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close this book Laying the foundation - The institution of knowledge in developing countries
close this folder Part II The institutionalization of science in Latin America
View the document Chapter 3 Institutional development of basic sciences
View the document Chapter 4 Institutional failure or success: variables affecting agricultural research
View the document Chapter 5 Institutional development of research in economics
View the document Chapter 6 Institutional development of educational research
View the document Chapter 7 Industrial research and development institutions in brazil

Chapter 6 Institutional development of educational research

Patricio Cariola

The purpose of this chapter is to outline factors that influence the development of educational research institutions in Latin America. Although the discussion is mostly confined to factors that only affect institutions, it is somewhat difficult to separate these from factors that influence the overall development of educational research.

This chapter looks at both the internal and external factors affecting institutional development. The main internal factors are type of institution, product specificity, research staff, management, and commitment to action programs and teaching. It begins by examining the types of institutions conducting educational research because this factor is so important that other factors can only be understood in relation to it.

The chapter then addresses the sensitive issue of product specificity. Although the quality of educational research in Latin America has been surprisingly good, it is still poor in comparison with other fields of knowledge and inadequate to meet the needs of the educational system. It then goes on to examine the training and working conditions of research staff, a factor that takes on unique characteristics in education. It also looks at the academic and financial management of educational research. Lastly, the chapter considers the commitment of research centres to action programs and teaching activities. The former applies mostly to nongovernmental research centres; there is little data on the latter.

The external factors considered include financing, the social and political environment, and communications networks. In conclusion, the discussion identifies the most influential factors in the development of educational research in the region and presents suggestions for further research.

 

Internal Factors Affecting Institutional Development

Type of institution

Four types of institutions carry out educational research in Latin America: universities, government education ministries, nongovernmental centres, and international organizations. The characteristics of each type shapes its development and interacts with other internal and external factors.

Universities - In Latin America, educational research originated in high schools and pedagogical institutes attached to universities. After World War 11, educators attempted to give their profession a more scientific basis by establishing schools of education. At the curriculum level, these schools train specialists and future education professors. At the postgraduate level, an increasing number of universities have succeeded in attracting qualified department heads to conduct research; however, no new knowledge has been produced. Even in the best universities, research has been limited to graduate theses; only an exceptional few have achieved a sustained output. University centres are characterized by their relative autonomy as academic units, and working conditions do not seem to favour other alternatives.

The emergence of the social sciences in the 1950s changed the landscape of educational research in Latin America. The social, economic, and political dimensions of education were recognized, and most importantly, new theoretical and methodological perspectives were introduced. Professionals with training in areas other than education began to investigate educational problems, teach in schools of education, and take jobs in public-sector technical organizations. When sociologists started to influence educational theory at the academic level, the psychopedagogical perspective, formerly the leading school of thought, gave way to a socioeducational perspective.

The field of educational policy and planning was left to the economists in charge of ministries of finance and international agencies. Educators and schools of education began to lose control over the field as new disciplines and professional groups began to shape political and technical decisions on education. This shift was supported by international organizations that believed that as the key to development, education was too important to be left solely in the hands of educators.

A clear distinction must be drawn between the approaches of educators and those of interdisciplinary groups and NGOs. The former are linked to the attempt to create an autonomous field of knowledge called educational science." The latter are linked to groups outside education concerned about the growing demands placed on the political structure by the educational system and society. These two approaches have very different outcomes.

Ministries of education - The growth of the educational system in the 1950s and 1960s coincided with the rise of planning offices within ministries of education. These technical bodies produced quantitative and operational studies on the administration of the educational system. They tended to advocate a socioeducational approach - which concerns itself with the impact of the educational system on the country's social and economic goals - over a psychopedagogical or curriculum-based approach.

At the same time, some governments were setting up research and curriculum-development centres to support educational reform. This is how the Centro de Perfeccionamiento, Experimentación e Investigaciones Pedagógicas in Chile, the Instituto Colombiano de Pedagogia in Colombia, and the Oficina de Planificacion Educativa in Venezuela were born. These centres only produced research for a short time then they either declined in importance or disappeared completely (Chiappe and Myers 1983).

Some ministries of education contract out research to other institutions; this is the case in Mexico (Quintero et al. 1983), Colombia (salvo 1991), and Chile. Most of the funds for such studies come from international sources in the form of loans or donations.

