Education, poverty and development

Education, poverty and development

International Journal of Educational Development 32 (2012) 493 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect International Journal of Education...

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International Journal of Educational Development 32 (2012) 493

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

International Journal of Educational Development journal homepage:


Education, poverty and development

This issue of IJED comes in two parts. First, we have a special theme of six papers, plus an extended introduction by Mark Mason, our Asia-Pacific Regional Editor, which looks at education, policy and poverty reduction. This is followed by set of open issue papers. However, it is clear that these papers too reflect many of the debates and challenges identified by Mason and his colleagues, and thus the two parts are strongly complementary. In a suite of four predominantly quantitative papers, Yi et al. confront issues of inequities in school retention in Western China, finding that the high overall drop out rates in junior high school are particularly concentrated amongst students that are older, from poorer families or are performing more poor academically. Barakat critiques the rising attention given to ‘‘school life expectancy’’ as a key educational performance indicator. He notes how a measure of the sum of age-specific enrolment rates has become attractive due to its ease of calculation and that this measure has recently become part of the influential composite Human Development Index (HDI). However, he cautions that the current approach to measure school life expectancy is actually quite problematic as a basis for policy conclusions or evaluation. Meade looks at uneven primary school attainment in Guatemala and shows how this unevenness is correlated with attending a rural school, attending a high poverty school, and attending a school in a high poverty department. Going further, he suggests that this is explained by the ways in which quality is impeded by inadequate resources, technical capacity and weak systems of teacher monitoring and support, issues which tend to be more pronounced in the country’s poorer areas. Mohapatra and Luckert consider educational returns in India. They argue that returns to education are too frequently reported internationally in terms of national averages that hide key

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inequalities. Through examining returns by educational level and gender, they point to important inequalities. Most significantly, they suggest that women face greater uncertainty than men and conclude that this uncertainty in educational returns can foster gender biases in micro-level decisions regarding educating children. As was noted above, these four papers complement key issues from the special theme. One such complementarity lies in their powerful use of quantitative methodologies to explore issues of educational inequality. Together they also reiterate the importance of looking across issues of retention, achievement and wider outcomes of education in order to understand issues of participation. Such debates are particularly pertinent as international policy discussions move into a phase of considering what comes after the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All targets. The final two papers in this issue take very different methodological approaches but also address important issues in the relationships between education and development. First, Menefee and Nordtveit explore a case study of the role of NGOs and civil society responding educationally to a major earthquake in China. Second, de Block considers the role of audience response to a children’s soap opera in Kenya. She argues that it is the construction of a dialogue with the audience that is vital if such programmes are to have an educational and developmental effect, rather than the transmission of information. She develops this argument into a wider account of communication for social change. Simon McGrath University of Nottingham E-mail address: [email protected] (S. McGrath)