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close this bookEducation for Reconstruction - Report for the Overseas Development Administration (DFID, 1996, 80 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.0 Introduction
View the document2.0 Physical Reconstruction
View the document3.0 Ideological Reconstruction
View the document4.0 Psychological Reconstruction
View the document5.0 Provision of Materials and Curricular Reconstruction
View the document6.0 Human Resources
View the document7.0 Population and Demography
View the document8.0 Concluding Remarks
View the documentSupplementary Texts
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices
View the documentBibliography

1.0 Introduction

This report is conceived as a mapping exercise which will attempt to describe the main questions that need to be addressed by the various agencies concerned with processes of reconstruction in countries that have experienced crisis of various kinds.

For the purposes of the report we have defined 'crisis' in terms of:

· war
· natural disaster
· extreme political and economic upheaval

It will not always be possible, however, to deal with the needs of educational reconstruction in a crisis-specific way, since all those major forms of crisis identified here will result in problems for education which cannot easily be differentiated as between forms of crisis.

1.1 War

War in our context may take the form of:

· inter-country belligerence
· civil war
· ethnic and religious conflict

Inter-country belligerence is likely to leave an aftermath of physical destruction, displacement of population and disruption to governmental and administrative machinery that will inevitably have the most extreme consequences for educational provision. In many cases the normal processes of education will have ceased - as, for example, in Germany after the Second World War, Civil war (intra-country conflict) - as in the case of the former Yugoslavia or the Lebanon - might result in widespread physical destruction and disruption to normal state provision of services in much the same way as inter-country conflict will. The main difference will lie in the problem of long-term intra-country hostility that will persist even after political settlement. Ethnic and religious conflict, which might not develop to the extent of full civil war, will leave often irreconcilable differences which - as in the aftermath of civil war - will have serious consequences for educational provision.

1.2 Natural Disasters

'Natural disasters' will include:

· drought
· famine
· floods
· earthquakes
· rapid spread of disease

Often such disasters will be inter-related. Thus famine results from drought; floods produce disease. Some countries will be well equipped to deal with the consequences of disaster (Japan, for example); others will have few or no resources for coping (Ethiopia, Sudan). In the context of education the main problems will lie in health and welfare provision, though there will also be problems consequent upon the interruption of lines of communication, possible decimation or dispersal of the teaching force, and physical destruction. As in the case of war and its aftermath, much educational provision will take place in temporary conditions of various kinds - in emergency camps, for example.

1.3 Extreme Political and Economic Upheaval

Such 'upheaval' - of which there have been many examples in recent years - will result from:

· revolution
· other forms of rapid political change
· sudden economic collapse

Here too there is inter-relationship: revolution will often result in economic collapse; economic collapse might cause rapid political change. Educational provision will in most situations suffer severe uncertainty and pass through transitional processes which will be very complex and of variable duration.1 Though it might be argued that all education systems are at any time in some State of transition, we can identify - when we speak of the 'countries in transition' - a number of countries which are clearly passing from a state of autocratic/authoritarian control to various conditions of liberal democracy. Such countries include the former Eastern bloc states, the countries belonging to the former Soviet Union, and South Africa.

1 The literature of educational transition is vast. A useful introductory text is César Bîrzea: Educational Policies of the Countries in Transition. Strasbourg (Council of Europe Press) 1994. The team that has produced this present report has recently been involved in examining processes of transition in South Africa, Latvia and Germany.

1.4 Structure of the Report

In what follows we shall focus on educational reconstruction in its various manifestations:

· Physical reconstruction
· Ideological reconstruction
· Psychological reconstruction
· Provision of materials and curricular reconstruction
· Human resources
· Population and demography

Within each of these headings we shall aim to deal with a number of issues exemplified by particular countries. In some cases we shall wish to refer to more detailed coverage appended in supplementary texts or as case studies. A detailed bibliography is also included.

1.5 Educational Reconstruction

When the Allies occupied Germany after the Second World War they were faced with a situation where activity in education had ceased, where physical destruction (particularly in the cities) was of an unprecedented dimension, and where the population was suffering enormous material hardship. There was no residual government that could be mobilised to help. The Allies had complete control.

They had had the advantage, however, of being able to plan for the exercising of this control, once it became clear that an unconditional surrender of all German forces was being aimed for. Personnel were trained, as far as war-time conditions would allow, in an embryonic Education Branch of the Control Commission as the Allied armies advanced. This meant that some of the problems eventually faced 'on the ground' could be anticipated and that certain broad decisions could be taken. Thus, for example, it was possible to draw up lists (black, grey, white) of people whose degree of involvement with the Nazi Party would make their continuation in office more or less problematic. Thus too some preparation could begin in London on textbook revision, anticipating the setting-up of the textbook section of Education Branch in Germany in July 1945. Thus a handbook could be written to assist officers of Education Branch once they began to arrive in Germany.

In terms of educational reconstruction the situation in Germany after the War is a special but very instructive case. Many of the problems the Allies had to contend with are mirrored today in post-conflict situations in countries throughout the world. Among them were:

· the need to plan adequately for the human and physical resources that would be required

· the need to purge the teaching force of people whose political involvement would make them unsuitable for any role in the reconstruction process

· the need to encourage democratic processes while not appearing to impose such processes

· the need to develop new teaching styles and materials

· the need to create a climate in which longer-term reform might be possible

Some of these problems are particularly difficult, especially where they impinge on ideological considerations. Removing 'unsuitable' teachers and administrators is fraught with difficulty. The Western Allies in the case of Germany quickly handed over 'denazification' to the Germans and thereby avoided charges of prejudice and unfairness themselves.