Nongovernmental centres - Nongovernmental educational research centres are characteristic of Latin America. They emerged out of severe social and political problems; the challenges of the Cuban revolution; the new social awareness of the Catholic Church; the development of the social sciences in the universities; the financing for community development projects available from international cooperation agencies set up by European and North American churches; and the rise of a generation of young professionals in church movements dedicated to social change. Neither the university nor ministries of education provided environments conducive to change-oriented research and action.

Nongovernmental centres have their origins in philanthropic, professional, and scientific interests. Over time, their approach has shifted from a socioeconomic orientation to a sociocultural orientation. Within a varied at-ray of centres, there are many whose primary activity is educational research.

These centres have chosen to use "popular education" methods to address social problems engendered by poverty and marginality (Gajardo 1989). The first experiences of grassroots social and political change, as expressed in the writings of Paulo Freire, stirred an interest in popular education on the part of social scientists, educators, and community-development workers. Because popular education has both research and action components, it is not surprising that most of the activities undertaken by the educational research centres employ a popular education approach to adult education. This approach is based in a group's own culture and promotes their active participation in the solution of everyday problems, within a social change perspective.

This new thinking has also awakened academic interest in industrialized countries and generated new models for social development. It is also having an interesting impact on the school system (Program de las 900 Escuelas 1991). Although these centres have a hard time obtaining funding for research on the school system, they are still generally the leaders in educational research in their countries. The largest ones are now beginning to communicate with universities and to cooperate with international development agencies, at both national and regional levels.

Because nongovernmental centres tend toward greater academic and administrative efficiency, ministries of education expect more from them than from universities in terms of policy design, implementation, and evaluation. It has been observed that the work rhythms of university institutions do not meet ministry requirements (salvo 1991).

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the nongovernmental centres has been to support teams of interdisciplinary researchers who publish research studies and train other researchers. Neither governments, universities, nor international organizations have been able to match this accomplishment. Despite the precarious situation faced by most institutions in Latin America, these centres have shown remarkable operational stability, although they depend almost exclusively on international funding for educational research and innovation.

International organizations - International organizations such as OAS, Unesco, the International Labour Office (ILO), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) produce and disseminate educational research through projects, technical meetings, and specialized centres. Outstanding specialized centres include the Centro Regional de Educación de Adultos y Alfabetización Nacional in Mexico (adult education); the Centro Regional pare la Educación Superior en América Latina y el Caribe in Venezuela (higher education); Instituto Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Planificación Económica y Social in Chile and Centro Interamericano de Estudios de Investigación pare el Planeamiento de la Educación in Venezuela (planning); Centro Interamericano de Ensenanza de Estadistica (statistics); Centro Interamericano de Investigación y Documentación sobre Formación Profesional in Uruguay (professional education); and the Programa Regional del Empleo pare America Latina y el Caribe (education and employment).

A recent study (Garcia-Huidobra and Ochoa 1989) on the contribution of research to educational policy-making in Latin America underscores the importance of institutional type to the development of educational research centres and explores its impact on research outputs. The study shows the following:

· Government agencies generally undertake research to help improve the operation of educational systems. In the poorest countries, this type of research is conducted exclusively by government; in more developed countries, it is done by universities and nongovernmental centres. Government research is purely pragmatic and has no academic pretensions.

· The university's focus on disciplinary studies with precise methodologies allows it to excel at dealing with well-defined subjects. However, its deficiencies include studies on conventional subjects and with narrow objectives. Because universities are highly influenced by professional interests they tend to favour studies related to university specialties.

· Nongovernmental centres are particularly relevant to the production of educational research in Latin America because they account for more than one third of the region's total research output - half, if international organizations are excluded. These centres have three special features: their contribution to new subjects and methodologies, their social vision on educational issue, and their willingness to deal with issues relevant to the popular sectors. The latter include nonformal education (popular education), literacy, preschool education, and the links between education and poverty - more than one third of research is on this last subject. In general, critical research on the education of the poor is increasing (Garcia-Huidobro et al. 1989).

· International organizations play an interesting role in educational research in Latin America. Although they share many of the characteristics of government centres (as well as institutional and systemic interests), they are more like independent research centres in their capacity to innovate and introduce critical new concerns to the research agenda.

