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Economics and Political Economy Economists have never been wholly satisfied with or agreed on a definition of their subject. However, consider this suggested.

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Presentation on theme: "Economics and Political Economy Economists have never been wholly satisfied with or agreed on a definition of their subject. However, consider this suggested."— Presentation transcript:

1 Economics and Political Economy Economists have never been wholly satisfied with or agreed on a definition of their subject. However, consider this suggested by the distinguished British economist Lionel Robbins. Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.

2 Economics and Political Economy Political economy in my vocabulary is not scientific economics, a collection of value free generalizations about the way in which economic systems work. It is a discussion of public policy in the economic field. And while it makes appeal to the findings of economic science, it also involves assumptions which are essentially normative in character. It consists of prescription rather than description.

3 Economics and Political Economy Although, since it is concerned with practice, its recommendations make use of what aspires to be a scientific examination of the results of action rather than wishful thinking regardless of consequences. Lord Robbins, Political Economy: Past and Present, Macmillan, London, 1976.

4 The Political Economy of Education By way of example, I offer a short report on a problem in the political economy of education undertaken by the UNESCO Chair at the University of Nottingham. Globalization has brought with it renewed concern about the emigration of skilled labour from developing countries. Initially, the term brain drain was applied to the movement of scientists and technicians. More recently, the emphasis has been on skilled workers defined more broadly and including those in the social sectors, such as health workers and teachers.

5 Should Teachers Stay at Home? A study commissioned by the UK Department for International Development following debates at the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference, Edinburgh, The concern, expressed chiefly by South Africa and by Jamaica, was about the impact of organized international teacher recruitment on local education systems. It led to a Commonwealth Protocol on Teacher Recruitment in 2004, which included a recommendation for further research.

6 The Research Investigated and analysed the experiences of four Commonwealth countries – two receiving countries, the United Kingdom and Botswana, and two sending countries, Jamaica and South Africa – in teacher recruitment and retention. It aimed to identify the extent of international migration of teachers, the push and pull factors for migration and the consequences for developing countries.

7 Partner Institutions University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica University of Botswana, Gaberone, Botswana. Commonwealth Secretariat, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London Teacher trade unions in the countries under review.

8 Data Collection The research was constrained both by budgetary limitations and by a limited time-frame for completion of two years. Different kinds of data were collected, much gathered during visits to around twenty schools in each of the four countries. In each school visited, questionnaires were administered to head teachers, native teachers and expatriate teachers The intention was partly to provide a qualitative assessment of the impact of international teacher mobility, so we compared schools which had been affected by such movements with control schools that had not.

9 Data Collection The fieldwork was not nationally representative, but limited to particular geographic regions specifically the area around Gaborone (Botswana), Kingston (Jamaica), London and Birmingham (England) and Pietermaritzburg (South Africa). A mixture of schools was sampledrural and urban, secondary and primary, government and private. Other criteria for selection were country specificfor example, in South Africa, the racial composition and history of schools are an important source of differentiation and so was used in the selection of schools.

10 Research Findings We found evidence of significant international mobility of teachers in all four countries. A third of trainee teachers in Jamaica intended to migrate, as did a quarter in South Africa. Around a half or more of all teachers in each country were interested in working abroad. However, there were indications that much of the international recruitment was a transitional response to disequilibria in the market for local teachers.

11 Research Findings International teacher mobility is driven primarily by the prospect of income gainson average, teachers from developing countries can double their real income by teaching in England. These large income gainsover a fifth of which are remitted or savedprovide the prima facie case for a liberal view towards migration. They dwarf the fiscal cost to the government from having to train replacement teachers. Indeed, these training costs are probably in large part covered by taxes paid on repatriated income gains.

12 Research Findings A key issue is the impact of international teacher recruitment on the educational systems in developing countries. In Jamaica and South Africa, we found no evidence of serious adverse impacts. Migrant teachers were replaced without serious adverse educational impacts. It is possible that there are knock-on effects on more disadvantaged schools, but again we found no evidence of this.

