union Delegates and asked instead for a list of members working at A.U.C.  In February 1982, a shop steward was fired and the following day, there was a sick out by all Union members and picketing the day after that.  Locals were concerned about the signals being sent to potential investors. Tien finally agreed to meet with Union officials and an agreement was signed on February 18.  However, Tien threatened on the following day to close the cafeteria and to outsource janitorial services actions that would have affected 14 and 20 workers respectively.  Students and faculty indicated their displeasure over the disruption of classes by what they regarded as “industrial foolishness.” (Our Readers Say, 1982)

Despite his rocky relations with the Government, Tien did not avoid opportunities to demonstrate that he was a good corporate citizen.  As early as 1980, he donated all of the fencing for the western and northern sides of Sturge Park and provided financial assistance to the various sporting associations on the island. (A.U.C. to Help Sturge Park, 1984).  The community was allowed to use the facilities for sports including tennis and volley ball courts at the College and it was only in the 1990s that a fee was charged for the use of the tennis courts.

The students also played a part in building bridges of friendship. The A.U.C. against the Montserrat Amateur Athletic Association meet was regarded as an opportunity to further improve the “bonds of friendship between A.U.C.[‘s] students and the local community.” (A.U.C. and M.A.A.A. Compete, 1981). The first A.U.C. Tennis Tournament that was held had involvement and participation from the Montserrat community. (A.U.C. Tennis Tourney: An Outstanding Success, 1985). 

Threats in the Environment

In addition to difficulties with the government and the Union, Tien also had internal problems and external forces creating threats to the survival of his school. In 1982, he fired Dr. DiVirgilio who was the first Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.  According to the report (A.U.C. Threatened, 1982), DiVirgilio was involved in the formation of a new school in Antigua, a school that was trying to lure faculty and students away from A.U.C.  The report goes on to say: “There has been much talk within the student body of late, concerning problems at A.U.C.  It is alleged also that some faculty members have not been terribly happy with the conditions under which they have been operating.  Whereas they enjoy Montserrat and like teaching, some faculty members have complained about the School’s administration. Tien placed the blame for the problems on the fact that the supply of students had been steadily falling with only 250 expected to attend A.U.C. the following semester as opposed to 320 the previous semester.  “Dr. Tien blames the economic conditions in the United States for this poor showing.  In addition new offshore schools are springing up in different places and drawing some of the students who would otherwise come to A.U.C..”

Not long after, Tien dismissed another member of faculty, Dr. Ranjit S. Nagi, Associate Dean of Medical Studies and expelled Mr. Nelson Bolagi Akande, a second semester student, and Miss Bosede Kufodu Uboh, a third semester student who were accused of being (New Medical School, 1982) “guilty of subversion in that they were actively involved with the formation of a new medical school in Antigua and carried out a campaign to recruit A.U.C. students for the Antigua School.”  (Antigua School No Threat, 1982)

Then in 1984, (Tricks Pulled on A.U.C.) it seems that staff from St. Georges University were on the A.U.C. campus attempting to “recruit students and staff members from A.U.C.”  According to Tien, “Our students were offered one free semester and told that they could be assured of good clinical rotation.  They were even offered a free flight to Grenada and our faculty members were told that they would get higher salaries.”  By April, Tien took action again St. Georges University (A.U.C. Files Writ Against Grenada’s Medical School, 1984) taking out an injunction against all of the defendants to restrain them from carrying out similar acts against A.U.C. in the future. 

Yet another threat reared its head on the horizon. It would seem (What’s A.U.C.’s fate, 1986) that the U.S. Senate was considering a bill “that could mean the death of A.U.C. and the 4 other off-shore medical schools presently operating in the Caribbean.  The bill states, that in order for U.S. students attending off-shore schools to be eligible for student grants, the schools must have an enrolment of at least 60 per cent nationals.”  But “students, graduates and parents, have written to their congressmen in support of the school, asking that the senate bill be thrown out.”  It would seem that their efforts were successful.

In the wake of the 1984 closure of the University of St. Lucia School of Medicine (USLSM) which started in 1983, Tien claims (A.U.C. Takes Stand on The Issue Of Academic Excellence, 1984) that the success of his school was as a result of placing priority on high standards of medical education and having a first rate faculty.  According to Tien, of the fifty students from USLSM that were interviewed by A.U.C. representatives who had flown to St. Lucia, only five met A.U.C.’s entrance requirements.

There is evidence that efforts were made over the years to ensure that the medical programme at A.U.C. was regularly assessed.  In 1983, a team (New York State Looks at A.U.C., 1983) visited the school to evaluate the pre-clinical programme and also visited the hospitals in New York where students would be placed for the clinical programme.  One year later (California Officials expected at A.U.C. Next Week, 1985), representatives of the California Legislature Senate Committee on Business and Professions, the California Medical Association and the California Dental Association were reported as being expected to review Medical and Dental schools in the Caribbean for accreditation and licensure.  These reviews would have been costly to A.U.C. but necessary since student placements in US hospitals were and still are dependent on positive reports on the school.  This is supported by a Sounding Board report. “Several States have developed mechanisms to permit students at certain foreign medical schools to take part in clerkships within the states’ jurisdiction…New York State Board of Medicine jointly grants approval to certain foreign medical schools that want to place students in New York-based clinical clerkships.  Such approvals have been given to St. George’s University School of Medicine on the island of Grenada, Ross University School of Medicine on Dominica, the American University of the Caribbean on St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles (formerly Montserrat)...  p. 1603

Having overcome various man-made challenges, the School continued its operations in Montserrat until faced with the fury of nature in the form of Hurricane Hugo which battered the island on September 17, and left the Campus in shambles.  Tien found a new home for the School at the Wayland Baptist Church in Plainview, Texas, while plans were in place for rebuilding the Campus.  Keynote speaker at the 1991 graduation, Kenneth Cassell, Kenny Cassell remarked: “This event is important for the A.U.C. because it exploded the myth, popular at least for a brief while, that Dr. Tien and his associates would take the opportunity to close down their operations here and perhaps permanently relocate to another country.”

The fact that Dr. Tien and his associates achieved their target of restarting classes here just one year after the massive damages to the campus by Hugo, is testimony to their continued interest in the island, but more so to their dedication and determination to succeed in whatever they undertake.” (p. 13)

The Move to St. Maarten

Once the volcanic crisis started, there was not only an exodus of persons but an exodus of several businesses from the island, among them the A.U.C.  Tien’s contingency plan was for the school to relocate to St. Maarten.  As reported in Campus Connection: “After the Soufrière Hills volcano began erupting on Montserrat in July 1995, American University of the Caribbean found a new home about 100 miles southeast on the island of St. Maarten. Today A.U.C. students find themselves on a beautiful, contemporary campus specifically designed to meet a medical student’s needs. The academic facilities offer future doctors the tools for earning a high-quality medical education including fully equipped gross anatomy, histology and microbiology laboratories, and clinical patient examination room. The four lecture halls on campus feature the latest audio/visual technology, and the extensive library subscribes to more than 100 medical and scientific journals. It would seem that St. Maarten has seen some benefits from having the School on its shores. The Daily Herald (A.U.C. Expanding Third Phase Soon, 2003) reports that “Wescott-Williams, who is also Second Lt. Governor, described A.U.C.'s 25th anniversary as a milestone.  A.U.C. has committed itself to St. Maarten and stuck to this commitment since 1996," she said. She alluded to the school's Department of Community Services, which contributes significantly to the community. Similar sentiments were expressed by Commissioners Laveist, Heyliger and other speakers.”


It has been recognized that the lower cost of providing medical education in the Caribbean, (offshore medical schools run an accelerated programme which eliminates holidays and they also avoid the costs associated with research and a teaching hospital) along with investment incentives including tax holidays and other concessions dangled by Caribbean Governments, have made the region an attractive environment for offshore medical schools.   Indeed, it is now being suggested that offshore medical education could very well be a niche market for Caribbean countries.

“Offshore education, and, in particular, medical schools, represent a small but growing services sector that has responded to a growing (and unfulfilled) demand for physicians in the United States. St. George's University School of Medicine in Grenada and Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica are two of 23 primarily offshore medical schools in the region, whose graduates together account for close to 70 percent of the international medical graduates entering the US. Demographic trends suggest continued demand for international physicians in the US, suggesting a significant opportunity for continued growth of this sector. To continue to meet this demand, and deepen the economic impact of the sector, the region should focus on creating a robust investment climate by raising accreditation standards, supporting regional accreditation agencies, and moving towards a harmonized and transparent investment regime, including encouraging FDI in the higher education sector.” (xxix) 

Politicians in Montserrat are regarding the newly registered British International University with investors from Dubai, as a reincarnation of an A.U.C. project.   The School was registered in April of this year and has already approached the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM) for the review process to start. This is an important step if the British Government is to make the request for WHO listing. The search is also in progress for temporary accommodation before their Campus is built. 

This project has the potential for a positive impact on Montserrat’s economy unlike those schools licensed in previous years. The St. John’s University of Medicine that was registered in 2003 was the brainchild of Dr. Daniel Harrington who once taught at A.U.C.  The School rented accommodation for a short period and had to face various legal battles including infringement of copyright. (New Offshore Medical School Hopes to Open in Early 2004, 2003).  The University of Science Arts and Technology was incorporated when the Government of Montserrat and the Medical School of London signed an agreement. (Medical School of London Signs Accord to Start Here, 2003).  To date, this School which has bought property and converted it into a Campus, has not yet received WHO Listing which affects its ability to recruit students.  The Atlanta Seoul University was licensed in 2003, rented space and for a short period used local talent for delivering its teaching programme. The School currently has no presence on island.

The A.U.C. story suggests that it is necessary to plan with contingencies in place for the unforeseen.  Entrepreneurs wanting to get into the now highly competitive offshore education business need venture capital and a commitment to maintaining standards. The student recruitment process, the teaching programme, faculty and facilities should be able to stand up to scrutiny.   At the same time, the Government of Montserrat needs to give serious consideration to the types and numbers of institutions that can feasibly operate on the island.  Projects without a significant investment component will hardly attract the kind of benefits that were realized with A.U.C.  Each application should be considered carefully and taken through a rigorous due diligence exercise, the danger is there that the Government could, as happened with the offshore banking industry, be held liable for activities undertaken by schools that it has allowed to operate on the island.  This calls for proper monitoring mechanisms, policies and procedures for the efficient management of the offshore education sector.  Untenable delays on the part of Government affect the investor negatively.  In the absence of a national accreditation authority, the Government would do well to maintain links with reputable accreditation institutions to ensure that standards are maintained in the schools that operate on island.  It is understandable that governments are eager for any economic activity which will result in growth. However, it is important that these activities and their possible impact on the society are thoroughly assessed before they are implemented.


References and/or complementary bibliography

A.U.C. and M.A.A.A. compete.  (1981, July 21).  Montserrat Times, p. 9.

A.U.C. expanding, third phase soon. (2003, August 15).  The Daily Herald. Retrieved on September 30, 2006, from

A.U.C. files writ against Grenada’s Medical School.  (1984, April 19)  Montserrat Times, p.10

A.U.C. pays up. (1986, January 10)  Montserrat Reporter, p.8

A.U.C. ready to break ground. (1979, June 23) The Montserrat Mirror, p. 12.

A.U.C. to help Sturge Park.  (1984, February 3).  Montserrat Times, p. 11

A.U.C. takes stand on the issue of academic excellence.  (1984, March 23) p. 8.

A.U.C. tennis tourney: An outstanding success. (1985, December 13) Montserrat Times, p. 9.

A.U.C. threatened. (1982, April 23) The Montserrat Mirror, p. 1.

Antigua School No Threat.   (1982, August 20)  Montserrat Mirror, p. 10.

Brandt Represents A.U.C.  (1985, December). The Montserrat Times, 5(34), p. 1.

Campus connection: Welcome to the St. Maarten campus. (2006).  AUC Connections, 1. Retrieved on October 7, 2006 from:

Cassell, K.  Greater co-operation between Government and A.U.C. needed. (1991, April 5). Montserrat Reporter, p. 13, 18.

Former U.S. A.G. to speak at A.U.C. graduation. (1984, January 20). The Montserrat Times, p. 1.

How Osborne’s PLM has harassed the A.U.C.  (1983, February 11).  Montserrat Times, p. 10.

Johnson, K.E., Hagopian, A., Veninga, C.,  Fordyce, M.A. & Hart, L.G. (2005).  The changing geography of Americans graduating from foreign medical schools (Working Paper No. 96.  Washington: University of Washington, Department of Family Medicine. WWAMI Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Latin America and the Caribbean Region.  Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit. Caribbean Country Management Unit. (2005). A time to choose: Caribbean development in the 21st century.  (Confidential Report No. 31725-LAC). Washington, D.C.: World Bank.  Retrieved on January 30, 2006 from:$FILE/Time%20to%20choose_report.pdf

Lawrence, Susan V. (1979, March 10).  A moveable med school. Science News, 115 (10) 153-155.

MAWU sets out its case against A.U.C.  (1982, March 5)  Montserrat Times, p. 6.

Model, D. G. (1984, April 28). Montserrat: An offshore medical school. Lancet, 1(8383):    952-953.

New Caribbean school holds first classes on Cincinnati Campus. (1978, September 23) Montserrat Mirror, p. 5.

New medical school.  (1982, May 7)  The Montserrat Mirror, p. 1.

New medical school enmeshed in fight over accreditation. (1978, August 25). The Washington Post, p. A11.

New Offshore Medical School Hopes to Open in Early 2004. (2003, August 15). The Montserrat Reporter, p. 2.

New York State looks at A.U.C.  (1983, March 25).  Montserrat Times, p. 10.

Our readers say. (1982, February 26).  Montserrat Times, p. 4-5.

Progressive Democratic Party Manifesto 1978:  A Charter for Continued Progress. (1978). St. Johns, Antigua: Antigua  Printing & Publishing Ltd.

Sounding board: Nonaccredited medical education in the United States.  (2000) The New England Journal of Medicine, 342(21): 1602-5.

Three weeks of classes at A.U.C. (1980, February 2).  Montserrat Mirror, p. 12.

Tricks Pulled on A.U.C. (1984, March 30).  Montserrat Times, p. 10.

What’s A.U.C.’s fate.  (1986, September 19). The Montserrat Reporter, p.1. 

Young, I. J. (2000).  Montserrat: Post volcano reconstruction and rehabilitation – A case Study. Montserrat: Department for International Development. Retrieved on January  30, 2006 from



The General Agreement on Trade in Services
and Education in the Caribbean:
Three Case Studies

PhD candidate, University of the West Indies, Barbados



In this article “Caribbean” refers to The Commonwealth Caribbean. This term describes the archipelago of islands, which form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Basin. It includes as well the mainland nations of Belize (British Honduras) and Guyana (formerly British Guiana): these and most of the islands – Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada; St. Kitts  and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, are independent nations. Anguilla, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, the Northern islands (the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands) are British dependencies or territories. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, geographically part of the Northern islands, is also independent. 

The impact of globalisation on national education systems is very significant for the Caribbean. Much of Caribbean education planning, historically and presently, has been based on the concept that it is by national education that societies can be transformed to move them from the Third to the First World. The emphasis on education as a key to upward economic mobility can be considered successful strategy: The region is relatively poor, with an average per capita income of less than US$3000 (about a tenth of the average for OECD countries). All of the Caribbean countries are categorised as “developing” and have managed to survive significant economic pressures. It has been a difficult balancing act to preserve political stability in the midst of difficult social and financial pressures and the threat posed from drug trafficking.

As predominantly small island states, the Caribbean faces similar challenges to those in the South Pacific and Mediterranean regions.  The World Bank has described them as being mostly small, very open and limited in their export base as well as being very vulnerable to natural disasters. According to the World Bank World Development Indicators 2006, except for Guyana (lower middle), Caribbean economies may be classified as upper middle income by using per capita income measures, although much less advanced than others such as Brazil, Argentine, Chile and Mexico. The importance of education has grown because of the necessity to train workers for a technologically advanced economy locally and in terms of job opportunities abroad.

Education in the Caribbean

Much as in Great Britain and Europe, Caribbean public education was initially conceived in the 1800’s as a force to produce workers and as a tool for social control (through discipline and religion) in the colonies. In the 20th century, until the 70’s, education was used to promote nation building and representative democracy with the change to internal self-government. In the post-independence era, educational provision was expanded and there were determined efforts to address equity in access and to promote the development of a national and Caribbean identity. There were also major investments to improve and expand quality educational provisions at all levels, including teacher training, examinations and educational research. 

The University of the West Indies was founded in 1948 at the Mona campus in Jamaica, as a University College in a special relationship with the University of London. In 1962 the University achieved independent status In addition to the three main campuses (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados) the University has centres in all of its non-campus Caribbean countries and has a distance education programme. The courses and examinations for general degrees of the University are common to all three campuses. Of the professional faculties, agriculture and engineering are located at St. Augustine, law at Cave Hill, and medical sciences at Mona. There are schools of medicine, dentistry and veterinary science at the St. Augustine campus. All the contributing territories have policies of subsidising students up to tertiary level.