Although educational research has made great strides, it has not as yet made much headway in improving the efficiency of the educational system and helping it to meet the requirements of socioeconomic development in the region (ECLAC 1991; Unesco 1991). The main contribution of research has been to help identify and provide a rich socioeducational framework for understanding and solving key educational problems.

Product specificity

Product specificity is characteristic of scientific and technological activities. Here, "specificity" refers to the capacity of research - in this case on education - to contribute to the design of precise policies and the formulation of solid explanatory theories. Most educational research in Latin America is not sufficiently specific. All research groups, regardless of their institutional situation, should strive for more specificity in their work on education.

One analysis of the products of educational research in Latin American drew the following conclusions (Garcia-Huidobro and Ochoa 1989):

· Educational research is increasingly concerned with issues related to learning, knowledge taught in schools, and the social usefulness of education. This major shift came in response to the severe problems facing educational systems, which have achieved wide coverage while suffering from poor quality. However, the approaches used in this research are far too general to make a real contribution to improving the operation of policies and educational quality; this is especially true in poorer countries. For example, research tends to concentrate more on the education system in general than on specific issues and more on Latin America as a whole than on specific countries or groups (such as farmers or the indigenous population). There are few research studies that take a case-study approach.

· Research attention has centred on the macrostructural relationship between education and the community or on strictly pedagogical issues unrelated to the social framework. Issues related to teaching and learning and the main actors in the educational system - parents, teachers, and students - as well as knowledge generated by the process have only begun to be studied. Variables related to professors, alumni, and the communication process have always been considered more important.

· Educational research in Latin America is largely confined to the educational arena - paying little attention to the media - and to major technological, scientific, and economic developments affecting education today.

Whereas the quality of learning is determined by the pedagogical relationship, the efficiency of education depends on the way the educational system obtains and administers resources. Therefore, the lack of research on the administration and financing of education has potentially serious consequences. There is also a dearth of research on the relationship between administrative changes (such as decentralization) and the quality of teaching.

In our opinion, specificity and pertinence are not unattainable goals for research because Latin America already has a language of education. The basic assumptions of research have shifted from a naive belief in development theories and central planning to a radical critique of social structures and the educational system. Today, efforts centre on designing specific policies to improve educational quality (Garcia Guadilla 1987). These efforts have been heroic because the new language is located in a context of "theoretical poverty," "methodological inconsistency," and nascent research traditions (Favero et al. 1990, quoting Guiomar Ramos de Mello).

Research staff

Perhaps the most important aspect of an institution is its research staff. An institution needs competent, imaginative, and committed researchers to earn a good reputation, attract funding and produce quality research. The competence of the research staff, the time available to devote to research, and the opportunity to establish permanent working groups are key factors in the production and accumulation of knowledge. Behind every good piece of research is a group of researchers who have worked together for a long time.

The institution's capacity to recruit and retain top-notch research staff is a function of academic and financial factors as well as of the institution's capacity to offer structured research careers, and all of these vary according to institutional type. Each type of institution has its own disadvantages: for the ministries of education, it is low rents; for the universities, shortage of time; and for the nongovernmental centres, lack of stability.

Studying the relationship between training and productivity may help to identify that young people should be recruited into educational research. It is widely believed that educators do not make good researchers because they prefer to teach than to observe, read, or write. Their main concerns are methodological, and they learn from their experience.

The existence of another group raises key questions for the training of researchers. These are specialists in the human sciences and philosophy who have dedicated their professional careers to education without losing touch with their specialties. These individuals often express an interest in education right from the beginning of their studies; they also know how to work with educators. They produce interesting and relevant research that has excellent potential to influence policy and educational practice. Because the educational system relies on educators, it is necessary to understand their language. The development of educational research institutions requires both first rate researchers and interdisciplinary research teams.

The training of young researchers, whether at home or overseas, must be oriented beyond the opportunity market. Ideally, the managers of institutions employing researchers should follow their training activities and provide attractive working conditions on their return.

We should also take a closer look at the relationship between the aims of research and the needs of the educational system. There is no question that research outputs should be useful to the educational system (the users of knowledge); however, researchers (the generators of knowledge) should also feel free to tackle the issues that they consider important, regardless of what the rest of society thinks. The development of research centres and the overall legitimacy of educational research depend on the ability of research staff to do both. However, usefulness should be the engine driving educational research, not knowledge for its own sake.

