Department of Educational Policy Studies

EDPS 523

Education and Development Theory

Instructor: Dr. Jerrold Kachur
Email: jkachur@ualberta.ca

Time: Mondays 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Dates: January 8– April 13, 2018

Course Objectives: 

This course surveys the major currents in development theory and clarifies the various assumptions that explain the relationship between education and society from an international and global perspective. These disputes concern the relationship of education to the societal reproduction and transformation process of the developing countries, in conjunction with the international factors that influence these processes in Asia, Latin America, Russia, and Africa as well as marginalized and exploited peoples in North America and Europe. Educational policies and practices are analyzed from a variety of perspectives: theories of growth, human development, modernization, structuralism, dependency, modes of production, civil society (alternative development), post-development, post-colonial development, and reflexive development. Furthermore, the course focuses on the relationship between economic development and political and cultural development. Thus, topics also deal with important influences on education such as transnational corporations, environmental sustainability, state-building, market mechanisms, social movements, ethnic and gender identities, nationalist conflicts, and democratic participation. By the end of the course students should be familiar with the major development theories and key theorists in the development literature and should have completed an in-depth study of a specialized topic of their own choosing.

Course Format:

There is a crisis in development research related to controversies about what "development" means and what the best strategies are to achieve it. One purpose of this course is to identify the relevancy of classical and contemporary theories for studies of education and to link them to each student’s ongoing research interests. The course also evaluates the weaknesses and strengths of the theories in an exploration of the actual problems and opportunities experienced by peripheral countries, peoples, and societies around the globe. Key questions form the basis of discussion. For example, what is “development”? Does the so-called "Third World" or “The West” exist? How do “developing,” “periphery” or “global South” countries change according to development theories? What conditions are crucial for the kinds of progressive change and transformation that might be called "development"? What explanations do the theories offer for development, mal-development, or under-development? How do the theories consider internal differentiation within individual societies? What educational practices and strategies are assumed and suggested by the various theories?

Course Dynamic:

Developing a comprehensive and sophisticated mind-map of the many explanations of development is not an easy task but, nevertheless, it is necessary for quality research and requires an on-going and scholarly commitment to revisit again and again the underlying “development” assumptions of the explanations that inform educational research, practice, and strategy. Furthermore, the course is organized to build on the student’s everyday knowledge and research interests. The course attempts to clarify our understanding and knowledge in light of various concepts, theories, and strategies concerning educational practice and social development. It is based on a comprehensive set of readings, an extensive discussion of sources, and, if possible, a few guest presentations of interest. The course offers latitude for students to explore, if they wish, the practical application of theories of development to an area of specialization and interest. This common goal must be balanced with the recognition of our different experiences and perspectives.