Most Caribbean countries spend a significant amount of their government budget on education. Since the late 1990’s, education has been driven by essentially economic ends- material progress, the impetus of consumerism (especially driven by location within the American hegemony); the need to ensure technology sophistication and fit into the global marketplace by exploiting whatever “comparative advantage” is available. Issues of global competitiveness are of paramount importance given that the area is, on its own, a small market, and cannot compete as a low wage business environment. Caribbean people are convinced of the close correlation between expenditure on education and education and economic performance.  This is borne out by Table 3, which compares Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.

In 1997, Commonwealth Caribbean Heads of Government committed themselves to the implementation of specific measures related to education. They agreed on a number of goals for priority implementation including universal quality secondary education and 15 per cent enrolment of the post-secondary group in tertiary-level education by the year 2005. This is still far below the level of post-secondary enrolment of developed countries and some countries in the region itself. Heads of Government recognised that knowledge is now the central factor of competitiveness. They emphasised the importance of lifelong learning and the need to develop and apply science and technology to the production of goods and services. They agreed to enlist the active participation of the private sector in policy development, planning, implementation and financing for relevant education and training towards the development of creative and adaptive individuals as well as skilled labour for the key economic sectors of industry, agriculture and services, in particular tourism.

For the Caribbean, tertiary education (i.e., education beyond secondary education), includes degree courses taken for college or university credits or non-degree courses undertaken for personal edification or pleasure to upgrade work-related skills. Post-secondary education in the Caribbean is very varied. The base of publicly funded institutions has traditionally been supplemented by private institutions sometimes with government subsidies.  In several states, overseas campuses, mostly of American institutions, and franchising arrangements have been multiplying. 


The United Nations Development Programme has defined globalisation as: “the widening and deepening of international flows of trade, finance and information in a single, integrated global market.”

Much of the impetus of globalisation arises from the impact of trade agreements such as GATT (the General agreement on Trade and Tariffs) and more recently GATS (the General Agreement on Trade in Services) under the aegis of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) (see Appendix 1).

The GATS, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, is the first multilateral agreement for trade in services. It aims to liberalise international trade in services which now has greater growth potential than international trade in goods: even in less-developed countries about 50% of GDP comes from non-government service industries and the proportion is much greater and increasing even more rapidly in developed countries (World Development Report 2006).

A commitment under GATS is a formal agreement to liberalise trade in particular services with or without limitations. Although there is no compulsion to liberalise trade immediately, according to GATS, all countries that are signatories to the agreement are committed to future steps of liberalisation. In education, commitments can be made under 5 sub-sectors – primary, secondary, higher, adult and other education services. Limitations may be made dealing with nationality requirements, restrictions on foreign teachers, subsidies to national establishments, qualifications and accreditation etc. Formerly government controlled services, such as health and education, are vulnerable to being used as pawns in WTO negotiations to secure advantages in other areas.

Globalisation and Education

UNDP’s John Ohhoierhan said in an article in Co- op South (1995):“Countries of the South… need to come to terms fully with globalisation in order to make the appropriate changes in their development agenda and strategies.” (p.2)

The Caribbean has relied heavily on education for social and economic development. In some cases the movement from the Third to the First World has been physical with emigrants attractive to their destination societies because of their competencies and skills. Education has also enabled Caribbean governments to attract foreign investment, whether for setting up offshore factories or and banks or onshore hotels and businesses. In other words the infrastructural progress made has been based on the use of education as a vehicle of national development, especially in latter years, from an agriculture-based economy to industrialisation and now global economic competitiveness.

State planning and implementation have had a pivotal role in expanding mass education and ensuring that investment in schooling is profitable to the nation. The implications of globalisation for national education are enormous. What control should, could or would the state have? What characteristics in terms of a national public and collective identity would education have? What would be the philosophy and emphases in order to prepare students for not only national but also international or global labour markets? How does trade liberalisation affect the capacity and strength of local and regional education strategies to respond to local and regional needs and even to survive competition? There are many concerns about the infringement by global institutions and agreements and by transnational corporations on the power of the state. States in a globalised world must inform, equip and empower themselves with appropriate strategies.

Traditional education institutions all over the world have had to rethink their place in wider society to respond to changing expectations. Certainly, in the British tradition, which predominates in the Caribbean, education is not traditionally regarded as a commodity. Yet, the liberalisation of international trade in education, as fuelled by the activities of the WTO and the operation of the General Agreement in Trades and Services (GATS), has produced a rapid growth in an alternative education market. Internationalisation has meant the growth of borderless education and considerable commercialisation. Also, developing countries, in striving to provide mass education at all levels, have been experimenting with distance learning and Open and Virtual universities. Corporate Universities have been established to provide transnational and other corporations with employees who have the requisite common skills across boundaries and to facilitate optimal deployment globally. The alternative education market in the United States has grown and focused on the demand for provision of opportunities for life-long learning. Fast-paced private branches of foreign colleges and institutions could be considered the thin edge of the wedge in terms of the impact of globalisation on education in the Caribbean: tertiary institutions have geared up to export testing and tuition services at highly competitive rates.

There are also practical social issues – culture and cohesion, the digital divide, equity and equality in education provisions, planning, sourcing and financing of education. There are issues relating to the privatisation of educational services which may be detrimental to public access to the best educational provisions. Apart from the economic considerations, for example, the return on investments in personnel training, there are other intangible issues such as cultural penetration and the maintenance of appropriate standards.

The University of the West Indies is one of the most successful regional universities in terms of its standard, service and contribution to social and economic progress and is increasingly attractive to international students. However, its future role and expansion has to be considered in the context of globalisation, both in terms of the provision of expanded and relevant higher education programmes and offering new services as well as meeting the challenge of competition. The testing services of the Caribbean Examination Council at all levels will be challenged by extra-regional competition. As the private sector recognises market opportunities it will seek to provide products which can compete.  The Association of Caribbean Tertiary (Level)  Institutions, whose members include community colleges has recognised the need for a development of Quality Assurance and accreditation strategies. The removal of trade barriers and the increased availability of foreign exchange dramatically improved opportunities to study for foreign qualifications to get comparative advantage in most national regional and international labour markets. It may even be cheaper to study in OVC’s (overseas campuses) than local and further more traditional subsidies and development strategies may put Caribbean states at risk in terms of the GATS anti-protectionism regulations.

Trends in globalisation issues related to education, especially higher education, have generated considerable debate and action amongst stakeholders and their organisations particularly in developed countries. Amongst developed countries, both individual and regional governments are making plans for their education systems.  The UK government has formally declared itself committed to liberalising trade in services. Some developed countries, e.g. Canada and the EU, have voluntarily announced that they will not deal with education in their trade offers. In the Asian-Pacific region, countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Korea have clearly developed and implemented strategies regarding education services.

In order to compete locally and globally developing country higher education institutions face financing challenges. In general, the financing of educational provisions is a major consideration influenced by structural and administrative consequences of partnerships between educational and business institutions. The role of government in financing and determining curricula with regard to national strategic planning has different implications in developing and developed countries.

Becoming a Member of WTO involves two types of commitments and a web of complex trade rules (see Appendix I). Not joining in the GATS means risking exclusion from equal access to markets and losing favourable access to important export areas. A critical aspect of the GATS is non-reciprocity. In other words, a Member is not obliged to open up to another Member even when its proposals have been accepted. The USA is particularly adamant in reserving untouchable areas of its education policies whilst demanding that other countries remove ‘restrictions’ or ‘barriers’. 

Two major issues that arise from dealing with education in terms of the trading in a service.  The WTO and some of its members talk about an Education Market - as a global market opportunity. This is in stark contrast to the gut feeling of most educators and trade unionists, and, indeed the general public especially in the Caribbean, that education is a public good, which should not be traded as a commodity particularly if this interferes with the responsibility of states to provide equitable education to their citizens. Both sides can define types of barriers except that they are on opposite sides of the fence:

Barriers to trade in services in the GATS context. These trade-restrictive practices are considered impediments to one of the fundamental goals of the WTO- free trade—opening up of markets – trade liberalization. These are usually defined by the developed countries in their request documents as they strive to ensure clear passage for their institutions into the developing countries .It should be noted that developing country providers face similar barriers if they attempt to break into developed markets. For example, there are non-recognition of qualifications, visa and immigration restrictions for students and professionals, considerable barriers to the establishment of commercial or professional presence such as accreditation, financial barriers, needs tests and other barriers to the movement of natural persons. Liberalisation holds no promise of reciprocity.

Barriers to the delivery by national governments of social services to their citizens – with goals of removing social inequality and stratification based on class and finance and directed towards developing genuine democracy and economic viability. Certainly for developing countries these goals require the development and maintenance of public quality education systems as a normal and necessary part of their development strategy. Utilising the available resources often means supporting students’ education at private institutions.

Of the members of WTO only 44 member states including 3 Caribbean states – Haiti, Trinidad and Jamaica – have made commitments to trade in Education Services (see Appendix Table 2). Only 21(15 developing and 6 transition) countries  have included commitments in higher education and among those making unconditional commitments in higher education are the Congo, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, and Jamaica. The European Union made some commitments but with limitations on all modes. The USA, New Zealand, Australia and Japan all of whom submitted negotiating proposals have limitations on some if not all modes and sectors. Canada remains uncommitted in public education.  Some commentators have suggested that those developing countries, which have liberalised their education sectors, have done so partly through incomplete understanding of the implications and in the hope of receiving much needed assistance. The strongest opposition to what is termed the commodification of education has come from North American and European education unions and associations – the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the American Council on Education (USA), The European University Association, the Council of Higher Education Accreditation, the Association of Universities and the National Association of Teachers in Higher Education (UK) and the global union, Education International. The developing countries which are now committed might have acted otherwise had there been more consultation and openness with their education unions about decision making. In a resolution published in the 1998 entitled World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-first Century, Vision and Action, UNESCO advised its member institutions to refrain from making commitments in higher education and if already committed, to make no further commitments.

Those countries which have already made commitments could opt for progressive Liberation (Article XIX) and possibly request modification to a Schedule of commitment (XXI). This has been the advice given to the Jamaican government in the Jamaican National Council on Education (NACE) report.

The Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) Report on “International Supply of Tertiary Education and Services Trade Negotiations: Implications for Caricom” (2004) warned: “States that have not made any commitments in their tertiary education sector must proceed cautiously and only make commitments that will serve their best interests. The complexity of the trade negotiations warrants the need for technical assistance on behalf of the developing countries. “ (p.ii) and, with respect to the US: “ as the leading provider of services in TLE (Tertiary Level Education) and as a member of the WTO, the US has sought (from all other Members) ‘full commitments for market access and national treatment in modes 1,2 and 3 for higher education and training services, for adult education, and for ‘other’ education…. Given …non-reciprocity, CARICOM States would be well advised not to accede to this request … (since) developed countries are much more competitive in this sector and Caribbean domestic providers are not ready yet for an open, market driven environment." (p. iii)

In Jamaica, and generally in the Caribbean, it is at the tertiary level that ill-advised commitment has the most costly and serious implications.  The GATS documents appear to use the terms ‘higher’ and ‘tertiary’ interchangeably when referring to education. The GATS defines higher education thus: “(it) includes two distinct groups: one relates to the teaching of practical skills in post-secondary, sub-degree technical and vocational education institutions and the other details with more theoretical educational services provided by universities, colleges and specialized professional schools”.  In the Caribbean, the second group is more frequently described as tertiary level education/ institutions (TLE’s or TLI’s).

The RNM Report says that for Caribbean TLI’s, the environment is one where individual countries are at different levels in terms of legislation, policy and procedure with respect to access to their TLE markets, but they have traditionally allowed foreign providers on a case-by- case basis. The criteria applied examining how each provider fits into government education policies and requirements, and has the capacity to fulfil governments’ development strategies. There are many examples of various foreign provider arrangements such as twinning, partnerships and branch institutions. Each Caricom state has a different reality in both needs and policies, which makes it difficult but not impossible to negotiate jointly. However negotiating separately especially against the large, well-endowed and experienced negotiating machineries of the developed countries is not a winning option. Under the GATS market forces not social and environmental or local human resource development considerations will be the guiding criteria.

In signing the GATS agreements, many developing countries thought they would attract foreign providers to assist in building sustainable education for the future. This has not happened: for example in the Philippines, Senegal and Jamaica, foreign providers are undercutting local universities and colleges. The GATS ignores equity concerns between rich and poor countries or within countries for example in negotiating procedures. There are concerns that the education sector like education could be traded off to break a deadlock in other sectors.  Regional/bilateral Free trade agreements are more ambitious and far reaching than may be immediately apparent. The pros and cons of making offers in tertiary education in an effort to improve the quality of tertiary education have to be carefully evaluated including the risks that national protection regulations may be challenged as falling foul of  the GATS rules  Most people agree that education is a public good but that there must be a nuanced position on role of the private sector. Developing states need strategies to put appropriate regulation in place and to manage liberalisation. Several articles and speeches have recommended a co-ordinated Southern response to globalisation. Concerns have been expressed about the weakness of developing countries in international fora with regard to fair participation in decision making and enjoyment of benefits. The contrasting experiences of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados support the urgent need to share concerns and negotiating strategies and strengths.

The Jamaica Experience

“Jamaica is part of the global village of this century of open borders, easy travel, mass migration and easy access to information and technology. We are no longer educating our people to live in Jamaica. We are preparing them for a borderless world. Times have changed and we too must change. We must critically examine the product, and together as a nation, make the necessary changes that are called for.”

Jamaica Prime Minister, PJ Patterson, in his speech to launch the Education Transformation process in February 2004: “Public Education is a central pillar of democratic society and public institutions, from primary school to university, ideally prepare students to be loyal citizens who play a role in shaping their societies. The reality is that most if not all public education systems offer some service on a basis of payment or in competition with a private education provider. In this regard, Jamaica is no exception.”

Jamaica National Council on Education (2004)

Jamaica is the largest island of the Commonwealth Caribbean with over two and a half million people in an area of about 11000 km2. Since 1973 Jamaica has been a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) and since January 2006 the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Regional ties are very important   because of the potential to facilitate sharing of information, develop a common policy and strengthen negotiating power in WTO meetings.  Jamaica joined WTO in March 1995. Its commitments in education under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) have some unforeseen and potentially negative implications for the Jamaican government and the Caribbean region with respect to provision of education services in the Caribbean.

The Jamaican Government’s commitment to education is typical for the region. The statistics cited are from the Jamaican National Council on Education document “The GATS: Higher Education & The Implications for National Economies (Jamaica)“ (2003). The budget expenditure in 2000 on education is about 15% with 17% of that for higher education. Students’ fees for higher education used to be totally covered by the government. Now they contribute to the economic cost 10% at non-degree level and about 18% at the degree level for the Jamaica University of Technology and the University of the West Indies. The government is the single largest provider of higher  (including post-secondary) education. Dealing with approximately 800,000 students primary to tertiary level, the government spends in its budget JA$30billion with households spending about JA $19 billion; these are supplemented by additional government expenditure through deferred financing for school building and funding from the Jamaica Investment Fund as well as further substantial expenditure from institutions especially the church. This was all part of a cost-sharing programme where students and families bear part of the costs of education. It was envisaged that school fees would be frozen at 2003/4 levels and removed by 2005-06.

In Jamaica at all levels there is national or transnational private education and  institutions must be registered with the University Council of Jamaica, which accredits courses and awards degrees on behalf of institutions that do not have the power to do so. There are number of foreign providers with accredited programmes offering these through local branch campuses, local partners, franchise or distance education. There are a number of private locally owned institutions at all tertiary levels.  In order to increase and upgrade its teaching staff and facilities it has been projected that Jamaica needs to spend an additional JA$219 billion over the next 10 years. According to the National Council on Education, the government would find it very difficult to significantly increase the education budget particularly at the tertiary level. Yet, with the “no limitations” on Mode 3, the Jamaican government could be required to fund a potentially large market of foreign suppliers, who are providing education to Jamaican nationals. Any financial support by governments for students or institutions may be considered as subsidies with respect to GATS rules. This support is present in the Caribbean region since the TLI’s could not provide on their own supply services at a affordable price. Moreover according to GATS rules any part of an educational institution which functions on a profit-making basis would bring the institution under the GATS rules for national treatment since then it would not be considered as totally financed by government but be in competition with private providers.

The country’s National Council on Education in 2003 gave as its opinion that government higher education services in Jamaica could be regarded a trade in services since they are offered “in competition” with private provisions such as Northern Caribbean University (locally owned and administered) and the Florida International University (foreign owned and operated). Furthermore the government provides the operating costs of several high schools owned by Denominations and Trusts; i.e. it subsidises private institutions at the secondary level too.