The issue of research careers is linked to the way different types of institutions are organized. It is not only a matter of economics; it is also a matter of how knowledge is conceived, produced, transmitted, and used. It is also a question of the connection between educational research and teacher training as well as the academic and power relations between teachers and researchers. Another key factor is the links between bodies dedicated to education, psychology, economics, social sciences, and philosophy because they all affect education.

Institutional management

It is our hypothesis that management skills will prove to be increasingly important to the development of educational research institutions in the future. Here, "management" means the ability to establish and promote all facets of an institution - academic, financial, and administrative. In practical terms, management can be thought of as a group's capacity to undertake an intellectual project to which it is committed. The following three points support this hypothesis:

· The bulk of funding for educational research has been channelled through projects, even at the university level. Because this funding has come primarily from international sources, institutions need to establish and maintain an international reputation. They must also produce high-quality research and be able to justify the funding received.

· The most dynamic institutions are able to deal with funding that is delivered through projects, especially external funding. This discussion refers to institutions that have a certain independence of thought along with an organizational structure that can handle projects; examples are the nongovernmental centres, the more independent of the university centres, and some international organizations. Project financing requires a certain management ability to guarantee continuity. In the more successful institutions, the principal researchers are integrally involved in designing and marketing projects as well as carrying them out; their salaries depend on it.

Dedicated effort is required to ensure that the supply meets the demand and vice versa. An institution must be familiar with the policies of funding agencies, local educational policies, as well as the nature of the academic discussion that influences them. It must also be able to grasp the workings of research contracts and educational research subsidy mechanisms. This constitutes the public relations and marketing aspect of educational research.

· Strong academic leadership is needed to safeguard the intellectual and economic independence of institutions because of the interdisciplinary nature of the field and the weakness of knowledge within it.

The preceding points confirm the importance of management skills to the survival of educational research institutions in today's small, segmented market. However, the real challenge for educational research - and society in general - is to recognize that educational systems constitute an enormous potential market for research. Researchers should not be perceived merely as the supply - as those who generate the knowledge needed to increase the productivity of educational activities - they should also be actively involved in helping to create the demand for research by convincing those in authority of the urgent need for it. Not only must the product be good, but consumers must be persuaded they need it. It is not enough for more resources to be allocated to educational research; research results must also be published and widely disseminated to those who might find them useful. This would help to increase the demand for research.

Action programs

We have previously mentioned the contribution made by the nongovernmental centres to adult popular education and to addressing the problems of poverty. Research-action programs have been central to the development of these centres; their survival would have been jeopardized had they devoted their efforts exclusively to research.

Although many international agencies am reluctant to provide funding to the formal educational system and to educational research, they are often willing to finance projects that design, streamline, and communicate approaches to educate and improve the situation of the poor.

Scientists and practitioners in the field of education rarely work together or communicate well. However, the evaluation of adult education programs - which emphasize action over knowledge acquisition - has provided such an opportunity. Combining research and promotion has enabled social scientists and adult educators to work together in such a way that research and action can influence one another. Popular education has provided a vehicle for the merging of scientific research and the development and dissemination of new technologies. Cooperation in this area has stimulated the development of more effective technologies. Interestingly, it has been in these areas, so far from the productive world, that the most interesting educational innovations in Latin America have occurred.

The phenomenon of popular education illustrates the importance of the "development" factor to the educational research centres. If these centres were also able to operate in the formal education system, perhaps the synergy (in terms of change) that has taken place in the productive world and in popular education programs, could also happen in the school system.

Teaching

When it comes to teaching, there are more questions than answers. How does teaching affect the development of educational research? Is it a help or a hindrance? Is it the university's responsibility to link research and teaching? What is the potential for a productive relationship between research and teaching today and in the future? What conditions should be placed on educational research? Do the theses of doctoral students contribute to the productivity of educational research? Is it possible to create links between the needs of educational systems and the output of the universities? Should the nongovernmental centres be involved in teaching? Would this affect their productivity? Would it reduce their contribution to policy formulation? Would they be able to maintain the action programs that influence their theories? Can scientific research, technological development, the diffusion of research, and teaching all be done in one institution in the case of education? If they could, would this have strategic or tactical importance?

Experience does not provide any answers. It is disturbing that the knowledge on education generated by teachers' training centres is not meeting the real needs for education and training. It is also of concern that these centres are not linked to organizations generating new ideas on education. In the same way that it is necessary to take a serious look at the way educational research is organized - perhaps more so than any other sector - the same is true of teaching, technological development, and dissemination. These must respond to - and, indeed, anticipate - social needs; at the same time, they must foster the scientific disciplines needed for the growth of knowledge.

