Over the last three decades, developing countries have been rapidly promoting the universalization of education with support from the international community. While significant progress has been made in universalizing access, especially at the primary level, quality education is not accessible to everyone, and expanding educational opportunities might further increase inequality. The current global education goal, which was adopted in 2015 as Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of the 2030 Agenda, has ambitiously shifted its focus to comprehensively addressing inequalities in access to quality education at all levels from pre-primary to tertiary.
This article aims to provide an overview of recent policy trends and previous studies on education and social inequalities that countries face in their efforts to universalize education. First, the article clarifies the difference between“equality”and“equity”as well as the definition of these concepts that are relevant in the SDGs era. Second, theoretical and empirical studies on the topic are reviewed, encompassing an in-depth critical discussion around the social stratification research in both developed and developing countries. Finally, it proposes a new direction for educational development studies in the era of SDGs.
The article highlights the importance of understanding inequalities in the process of universalizing education in the context of equity. While equality is defined as a neutral word to describe a specific situation, the term equity cannot be used without referring to the concept of fairness. In this sense, whether inequality is considered a problem would depend on the concept of“fairness”and whether society views a situation as fair or unfair, given the social and historical background of the inequality. To fully reflect the feature of SDG 4, this study suggests that educational development studies should explore the local population's perspectives on fairness and/or equity through case studies in developing countries.
This paper aims to understand the disparities in secondary schools in Thailand and their underlying factors. Data was obtained by tracing the basic education reform measures that have been taken over the last 20 years, and by conducting interviews with an official of the Basic Education Commission in the Ministry of Education, university students, and a graduate. The review of the National Test (ONET) scores indicates that the disparity of schools in urban and the rest is gradually shifting downwards from high school to junior high school. Results from the interviews with the university students highlight the decisiveness of human relationship; that is, a patron-client relationship, where, for Thai people, life and career seem to be determined from the moment of one's birth. Similarly, interviews with the Ministry official imply that there is a pessimistic feeling that this tendency will be strengthened particularly in the context of legitimization of education as welfare through the efforts made by the Equitable Education Fund. Parallelly, the Ministry enhances and promotes luxurious education programs for the few. However, the narration of the next generation of Thais (university students) on their actual experiences about the disparities of the secondary school, the traditional Thai values, and the influential human relationships, etc. gives new hope that the next generation will transform the Thai traditional society and its values by considering the common good in the context of universalization and the disparities of education. These findings confirm the existence and continuation of the disparities in secondary school reported by previous researchers (e.g. Funatsu 2003, Lathapipat 2018). One important discussion point is that the disparities of secondary schooling are deeply rooted in the hierarchical structure of the Thai society (Holmes et al. 1995=2000). Another point is that although Thailand is“the land of the free,”its freedom, equality and equity are different from those recalled in the review articles of this special issue.
The study analyzes how the disparities among the rural people in Bangladesh were improved after Education for All (EFA) policies in the 1990s, through a 20 years longitudinal study method.
The study employs an analytical framework of longitudinal data. Its first step consists in creating regional education monographs through fieldwork in 1999, 2009, and 2019 in Karamdi village situated near the Western border area of Bangladesh. Since the village is located in a remote rural area, the livelihoods of the villagers basically depend on agriculture or agricultural industries. The author has collected the household data by using the scheduled census survey which consists of 25 questions mainly focusing on the household's economy and the education of their children. The sample comprises 42 households. Second, the study analyzes educational transitions between 1999, 2009, and 2019 in the villagers based on a longitudinal and comparative analysis of each fixed-points of the village monograph. Particularly, the study focused on how the targeted poor households obtained fruitful results from educational development. More specifically, the study tries to confirm the existence of some children who successfully accessed further education or job with monthly income through the school education system.
According to the research result, the 40 children out of 54 in the sample households dropped out from school before completion, and while most of the boys have become farmers, most of the girls got married under the age of 20. Therefore, the study concludes that the impact of educational development in the remote rural setting is still limited. On the other hand, this study found two children who finished their studies were employed in monthly paid jobs earned through the school education system, despite being among the poor. Those cases can represent new role models for most of the other children in the village.
This study investigates the emergence of Low-fee Private School (LFPS) at the level of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE) in an urban informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia. Importantly, the study places an emphasis on the extent to which LFP preschools contribute to the poor children's access to ECCE, and its implications for the quality of the education and care that are available to them.