In general Jamaica’s horizontal commitments are only restrained by the country’s immigration laws with respect to residency, work permits and taxation. From Table 2 Jamaica has made Market Access undertakings for modes 1, and 2, and even in 3 but for required local certification, registration and licensing – meaning that the government will not limit the number of providers, the number of students they may enrol, the legal form of new entrants or limit the level of foreign ownership. The real issues here will be the government’s ability respond equally to demands under National Treatment for financial support in terms of boarding grants, student loans or any other financial support i.e. subsidies for students attending local or foreign (i.e. Consumption Abroad), public or private colleges and universities. So a student at Florida International, or UT Jamaica or indeed any of the three UWI campuses (Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados) may require and expect parity of financial support.  Otherwise, the practical effect would be a non-level playing field in favour of local providers. Where services are unbound in Mode 4 it means that service providers, local or foreign can be limited by needs tests or quotas. However the implications of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) principle that is a fundamental commitment for all members could be tested in relation to these cases.

The commitments made by Jamaica on joining the WTO were not particularly at odds with the then current situation. What was different were the long term implications of their formalisation within the GATS system. NACE has recommended  “a holistic assessment of GATS on all levels of the education sector with a view to determine the socio-cultural implications of a liberalized system” (NACE, 2004 p.26). Nor was or is there any significant difference from regional norms. Williams 2004 is quoted in the RNM Report as saying that there are over 150 institutions (in the Caribbean) of which 60% are public, 30% private and the remaining 10% exist with some government support’. All present and future institutions are tools in the drive to increase the enrolment of post secondary cohorts in tertiary level institutions that must be a strategic imperative in the development of the region. Regional governments would be hard-pressed if forced to apply the GATS rules regarding Market Access and National Treatment across the board. However the vulnerability of developing countries is highlighted by reference to the comment of the Australian Department of Foreign Trade as quoted in Zigoura, McBurnie and Reinke (2003): “Australian commitments entered in during the Uruguay Round were structured so that we have the ability to discriminate between foreign and domestic private institutions (e.g. in relation to subsidies), should this ever be an issue”.

The local tertiary sector understandably has concerns about quality and accreditation issues. They are concerned about inferior and irrelevant programmes being offered by providers for whom the profit motive is paramount. Comments have been made that foreign providers focus on areas where the necessary infrastructure and staffing is minimal and leave local providers i.e. governments to finance the more expensive and less immediately popular areas. For example setting up arrangements for short business courses or computer courses is cheaper and easier than dealing with laboratory sciences. According to the RNM Report “[except for Jamaica] compared to developed countries, CARICOM member states have only recently started to establish the regulatory and infrastructural framework for the accreditation and quality assurance of the tertiary education sector.” (p.8)

There are several existing and planned linkages between UWI and other universities in the member states of CARICOM and the recently instituted Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). The Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) is expected to provide the infrastructure to support e-learning. CARICOM is committed to funding and supporting the development of the regional UWI and national TLI’s since it is recognized that these are best suited for and have an intrinsic commitment to local societal interests and culture. However if these are burdened by the responsibility of providing the costliest programmes against competition from private, for- profit institutions with comparatively vast resources and budgets their task is almost impossible. For instance, with the foreign private sector able to attract quality staff with higher wages and conditions of service there is the risk under- staffing and under-resourcing public institutions which will reduce quality and destroy reputations and public confidence as has happened in some Asian jurisdictions. Then, education and consequently the society will be even more stratified. The competitive strength afforded to private-for- profit TLI by their capacity to offer flexible programmes especially to the adult working population boosted by strength in ICTs which facilitate reduced student costs and increased profits should not be underestimated. ICTs have been the drivers of the growth of cross-border tertiary education and training over the Internet.

UWI itself  has a number of extra-regional linkages with other universities. These facilitate student exchanges with universities in Japan, Suriname, Canada, the UK, and the USA. At both ends students are required to pay the full fees of the institutions. Of course, fees at UWI, which, at present, makes no distinction between regional and extra-regional origin are much cheaper. Consequently the University may lobby for scholarships and parents may arrange loans, but these are always on an individual basis.

Besides its on-campus offerings, UWI also has a Distance Education Programme (UWIDEC) and which delivers courses to the non-campus territories. There has been considerable investment in this to upgrade and expand especially in the area of computer technology and telecommunications infrastructure. The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) provides testing services throughout the region. Its viability is dependent on its market. They are therefore vulnerable to competition in particular from distance education and testing services in the USA especially since these are backed by the attraction of the US colleges whose requirements they have years of experience of satisfying. Another fear expressed is concern less the commitments enable Jamaica to be used as an insertion point for foreign educational materials to be allowed into the region.


Commitments made under the GATS involves a country in a web of complex rules and punitive measures even when the government is instituting measures to ensure its citizens equitable access to quality education as a necessary pre-requisite for development. The Jamaican experience is a cautionary tale for developing countries.

The Trinidad and Tobago Experience

Trinidad and Tobago is a twin-island republic, is also part of the Commonwealth Caribbean It has a population of over 1.3 million people in an area of 5128 km2 (World Bank,2005). Like Jamaica and Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago has been a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) since 1973 and of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) that was formalised in 2006.  Trinidad joined the WTO in 1995. It has commitments in education under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). These are tabled in the sub-sectors Adult and Other with full commitments (“none”) in Modes 1 and 2, unbound in Mode 3, and Limitations in Mode 4 (see Appendix).

Full commitments mean complete liberalisation, whilst in the unbound mode the government reserves the right to impose limitations in the future. The limitations in Mode 4, the Movement of Natural Persons, in this case lecturers and specialist teachers, refer to Immigration laws and regulations relating to certification, registration and licensing.

Like other Caribbean countries, the Trinidad & Tobago government has pursued as a goal the development of a well educated and trained labour force which might act as an incentive for foreign direct investment towards the social and economic development of the country. The education system is based on the British model. Public education at both the primary and secondary level is free. There is now universal access to secondary education. The Secondary Entrance Examination is used as a filtering process to allocate students.  From kindergarten to post-secondary there are a number of private education institutions that cater for a range of social and economic statuses. Government or government-assisted secondary schools are generally considered to be of a higher standard than purely private secondary schools although all prepare students for the Caribbean Examination Council Examinations. There are two international schools in Port of Spain with curricula based respectively on the Canadian and USA systems.

There are also a number of tertiary level institutions in the country, including Government Technical Colleges and the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Technology (which offers certificate and degree programmes based on the North American Technology Institute model). There is a government Institute of Languages and the French and Venezuelan embassies support language schools as they do in other islands. Continuing education programmes are available at a number of institutions.  The University of the West Indies has a campus at St. Augustine (others are at Mona in Jamaica and at Cave Hill in Barbados) with a Faculty of Agriculture (now the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, ECIAF), a Faculty of Engineering, a College of Arts and Science and an active Extra Mural Department which provides evening classes, summer seminars and lectures for adults. The University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies offers courses in a number of areas both academic and non-academic. The former Caribbean Union College now the University of the Southern Caribbean is another tertiary institution.

The government spends annually about 4.3% of GDP on education with largest allocation for tertiary education. The government aims to have a 20% tertiary enrolment by 2010 and pays full fees for Bachelor Degrees and 50% for Masters including up to 50% or a maximum of TT $5000 at accredited private institutions.  There has been a significant increase in public-private partnership for education in Trinidad and Tobago. For example British Petroleum has recently made a US $10 million dollar investment in the government’s University of Trinidad & Tobago. According to its Group Chief Executive, Lord Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive (2005): “An open and meritocratic education system is fundamental to establishing the standards of society – promoting and rewarding individual effort and commitment. It is the key to unleashing creativity, for which this country is famous, and the key to accessing the full potential of your people ... I also believe that we should make a leading contribution to support the development of the new University of Trinidad & Tobago and, in particular, to support the planned development of high-quality research in science and technology.”

The investment takes a number of forms: Brighter Prospects, the bpTT (British Petroleum Trinidad & Tobago) Scholarship Award programme for Mayaro district, provides scholarships to students who possess the ability to pursue academic and technical/vocational training, for those who may lack the means to do so.  It creates incentives for students from pre-school to primary, through to secondary and on to tertiary and technical/vocational training. bpTT has partnered several educational institutions including the University of the West Indies and the Trinidad & Tobago Institute of Technology under this programme. The programme also provides for new entrepreneurs in the community, who qualify, to access the facilities offered in the Mayaro Initiative and Private Enterprise Development.

A partnership between bpTT and the Geological Society of Trinidad & Tobago made the bold and progressive step to develop an accredited Petroleum Geoscience programme at the University of the West Indies. Members of bpTT’s staff have lectured full semester courses, served as guest lecturers in specialized areas and also coached and mentored students during summer internships and final year projects.

bpTT provides 10 bursaries annually with a total value of TT$100,000 to students attending the University of the West Indies. These bursaries are awarded in the disciplines of Engineering and the Social Sciences.

bpTT partnered the British High Commission and the British Council to award scholarships to potential young local leaders and decision-makers for study in countries with established economic relations with the United Kingdom. Preference for this scholarship is usually given to nationals already established in a career within Trinidad and Tobago.

bpTT also supports the Fulbright Scholarship Programme and has sponsored one Fulbright scholar per year over the last four years.

Other bpTT educational initiatives include:

-         Internships

-         Math Olympiad

-         Lectures by BP experts

-         Mentorship programmes with secondary and tertiary level institutions

-         Schools Energy Education (SEE) programme

-         Primary and secondary schools educational programmes

-         Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) Awards to the top 100 students in Trinidad and Tobago.

Besides these opportunities for tertiary education, there is anew programme, H.E.L.P (Higher Education Loan Programme)., which provides access to funding. The loans incur a small interest repayable on completion of study and beginning of employment.

All of this is in keeping with Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s mandate for his country to develop the infrastructure to promote advances in health and education as part of of his plan “Vision 2020” to move forward the country’s economy. Hence, the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) was founded in 2004 through a partnership of the government, the private sector and the national community. UTT is a not-for-profit entrepreneurial university that the government has directed to take a leading role in developing state-of-the-art tertiary education and research. Then, in 2005 the Trinidad and Tobago Health Sciences Initiative (TTHSI) was formed to advance the health sciences and education sectors through the establishment of a long-term strategic collaboration between University of Trinidad and Tobago, Johns Hopkins Medicine International, the Trinidad Ministry of Health and the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education. This unique, three-pronged collaboration in consulting, educational and advisory services is destined to exceed other Johns Hopkins Medicine International's global partnerships. To successfully implement a project of this scope and size, Johns Hopkins Medicine International brought together Johns Hopkins experts in medicine, public health, public policy and management to advise, train and manage the range of services. Some activities resulting from this initiative include the planning and evaluation for development and expansion of clinical health facilities, public health education programs, clinical research and herbal research programs.


The Trinidad & Tobago has identified the areas in which it can best profit by liberalisation but has retained the options to impose and maintain regulation. This has enabled it to handle the pressure for education provisions and manipulate the available FDI largely on its own terms.

The Barbados Experience

Barbados has already made a commitment to liberalise all of its sectors within the creation of the Single Market and Economy. Restrictions will continue to apply in those areas reserved by the Crown and those that amount to non-discriminatory regulation.”  Barbados Ministry of Economic Development re Trade in Services (2002).

“One of the basic benefits of liberalisation in services is that it increases the variety and amount of education services available to WTO members. These are vital to all countries, including the emerging economies, which are in need of technology-savvy, well-trained workforces that are able to compete in the global economy. This acts as a spur to foreign investment and further transfer of important technologies. The growth of education services also raises demand for a wide range of important technologies. The growth of education services also raises a demand for arrange of related goods and services, including production and sale of educational and training material an equipment.

The above is taken from a brief on Educational Services prepared by the Barbados Ministry of Economic Development for Consultations in June 2002 with a number of education stakeholders including the Ministry of Education, education unions, and the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill campus) and. The document talks about the crucial role of education in fostering economic growth, personal and social development and reducing inequality by providing skills to facilitate effective participation in the workforce that is, reducing unemployment.

Barbados is a small island of the Commonwealth Caribbean, heavily populated with about 260 thousand people in an area of 431 km2. Like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago Barbados has been a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) since 2003 and has been a prime mover in the formation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) that was formalised in January 2006. Barbados became a member of the WTO in 1995. It has no commitments in education under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

As in many countries, Barbadian governments have based their education planning on a national presumption that education is a public good or, as the brief puts it, ‘a “public consumption” item’ to be provided free or ‘at prices not reflecting the costs of producing it’.  Education has traditionally been mainly government funded and since 1960 not only primary but secondary education has been free in government schools. There is a system of government assisting secondary schools with grants to cover salaries of some teachers particularly in the sciences, subventions to include specialised subjects in the curriculum and bursaries to assist some students. In government-approved secondary schools, students get books under a Textbook Loan Scheme with a small fee to cover administrative expenses. At the tertiary level the economic cost of Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies is paid for a first degree and post –graduate studies may be supported. Scholarships are awarded annually to the best students at Advanced Level -Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations under the aegis of the Caribbean Examinations Council or the Barbados Community College Associate Degree examinations. These Scholarships can be used to study in approved areas at overseas universities and most students go to the UK, Canada or the USA. Exhibitions are also awarded annually for study at the University of the West Indies. There are also Government funded Student Loans available. Annual Education expenditure is about 18% of the budget allocation 8% of GDP: post secondary /tertiary education is about one-quarter of the education budget and for 200/01 was estimated to be US$45 million up from US$24milion in 1990/91. Given the public- private mix of education finance for students or institutions, it is possible that under rules of the GATS, education services may be deemed as not entirely supplied in the “ exercise of governmental authority (neither on a commercial basis nor in competition)” (GATS), and be considered as subsidies with respect to GATS rules. The Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic for example, although essentially government institutions have some sections which may be defined as functioning on a profit-making basis which would bring the institutions under the GATS rules for national treatment i.e. not totally financed by government but in competition with private providers. This is also true for primary and secondary schools and post-secondary training institutions.

There are no Overseas Colleges in Barbados but a number of institutions offer courses and tests under franchising arrangements with overseas institutions mostly from the UK. There are an increasing number of students who are doing post –graduate studies using Information Communications Technology for distance education. The Cave Hill campus for UWI is heavily involved in the UWIDEC programme by which courses are offered to students in the non-campus territories. The Barbados Community College has also franchised some of its programmes to other islands and also facilitates the examinations of overseas universities. Particularly at the Tertiary level there are a number of proposals for changes in the education system that might be affected by the GATS rules. For example, the Barbados Community College has just expanded its offerings in language education with the aid of EU funds; the Barbados Government plans to merge the Community College, the Polytechnic and Erdiston Teacher Training College into a University College of Barbados. At the stakeholder meeting on services it was the perceptive warning of a senior civil servant with considerable experience both internationally and in the education sector which really alerted the group to the potential danger of commitment of the education sector to the GATS. Liberalisation of education services may be detrimental to the success of this project.

Barbadian teachers and educational institutions at all levels have been very involved in regional activities. There has been a considerable increase in activities closely related to education and supportive of the systems and processes of education directed towards national and regional development. These include testing services, services for students locally and regionally in exchange programmes and the expansion of ICT systems to support a growing demand for diverse training and adult and other education services. Curricula which take into account local and regional culture are considered important in maintaining a cultural and national identity. However there is a relatively limited market and it would be difficult to support several of these services in an open market. Some government subsidisation is essential to maintain equitable opportunities and reduce stratification and social divisions and the National Treatment regimes of the GATS could impose impossible financial burdens. On the other hand some local and regional educational services are marketable outside the region.


The advice contained in the Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) Report on “International Supply of Tertiary Education and Services Trade Negotiations: Implications for Caricom” (2004) is important. It is very easy to be seduced in thinking that the GATS rules are reasonable and user friendly and offer opportunities for developing countries to access much needed Foreign Direct investment to improve education provisions towards national and regional strategic developmental goals. However the long-term implications of MFN and National Treatment and Market Access regulations and the impact of commitment to liberalisation on strategies governments employ to protect and encourage home industries and service providers. There is also the important fact that mutual recognition agreements and reciprocity are not imbedded in the GATS. This means that issues related to professional services such as immigration laws and accreditation processes should be scrutinised. Any government seeking to ensure that post-secondary education serves its community’s goals and aspirations must analyse the restrictions or limitations trade liberalisation imposes.

To date Barbados has made no commitments with respect to educational services relating to the four modes of supply. This has enabled it to maintain maximum flexibility in planning and implementing its own trade liberalisation programme in a sensitive area without fear of charges and penalties.