There is a new dynamic in education characterized by the introduction of the interests of private firms; deregulated and privatized educational systems; and informatics and the mass media in the transmission of knowledge and values. In a new institutionalization of knowledge production and dissemination in education, there are three challenges: combining conflicting trends, making schools more effective, and having an impact on the ethical dimension of human development.

 

External Factors Affecting Institutional Development

Three external factors affecting educational research are worthy of analysis financing, the sociopolitical and cultural environment, and communication networks between centres and researchers.

Financing

International financing - International financing has been critical to institutional development. To understand how critical, we only have to recall the serious decline in quality research during the economic crisis of the 1980s. During this period, there was also a significant reduction in opportunities for postgraduate study overseas. This lack of external support completely wiped out a whole generation of researchers.

International assistance from bilateral agencies, international organizations, and NGOs should be directed to independent centres so that they can work with government ministries to generate research and innovation. Ministry staff are preoccupied with running the educational system and have little time to develop ways to improve its quality through research and experimentation. They may not even be capable of doing so. The universities are more concerned with academic and instructional issues than with innovation. Because the independent centres have shown such creativity and efficiency with respect to nonformal education, perhaps they could also be an effective vehicle for reforming the formal education system. If we do not use them to advantage, we are wasting a wonderful opportunity to reach the poor through the formal education system.

National financing - Governments support educational research by providing funds to universities and national educational research bodies. Of the latter, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPQ) in Brazil has been one of the most active. Others include the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT) in Mexico (Quintero Hernandez et al. 1983), the Fondo Colombiano de Investigaciones Cientificas y Proyectos Especiales Francisco Jose de Caldas (COLCIENCIAS) in Colombia (Chiappe and Myers 1983), and the Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnologica (CONICYT) in Chile. These funds are designated to cover research expenses and not salaries. Despite the large amount of resources spent on educational systems, it seems that few countries other than Mexico allocate significant amounts to educational research and to the development of innovation. The only exception is when funds come from external sources. Chile, for example, has recently invited bids for eleven projects that will lead to the eventual redesign of secondary education in that country.

We are unable to say much about the contribution of the universities to the financing of educational research. Except for those with special funds for research, the contribution of universities is limited to financing faculty salaries.

Private foundations have furnished significant support to the development of educational research in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela and, more recently, Chile and Peru. One example is the Carlos Chagas Foundation of Sao Paulo, an institution that supports research with the funds it obtains from evaluating and selecting students and personnel for universities and companies. In Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, the Lampadia Foundations have initiated important educational research activities. Some governments are beginning to offer tax exemptions to firms that provide donations for educational or scientific ends.

This review of financing mechanisms exposes the overall weakness of educational research in Latin America. Educational research does not yet have a solid economic base in Latin America; neither the public nor the private sector has taken charge of its overall development at the national level. The production of new knowledge depends largely on external support, which is delivered through a wide range of vehicles.

A more thorough study of the role of funding in institutional development should take the following variables into account: the origin of the funds (external, internal, or both and the proportions of each), mode of delivery (by institution, by program, by project, or by service), funding agency priorities (for research or action programs), socioeconomic level of the recipient (poorer countries are more likely to attract external financing), and the type of institution requesting the funds. Regardless of how these variables are combined, the main factor is the overall availability of funds, both external and internal.

The social and political environment

External financing is influenced both by current ideas on development and the relationship of developed countries to the less developed ones. These determine development assistance policies and priorities. This also applies to the field of education and, therefore, to educational research.

It was not accidental that the momentum of educational research picked up after the Regional Conference on Education and Economic and Social Development, organized by Unesco in Santiago in 1962. This conference highlighted the relationship between education and development and the need for planning and educational research. The Jomtien Conference, sponsored by UNDP, Unesco, UNICEF, and the World Bank, raised these issues once again (WCEA 1990).

At the regional level, a significant impetus to educational research was provided by the new growth strategy proposed by ECLAC (1991), the recent meeting of ministers of education in Quito (recommendations of PROMEDLAC IV; Unesco 1991), and especially the document on education and knowledge prepared jointly by ECLAC and Unesco. These documents and meetings have helped to shift the heavy gears of national and international financing.

