Structures, history and hope: A case study of mechanisms that maintain advantage in education
International partners must always realise that local education systems interact with local social environments. Local perspectives are active agents in shaping the effectiveness of educational change. Underlying cultural, symbolic and social structures set the elastic limits of change and impact the formulation and implementation of policy arrangements. This paper evaluates the results of educational reforms in Samoa aimed at changing the patterns of advantage in the education system. It examines the social and political environment in which the reform package was developed and implemented focusing on the dispositions of different social actors. It analyses the lack of change in the patterns of advantage. It argues that underlying social assumptions meant key change options were not included in the package resulting in the reproduction of the structure of inequity. Formulating effective educational change strategies requires the partners to link technical developments to change in the replication of social and symbolic environments.
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