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Across the globe, millions of people have been displaced from their homes. How does the international community respond to this humanitarian crisis? What is the role of education?

My guest today is Sarah Dryden-Peterson. She leads a research program that focuses on the connections between education and community development, specifically the role that education plays in building peaceful and participatory societies, particularly in conflict and post-conflict settings. She is concerned with the interplay between local experiences of children, families, and teachers and the development and implementation of national and international policy.

Sarah has recently written an article entitled “Refugee education: Education for an unknowable future” in a special issue of the journal Curriculum Inquiry that rethinks refugee education

Sarah Dryden-Peterson is an Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

She taught middle school in Boston, founded non-profits in South Africa and Uganda, and has two school-aged children.

Citation: Dryden-Peterson, Sarah, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 94, podcast audio, November 6, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/sarahdrydenpeterson/

Will Brehm  2:07
Sarah Dryden Peterson, welcome to FreshEd.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  2:09
Thanks so much Will. Thanks for having me.

Will Brehm  2:11
So can you describe the the current state of refugees around the world right now?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  2:17
Of course. We hear this word a lot these days – “refugee”. And just before we started, I wanted to say a little word about this word. Some of the people I work with really embrace the term refugee and some reject it. And I think as with all labels, it really depends on how we use it, how it’s co-opted, or in many cases, employed to really disempower and exclude people. When I use the term refugee, I’m really using it with the intent of harkening back to this core idea of seeking refuge and sanctuary and belonging. We know that the number of refugees globally right now is at the highest level in recorded history. In 2016, there were total of 22 and a half million people living as refugees worldwide. And in 2016, 3.4 million of those individuals were newly displaced to become refugees. So we also see an increase in the number of people becoming refugees.

At the same time, many people have lived as refugees in exile for many years, even many decades. For example, from conflicts in Afghanistan, or Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia. I also think another really important dimension of thinking about the current state of refugees worldwide is that 84% of refugees live in exile in countries that neighbor their conflict-affected countries of origin. So for example, in 2016, more than 1.4 million primarily Afghan refugees lived in Pakistan, and almost a million in Iran. We know that almost 3 million primarily Syrian refugees were living in Turkey, and a million in Lebanon, and almost a million primarily South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda and in Ethiopia. So while our media in North America and Europe can often have us believe that the refugee crisis is something that is happening where we are in North America and Europe, the reality is that most refugees live very close to their country of origin, and often in host countries that are already overstretched in terms of providing education to citizens within those countries.

Will Brehm  4:51
Okay, so there are more people at any time in history seeking refuge. Most of the people, the vast majority of these people are in neighboring countries from where they are from, and you’re saying that people are being displaced for decades?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  5:09
That’s right. In fact, the average length of exile is 17 years. And when we think about this, it really is the whole span of a child’s education. So whereas most individual refugees and families believe that they will quickly return to their country of origin, and hope that that’s the case, the reality is that most people will be displaced for many years. And the uncertainty of that really affects the way we think about the situation of refugees, including how refugees are educated.

Will Brehm  5:49
Right. And so there must be refugees that when they are seeking refuge in neighboring countries are also having families and they have to settle into a particular life. I mean 17 years is a huge amount of time.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  6:09
That’s right. Many of the refugees, students and families that we have worked with in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, for example, were born in Dadaab. And so the kinds of rhetoric around refugees going home, in reality for many young people, a return to their parents’ country of origin is a return to a place that they have never known.

Will Brehm  6:40
And is home a refugee camp, or are they living in, you know, the cities and other places in these neighboring countries?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  6:52
So, both. There continue to be refugee camps, but more than half of refugees live in urban areas. And in many ways, this depends on the country of exile. There are some countries that have policies that refugees must live in camp settings, but in many places, refugees are living in urban areas, amid national populations, and seeking access to the kinds of livelihoods that they had in their countries of origin. And I think this reflects also the urbanization globally, so that many refugees are coming from cities and are going to cities as well in order to attempt to build their lives. And I think this comes back to the point that we were talking about before that if exile is to be protracted, then it really is about building a life in the place where one is living, and that includes being able to practice the kinds of occupations that people had before they fled into exile, and being able to create the conditions in which they can educate their children and build toward a future much as that is uncertain.