The field data was collected through the mixed-methods study of LFP institutions offering ECCE in an urban informal settlement of over 100,000 people called Mtendere in Lusaka. The study reveals the massive growth of LFP preschools and day care centers in the study area over the last 15 years, accounting for over 90% of all the ECCE centers in the area. The rise of LFP preschools is mainly driven by the parents' high demand for early English education and pre-mathematics to equip their children with “academic readiness” before entering primary. In addition, the critical absence of government provision of ECCE―there is only one public preschool in the entire areaalso contributes to the growth of LFP preschools. In such a situation, it is undeniable that LFP preschools contribute to the increased access of urban poor children to ECCE who would not have had the opportunity without such schools.
The field data suggests that the households predominantly prefer LFP preschools over the government counterpart, mainly because of their perception that the former offers better quality education than the latter. However, fees and various indirect costs charged by LFP preschools often prevent the poorest and the most vulnerable households from sending their children to their preferred choice or continuing to send their children to any LFP preschool at all. The study also reveals that there were very few disabled children enrolled in LFP preschools. Moreover, education offers at LFP preschools are highly academic oriented with predominantly English instruction, in contrast to the new curriculum which is play- and local language-based that are being practiced at the government preschool. Thus, the study argues that the premise of LFPS that the market competition can improve school quality is also questionable.
This paper examined the disparities in educational gap in primary schools in Malawi. The results showed that it was not possible to put together“vulnerable children”in the context of inclusive education. Even for girls with disabilities, the enrollment situation varies greatly depending on the place of residence, the type of disability, and the severity of the disability. It cannot be said that such natural facts have been fully considered in educational researches and educational policies in Africa.
It has been considered that children with disadvantaged socio-economic factors such as gender, place of residence, and disability would be marginalized compared with those without them. In other words, it is generally said that the more challenging factors children have, the more likely they are to be put in a disadvantageous situation. However, as shown in this study, it would be difficult to grasp the actual conditions of children's school attendance in developing countries with a simple structure which is comprised of the perspectives of gender, place of residence and disability.
In addition, the research results will provide practical implications for the international educational cooperation. For example, there is a belief that gender disparity will promote the improvement of girls' education, but actually, boys living in ordinary rural areas will be forced into difficult situations in Malawi. If we examine closely the“differences in education gaps,”we will end up with individual cases, and it would be ideal to suggest education policy that can meet the particular needs of each individual. However, in actual educational practice in developing countries, the best education policy is implemented with limited resources. Rather than prioritizing only the impressions and the apparent effects of aid, more detailed cooperation based on empirical analysis of the current situation is required.
This study aims at investigating how education policy responds to the expansion of the youth population in Madagascar and what issues are encountered in terms of disparity between rural and urban areas using policy documents and reports analysis as well as field research. The results of the study are reported in three parts. The first part deals with the enrollment progress at the primary and secondary school level and its implications. The second part focuses on educational equity considering private school, regional disparities, grade retention and dropout, education spending, teachers' status including gender and educational attainment. The third part discusses education policy and its outcomes by investigating the realities and issues in the rural area of Madagascar with the case of the Itasy Region using interviews on schooling, households, and the access to employment. The results showed that there is a large disparity in the situation of school attendance between urban and rural areas and the subsequent access to occupations. Once political stability is guaranteed, the challenges that await the current government is to ensure the educational opportunities at the secondary school by establishing new schools, training teachers, securing budget for teachers' salaries, and to disseminate teaching materials and education tools. As seen in the case of Itasy, there is no doubt that the completion rate will increase if these education opportunities are improved. Concerning the access to work, adding to the households' economic disparity, social capital has a great influence on school-to-work transition and policy measures are needed for the future. Assuring a more prosperous primary industry for workers and attracting secondary industries to local areas will allow a smoother transition from school to the labor market and slow down the migration to urban areas.
There is no doubt that conducting an appropriate curriculum revision is one of the important factors for improving the quality of education. Therefore, the appropriate curriculum revision is an urgent issue for every country to achieve. It is crucial to implement the revision by using accumulated knowledge and experience in their own country, which is called endogenous development of education (Baba, 2014). In this study, we tried to clarify the current situation and challenges of primary mathematics curriculum revision process in Mozambique from the perspective of educational borrowing model. In addition, we analysed it considering endogenous development of education. The study was conducted combining a review of the curriculum (Year 2004 and 2015) and the materials used in the curriculum revisions and interviews with working group members for 2015 curriculum revision. As a result, we found out mainly three things. First, even though referring to the world trends curriculum such as the results of The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) and competency-based curriculum, they did not simply take them unconditionally, but internalized them by conducting the assessment test and interviews with various stakeholders by the Ministry of Education. Second, the curriculum revision was proceeded based on the data accumulated for 10 years since the previous revision. Finally, the National Institute for Educational Development (INDE) has exhibited a strong initiative throughout the process of curriculum revision. Referring to the four stages of educational borrowing model, it can be said that the current stage is that the borrowed curriculum has been continuously revising and adapting to the circumstances of their country. Although this study is only a case study in Mozambique, the series of analysis provided in this study would be a reference to the studies on education borrowing and the endogenous development of education.