At the national level, the programs of governments and political parties have an impact on research. So does modernization; a country in the process of modernization generally strives to improve the research on which policies are based. Countries that modernized early and have an older educational tradition tend to accord greater importance to research in general and educational research in particular. Faith in the potential of science and progress bears more heavily on the culture of the community and its institutions.

From a cultural point of view, key factors in educational research include the state of social science development and the recognition of scientific work as a social asset. Without these, no serious educational research can be accomplished; only the formal requirements will be met. Most researchers are not subjected to peer criticism or to measurement against a set of standards. It would appear that the setting of standards is one sign of institutional development. When standards are socialized, they are easier to achieve.

Communication networks

Communications networks have acquired a new importance to research. A network allows for coordination, accumulation, criticism, and communication between researchers over geographic distances. It is worthwhile to study how networks can contribute to the development of educational research. They have great potential; without them, it is more difficult for knowledge to be used.

Regional networks - There are a wide variety of educational research networks in Latin America (Schiefelbein 1982). The main one is the Latin American Network on Information and Documentation (REDUC), which is made up of a network of institutions and a comprehensive data base on educational research.

Since its inception in 1972, REDUC has collected, analyzed, and disseminated documents related to educational research through a cooperative network of 27 centres located in almost all Spanish - and Portuguese - speaking countries in Latin America. The data base currently processes about 2 000 new documents a year. In addition to circulating print materials and magnetic disks, each national centre publishes a magazine and exchanges it with other centres, thereby making the production of the entire network available to the public (Braham et al. 1 983).

Recently, a need has emerged for intermediaries or brokers to link available knowledge to the policy development process. These brokers may play an important role in increasing the demand for educational research and in encouraging new funding for it.

The following have influenced the achievements of REDUC:

· The cooperative nature of the network. Each institution customizes its work according to its possibilities and interests through its own publications. Consistency is ensured through technical rules and the survival of national networks.

· The network links research institutions interested in documents, rather than specialized documentation centres, which means it can facilitate access to the results of research and its subsequent use.

· These organizations belong to all the categories discussed in this chapter: governments, universities, private centres, and international organizations.

The wide variety of tasks performed by the centres: from analytical summaries to state-of-the-art work; from publications on paper to magnetic disks; from meetings of researchers to national networks.

· The leadership and coordination, in terms of methodology development, personnel training, and the search for and administration of funding.

· The emphasis on the use of products and the continuous education of users.

· The recognition by centres that belonging to REDUC provides important institutional benefits, and the willingness of these centres to invest substantial resources in its operation.

· Its status as a regional institution, which qualifies it for regional funding from bilateral aid organizations. These funds are often easier to obtain than funds allocated to specific countries by the same organizations.

· The provision of cumulative indexes, by author and key word, for all the material collected and processed by REDUC, creating an indispensable foundation for a regional community of researchers.

· REDUC is both a data base and a network of institutions; therefore, it is a living organization at the regional level. The national networks just starting should copy this example at the local level.

REDUC's constraints include a lack of connection between demand and supply, the difficulty marketing its products, and an insecure financial arrangement with governments and international organizations.

International networks - In the discussion of management, the importance of academic and financial connections with the outside world was stressed. The wider and more active an institution's networks, the greater the likelihood of institutional development, especially if it aims to provide services outside the country. The academic and financial networks are closely linked in this case.

Latin American institutions must stay abreast of the knowledge produced in industrialized countries so that the region's products can command respect in the rest of the world. It is especially important to establish direct contact with researchers in industrialized countries, especially those working in the area of education and development. They are looking at problems that directly affect people in Latin America and generally have more access to resources to investigate them. Because these countries are richer in resources and are normally at the forefront of world knowledge production, our relationship with them is not equal. Educational research in Latin America will have achieved maturity when it is as capable as the North of generating the knowledge and innovation needed to solve common problems.

 

Conclusion

Experience has shown all the factors previously described to be critical to the development of educational research; however, it can be argued that the most important is management capacity, especially as it affects an institution's ability to stimulate and meet the demand for educational research. The more that management capacity is shared throughout the institution the better; without it research cannot be improved.

The second most important factor is the quality of research staff. This disparate group of professionals must continue to work together in a coordinated fashion to investigate the key problems facing education today. Only in this way will Latin America be able to meet its main challenge: the production of useful and specific educational research.