In the territory of the former German Democratic Republic following Unification, processes of 'evaluation' of the teaching force have led to widespread dismissal or non-renewal, with the consequential charges of unfair treatment that such processes evoke. The encouragement from outside of democratic processes in education systems which are widely accepted elsewhere is also not without difficulty. At one Four Power meeting in Berlin after the War the British representative remarked that the only way to reconcile different interpretations of democracy was to define it as what four Powers could agree to inflict on a fifth. But 'inflicting' procedures in the context of a policy of democratisation is highly questionable. Michael Balfour has described the dilemma succinctly: 'The British were very conscious of the fact that the faith which they wished to propagate involved a disbelief in the value of imposing faiths by order.'2 And this must be one of the first lessons for any forces or other agencies involved with the reconstruction of an education system in another country: the power and influence that such involvement brings - through financial support, much sought-after and otherwise unobtainable advice, or various forms of legal or legalistic authority - must be exercised with great caution and sensitivity, and with proper deference to local conditions and traditions. This applies both to short-term and to long-term development.

2 Michael Balfour & John Mair, Four-Power Control in Germany and Austria. London, 1956, p.230.

1.6 The Organisational Framework of Reconstruction

UNESCO's Unit for Educational Rehabilitation and Reconstruction speaks of reconstruction as a 'more or less protracted process' with short-, medium- and long-term aspects. Emergency programmes, concerned with basic requirements needed to get education systems working again, respond to 'the most urgent needs, both for the infrastructural and material and for the human component'.3 Priorities must be determined at this stage, as efforts will be directed towards basic needs. Even here. UNESCO argues, reconstruction 'must not be carried out piecemeal, but must be carefully thought out and planned'. The example of Germany after the War is relevant inasmuch as it demonstrates the advantages of planning, even if only in rudimentary form. Agencies concerned with reconstruction should ideally be formulating plans for intervention in education long before it is possible to put an emergency programme in place.

3 UNESCO, 'Reconstruction of Education Systems', Unit for Educational Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, n.d.

For the medium and longer term UNESCO speaks of a 'reconstruction Master Plan for the education system' which will emerge from a needs analysis based on various 'dimensions' or 'components':

· environmental
· organisational
· infrastructural
· material and financial
· human
· institutional
· pedagogical
· curricular

Effective planning for all aspects of educational reconstruction and capacity building will depend on organisational frameworks at national, local and institutional levels. The extent of the organisational infrastructure on which development can be based will of course differ considerably among the countries emerging from conflict and upheaval of various kinds. In some cases, as with Germany after the Second World War, national and local government will have collapsed; in others, such as Ethiopia, Rwanda or the countries of the Caucasus, governmental agencies will be to various degrees undependable or inexperienced - as far as the tasks of educational reconstruction are concerned. Some countries, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and South Africa, have had to adjust their educational administration to new political structures.4 Particular administrative problems arise where there is a geographical division under the same educational authority, as in the case of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in Palestine, where an Egyptian curriculum has been followed in the territory of the Gaza Strip and a Jordanian curriculum in the West Bank.5

4 In Bosnia it is anticipated that each canton will come under its own ministry of education, with a reduced role for a federal ministry (currently only Tuzla has its own cantonal ministry) (John L. Yeager and Michel Rakotomanana, 'Initiating a Program in Educational Policy and Planning in a Nation in Crisis: The Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina', paper presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society, Williamsburg, VA, (6-10 March. 1996); in South Africa, new ministries of education arc in place in the nine newly constructed provinces.

5 Curricula and textbooks were subjected to censorship by the Israeli authorities.

National Level

External agencies intending to provide support for educational reconstruction will expect wherever possible to consult and liaise with national ministries of education. However, some financial aid will have to be directed towards local or institutional development and will therefore not necessarily

be channelled through government bodies at the national level. This will be of particular importance in countries where corruption is known to be rife, though this is not to say that such problems only exist at national level.

Some international agencies endeavour to support the government in order to strengthen the framework necessary for the provision and distribution of aid. However, some governments have, for various reasons, initially refused to grant access to those seeking to provide humanitarian assistance.6 The establishment of a working partnership at national level remains in most instances highly desirable, even in the case of occupation of a belligerent country by allied powers.

6 For example, in Chechnya in 1995, despite repeated requests in some areas some United Nations agencies were denied cross-border access to assist civilians in besieged areas (Crosslines Global Report 1995 (Information from the Internet)).

Local Level

It is at this level that aid can more obviously be channelled directly to individual institutions and be adapted to suit local needs. UNESCO mentions 'partnerships within the country linking the different parts of the social system'7 as a guiding principle for intra-country promotion of 'a culture of peace' and a substantial renewal of education. Among the bodies included in UNESCO's list8 of those involved in reconstruction at local level are:

· local communities
· local associations and NGOs
· education authorities
· the private sector
· religious associations and institutions

7 UNESCO. 'Reconstruction of Education Systems'. Unit for Educational Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, n.d.

8 Ibid.

All such institutions will be able to provide advice on the reconstruction process and to help to coordinate efforts. They will be particularly helpful, knowing the local scene as they do, in assisting with early needs analysis, and so both the organisations and their key personnel should be identified at the earliest opportunity in order that contact can be quickly established following periods of crisis.

Institutional Level

It is at the institutional level of course that the effects of efforts at reconstruction are felt most directly by teachers and pupils. Here it is important to ensure as far as possible that those in posts of responsibility are not so implicated in the original conflict as to be unsuitable to hold office, though it will not always be possible for outside agencies to control decisions about the future of those deemed to be unsuitable.

At the institutional level the support of individuals must be sought; they in turn must be supported in the various ways suggested below and encouraged to enter into partnership with those at other levels charged with policy implementation. They will be very closely involved with the most immediately urgent post-crisis task, that of physical reconstruction, to which we now turn.