The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) is the first UN Peacekeeping Operation for Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) to have been dispatched abroad. This operation caused the expansion of the UN Peacekeeping quantitatively and qualitatively by achieving various large-scale activities, like helping to hold the constituent assembly election, the return of refugees, monitoring of human rights, and support for recovery and reconstruction. It is also described as one of the successful cases of“second-generation peacekeeping”.
Although such cases are often regarded as successful cases by the interveners, evaluations by the local community have been overlooked and also there is a lack of literature on the long-term impact of the activities of the JSDF to the local community. Given the perspective of the local community, we have to take into account the fact that large-scale troops built a basecamp and lived with them was a major social change.
In this paper, we reconsider the activities of the JSDF Engineer Battalion under the UNTAC from local people's perspectives and examine the impact of UNTAC on Cambodian society from a long-term perspective, including before and after the troops intervene. Focusing on the social interaction when the JSDF Engineer Battalion stayed, we clarify what changes have been taking place in local communities before JSDF coming, during their stay, and after their return to Japan. Through this historical/anthropological analysis, we reveal that two types of impact, which are a temporary and long-term effect of JSDF intervention to local society.
Firstly, we note the temporary impact on the community of the JSDF's establishment of a large-scale basecamp in rural areas, which created mutual exchanges with the local people and provided the opportunity for them to improve their lives. Secondly, the authors reveal that the handover the JSDF Engineer Battalion's basecamp to the Cambodian government caused land grab and that outsiders need to be aware of the unintended consequences caused by aid.
Arsenic contamination in groundwater was first reported in Bangladesh in 1993 and then in Nepal in 1999. The results of blanket tube well screening was that 29% and 1.7% of the tested wells were arsenic- contaminated in Bangladesh and Nepal, respectively. In Bangladesh, 97% of rural areas had appropriate levels of alternative water sources installed, whereas in Nepal, only 13.8% of arsenic-affected villagers had long-term alternative water sources. This discrepancy has several possible explanations. First, Bangladesh formulated an arsenic mitigation policy and implementation plan in 2004, but Nepal had no such policies even as of 2018. Second, the Government of Bangladesh installed long-term safe water facilities at an early stage of their arsenic mitigation activities. In contrast, while the Nepalese government distributed numerous arsenic removal filters for emergency purposes, most remained unused as of 2015. Third, the two countries differed in hydrogeological conditions, which influence methods of deep tube well drilling. Specifically, Nepal had a gravel layer between arsenic-contaminated aquifers and safe aquifers. This feature meant that Nepal required expensive track-mounted drilling rigs for deep tube well drilling. These rigs cost 20 times the cost of equipment used in Bangladesh, which installed hand pumps using inexpensive manual rotary drilling to generate approximately 400,000 deep tube wells with good usage status. The Government of Nepal should accelerate the formulation of policy and implementation plans that efficiently address long-term arsenic mitigation. The presence of detailed proposals will encourage foreign donors and NGOs to support arsenic mitigation in Nepal.
There has been some debate about how international volunteers share their experiences with society after their time volunteering. Previous studies on international volunteers have lacked qualitative research. This study focused on the experiences of former volunteers for the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) in the field of Physical Education (PE). The purpose of this study was to examine, based on qualitative research methods, how former PE volunteers reconciled and represented their own experiences to society.
A semi-structured interview was conducted with 12 former PE volunteers. Modified Grounded Theory Approach (M-GTA) was used for analysis.
As a result, the following three points became clear:
1) It was found that after their return, former PE volunteers shared their encounters with the people around them by speaking to them about what they had experienced. As a result, there is a high possibility that people around them gained interest in international cooperation and development.
2) Former PE volunteers seemed to brighten the atmosphere of the workplace. Although some may have had diplomatic or cooperative natures prior to volunteering, their positivity and increased tolerance may have improved their relationships with colleagues.
3) It became clear that former PE volunteers reflected the skills and knowledge gained through volunteer experiences in their current work. On the other hand, there were few former PE volunteers who had used the skills and knowledge of PE gained through volunteer experience.
The numbers and selection of subjects in this study were limited. In future studies, further development is expected due to comparison with various additional perspectives.