References and/or complementary bibliography

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (2003). The GATS and Higher Education in Canada: An Update on Canada’s Position and Implications for Canadian Universities, Ottawa

Barbados Ministry of Economic Development  (2002) Consultation on Trade in Services: Brief on Educational Services

Barbados Ministry of Economic Development  (2002) Consultation on Trade in Services: Brief on Educational Services

Barbados Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports (2001) Education in Barbados Information Handbook

Barbados Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports (2002) Economic And Social Report 2001

Hosein.R, Chen.T, Singh.R (2004) The International Supply of Tertiary Education and Services Trade Negotiations: Implications for CARICOM. UWI, St.Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago

National Council on Education (2003) The General Agreement on Trade in Services Higher Education & The Implications for National Economies (Jamaica). Kingston, Jamaica

Rikowski,Glenn (2002) The Great GATS Buy. G.Rikowki.html   

Rikowski, Glenn (2003) Schools and the GATS Enigma, Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, Vol. 1, Number 1 available

Task Force on National Reform (2004) JAMAICA: A TRANSFORMED EDUCATION SYSTEM – Final Report, Kingston Jamaica

The University of the West Indies Strategic Committee (2003) Strategic Plan II 2002-2007 UWI Mona, Jamaica

World Bank (2006) World Development Report 2006 Washington

Ziguras C., McBurnie G. & Reinke L. (2003) Implications of the GATS: are foreign universities entitled to Australian funding?  Paper presented at 17th IDP Australian International Education Conference, Melbourne



I. The WTO and GATS

The General Agreement on Trade in Services is a multilateral legally enforceable agreement covering international trade in services and is administered by the World Trade Organisation has 149 member countries. The GATS focuses exclusively on trade in services. , Services being defined as service in any sector except (Article 1.3b) services engaged upon “in the exercise of Governmental Authority”. The GATS agreement defines “a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” as any service that is supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more service suppliers (Article 1.3c).  Educational Services is listed amongst the 12 service sectors covered by the agreement. The education sector is further subdivided into five sub-sectors: primary, secondary, tertiary, adult and ‘other’ education services. 

Trade in Services is defined in the GATS by identifying 4 supply modes:

Mode 1 – Cross-Border supply – “from the territory of one Member into the territory of any other Member” i.e. the service travels (as a good might), producers and consumers remain at home and communicate by post, fax, and the Internet.

Examples: transnational distance education, virtual education institutions (like Phoenix University),

Education software, ICT delivered corporate training.

Mode 2 - Consumption abroad – supply “in the territory of one Member to the service consumer of any other Member” i.e. the consumer travels to the country of the service supply. This is comparable to tourism or business travel: students travel to study (and live) in another country.

Mode 3 - Commercial presence - supply “by a service supplier of one Member, through commercial presence in the territory of another Member” i.e. foreign direct investment (FDI)

Transnational education, possibly involving local partnerships: locally established universities or satellite/branch campuses, language training companies, private training companies

Mode 4 –Movement of natural persons – supplies “by a service supplier of one member, through presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other Member”. This is comparable to temporary emigration or business travel by the service provider.

Examples: teachers, researchers, lecturers working abroad on a temporary basis.

Becoming a Member of WTO involves two types of commitments:

General Obligations for Most Favored Nation Treatment (MFN) and Transparency apply automatically

Specific Commitments where Members can decide and negotiate the extent to which a service sector is covered under GATS rules. They refer to a government’s undertaking to provide Market Access and National Treatment for a service activity on the terms and conditions specified in the schedule. The entries on a Member’s schedule of specific commitments are legally binding.

Specific commitments are either: Horizontal – applying to all sectors on the Member’s list of commitments usually with respect to modes of supply often 3 and 4.

It refers to describing the level of commitment of a specific sector as: NONE where the Member imposes no limitation on Market Access or National Treatment or BOUND unless otherwise specified. Then, if the Member wants to be free to introduce or maintain regulatory measures inconsistent with Market Access and National Treatment, the Member indicates ‘UNBOUND’. 



Mode of Supply

According to GATS

GATS Definition +


Examples in Education

Size, Potential of market

And major advantages/ impediments

Caribbean concerns

Cross-border supply


The supply of a service “ from the territory of one member into the territory of any other Member” –

The service travels, both provider (exporter) and consumer  (importer)

remain home,

c.f. the export of a good

e.g. banking, data processing, legal or architectural services, tele-medical consultations

Distance education


Virtual education institutions e.g. Phoenix U

Education software

Corporate training through ICT delivery

Currently relatively

       small but rapidly 

       growing market

Seen to have much potential through the use of ICT’s and the Internet

Cheaper since infrastructural requirements are smaller

Speedy delivery


Quality assurance

Content re local curricula and culture


Competition for local services


Consumption Abroad


The supply of a service “in the territory of one member to the service consumer of any other Member” –

c.f. tourism, health care, ship or aircraft maintenance or business travel by the consumer or

Students travel to other countries to do courses of study/degree programmes

Currently represents the largest share of the global market for education services especially in post-secondary education.


N.B. GATS commitments are of little significance given general lack of restrictions and relative to non-GATS issues such as student visas and funding.

GATS may help re  greater recognition of degrees by home-country institutions


Encouragement of brain/skill drain

Impact on aid/scholarship provisions

Future remittances from migrants

Mode of Supply

According to GATS

GATS Definition +


Examples in Education

Size, Potential of market

And major advantages/ impediments

Caribbean concerns

Commercial Presence


The supply of a service  “by a service supplier of one member, through the commercial presence in the territory of any other Member” –

i.e. foreign direct investment (FDI) e.g. into hotel or manufacturing industries, banking, insurance, health clinics

Overseas schools/ colleges/universities (OVC’s)

Language training companies

Private training companies e.g. Fujisutsu,

Twinning partnerships, franchising arrangements with local institutions

Examination and testing services


-Growing interest and strong potential for future growth. But there is significant reluctance to make binding commitments: Few WTO members have made full commitments for HE under this mode.

Cost – finance leakage but also savings on living and travel expenses


Quality assurance

Competition – difficulties in building indigenous institutions

Competition for staff

Loss of quality and staus for local institutions

Curriculum, culture

 access and equity issues

extension of government subsidies

Issues re national treatment 

Technology transfer

Efficiency transfer

Increased commercialisation

Mode of Supply

According to GATS

GATS Definition +


Examples in Education

Size, Potential of market

And major advantages/ impediments

Caribbean concerns

Movement of Natural                                      Persons

The supply of a service      “by a service supplier of one Member, through presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other Member”  -

c.f. temporary emigration or business travel by the service supplier e.g. nurses, doctors, consulting engineers/lawyers/account-ants

Teachers, lecturers, researchers working abroad on a temporary basis

Potentially a strong market given the emphasis on/increasing demands for the mobility of highly skilled professionals.

Generally more politically sensitive than other modes

Generally less commercially significant than other modes

Most WTO members maintain horizontal commitments (e.g. immigration rules applying to all service sectors)

Academics encounter little difficulty- mobility is demand driven; special skills

Although the GATS agreement is quite specific that this relates only to temporary movement, this inevitably favours the migration of skilled professionals to countries where pay and conditions are superior.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  




Modes of Supply: (1) Cross-Border Supply, (2) Consumption Supply, (3) Commercial Presence (4) Presence of Natural Persons

(i) Horizontal Commitments Limitations – None in Modes 1 & 2


Limitation on Market access (Art.XVI)

Limitations on National Treatment (Art. XVII)



All sectors included in this schedule

Mode 3: Branches of companies incorporated outside Jamaica are required to register their instruments of incorporation with the Registrar of Companies before they may carry on business. Section X of the Jamaica Companies Act states their legal and administrative responsibilities

Mode 4: Work permits and visas are normal requirements for entry. Licensing may be a pre-requisite for practising in certain specified professional categories. The Work Permit Review Board must be satisfied that the skills to be employed are unavailable locally. Foreign natural persons who are mangers and executives are exempted from work permits for 30 days; experts and specialist are exempt for 14 days.

Mode 3: Foreigners may own land. However purchases of large areas should be for specific investment purposes

Mode 4: Unbound except for measures concerning the categories of natural persons referred to under market access.

Trinidad & Tobago


All sectors included in this schedule


Mode 3: Licenses are required for-

- the acquisition of land, of area exceeding 5 acres for trade or business or one acre for residential purposes

- the acquisition of shares in a local public company where the holding of such shares directly or indirectly results in 30% or more of the total cumulative shareholding of the company being held by foreign investors.

-A foreign investor wishing to invest in T & T must register with the Registrar of Companies.


Mode 4: The entry and residence of foreign natural persons is subject o the Immigration laws of T & T. The employment of foreign natural persons in excess of 30 days is subject to obtaining a work permit, which is granted on a case by case basis. Foreign natural persons shall be employed only as managers, executives, specialists and experts…





Mode 3: None

Mode 4: None

Barbados  no commitments





Modes of Supply: (1) Cross-Border Supply, (2) Consumption Supply, (3) Commercial Presence (4) Presence of Natural Persons

(ii) Sector-Specific Commitments i.e. re the Education Sector

Sector or Sub-sector

Limitations on Market Access (Art. XVI)

Limitations on National Treatment (Art. XVII)




A. Primary and

B. Secondary and

C. Higher Education Services (CPC 923)


Mode 1: None

Mode 2: None

Mode 3: None. Local certification, registration, licensing required

Mode 4: Unbound except as re horizontal commitments above


Mode 1: None

Mode 2: None

Mode 3: None.



Mode 4: Unbound except as re horizontal commitments above



Trinidad & Tobago

D. Adult and

E. Other

Lecturers (CPC 9239)


Specialist Teachers

(CPC 9290)


Mode 1: None

Mode 2: None

Mode 3: Unbound

Mode 4: None. Local certification, registration, licensing required


Mode 1: None

Mode 2: None

Mode 3: Unbound

Mode 4: None



Barbados   no commitments





Source: WTO, Jamaica NACE 2003,CRNM 2004










N.B. Haiti is not part of the Commonwealth Caribbean but is a member of Caricom. Haiti’s commitments, whilst restricted to Adult Education Training Centres, have no limitations on market access and on national treatment in all four modes.

TABLE 3: Expenditure per student in US$ for 2000






GDP per capita

Literacy Rate








Trinidad & Tobago













Source:     (Jamaica National Council on Education,2004)




The Evolution of Science Curricula in Developing Countries
and the Issue of Relevance

University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago or



Many developing countries today are ex-colonies of super powers and there are some countries that are still under colonial rule. Colonial dominance by superpowers such as France, Great Britain, Germany, and the United States of America (USA) can be detected in the nature and functioning of the education system in several developing countries. In the post-independence period there have been some attempts by developing countries to reshape the school curriculum to meet local needs and conditions. For example, in the 1980s, Nigeria changed the structure of its school system from the British model to a 3-year Junior Secondary and a 3-year Senior Secondary system. In Mozambique, the post-colonial government moved to replace the test-centred Portuguese system with a less authoritarian system. In Mali, adjustments were made to the structure of the school calendar to cater for the fact that school children were involved in the rural economy (Woolman, 2001). In addition, particularly in post-independent African countries, there has been some focus on producing science curricula that are vocationally relevant (Lewin, 1992). Despite these efforts, though, the problem of re-designing an education system to cater for specific local economic and cultural issues still persists. In this paper, the focus is on the continuing influence of colonial systems of education on science education in developing countries. It is argued that the onus is on local science educators to ensure that the distinctive characteristics of the local setting are catered for in the school science curriculum so that students would come to see the relevance of science to their personal life, their immediate community, and the national community.

The Evolution of Science Curricula in Developing Countries

Great Britain provides a good example of how a mother country influenced the education system in the developing world. At some point in history, Britain colonized places such as India, several countries in the Caribbean, several countries in Africa, Cyprus, Hong Kong, and so on. The education system that it introduced in these colonies was designed to meet its own needs, including the provision of educational opportunities for the children of British personnel working in the colonies, and the education of clerks to ensure the smooth running of its overseas operations. When the British first introduced science into the education system in the colonies, it sometimes took the form of agricultural education as that was an area of immediate concern. Over time, the separate science subjects of biology, chemistry, and physics were introduced. The impact of the British influence is perhaps more readily appreciated through a consideration of the nature of the examinations that Britain introduced to the colonies. These examinations were set by British Examination Boards, notably those run by the Universities of London, and Cambridge, and were designed to determine the achievement level of students after five years and seven years of secondary schooling respectively, that is, of students in the fifth and sixth forms of secondary schools.

By the 1950s, secondary education in Britain was selective. The syllabi for the then national examinations for fifth and sixth form students, termed the General Certificate of Education Ordinary level (GCE O-level) and Advanced level (GCE A-level) examinations respectively, served to prepare students for the intense competition of gaining university places in science. The science curriculum was traditional, with conventional topics such as Electricity and magnetism; Heat, light and sound; and so on. The examination placed strong emphasis on the recall of factual information and the solving of routine problems. The questions were typically traditional and the overall tone of the examination was positivistic. The science curriculum at the lower end of the secondary school at that time was diverse since there were no national examinations at this level (Jenkins, 2004, pp.33-34). This scenario was mirrored in many of the British colonies at that time. Secondary education was available only to a select few and the secondary school curriculum, including that for science, was patterned after the British model. Students in the colonies also sat GCE O-level and A-level examinations.


As the colonies gained independence, beginning around the 1960s, new developments in education began to take place. Strikingly, some of these developments occurred at the lower secondary level and they were also influenced by developments in Britain itself. For example, in the period 1968-1969, the West Indies Science Curriculum Innovation Project (WISCIP) was developed for use in the lower secondary sector in Trinidad and Tobago to meet the needs of students in the soon-to-be- established junior secondary schools. This curriculum, designed mainly by teachers in existing grammar-type schools, drew on recommendations contained in Curriculum Paper No. 7: Science in General Education, which guided the development of the Scottish Integrated Science Curriculum (Reay, n.d.) The Scottish Integrated Science Curriculum, in turn, influenced science curricula in places such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Nigeria. WISCIP itself influenced the development of science curricula in Swaziland.

This move towards the teaching of integrated science in Britain was innovative in more than one way. Science was to be taught in an integrated fashion, with no specific focus on any one of the separate sciences. In addition, the new integrated science curricula broadened the scope of the science curriculum to include overarching themes such as “science for citizenship,” “science for the enquiring mind,” and “science for action.” Teachers in developing countries who were required to deliver this type of curriculum faced several challenges. Many of them had been trained in one or two of the separate science subjects only and typically from very positivistic perspectives. What has evolved over the years is that, although the term “integrated science” is still used to describe the offering at the lower secondary level, what is often offered is a programme that has elements of physics, chemistry and biology (and possibly earth science), with biology constituting the largest component. One explanation for this distribution of subject matter is that more lower secondary science teachers in developing countries are likely to have been trained in biology than in any other science discipline.

In the mid sixties, there were also winds of change at the upper secondary level in Britain. In 1965, the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) was introduced for fifth form students, primarily to facilitate students in the newly established modern secondary schools. These schools catered for students at the lower end of the ability range and the format of the examinations allowed for a considerable amount of teacher input through the design of syllabi and assessment of student learning through project work and oral presentations. In the early 1970s, The Nuffield Foundation of the United Kingdom donated a large sum of money for use in school science and mathematics curriculum reform, with an emphasis on investigative work in science. This had a domino effect on the organization and delivery of the science curriculum generally, and eventually led to the revision of the GCE O-level and A-level syllabi. By the 1980s, the CSE had been incorporated into the GCE examinations in the creation of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) programme. One hallmark of the scoring of GCSE examinations is that it is criterion-referenced as opposed to the norm-referenced nature of the GCE examinations (Jenkins, 2004).

Even before the creation of the GCSE, winds of change were also blowing in the Commonwealth Caribbean. The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) was established in 1972 by an agreement among 15 English speaking Commonwealth Caribbean countries. It offered its first set of examinations for fifth form students in 1979 and integrated science was the only science offering. Fifth form students continued to write the Cambridge GCE O-level examinations in biology, chemistry and physics, until 1985 when the first CXC examinations in these subjects were offered. From its inception, CXC examinations, including those in science, have had a strong school-based component. In 1999, CXC began offering examinations equivalent to the GCE A-level examinations. Examination Boards such as the West Africa Examinations Council, Nigeria Examinations Council, Matriculation and the Secondary Education Certificate Examinations Board of Malta, were established in other former colonies to replace the GCE system of examinations. One goal of these examination bodies is to produce examinations of a high standard that are more relevant to the local context than the GCE examinations.

Science education reform activity was also taking place at the primary level, but at a later date. The impetus for some of this work in developing countries was provided by developments in the 1960s in both the UK and the USA. Harlen (1987) outlines that three primary science projects in the USA (Elementary Science Study, the Science Curriculum Improvement Study, and Science – A Process Approach), as well as three projects in the UK (the Oxford Science Project, the Nuffield Junior Science Project and Science 5-13) greatly influenced the development of primary science curricula in former colonies such as Nigeria, India and New Zealand, beginning in the 1970s. Decades later, the influence of American and British primary science curricula is still prominent in countries such as Cyprus (Zembylas, 2002). Developing countries have had to struggle with issues such as the role of science process skills in primary science education – issues which originated in the materials from the developed countries and which the developed countries were able to sort through much more efficiently. The net result is that years after the heavy reliance on science process skills was abandoned in the USA, the focus was still prominent in primary science curricula in some developing countries.