13 Conclusions Teacher recruitment and mobility have had a largely positive effect – despite some negative aspects for sending countries – on poverty and international development, mainly due to teachers sending money home and returning home with savings. International recruitment of teachers does present challenges to sending countries. However, it is not the main reason for teacher shortages in some developing countries. Primarily, other internal issues need to be addressed.

14 Policy Recommendations Governments need to manage teacher shortages. While compensation is not recommended, receiving countries could provide assistance to sending countries via their aid budget, for instance by funding teacher exchanges. Sending and receiving countries could develop a formal agreement to manage the process of teacher migration. Sending country governments could allow teachers to take unpaid leave to teach abroad. Governments that subsidise teacher training could consider increasing cost sharing or making subsidies conditional on teachers working in a state school for a set period.

15 For Discussion Is international teacher mobility a positive or a negative phenomenon? Should it be regulated and if so how? Should source countries be compensated and if so how? Should teachers stay at home?

16 Journal Articles Should teachers stay at home? The impact of international teacher mobility' (with S. Appleton and A. Sives). Journal of International Development, Vol.18, No. 6, 2006, pp Teacher migration from Jamaica: Assessing the short-term impact, (with A. Sives and S. Appleton), Caribbean Journal of Education, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2006, pp The impact of international teacher migration on schooling in developing countries: The case of southern Africa' (with S. Appleton and A. Sives), Globalization, Societies and Education, Vol.4, No. 1, March 2006, pp

17 Journal Articles Teachers as community leaders: The potential impact of teacher migration on Education for All and Millennium Development Goals. (with A. Sives and S. Appleton), International Journal of Adult and Lifelong Education, Vol. 3, No.1, 2005, pp Managing the international recruitment of health workers and of teachers: Do the Commonwealth Agreements provide an answer? (with A. Sives and S. Appleton), The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 94, No. 379, April 2005, pp

18 The Report Morgan, W. J., Sives, A. and Appleton, S., 2006, Teacher mobility, brain drain and educational resources in the Commonwealth, Researching the Issues, DfID, London, Research Monograph, xvii and 218p. PdF copy available from DfID website.

19 Political Economy and Education Consider again the Robbins quotation with which we began: It is a discussion of public policy in the economic field… essentially normative in character… It consists of prescription rather than description. The research that I have described was commissioned for policy reasons and ended with policy recommendations.

20 Political Economy and Education In that sense, it fits with Robbins definition as an example of the political economy of education in that it was guided by economic knowledge and concepts. This type of research in education should be seen as contributing to our knowledge and understanding of education policy as a necessary part of public policy analysis.

21 Political Economy and Education The two other papers considered today have similarities to this approach. The paper on Strategies for Investment in adult lifelong learning might in fact be taken as another clear example of the political economy of education. It is clearly normative in approach. The paper on School tracking and inter- generational income mobility is much more positivist in method and content, but again provides scientific evidence that could be used in a political economy analysis.

22 Political Economy and Education There are many non-economic explanations for the importance of education to individuals and to the societies to which they belong, including the global society. These are not denied by a political economy approach. Indeed, they are part of it. For example: Education for social cohesion. However, each of these, such as the example I have given, also has an economic dimension.

23 Political Economy and Education Making the connections between the two in the interest of effective public policy is crucial in a knowledge-based economy and in a learning society. The political economy of education contributes to public policy analysis both generally, and in its focus on power relations in educational policy making, in the allocation of both public and private educational investment, and in the social distribution of educational benefits.

24 Suggested Reading M. Carnoy, The Political Economy of Education, International Social Science Journal, Vol.37, No. 2, 1985, pp D. Rooney, et al, 2003, Public Policy in Knowledge-Based Economies, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, Mass. M. Gradstein, et al, 2004, The Political Economy of Education: Implications for growth and inequality, MIT Press, Mass.

25 Thank You ! W. John Morgan UNESCO Chair and Centre for Comparative Education Research, School of Education, University of Nottingham, U.K.


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