Putting Policy into Practice: Is the Hubris of the Change Agent the Nemesis of the Implementers?

By Freddy James.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A concomitant of globalization is the regularization of education within a global framework. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO) ‘Education for All’ (EFA) is one initiative to regularize education standards globally. This initiative to ensure access to and equality of education for all globally is commendable. However, there are concerns about its implementation in individual nations, given the cultural and contextual issues surrounding implementation of educational change, (Fullan 1991).

This case, examines the issues around implementation of the EFA program in the ‘Success Secondary School’ in Trinidad and Tobago, which is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious developing country. The study found that:
• Stakeholders felt a need for change and improvement.
• Resources, both human and physical were inadequate to support and manage the change.
• The ‘Action Plan’ was ineffectual because it worked against rather than with the existing culture and contextual factors within the country.
• The plethora of policy changes, made implementation problematic.
• The initiatives themselves are good.
• Proper prior planning at all levels of the change process was non-existent.
• Initiation of EFA was politically expedient.
Finally, the conclusion was that in this instance, ‘the hubris of the change agent was the nemesis of the implementers.’

Keywords: Education for All, School Improvement, Education Policy, Educational Change, Implementation, Culture, Context, Trinidad and Tobago, Resources

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.69-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 590.969KB).

Freddy James

Warwick Postgraduate Research Fellow, Warwick Institute of Education (WIE), University of Warwick, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK

I am a full-time PhD student at the University of Warwick Institute of Education, conducting research into school improvement in Trinidad and Tobago under the supervision of Professor Alma Harris. I am particularly interested in the impact of educational policy and practice on the improvement of student outcomes and organizational conditions at secondary schools within the Caribbean region. There is a focus on this region, largely because it has not yet entered into the international school improvement discourse. Further, economic drivers both globally and regionally, have engendered widespread school improvement policy initiatives within the education system. It is interesting to assess whether these initiatives are workable, especially as they tend to be adopted from international models. My work examines school improvement initiatives within Trinidad and Tobago and evaluates how these initiatives relate to international school improvement theory on what works and finally, proposes a framework of what works in school improvement in Trinidad and Tobago.


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