What Science? The Issue of Relevance

During colonial times, the local context into which these science curricula from developed countries were being imported was seldom ever considered. As mentioned above, some attempt has been made in some countries in the post-colonial period to shape education to fit local needs. This is an on-going struggle as several obstacles are faced. There are economic and human resource factors that impact on any such attempts. There must be the appropriate human resource base and sufficient funding to change curricula that have existed over years, and which carry a certain amount of prestige because of their association with the developed world. There must also be a desire to change. Opposition to change comes from many quarters, including school personnel and, most significantly, parents. Some of those in positions of power are likely to have been educated in the colonial mode and may find it difficult to understand why that which has “worked” in the past should be changed. Furthermore, it is sometimes argued that we live in a global society and our students should be prepared to function in a global world by following curricula that are similar to those followed in developed countries.

These kinds of issues lead us to take a consideration of the question of relevance of the curriculum. Aikenhead (2006) cautions us that there is some ambiguity in meaning associated with the term “relevance.” The questions “relevant for whom?” and “relevant for what?” are often asked. In the context of developing countries, with their push toward economic development, the tendency is often to focus on producing science graduates at the secondary school level who can pursue further studies in science and technology at tertiary institutions to augment the country’s human resource capacity in this area. The fear in developing countries is that, in the absence of a pool of citizens qualified in the areas of science and technology, they would be “left behind” in this era of globalization. Such thinking reflects a focus on science curricula that are relevant to the needs of the country. This is a legitimate concern that cannot be ignored. However, what is often not discussed is that in order to have students who are motivated enough to study science through the secondary level to the tertiary sector, we must cater for the needs of those students so that their interest in the subject would be piqued and so that they would be more inclined to see the study of science as serving not only the country’s needs, but also their needs as well. The personal needs of science students in developing countries need to be brought centre stage.

From a review of research studies on the relevance of science, Van Aalsvoort (2004) provides a three-part categorization of relevance that clearly focuses on the student – personal relevance, professional relevance, and social relevance. Personal relevance is achieved when education in science “makes connections with pupils’ lives” (p. 1152). Science education is said to have professional relevance when it leads students to see how their studies can result in possible membership in various professions. Thirdly, Van Aalsvoort suggests that science education that has social relevance will help students to clarify human and social issues. This classification provides a useful scheme for considering the relevance of science curricula in developing countries. This is not to suggest that one should only consider the welfare of the student when planning the science curriculum. However, it is necessary to meet the needs of students even as attempts are made to meet other legitimate needs.

The connection that the science curriculum can make with students’ lives is not a straightforward issue as students in developing countries are sometimes exposed to a mix of influences – those that have emerged out of the local culture, and those that have been more recently imported from industrialised settings, particularly the USA. So, for example, some students in developing countries (even some in rural areas) have access to the latest technological devices including the computer and the internet, videogames, MP3 players, cell phones, and so on. A science curriculum with personal relevance for such students might involve the use of some of the technology in the teaching/learning process, the study of the functioning of some of the devices, and the study of the impact that they have on society. Often, this is the approach that is taken in developing countries in the quest for more relevant science curricula (for example, the Integrated Science curriculum of the Caribbean Examinations Council). While this general approach serves a need, it does not deal with the whole spectrum of students’ lives. A missing component is the portion of the students’ lives that is governed by those traditional practices and beliefs that have been generated in their community over many years and which are typically passed on orally from one generation to the next. Three likely areas of influence of such beliefs and practices are discussed here.

It is a well-known maxim that children do not come to the classroom with empty minds. They bring with them a lot that they have learnt prior to formal instruction. Even though children in developing countries may not have learnt formal science before entering the science classroom, they bring with them ideas about content areas that are covered in the formal school curriculum. For example, they would have learnt (and will continue to learn) traditional practices and beliefs pertaining to health care, food preparation, agricultural practices, the care of infants, and so on. Sometimes, such traditional knowledge can be explained by conventional science, but many times, it bears no relationship to conventional science (for a fuller account, see for example, George, 1995; George & Glasgow, 1988, 1999). If science as taught in schools is to have personal relevance to students, then it is essential that connections be made between the school science and the traditional knowledge that students may draw on in their daily lives. If this is not done, then students are likely to practise “cognitive apartheid” (Cobern, 1996) by keeping their everyday knowledge completely isolated from the school science knowledge and resorting to school science only when they need to as, for example, when they have to write school examinations.

Secondly, in addition to ideas about content areas covered in school science, students in developing countries bring to the science class their own basic assumptions of how the world functions (their worldview) that may not be in accord with the science-related worldview. For example, the desire to exploit and manipulate nature has been a characteristic of conventional science for some time. This orientation has been fuelled by technological advancements over the years. Although there is some concern now in conventional science circles about the degradation of the environment, there is still much evidence of exploitation. In contrast, in some developing countries, there exists the view that nature provides everything that one needs for one’s survival and it must be treated with respect. Consequently, one should manage one’s interaction with nature in order to reap maximum benefits (George, 1999). A science curriculum that has personal relevance for students would make connections to students’ worldview and would encourage discussions about the similarities and differences between what students bring to the classroom and what school science has to offer.

Thirdly, there is the arena of communication. In science, there are very formal mechanisms for communicating and, typically, some of these are transmitted in the school science curriculum. This mode of communicating is likely to be at variance with the ways in which students in developing countries communicate in their everyday lives. Such students often recount their experiences by telling stories. Indeed, they would have learnt much of the traditional knowledge in their community through stories. But, there are usually no stories in science classes (even though there are some great stories in the history of science) and, further, the story-telling mode is not considered acceptable in formal communication in science. Then, there is the question of how one structures one’s argument. Explanations in conventional science rely heavily on formal logic. On the other hand, claims made in everyday conversations in a developing country context are likely to be supported by warrants consisting of personal experiences and the authority of elders (George, 1995). Another communication issue is likely to be the difference in the language used in formal science instruction vis-à-vis everyday life. To what extent is language a barrier to students in developing countries in their attempt to understand the scientific concepts and principles that are taught to them? To what extent is traditional knowledge being eroded because the language of instruction in schools is different from the everyday language of the owners of the traditional knowledge? McKinley (2005) advocates that for the survival of traditional ecological knowledge, programmes should be taught through indigenous languages so that the dialectal relationship between language and traditional knowledge is maintained. In an era of globalization where official government policy is likely to be towards mastery of globally used languages, this may be seen as a difficult proposition. Yet, the fact remains that if efforts are not made to tackle issues of communication in the science class, school science may be lacking in personal relevance for students in developing countries.

Although the discourse above has focused on students in developing countries, some of it may also apply to students in industrialised settings who may be operating outside of a science-related world view.

Science curricula in developing countries typically do not meet the criterion of personal relevance with a cultural slant as described above. Although there have been many projects aimed at making the science curriculum more relevant to the local context, the cultural context of the learner has hardly been considered. Given that many of these science curricula in developing countries often started off as some variation of the colonial ones, it is not difficult to see that there was no pattern of cultural integration that was there to be used as the template. This presents science educators in developing countries with the unique opportunity to invent and create, but this seldom happens. The really large-scale science curriculum projects that focus on the local culture are to be found in developed countries such as Canada (e.g. Aikenhead, 2000; Sutherland, 2005 ) and New Zealand (e.g. McKinley, 2005) and these are designed for the First Nation and Aboriginal people in those settings. The work by Lubben and others in Southern Africa (e.g. Lubben et al., 1996) comes closest to this with their focus on the use of contextualised science resource materials. Such contextualised materials focus on the students’ everyday experiences and may or may not be culturally based.

There is perhaps less difficulty in presenting school science in developing countries in a way that depicts professional relevance. Science-related professions such as medicine and engineering are usually held in high esteem in such contexts. Because of the absence of the cultural component of the science curriculum, however, some potential science-related professions are not highlighted. For example, a great deal of the bush medicines has not been researched, some indigenous technologies have not been studied and re-vamped to make them more efficient, traditional techniques for sustainable development have not been showcased as effective and worthy of further study, and so on. One cannot help but speculate about the likely benefits to developing countries if the science curriculum were made more culture sensitive.

Finally, the science curriculum can only help to clarify social and human values if these values are thoroughly understood in context. While some values are universal, others are not. It is therefore important that the local culture be understood as a first step toward considering how school science might help students to clarify social and human values. It is also important that there be no hidden agenda in the science curriculum that seeks to impose values from the developed world on students in developing countries without careful consideration of their welfare and well-being.

A Paradigm Shift?

The approach to science education in developing countries that is suggested in this paper requires a paradigm shift from what currently obtains. This shift must be initiated by science educators in developing countries who understand their cultural context and the specific cultural characteristics of their students. There is no pattern from the developed world that can be adopted or adapted – the creation must come from within. Hopefully, with such a shift, more students from developing countries would be excited about science and would see the relevance of science to their own lives and to life in their community and country.


References and/or complementary bibliography

Aikenhead, G. (2000) Rekindling traditions: Cross-cultural science and technology units. Retrieved December 4, 2000, from

Aikenhead, G. (2006). Science education for everyday life: evidence-based practice. New York: Teachers’ College Press.

Cobern, W. (1996). Worldview theory and conceptual change in science education. Science Education, 80(5), 579-610.

George, J. (1995). An analysis of traditional practices and beliefs in a Trinidadian village to assess the implications for science education. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.

George, J. (1999). Worldview analysis of knowledge in a rural village:  Implications for science education. Science Education, 83(1), 77-95.

George, J., & Glasgow, J. (1988).  Street science and conventional science in the West Indies. Studies in Science Education, 15, 109-118.

George, J., & Glasgow, J. (1999). The boundaries between Caribbean beliefs and  practices and conventional science. Kingston, Jamaica: Office of the UNESCO Representative in the Caribbean, 1999. ix, 42p. (EFA in the Caribbean: Assessment 2000. Monograph Series; No. 10.

Harlen, W. (1987). Primary science: the foundation of science education. Physics Education, 22, 56-62.

Jenkins, E. (2004). From option to compulsion: school science teaching, 1954-2004. School  Science Review, 85(313), 33-40.

Lewin, K. (1992). Science education in developing counties: Issues and perspectives for planners. UNESCO, Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning.

Lubben, F., Campbell, B., & Dlamini, B. (1996). Contextualised science teaching in Swaziland; some student reactions. International Journal of Science Education, 18(3), 311-320.

Mc. Kinley, E. (2005). Locating the global: culture, language and science education for indigenous students. International Journal of Science Education, 27(2), 227-241.

Sutherland, D. L. (2005). Resiliency and collateral learning in science in some students of Cree ancestry. Science Education, 89, 595-613.

Reay, J. (n.d.). School science education in Trinidad and Tobago. St. Augustine, Trinidad: The University of the West Indies, Faculty of Education.

Van Aalsvoort, J. (2004). Logical positivism as a tool to analyse the problem of chemistry’s lack of relevance in secondary school chemical education. International Journal of Science Education, 26(9), 1151-1168.

Woolman, D. C. (2001). Educational reconstruction and post-colonial curriculum development: A comparative study of four African countries. International Education Journal, 2(5), 27-46.

Zembylas, M. (2002). The global, the local, and the science curriculum: a struggle for balance in Cyprus. International Journal of Science Education, 24(5), 499-519.



Letting the voiceless tell their stories
Using oral sources for Caribbean history writing:
yet more biased accounts?

PhD candidate, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium


1. Writing history

How do we write history? Furthermore, what is history? History can refer to different things. At a personal level, it is a construction of the mind: the way people remember and reconstruct past events.  It can also be a collective enterprise whereby a group recalls things gone by. In academic circles, it refers mostly to the (Western) discipline which records facts that took place in time and space and offers interpretations about the more or less intentional links between them, for example, in terms of causal relationships and/or correlations.

Events that make up human life have meaning because they are understood and explained as being part of unfolding stories. The past is past, and of itself it has no voice. We are the ones who knit the traces of the past into a tapestry of stories, placing individual events within general frameworks, suggesting causes, effects, and correlations. History is something that we do. We tell stories and write histories.

Whichever way history is understood, it has to do with past events and the way they are used and explained. Different peoples have told and retold their past in a myriad of ways. Communities that have privileged the spoken word have used oral narrations as the channel of their historical consciousness. Others that give priority to the written word have favoured written documents and sources. However, history writers, as much as story tellers, have been selective in whatever and whomever they considered worth being remembered.

When attempting to write the history of education, one always runs the risk of giving the false impression that historians always have access to how things were. History writing always remains storytelling and, as such, it cannot escape being perspectival. There is not merely one story to be told or history to be written, but many.

Given that whatever we write or tell depends on our vantage point, it is necessary while writing history for academic purposes that we provide others the tools to assess and critique our story. We need a methodology aimed at transparency.

History and historiography are not identical. While the former is about telling a story about the past or letting the past tell some of its stories, the latter has to do with the history of history writing. Historiography is often used to cover the history of historical knowledge and interpretation, surrounding non-written accounts of the past and the broader issues of methodology. Higman speaks of a focus on the written products of historical thinking but with constant reference to the larger sphere of social memory and the way in which knowledge of the past has changed over time, the social recognition and status of historians, changes in subject matter and source materials, the philosophies and assumptions of historians, and the ever-changing relationship between historical interpretation and contemporary social and political contexts (Higman, 1999:1).

For Higman, methodology is therefore concerned with the technical concerns of historians and the theoretical frameworks they employ to interpret and communicate their findings. The technical concerns relate to the means by which historians identify and access historical evidence, the means they use to interrogate these data, and the tools applied to analyze them (Higman, 1999: 1).

2. Postcolonial history writing

Is our writing history or thinking about history western-styled or Eurocentric, or neither? Chakrabarty states that it is insofar as the academic discourse of history – that is, “history” as a discourse produced in universities – is concerned, “Europe” remains the sovereign, theoretical subject of all histories, including the ones we call “Indian,” “Chinese,” “Kenyan,” and so on (Chakrabarty, 2000: 27).

If the perspective of the writer conditions the result of his or her findings, we may ask: What elements of the European “analytical criteria” can and must be adapted to the St. Maarten reality? Must the way European history of education has been written be taken as the standard for writing St. Maarten educational history in “academically acceptable” ways? Would the globalization of the European historiographical method not amount to a case of intellectual colonialism insofar as “Europe” would pretend to tell us what is academically acceptable and what not?

It is not uncommon for citizens of “postcolonial” countries to accuse North Americans and Europeans of practicing a form of neo-colonialism, criticizing the claim that their ways of writing history are normative.[34] However, if all writing and narrating is done from the point of view of the writer and/or narrator, then post-colonial history writing will also have its own bias. In such a case, academic acceptability will lie much more in the degree to which scholars can justify their method, i.e. the ways in which their data were collected, pieced together, and interpreted. The methodological question thus becomes of paramount importance.

3. Written and Oral histories

As said above, some communities have favoured the written transmission of data and stories about history over the oral one. Alleyne views the written modality as corresponding with “European,” “modern,” “urban,” and the latter to “African,” “folk,” “rural” (Alleyne, 1988:20). This duality has important implications for Caribbean history writing.

The written and the oral traditions are well developed and used in the Caribbean. Yet, while the written tradition or the evidence/documentation theory based on written documents providing the exclusive source of knowledge of the past can be arguably described as having ignored the lives and institutions of the average people, the oral modality has not been granted its due importance.

Given that most of the written documentation was under the control or supervision of the colonial masters, the Caribbean written tradition can be seen as a “history from above.” This history was more often than not written from the perspective of outsiders, or at least of people who had problems identifying themselves completely with their geo-social surroundings. The colonized peoples had their stories, poems, and songs by means of which they voiced their own outlook on their historical predicament. This was an oral history, a “history from below.”

4. Use of oral sources for writing histories

So-called “oral history” refers to the history writer’s search for and tapping into the spoken word as source of relevant information for historical reconstruction. The historian can use:

-         culturally-sanctioned oral traditions,

-         more or less rehearsed interviews, and

-         printed compilations of stories told about the past.

Oral sources of information are sought not only to fill in the lacunae in the written sources, but also to arrive at knowledge which would otherwise not be available. Information may or may not be available due to the state of the written sources or their nature. It can therefore not be expected of official school archives, for instance, that they should provide researchers into the history of education with information about the thoughts and feelings of the students while they were seated in their classroom during a lesson of Maths. For a history writer wanting to reconstruct the unofficial story of colonial classroom practice, oral interviews of people whose stories have not made it into the written archives can open new vistas.[35]

However, oral interviews are not free of problems. Michael Frisch has criticized the overvaluation of oral history as “Anti-History.” He views “oral historical evidence because of its immediacy and emotional resonance, as something almost beyond interpretation or accountability, as a direct window on the feelings and (...) on the meaning of past experience” (Frisch, 1990). Furthermore, it seems that people seem to remember different aspects of the past. Tonkin has pointed out that one cannot detach the oral representation of pastness from the relationship of narrator and audience in which it was occasioned (Tonkin 1992:2).

History writers using oral sources must therefore never relinquish the onus of critical analysis. They need to assess the reliability of the narrator and of their narration. It is at this point that the researchers must resort to triangulation to limit the arbitrariness and possible biases contained in the account of their informant(s). Thus, it will be necessary not only to interview someone who possesses relevant knowledge, but also to interview more than one person. Furthermore, the interviewees should ideally be people who represent different angles of the story.

The above means that the researchers into oral history face the question how to choose whom to listen to. History has meaning for people and that is why history still exists today. As underlined by Thompson, the voice of the past matters to the present. But whose voice – or voices- are to be heard? (Thompson, 1988:viii) On whose authority is the interviewees’ (re-)construction of the past based? Whom is it intended for? And which of the voices interviewed fairly conveys “the voice of the past” (especially considering that the past has many voices)?

Thus, the issue of objectivity and subjectivity enters the stage. In the case of oral history, the most subjective accounts could be described as objective source if and when we are interested in a person’s feelings, evaluation, or reflection of past events. However, even when the informants are being interviewed about the more factual components of an event, their subjective retellings of it will presuppose a certain degree of objectivity. Dates and places are relative; they depend on the measures being used. Events are not dated, nor are they mapped. As Kant indicated, things and events have an existence in themselves which escapes us. However, we understand them and assign them their place according to our human frame of mind. Still, within the realm of human subjectivity, dates and places can be in ascertained in ways which are relatively “objective” to us humans, for instance, by agreeing on a dating or measuring system. By using this conventional measuring systems, we can assess whether the information which our informants hold about past events are only “true for them” or also “true for others.”

In short, it is the research question that will determine whether the researcher employing oral sources must zoom in on the more subjective content (“true for him/her”) or whether he or she ought to navigate between the subjective lines and go in search of the more objective details that may transpire out of the accounts (“true for him/her and true for others”).

Much of history writing is based on interpretations of data. This is particularly true when oral sources are used. Not only does the history writer interpret what he or she hears, the oral informants do, too. The role of memory in the act of looking back and retelling the past can never be stressed enough (Hodgson, 1975:5; Trillin, 1977:85; Cliff, 1997:594; Portellie, 1991:2). For Portellie, the telling of a story preserves the teller from oblivion (Portellie, 1981:162). The tale itself creates a special time, “a time outside time” (Tonkin 1992:3). The characteristic of narrations is that the narrators need to connect with their own memories and with their audiences, and both of them have to tap into the structure of the narration.

Oral accounts are therefore not merely an information-giving exercise, but also an interpretive account during which the informants try to recall the past as much as they attempt to explain how they were involved in it. During his or her research, the history writer using oral sources will therefore have to ask questions such as the following:

-         Were the different interviewees differently situated in relationship to the events under discussion?

-         Might they have different agendas, leading them to tell different versions of the same story?

-         Might intervening events —for example, ideological shifts between the time of the events under discussion and the time of the interview, or subsequent popular cultural accounts of these events— have influenced later memories?[36]

5. Writing histories of education

Our interest is not only in history writing, but more specifically in writing the history of primary education in St. Maarten, with special reference to the unwritten stories of those involved. When researching the “history of education,” phenomena and processes of education and schooling are being studied in their historical dimension. While the methodology used is that of “history writing” as a scientific discipline, the contents of the research are fairly diverse and relate to all fields of education (e.g. history of family education and child abuse, history of school realities and innovation processes, history of youth care and special institutions for handicapped children, history of Educational Sciences, etc.).

In most cases, the research focus is limited to the understanding of the evolution of the educational mentality and practice, and does not intend to contribute to new theoretical-pedagogical insights, let alone the construction of a new pedagogical theory. However, the history of education can indirectly give direction to and be critical of the research being conducted in other educational areas; it can explain and change phenomena. History shows, for instance, that things do not necessarily have to be the way they are, simply because people are always keeping and changing things. Progress has its continuities, as well as its discontinuities. True historical research can indirectly offer liberating insights for educational theory and praxis.

Following the international trends in the field, the history of education is understood as part of the “new” social and cultural history. Historical events are envisaged as cultural phenomena within a long duration of time. The history writer, too, finds him or herself within cultural processes which colour his or her analysis, for instance, by imposing present concerns and preoccupations upon the past.

Caribbean history and historiography are very complex. Caribbean societies are generally multi-ethnic and multicultural, although the African- and European-derived modalities predominate in most cases (Alleyne, 1988:19). This means that the various segments of the population often harbour their own separate concerns. Each social layer making up the Caribbean has received a different appraisal from the old colonial masters and continues polarizing society in different ways and at different levels.

It is against the backdrop of these developments that I must raise the following methodological questions: For whom is my history of education on St. Maarten being written? Whose concerns am I serving? Will St. Maarteners recognize their past experiences in my account and analysis of the past development of education on St. Maarten? Furthermore, will they accept my explanation of the links between the events, especially considering that “I wasn’t born there”?


6. Suggestion for future research

In order to give an example of how the use of oral sources could nuance the input obtained from written sources, I shall now present a hypothetical research project which could be conducted in St. Maarten.

6.1. The official written story

The Methodist Agogic Center (MAC) was established in 1976 by a letter from the Lt. Governor on behalf of the Executive Council granting permission for the start of three Kindergartens and four first grade classes.[37] Currently, there are two campuses and one main office with early stimulation classes.

The Mission Statement of the MAC of 1976 states that it is the school’s aim “to develop and implement a programme of Foundation Education that will provide for the Total Development of any child in St. Maarten, creating a learning environment with many opportunities for self-fulfillment by means of instruction in the Mother Tongue.” “Mother tongue” means English as language of instruction.

6.2. The unofficial oral stories

If future history writers took the MAC’s Mission Statement of 1976 at face value and combined it with current official and unofficial written information about instruction, they might conclude that the school’s presupposition that the pupils’ mother tongue is English was still accurate in, say, 2000. After all, St. Maarten is an English-speaking territory.

However, if our hypothetical researchers wrote a history “from below” (an oral history), paying heed to the voice of the parents, they would certainly be in a better position to reconstruct what is actually happening in the field. They would be made aware that in today’s St. Maarten, “mother tongue” can refer to more than one language (e.g. Spanish and Haitian Patois). Conclusions of this type would also direct the researchers’ attention to other issues related to the language of instruction, such as classroom climate, teaching effectiveness, social prejudices, the polarization of citizenship and nationhood in terms of “St. Maarteners” and “foreigners,” etc. In this hypothetical case, the use of oral sources would show that the responses of the parents interviewed would have nuanced the impression given by the official written sources that English was every pupil’s “mother tongue.”

7. Conclusion

If the writing of Caribbean history —better still— histories is based solely on the “word” of written primary and/or secondary sources, we might be misrepresenting the context within which the events under study took place. By doing this, we might end up reducing some segments of reality to muteness, while we attribute to others more representativeness than they actually had. Used critically and methodically, oral sources can lend a voice to the countless voiceless protagonists of our local and regional Caribbean histories.


References and/or complementary bibliography

Alleyne (1988). “Linguistics and the oral tradition,” in B.W. Higman (ed.) (1999), General History of the Caribbean. Vol. VI: Methodology and Historiography of the Caribbean, pp. 19-45. Unesco Publishing/Macmillan Education Ltd., London.

Chakrabarty (2000). Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Frisch, Michael (1990). A Shared Authority: Essays on the Craft and Meaning of Oral and Public History, pp. 159-160. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Higman (ed.) (1999),General History of the Caribbean Vol. VI: Methodology and Historiography of the Caribbean. London: Unesco Publishing/Macmillan Education Ltd.

Hodgson, Godfrey (1976). America in Our Time. New York: Random House.

Kuhn, Cliff (1997). “There’s a Footnote to History!’ Memory and the History of Martin Luther King’s October 1960 Arrest and Its Aftermath,” in Journal of American History 84:2 (September).

Portellie, Alessandro (1981). “The time of my life: functions of time in oral history,” in International Journal of Oral History 2.3, pp. 162-180.

Portellie, Alessandro (1991). “The Death of Luigi Trastulli: Memory and the Event,” in The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories, pp. 1-26. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Thompson, Paul (1988). The voice of the past: Oral history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tonkin, Elizabeth (1992). Narrating our pasts: The social construction of oral history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Trillin, Calvin (1977). “Remembrance of Moderate Past,” in New Yorker (March 21).



What the Tamarind tree whispers:
Notes on a pedagogy of tragedy

University of St. Martin, the Netherlands Antilles


“This is the miracle: that a fragment of the world, human consciousness, arrogates to itself the privilege of being its mirror. But this will never produce an objective truth, since the mirror is part of the object it reflects.”

Jean Baudrillard.[38]


“After gaining their freedom the enslaved Africans on Saint Martin & Sint Maarten (SXM) were blinded and deafened by the radiance and the music of flamboyant tree; the tree of absolute sovereignty. They lost touch with the world; with the Dionysian forces that should always counterbalance those guided by Apollo; with Exu that constantly troubles the static civilisational aspirations of Ogun. And we, we the neglected trees on the island gave them back the gift of sight, smell, sound, and taste. Through us they understood that all of life is an infinite rehearsal.”

This is what the tamarind trees whisper in their silence as they touched me when an old-timer remarked something to the effect of “don’t get catch under the tamon tree after dark because jumbies goin’ haunt you.” The old-timer spoke through the voice of a young educated professional, who prided himself with his masters’ degree earned at a fancy North American university. Most saw in him a man of the world, a saga boy, ‘one of the girl’s them sugar,’ as the reggae superstar Beenieman would put it, a well-groomed professional who drove around in an air-conditioned car, and who saw it as one of his tasks to shuttle his less educated countrymen into the 21st century.

This is what I usually saw in him too. But not today. Today as I heard the whispers of the tamarind trees, when the old-timer spoke through him, I saw him for what he is, for what I am, for what we all are on this island, for what all human beings are, and that is living/dead. There is nothing strange about this. We the living, are the mouthpieces of the dead. We inherit their tongue and their works. We suckle on the breasts of those who suckled on their breast, who in turn suckled on others’ breast, ad infinitum. We, carry the dead within us. Without the dead we could not be. Hence, we are living/dead.

From the whispers of the tamarind tree I discerned that this is just the most superficial level of existence. For, after they had revealed to me that the dead speak through us, the trees cynically asked who can truly know the dead? And for that matter, the living? In that questioning I understood what the Greek poet-philosopher Lucretius meant when he wrote that “by protracting life, we do not deduct one jot from the duration of death.” Life is coterminous with death. And both of these terms, life and death, only conceal a more fundamental Nothingness (which is not an Idea about the absence of an Idea). From this Nothingness, this unknowable, this non-thought that both founds and demolishes thought, emerge all partial Somethings, including our concepts of life and death, which in the end could be nothing but mere illusion.

But that was a too farfetched and frightening a thought to entertain. I could not entertain it. I answered the trees in a tongue similar to theirs, the tongue of silence that speaks through the imagination and bawled, “who me, a nothing? What the world, pure illusion? Boy what pipe you smoke? We, we human beings, are God’s creations made in his image and after his likeness. Imago Dei. You all, you all damn trees with all you bittersweet fruits, contradicting yourselves. You all are vestigium as Thomas Aquinas put it. If Nothing is fundamental, then you all don’t exist either. I don’t want to hear anymore of you all heresy. Leave me alone, cause I have to write a paper on teaching social studies in the primary schools on the island.”

The tamarind trees laughed. It was a shrieking laugh that made all the hairs on my body stand up straight, a powerful feat since the hairs on my body are tightly curled. There is even a folktale which I grew up hearing about a poor black woman who cheated the Devil out of snatching her soul. She dared him to iron all her tiny corkscrew curls straight. The Devil lost. Such a feat could only be accomplished by using Dark & Lovely in the hands of a Dominican hairdresser. I thought to myself these trees are more powerful than the Devil himself. I had better go easy on these trees.

The trees noticed my fear. They sought to calm me.  They said, “you shouldn’t fear us, for we are all connected. The living/dead landscapes, riverscapes, oceanscapes, and skyscapes, together with those we support and nurture, your kind, could be nothing but mere illusion. The problem with your kind is that you don’t listen. We did not say that you are an illusion, that the world is an illusion. We said it could be nothing but mere illusion. It was conjecture. Surely a man of your talents must know what a conjecture is. Like you, we too are enigmas to ourselves. If you don’t believe us, then heed the words of one of your sages Ceronetti who once wrote ‘when I think “human condition,” I lose any notion of happiness or misfortune – the night carries it away, all that remains is a hopeless puzzle.’[39] You, like us are vestigium. You represent as another one of your sages Nancy put it ‘only the causality of the cause, but not its form,’[40] which for all intents and purposes can be a formless Nothing.

When the oldtimer spoke about the jumbies under our tree it was to make you aware that reality as you think it is, is not really Reality. The reality of Phillipsburg with its beach bars, hotels and casinos is not Reality. The beautiful women in their SUVs and their French manicures that you drool about are not Reality. The dude boys with their degrees and verbal acrobatics are not Reality. The discourses of the rabble-rousers who claim SXM is losing its identity, on the account of all the newcomers, is not Reality. SXM being shackled by Curaçao and the Netherlands is not Reality.

Reality, if Reality it is, is Nothingness. It is unknowable. It is God without the name and the theologies and rituals you adorn it/her/him with. Reality is a ? We are mediums, we trees, living/dead like your kind. Why you can hear us we don’t know but we conjecture that Nothingness (which again is not the Idea of an absence of an Idea) sent us to assist you in writing your paper for the conference.” And so I listened. And so I reasoned with the trees. And so I wrote. And so I understood that those who accept reality as Reality are those who stand for a nationalist pedagogy of liberation with a romantic bent.[41] Those who understand that they can never understand Reality, and are content with that realization, stand for a pedagogy of tragedy; a pedagogy that can be the groundwork of a new style of social studies that we offer in primary schools. 

Pedagogies of tragedy begin with the fundamental lesson that human beings exist within two non-resolvable dialectics, namely, that of Dionysus and Apollo, and that of Exu and Ogun. In plain English this means that we are conscripts of plural metaphysical jails. And to really understand these jails, we must creolise these dialectical pairs. Ogun needs to be paired up with Apollo, and the similarities between Exu and Dionysus need to be appreciated. Africa needs to meet ancient Greece, so as to open both their particularities to universality. Ogun is the god of civilisation. Through Ogun humankind received the much needed intuitions on how to tame fire and smelt iron. Apollo is the God of form and order, and he presided over our development of medicine and architecture. Without Ogun and Apollo we would still be running around in caves. Through the combination of these two forces, mankind engages in the making of culture. This engagement, or should I say production of culture, brings with it all the comforts of life. It also brings with it our longing to commemorate the past; to mummify tradition and culture.

How does this translate to teaching social studies to pupils attending SXM’s primary school? I am not a primary school teacher so all I can give is some pointers, leaving the development of such a program in more capable hands. When we touch upon the evolution of mankind in our social studies classes, we ought to make pupils aware of the metaphysical forces of Ogun and Apollo, for it is through these forces that we became the dominant species among all the animals that populate the face of this earth. We tamed the earth, only to end up entrapping ourselves in a manmade objective culture.[42]

We must teach our schoolchildren that their parents and community leaders longing for some prelapsarian age may be nothing more than manifestations of our collective metaphysical-linguistic understanding of the big house of objective culture. Why do I say metaphysical-linguistic? It is simple. We cannot think without language. And language always contains an unknown extra-linguistic source (a metaphysical presence which eludes us).[43] To think even something as self-evident as “I exist,” I need language. I am always in a phrase and to escape this phrase I need another phrase. There is no getting out of phrases. We must teach our pupils to identify this philosophical conundrum with the god Exu.

Exu is the god of communication. He knows all human and extra-human languages. But he is also well versed in the language of Nothingness. It is through Exu that we are aware of the more within our language; that we have a sense of that ever elusive Beingness of being which we term our Self. It is our awareness of Exu that reminds us of Dionysus. For our students we must equate Dionysus with dissent. Dionysus is the force that constantly deconstructs objective culture. That rebels against it. That summons in us the sense and notion that the present should not be the slave and handmaiden of a mummified past (whether these are Romantic-leftist or Romantic-conservative).

After teaching our students about these four forces we must create a synthesis that forever remains incomplete. Thus they must come to understand that Dionysus carries within himself Exu, Apollo, and Ogun, while being part of Exu, Apollo, and Ogun. Together these four forces should remind them that every civilisation they learn about in history classes and every contemporary civilisation is caught up in an infinite rehearsal, which “implies that there is no final performance – a civilisation never arrives at a final performance – the final performance is itself an infinite rehearsal.”[44] A special assignment after they have rationally grasped all this is to have them sit under a tamarind tree and listen to its numinous whispers……………….deconstructing the power of reality (and its Father, discursive rationality).


References and/or complementary bibliography

Baudrillard, J. The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact. Translated by Chris Turner. New York: Berg, 2005.

Blanchot, M. Faux Pas. translated by Charlotte Mandell. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.

Harris, W. Selected Essays of Wilson Harris. London: Routledge, 1999.

Lyotard, J.F. The libidinal Economy. Translated by Ian Hamiliton Grant. London: Continuum, 2004.

Lucretius. Titus, Carus. The Way Things Are: The Dererum Natura. Translated by Rolf Humphries. Indiana University Press, 1968.

Nancy, J.L. The Muses. Translated by Peggy Kamuf. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Sekou, L.M. National Symbols: a primer. Phillipsburg: House of Nehesi, 1997.          






Changing Times — Creating  Inclusive Schools

University of the Virgin Islands, USA



World leaders in the dawn of the millennium have agreed to cut poverty around the world in half over the next 10 years. They have also agreed that all boys and girls need to go to school because education is one of the most effective ways that young people and adults can improve their lives. In fact, it is a universal goal to achieve Education for All Children (EFA) by the year 2015.   The EFA movement is, as its name suggests, concerned with ensuring basic education to everyone.  This movement was launched at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and ended up with the World Declaration on Education for All (the Jomtien Declaration 1990).  This declaration came about due to the following reasons:

Educational opportunities were limited, with too many people having little or no access to education;

Basic education was conceived narrowly in terms of literacy and numeracy, rather than more broadly as a foundation for a lifetime of learning and citizenship; and

Certain marginalized groups- disabled people in most countries, members of ethnic and linguistic minorities, girls and women in some countries, were at particular risk of being excluded from education altogether.

This situation is particularly true all over the world, of one group of young people who are often kept out of school, live out of sight in their own homes, communities, and therefore are more likely to live in poverty than anyone else.  This group of young people are children who are disabled.  Disability is when a person’s physical or mental condition keeps them from being able to function in an expected manner. People can be born disabled, which is called developmental disability or can become disabled during their lifetime as a result of an untreated illness or an accident.  There are different kinds of disabilities: physical, sensory, emotional, hidden or visible disabilities.

The World Education Forum (2000), points out that there are more than 113 million children with no access to primary education and 880 million adults who are illiterate. .In developing countries, the situation is even more devastating.  Few disabled children, and even fewer disabled girls—go to school, even if their disability has nothing to do with their ability to learn. About 98% of them do not go to school because in many poor countries, schools are not built with disabled children in mind. The buildings may be difficult to get to or to get around.  To make things even worse, disabled children are stigmatized and shunned by the community where they live.  Parents often hide their disabled children.  So often, these children are not allowed to play, or do things with their family and peers.  Because many people including some parents think that children with disabilities cannot learn or develop the necessary skills that are prerequisite to productive life, not much is expected from them. When these young children with disabilities grow up, they often must depend on somebody else to care for them.  Disabled people are among the poorest people in the world because they have not been taught the life-skills to support themselves that are extended to people without a disability. When disabled children are allowed and encouraged to learn like everyone else, they can improve their own lives and the lives of people around them rather than being dependent on others. If children with disabilities are given the opportunity, they can be independent, productive and a fully included member of their communities and can live meaningful lives.  Instead of becoming a social burden, they can contribute to the social and economic well-being and development of their families and communities.  Children and people with disabilities are marginalized and excluded because they are denied education and life long learning opportunities. 

The main goal of education must be to ensure that every student gains access to knowledge, skills and information that will prepare him/her to be a productive member of the community and workplace.  This central purpose is extended to ALL students and must accommodate students with diverse backgrounds, abilities and interests.  Unfortunately, in most countries and in particular in the developing countries, a dual system, general education and special education still exist. In most developing countries, the birth of a child, especially the birth of a son is a joyous occasion.  In many of these countries, a child is not born with a mouth only but with two hands as well.  Children are expected to contribute to the economy of the family from early.  Young boys from the age of seven will look after the family’s herds -- be it cattle, camels, sheep or goats.  Young girls, assist their mothers by performing house chores and/ or taking care of their young siblings.  Due to the nature of this subsistence economy where everybody is supposed to contribute to the livelihood of the family; many parents mistakenly, see the birth of a child with a disability, or a child acquiring a disability after birth as a tragedy for the following reasons: 

Many parents think that disabled children need more attention and care as compared to children without a disability.  Unfortunately, some families see such a child as someone who will be taking away from the meager economy of the family instead of adding to it.  As a result, they find it economically irresponsible to invest in a child who is perceived as someone who can neither provide for the family nor be able to support himself/herself.  Ashton, B. (1999), rationalizes the act of such families by saying “Early lack of investment in disabled children is not just a reflection of ignorance.  In situations of poverty, this is a desperate but rational decision” (p. 1).

In countries where resources are meager, children with disabilities are the ones who get the shorter end of the stick.  They are fed and clothed less; and if in the process they get sick, they seldom get treatment.  That is  why Erb and  Harris-White (1999) did not find many children with disabilities in some villages in Tami Nadu, India and assumed either there were no children with disabilities born in these villages or did not survive the ordeal after birth.   It is very probable that the later is true.

Even if children with disabilities survive these ordeals, their parents are less inclined to send them to school for a number of reasons.  Some parents feel that their child might not be able to withstand the teasing and the mocking that they may receive from the other children.  In many countries, young children use the disability form as a nickname to call children with disabilities instead of using their names.  Referring to them as the ‘blind child”, the ‘crippled child” is very common.  Others do not want the neighborhood to know that they have a disabled child and consequently stigmatize the family.   The story of a young girl from the republic of Mauritania drives the point home.  This is taken directly from her testimony. “When I was one year old, as a result of a polio epidemic which ravaged a large number of children, I became disabled. And so, a different life began for me. The life of a girl who is the bearer of shame. So, I had to keep myself away from others, screened from indiscreet eyes. Our society thinks that disabilities are a malediction and persons with a disability are the object of prejudices, which lead to bad treatment and rejection. I was hidden” (Coulibaly,  According to Hunt, P. (1966), stigmatizing the family might have a serious repercussion by diminishing the marriage prospects of siblings.  Above all many parents decline to send their children with disabilities to school because they see it as an unwise investment.  In most developing countries, sending a child to school is an investment.  These parents have a choice either to keep the child with them and allow him/her to help by working at the farm or at home and contribute directly to the family’s economy or send him/her away to school (in most cases away from the village) incurring  additional expenses.  This is not an easy decision and it takes a lot of thinking and discussing with the family.    In cases where they have more than one child and cannot afford to send all of them to school, they want to make sure that they send the one who most likely will succeed.  

Having one child does not make it easier either.  Before they send their only child away, they have to make sure that the child is up to it and that he/she guarantees some sort of return on their investment.  Such decisions are only easy when it involves a child with a disability.  Most parents do not see investing in a disabled child as a worthwhile investment and decides to give priority to children without a disability.  This means that having a disability is the single most important factor that keeps children out of school.  It is estimated that out of the 115 million children out of school, 40 million have disabilities.  According to studies commissioned by UNESCO, 98% of children with disabilities in developing countries are denied any formal education (Hegarty, 1998).  If we look closer to numbers in specific countries, it is even more alarming.  In Tanzania, less than 10 % of the children with disabilities attend school (Rajani, R., Bangser, M., Lund-Sorensen, U. & Leach, V. 2001).  Similarly, according to Okidi, J. A. & Mugambe, and G.  K. (2002), in Uganda, in the 1991 Population and Housing National Census, there were 190,345 persons with disabilities; of this more than 50% never attended school.  Looking into the literacy rate between people with disability and people without disability, in Baharin, it was revealed that 27% of the population over 10 years of age were illiterate compared to 77% of disabled people (Elwan, Ann 1999).

It is clear therefore, that for many years, children with disabilities have been locked at the back of their homes or confined to a separate classroom or school where they learn different things in a different way.  This was done under the incorrect assumption that if you are different you will probably learn less and must be taught differently. As a result, children with disabilities in poor countries even if they go to school, they receive inferior education due to the following reasons: 

First and foremost, most of the schools are built without having in mind people with disabilities.  They are inaccessible, and lack basic equipments.  Some children come to school carried by parents or riding a mule or a donkey.   Arriving at school doesn’t make it easier.  At the school they have to contend with high stairs that lead to the schools and within the schools. No one made this condition clear than Diarata the young girl from Mauritania when she said “….Linked to the problem of the behavior of the students were the added difficulties posed by the environment.  It is very difficult to “walk” under a hot sun and at a temperature, which could be as much as 48 degrees C.  The kilometer which separated my house from my school seemed endless under the very hot sun and over the burning sand of Kaedi….The classrooms were not always accessible and public transport was not always adapted to persons with a disability (Coulibaly,  The few schools that are built to accommodate people with disabilities are always over -crowded and lack the basic resources to do an average work. 

Such teachers are heard saying that they need “special skills” to teach children with disabilities.  This is not necessarily true; a good teacher can teach children with disabilities and those without disabilities in the same classroom.  Over the years, several good teachers proved that children with disabilities can be taught in the same classroom with non disabled children through the use of well planned teaching approaches which encourage the active participation of all children.  This does not necessarily mean that teachers do not need some technical assistance as how to improve the delivery of their lessons.   Institutions of higher education have contributed immensely to this problem.  Most schools train teachers to teach in regular classrooms and special classrooms.  They call the former, teachers and the latter, special education teachers.  The schools that certify these teachers told them that they cannot teach children with special needs if they come to the regular classroom. Only specially trained teachers are supposed to teach children with disabilities.  The irony is that institutions of higher education talk “inclusion” and practice “exclusion.” 

Another reason for the low achievement is due to the fact that many people have low expectations for children with disabilities, and worse of all they make them develop low expectation of themselves. Children with disabilities are expected to do poor in school because they are not healthy.   This notion of not being healthy is rooted in the belief of some people who consider themselves as moderate and caring, who have suggested along the way that because of their health problems, students with disabilities cannot be placed in regular classrooms and could be placed in a regular classroom only if their health has improved, which means if their disabilities are ‘cured.’ This is wrong. Children with disabilities cannot be cured, and if cure is a prerequisite to inclusion, most persons with disabilities will never be included. Fortunately,   there is a new era; the Era of Inclusion.

As indicated above, although there are many reasons and the reasons could vary from country to country and from one culture to another; the most common barriers towards the education of pupils with disabilities all over the world could be summarized as follows:

-         weak political will,

-         insufficient financial resources and the inefficient use of those available,

-         inadequate attention to the learning needs of the poor and the excluded,

-         a lack of attention to the quality of learning, and

-         an absence of commitment to overcoming gender disparities.

What is inclusion?

The new philosophy of inclusion is built on the belief that people/adults work in inclusive communities, work with people of different races, religions, aspirations, disabilities. In the same vein, children of all ages should learn and grow in environments that resemble the environments that they will eventually work in.  That is why inclusion is defined as the practice of placing children with disabilities in the same (regular) classroom with non-disabled students and providing them with specialized services and/or curriculum.  Ferguson, 1996, describes inclusion as an effort to create schools that meet the needs of all students where children with and without disabilities are educated together in age–appropriate general education classrooms.  It would entail keeping children with disabilities in regular education classrooms and bringing the support services to the child, rather than bringing the child to the support services (Smelter, Rasch, and Yudewitz, 1996). It is very important to note that it is not enough to put children with disabilities in a regular classroom and expect them to learn equally with their peers.  Inclusive education supporters’ advocate that almost all students should begin school with their peers in the age-appropriate general education classroom, and then, depending on their needs, move into environments that are more restrictive or less restrictive. Inclusive education can be thought of as a pendulum clock.  It goes to the right, to the left, and to the right, yet it always comes to the center.  Similarly, children with disabilities should be allowed to go to the special classes for different reasons and services whenever the need arises, yet they must come back to the regular classes and learn with their peers, if that is what is best for the child.  

Education is a right and a privilege    

Children with disabilities have the right to free and appropriate education. This right is embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which passed on December 10, 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.  The 2nd article of this historic declaration is very relevant to the cause of people with disabilities and reads as follows: “Every one is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.   Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation  of Sovereignty (Universal Declaration Of Human Right, 1948, Article 2)”.

Although Article 2, as it is written does not mention the word disability it urges all member states to extend this right, without exception to all people including people with disabilities.

After the passage of the Universal Human right, a giant step towards the improvement of Education of people with disabilities was taken by the United States of America when on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown vs. Board of Education declared that separate education facilities are inherently unequal (Brown vs. Board of Education 1954).  This landmark civil rights case made it clear that segregating students in schools based on race is unconstitutional.  Again, there was no mention of children with disabilities; however, parents of children with disabilities in the United States of America were able to use the refutation of the accepted practices of “separate but equal” as a point of reference in requesting that their children with disabilities receive free and appropriate public education.  This decision signaled the end of all legal segregation in the United States of America.

Another giant step was taken towards the right of all children including children with disabilities when in November of 1959, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the “Declaration of the Right of the Child by General Assembly resolution 1386 (XIV) 20.  In this declaration, Principle 5, and 7 are very relevant to the child with special needs which reads as follows:

Principle 5:  “The child who is physically, mentally handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.”

Principle 7: “The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages.  He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him.”

Mistakenly, many educators, and other lay persons think that inclusive education is designed to benefit children with disabilities only.  To the contrary, research shows that inclusive education helps the development of all children in different ways.  Wolery, M. and Wilbers, J, (1994), admits that although inclusion is primarily designed to include children with disabilities learn with their peers in the regular classrooms, the benefits are extended to children without disabilities, parents of children without disabilities and by and large the whole community.  Children with more typical development gain higher levels of tolerance for people with differences.  They are provided with opportunities to learn more realistic and accurate views about individuals with disabilities. They are provided with opportunities to develop positive attitudes towards others who are different from themselves, not to mention that they are provided with models of individuals who successfully achieve, despite the challenges.

Investing in inclusive education is a win, win situation.  Students with specific challenges make gains in cognitive and social development as well as physical motor skills.  In addition, children with disabilities are spared the negative effects of being taught in a segregated classroom and all the name-calling, and labeling that comes with it. Under the name of inclusive schools, many schools, many times, do some sort of labeling without even noticing it.  For example, in one school the whole school is divided into teams.   Each team was given a color.  For example, the color for team A is Red and Team B is Yellow.  All of the teams were divided heterogeneously, except that of the special education students.  All of the special education students who were going to that specific school were grouped together, and were given a blue color.  In other words, the background for their identification card was blue.   The teachers as well as the school administrators, who are in charge of a certain team, also exhibit the same color of their teams.  One day one of the students from a different team saw one of the assistant principals exhibiting a blue color since she was in charge of the special education team.  This student came closer and told the administrator “doc, are you” Specie” (Special) too?  All the special education students were referred to as “Specie”.   Regardless of how we do it, grouping or tracking based on abilities,  is a cruel practice and many children with disabilities have suffered over the years immensely from it.  Inclusion is designed to bring these practices to an end.

It is an undeniable fact that when children with disabilities are taught in the same classroom with their peers, they are exposed to competent models that allow them to learn new adaptive skills and/or learn when to use their existing skills through imitation.  Children learn from each other faster than they can learn from anybody else.

In addition, when children with disabilities go to school with their peers, they are afforded the opportunity to interrelate with competent peers with whom to interact and thereby learn new social and/or communicative skills.  Just like children without disabilities admire, and try to emulate other students in their school; children with disabilities will also have a larger pool of young men and women to emulate and learn from.

Finally, in an inclusive classroom, children with disabilities will be provided with opportunities to develop friendships with typically developing peers, and with realistic life experiences that prepare them to live in their communities.  It is only fair to expose young children with disabilities to young men and women without disabilities and hear their dreams and their aspirations.  Instead of confining them in one location under the disguise of alternative schools, it would make much more sense to allow these young men and women with disabilities to sit and talk with the other students, about colleges and universities, about careers  and professions.

Inclusive education has also a profound positive effect on the whole community.  Wolery, M. and Wilbers, J., (1994), label’ communities that support and encourage inclusion as progressive communities, and that as such by supporting inclusion they create a healthy and financially strong community.  Some of the benefits that the community can receive are as follows:

Conserve resources by limiting the need for segregated, specialized programs.

Families of children with disabilities and those without disabilities come together and learn from each other. Families of children with disabilities might learn about typical development; develop relationships with families of typically developing children who can provide them with meaningful support not to mention the fact they may feel less isolated from the remainder of their communities. 

Families of children without disabilities may develop relationships with families who have children with disabilities, and thereby make a contribution to them and their communities. Such encounters will also give them an opportunity to teach their children about individual differences and about accepting individuals who are different.

Features of Inclusive Schools

Effective inclusive schools have certain features, and it is essential that any school that tries to accommodate children with disabilities exhibit some of the following features:

1. A new breed of professionals and paraprofessionals:  All the staff in inclusive schools appreciate and value human diversity, and believe that every child has varied talent and that he/she can learn at high levels, moving at his/her own pace and is committed to the pursuit of individually configured excellence. In developing countries; a one-room schoolhouse that had multi-grades 1-4 and one teacher was common.  Such schools were very effective.  Students in this one-room school were not separated and labeled. They all learned from the one teacher and from one another.    The teacher was expected to teach all kids who entered the class and every child progressed according to his/ her pace.  Then came the era of modernization or as some people call it ‘westernization.  These eras differentiated between regular education teachers and special education teachers and if there are two kinds of teachers, there will be two kinds of students: regular students and students with special needs.  It seems that with the advent of trained teachers came specialization; and with specialization came segregated schooling.   The trend is changing now; this new breed of educators and service providers make students feel valued for their potential as people, and help them learn to value each other.

2. Collaboration: If inclusion is going to be successful there should be collaboration and communication among teachers, families, school administrators, general educators, special educators as well as para-educators. Teachers working together not only create more energy around problem-solving and effective strategies, but they also model people skills for students. As a result, practices such as cooperative learning, peer tutoring, team teaching, parent partnerships and common planning time are very essential.  When there is collaborative teaching arrangements and good communication between the above-mentioned individuals, children with disabilities would get fair and better education.

3. Changing roles and responsibilities:  In an inclusive school, every person in the building is a contributor in the learning process.  Teachers do not say to each other these are my students and those are yours.  No one would claim any student.  All of the participants- specialist, as well as other teachers provide support to each other.  Every participant in the teaching and learning process share their expertise in order to use strategies that assist   all students to successfully participate in class instruction.

4. Access:  Most inclusive schools make all the necessary modification to the building, and have assistive technology devices available, so that students with disabilities may access all aspects of the school.  There will be no inclusion without active participation of children with disabilities in the classroom activities.   This active participation is totally dependent on accessible schools.  Access and participation goes hand in hand together, and one cannot happen without the other.  Inclusive schools apply simple techniques to make schools accessible.  Most buildings are one story buildings with ramps leading inside instead of stairs.  The inside of such buildings are level, avoiding the need for stairs and ramps.  Toilets and latrines are wide enough that a person in a wheel chair can turn around.

5. The use of Assistive Technology: The 21st century is marked by the fast progress in assistive technology devices and services, that is evident among the ever-increasing populations of people with disabilities.  These technological advances have changed the quality of life for many individuals, helping them to be independent and productive.  Assistive technology made it possible for many people with communication, physical, learning and sensory disabilities to gain more control over their lives and environment. There are literally hundreds of assistive technology products. These products have been designed to collectively meet the needs of individuals across a wide-range of disabilities—blindness, learning difficulties, etc. as well as temporary or permanent problems.  These devices vary from computers to speech synthesizers. Others may be less technologically sophisticated.  Simple accommodations such as large print books, preferential seating, or modified desks, can be sufficient for many individuals with severe disabilities to be successfully included. The use of such devices is well discussed (Golden, 1998; Todis & Walker, 1993).  Simply put, if you get children with disabilities on technology as early as possible, they will be able to influence their environment and explore their surroundings, otherwise they will become quite content with doing the minimum themselves and expecting the maximum from others.  Inclusive schools through the use of Assistive Technologies come up with methodologies and strategies to minimize   the effect of the student’s disabilities and help children with disabilities develop a solid foundation in basic skills at lower grades and scientific, analytical and communicative skills at higher levels. In inclusive schools, most educators do realize that the absence of assistive technology devices have a profound,  limiting effect on the life of children with disabilities

6. New Forms of Accountability:  As in the traditional way, inclusive schools do not totally depend on standardized tests to determine if students are progressing. In fact, standardized tests are coming under fire from different angles.  Many contemporary educational leaders and researchers are blaming standardized tests for: 

Encouraging the accumulation and recall of fragmented and decontextualized facts and skills.

Stifling teachers from enriching the curriculum by making them focus on the information, forms and formats required in the tests.

Reinforcing bias in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and social class.

Instead, inclusive schools practice new alternative assessments such as curriculum-based assessment and portfolio assessment that yield meaningful information to parents, teachers, and students.  These new professionals are coming together to develop new assessment instruments and/or accommodations to go along with taking standardized tests.  These make sense, since the pace, style, language and circumstances of learning will never be uniform for all.  Sound practices of full inclusion, always advocate for diverse formal or less formal approaches as long as they ensure sound learning and confer equivalent status.

7. Student –Focused:  Inclusive schools are student -focused (person oriented) while traditional schools are deficit driven.  The traditional schools always forget the person with disability as a person and focus on the child’s disability by saying he/she is autistic; or put emphasis on the person’s deficit by saying “he/she functions at a 12 month level.    To the contrary, inclusive schools use person-centered planning approaches that encourage teachers and other service providers to plan learning activities around the individual’s gifts and capacities instead of his /her disabilities or deficits.  The whole idea of the person-centered approach is designed to encourage teachers to build classroom activities that are individualized and responsive to the individual’s personal needs, experiences, and interests.

8. Continuing Professional Development:  In most inclusive schools, the administration and staff take staff development very seriously.  In most cases, there are committees to determine and design professional development activities that focus on knowledge and skills that they can use to teach all students.

9. A Sense of Community:  A well designed inclusive school is distinguished by valuing and supporting all children and adults and accepting them to participate fully.  In such schools differences are looked at as sources of knowledge and strength from which to build.

10. High standards:  In an inclusive school, all students are supported in the achievement of valued outcomes.  In such schools curriculum for students with disabilities is not watered down, neither students with disabilities are assigned to a separate set of standards. If necessary, however, students with disabilities can receive individualized accommodations to reach the same high standards.

11. Partnership with Parents:  Families have a major contribution to make to children’s education.  This could only happen when educators understand that parents of children with disabilities are experts in their own right.  If there is anyone who knows the most about a child with a disability, it is the parent (s).  As a result, in inclusive schools, parents must be accepted and recognized as partners and brought into the school through various means: committees, volunteers, and guest lecturers.  Building effective partnership between schools and families must be preceded by the following:

Schools must understand and acknowledge children’s right as it is outlined in the UN Convention on the Right of the Child.  This involves recognition of the entitlement to a home, family and membership of the local community as basic rights of the child.  This right allows children to live with their parents while they are receiving proper education.  Taking them away from their families and communities in order to receive proper education is unwarranted.

Similarly, it is important that the schools and the community at large understand that the right to having a family is only meaningful if the child is fully included in the family.  If the ultimate goal is for children with disabilities to be included in society, it is necessary that this begins within their own family.  In some cultures, when families of children with disabilities realize that their child is different, it might create a strenuous relationship.  In such a situation, inclusive schools have a role to play by encouraging open communication between the family and other families and/or between the family and the school in order to relieve stress, rebuild hope, and enable the child to experience family life.

Children can do well in school if learning and development is reinforced at home.  When parents and teachers work together, children will learn more.  Inclusive schools by design are meant to support the child’s learning and development at home, by offering parents appropriate learning experiences to help their children learn and grow.

Parents have a wealth of information about the disability of their child; how their child is developing, and what would be their educational needs.  It is very difficult for teachers and school administrators to acquire this sort of information.  Such information could be made available for educators only and if the school develops a cooperative working relationship between the school and families.  One of the main responsibilities of inclusive schools is to do just that.

Inclusive schools are supposed to make sure that parents have a right to be involved in the decisions that are made about their children.  The era whereby experts come together and make decisions that affect the lives of children and their parents is gone.  This new era of inclusion encourages parents to be present in meetings at school or local and/or state offices of education where the status of their children will be discussed.  Inclusive schools do not require the presence of parents only; but also prepares them to play a meaningful role by inviting them to attend educational seminars and workshops to develop leadership skills.

12. Leadership at the micro and macro level:  There is no question about it, from top to bottom; the leadership must support inclusion for it to be successful. When the leadership at the building level is supportive of inclusion, they will sell the concept of inclusion to their faculty and staff. The Principal in inclusive schools must play a crucial role by supporting teachers’ effort to collaborate, and encourage them to experiment and try new ideas.  Principals in inclusive schools should strive to achieve the following:

Accessible schools:  It doesn’t require a fortune to make schools accessible.  Fortunately in most developing countries, schools are built as a one story building, and it might not take that much to have wide doors and open corridors.  Educational leaders should always be mindful of the fact that it is easier to make schools accessible when you first build them rather than to fix them at a later date.

Collaborative teaching arrangements - teachers working together not only create more energy around problem-solving and effective strategies, but they also model people skills for students.  Principals in inclusive schools always emphasize and reward the spirit of working together.

Flexible school structures - schools need physical arrangements that are adaptable to a variety of student needs as well as instructional approaches. One of the new things that teachers of inclusive education should consider is what is coming to be known as “Block Scheduling”, especially, when a school is made up of buildings that are apart. It might be difficult for children with mobility disability to move faster from one class to the other on time.  Therefore, scheduling classes for a longer period and in the same classroom might be helpful.  Block scheduling is a new concept being practiced in the United States schools.  It might have some relevance with inclusive schools.

Performance-based and alternative assessments - there are many ways to demonstrate learning, and student performance expectations should be as individualized as their instruction.

Cooperative teaching and learning approach

One of the best and the most effective technique is what have been advocated for years in regular classrooms as the cooperative teaching and learning approach.  Here the special educator, the speech therapist, the psychologist and other support personnel co-teach alongside the general education teacher.  This does not necessarily mean that every lesson, every unit throughout the year must be taught in collaboration with the other members of the support staff.  It only means that these individuals work with the regular education teacher whenever it is necessary.  The regular education teacher is in charge of his/her class; and all of the above mentioned specialists are there to assist. Sometimes they could come to the classrooms and teach a lesson, or make a presentation.  Other times, they can take anyone of the students who need special assistance and work with that student separately.

In this model, students could be divided into small groups.  The group is very heterogeneous and is based on anything else but ability.  Students could be grouped based on their interest and work together to achieve group goals.  One of the responsibilities emphasized for such a working group is that the group is responsible to demonstrate that all members have learned something.  The teacher must make it clear to all members of the group that it is important that all members understand the concepts and master the skills to be acquired from the group activity.  All members of the group are made aware that they are responsible to assist other members to ascertain their knowledge of the same content.  This approach is recommended highly for inclusive classrooms since children with disabilities are included as members of the group without much difficulty.

One method of teaching that is particularly associated with the cooperative teaching and learning approach is “Student Teams-Achievement Divisions (STAD) method devised by Salvin and his associates at John Hopkins University.  Here students are assigned to four or five member groups.  Once these assignments are made, a four step cycle is initiated: teach, team study, test and recognition.  Teaching is done in different ways, including the lecture-discussion method.  Once the teacher covers the different materials, group members are instructed to study together.  Teacher made worksheets and answer sheets are distributed to help them study better.  During the study period, students are told that they will have to support one another because the group goal can be achieved only if each member learns the materials being taught.  They are told that the teams are not in competition with one another.   After the study period each student is tested individually and a score for each group is tallied.  Based on the score each group receives certificates that read “GOOD TEAM”, “GREAT TEAM”, “SUPER TEAM” are issued to each group.


Co-teaching is defined as two educational professionals delivering substantive instruction to a group of heterogeneous students with diverse learning needs.  This collaborative approach allows all students including those with disabilities to remain in the general education classrooms.  Current educational research shows that co-teaching is an appropriate instructional approach to be used in inclusive classrooms and can improve educational programs, and reduces stigmatization for students if planned properly and given the necessary support (Focus on Exceptional Children. Vol. 28 (3), 1995).

A co-teaching relationship may consist of some combination of a general education teacher, special education teacher, and/ or support staff.  The most common team of educators found in co-teaching relationships may include the following:

-         Special education teacher and General education teacher

-         Two general education teachers teaching the same subject vertically or horizontally or teaching different subjects.

-         A paraprofessional and a general education teacher or a special education teacher

-         A regular education teacher or a special education teacher and a school counsellor or a school psychologist.

-         A regular education teacher or a special education teacher and a speech and hearing specialist.

-         A regular education teacher or a special education teacher and a parent.

It is very possible that any on of the above mentioned combinations can be successful in delivering effective instruction provided they are given enough time to know each other and be able to cultivate a collaborative relationship and prepare good lessons together.   Deliberate and ongoing communication among everyone involved is essential (Cook and Friend 2003) Above all co-teaching will only be successful if  it is given support at the micro, mezzo and macro levels of the school system administration.

In his article, Co-teaching: An Effective Approach for Inclusive Education, Donni Stickney (2003) writes that co-teaching can use a variety of techniques depending on the students and the content they are teaching. A few techniques cited by Stickney are as follows:

Interactive Teaching:  Here a general education teacher and a special education teacher teach a lesson together.  One of them introduces the lesson and teaches the main concepts and /or skills while the other teacher directs the guide practice or what is called the “sit work”.  In such an approach teachers can alternate roles of presenting, reviewing, and monitoring instruction at any time.

Station Teaching: Here you divide the students into small groups and allow them to rotate from one station to another.  Each teacher would take a small group while another group of students is using the classroom computer to research a topic.  During the course of the week, all students work at each task/station.

Parallel teaching: This technique requires that students are divided into two small mixed ability groups.  One of the co-teaching partner works with a small group of students while the other co-teaching partner works with another smaller group.  Both groups are taught the same content by two different teachers.

Alternative Teaching:  Here a specialist works with a small group of students on an enrichment project or a special topic.  This small group might be working in an area of interest or an area where special assistance is required.  While the specialist works with the small group, the general education teacher will work with the remainder of the students.

Consultant Model:  The consultant model allows the special education teacher to pull-out the students with special needs and work with them separately as a group or one by one, but also co-teaches within the general education classroom several hours a week.

Integrated teaching approach

For many years many teachers have succeeded in teaching different subjects as separate entities.  Many teachers failed to realize that History and Geography; Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics have a lot in common and cannot be taught in watertight compartments.  The integrated teaching approach brings this to an end.   Integrated teaching is defined as organization of teaching matter to interrelate or unify subjects frequently taught in separate academic courses or departments (Joglekar, S., Bhuiyan, P.S., and Kishore, S.1994).  Shoemaker, B. (1989) defines it as an approach that cuts across subject-matter lines bringing together various aspects of the curriculum into meaningful association.  However, it is Krogh’s (1990) explanation that make it very relevant to be used in inclusive classrooms when he wrote that this approach allows children to learn in a way that is most natural to them.  Teachers can teach units made up of themes of interest to the children.  Such units are designed to be relevant, meaningful and flexible in its application; taking into consideration the diverse learning styles of the students.   Another approach suggested by Lillian Katz and Sylvia Chard (1989), is called the Project Approach.  Here students are asked to select a topic of interest, researching and studying it by forwarding hypothesis, collecting data and suggesting solutions to problems.

The integrated approach can be used horizontally which means that two or more teachers teaching the same subject or different subjects but at the same grade come together and plan a unit.  For example, an English teacher and a History teacher in grade four comes together and they plan a unit.  It could also be used vertically whereby teachers in two different grades come together to plan and teach a unit. A Biology teacher (agriculture) and a Physical Education teacher could come together and plan such a unit.  This approach might be more appropriate at higher educational levels.

The integrated teaching approach can enhance teaching and learning in inclusive classrooms if is applied properly.  Its proper application would require the creation of an environment that encourages active involvement of all students.  In addition all topics and themes chosen must help students relate to real life experiences and be able to transfer such knowledge and apply it in real life.


World leaders reached a consensus to cut poverty in the world in half over the next 10 years. They have also agreed that all boys and girls born in 2005 be able to complete primary schooling by the year 2015.  These goals are noble and timely; but in order to make them a reality we have to include all children –including those with disabilities. You cannot cut poverty while you eliminate the economic contributions of people with disabilities.

One of the many steps that have to be taken to achieve the MDG and EFA goals is that all participating nations must come up with explicit educational policies that foster the inclusion of pupil with disabilities.  When inclusive schools are created and pupil with disabilities are welcomed and valued, research has demonstrated that all students, those who have special needs as well as those considered as typical, benefit. Pupil with disabilities will develop better socially and intellectually, and those without disabilities will become more familiar with the problems that children with disabilities face which would make them more sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities.

When pupils with disabilities are included in the regular classroom in an increasing number, teachers will be forced to come up with lessons that are tailored to the need of a diverse student population. There are some general education teachers who believe that they are neither trained nor experienced to teach children with disabilities.  This is not true.   Cannon, G. (1992) conducted a study on teachers and found out those teachers in general and special education agreed on 82% of essential teaching practices for effective instruction of children with disabilities.  In other words, the teaching methods that are used by special education and general education teachers to teach children with disabilities are the same.  Consequently, any teacher of inclusive classrooms who would care to use the teaching techniques discussed in this manuscript with little adjustment will yield good results. Their success in becoming successful teachers of inclusive classrooms could also be facilitated if they can use technology to individualize instruction and expose their students to adopting assistive technology devices and services...


References and/or complementary bibliography

Ashton, B. (1999).  Promoting the Rights of Disabled Children

Cannon, G, (1992).  Educating students with mild handicaps in general classrooms: Essential teaching practices for general and special educators.  Journal of learning disabilities, 25 (5) 300-317

Coulibaly, Diarata.  My Life is a Succession of Battles to Survive. Available from:

Elwan, Ann.  Poverty and Disability:  A Survey of the Literature - Social Protection Discussion Paper Series. No. 9932.  World Bank, Washington DC: December 1999.

Erb, S., & Harris-White, B.  (2001). The Economic Impact and Developmental Implications of Disability and Incapacity in Adulthood; A Village Study from S. India.  Paper to the Workshop Welfare, Demography and Development, September 11-12, Downing College, Cambridge