Will Brehm  8:16
So the UN has a body that works on, or tries to help refugees. What sort of solutions are they proposing for this massive issue, as you’ve explained?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  8:30
The UNHCR education strategy that began in 2012, and which I was involved with the drafting of, emphasized integrating refugees’ into national education systems, and this was a real shift from refugees being educated mostly in parallel systems. This integration really envisioned a pathway to the future that responded to the very lengthy exile that most refugees experiences. The policy has put in place some important structures like the recognition of refugee children and young people within the national education space. Before the strategy was started, UNHCR had no formal relationships with national authorities in education in refugee hosting countries. By 2015, there were relationships but in 20 of the 25 largest refugee hosting states. So this kind of formality and recognition that refugees are here and need to be considered in terms of what goes on with education in the nation state. Now that this policy is in place, we are turning our attention to the ways in which refugee children and young people experience that policy.

One of the most important questions I think, in refugee education that relates to how we think about global bodies working on these issues, is trying to imagine what kinds of futures refugees are preparing for, given this kind of uncertainty that we’ve talked about. So the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is UNHCR, the global body that you mentioned, has the mandate to provide assistance to refugees and to ensure their protection in exile, and UNHCR outlines three possible, what are called “durable solutions” for refugees; this idea of a situation that could signal an end to the kind of persecution that led to flight in the first place. One durable solution is resettlement to a distant country. So in the article we see Bauma Benjamin at the end being resettled to Canada from Uganda, his country of origin being Democratic Republic of Congo. This resettlement option is really only accessible to less than 1% of refugees globally, but it is one possible durable solution that way. A second durable solution being a return to the country of origin. And a third possible durable solution being long-term integration in the host country. And one of the things that that I have been focusing on is how these possible pathways to the future or durable solutions really play out in terms of refugee education. These three pathways in many ways are geographically bounded, so they focus on which nation state the future will be situated in.

What we find is that this approach that really focuses on the nation state doesn’t always reflect the transnational ways in which refugees are seeking educational opportunities, seeking economic opportunities, and seeking social opportunities. So in our work we’ve really been conceptualizing four pathways to the future, the three durable solutions that UNHCR outlines and a transnational pathway to the future. And as we think about what these pathways to the future really mean for a refugee child, or a young person trying to create their life, we think about resettlement. This is a process where a refugee would leave one country of exile, having received asylum in that country, and then move to a more distant country, which is, in the case of resettlement, usually a country with a high gross national income per capita. So it’s usually countries in North America or in Europe. And this resettlement process comes with a kind of certainty that the other pathways to the future really don’t. And in particular, it comes with a pathway to citizenship that is not available for most refugees globally. So in many ways, refugees will often perceive resettlement as the kind of ultimate future, especially in terms of educational possibilities for their children. But as I mentioned, less than 1% of refugees are able to access resettlement. So another possible pathway to the future that is connected to the kind of solutions you mentioned, is to prepare young people for a return to the country of origin. And historically, the purpose of refugee education has been aligned with this pathway to the future. So thinking about educating refugees, so that they would be prepared to return to their country of origin after a time in exile. But I think what is critical about the situation we find ourselves in currently is that return to a country of origin is increasingly unlikely, especially in the short term. So if we know that the length of exile is protracted, it means that we need to think differently about what education looks like in terms of pursuing this pathway to an eventual return, not an immediate return.

Sometimes education that imagines this future as a return to the country of origin could in fact, place young people and children at a disadvantage by barring opportunities in the country of exile, a place where they may be for an extended amount of time. So lack of ability to communicate in the language in the country of exile, or lack of understanding about the ways in which systems and structures work in that country, in order to pursue various kinds of opportunities. On the other hand, we often find that refugee children and families are seeking a real connection to their country of origin, even if they are displaced for an extended amount of time to provide some kind of educational continuity with their previous experiences, and also to stay connected through cultural and community linkages that way.

A third possible pathway to the future is this kind of transnational situation that I mentioned. And I think unlike durable solutions that are premised on migrations stopping, this pathway really centers on opportunities that could be created by continuous migration, which is often prompted by refugees’ searches for long-term and stable opportunities. And we see increasingly in conversations with refugee children and young people that they are imagining and planning for a transnational life, even if they don’t know exactly what that would look like. This idea of a transnational pathway, in some ways, can allow a middle ground of individuals being able to continue their attachment to their home community and country of origin, even when they’re displaced in a country of exile. So indicating the need to maintain language and culture of the country of origin through education that could allow individuals to return, but leaving open other possibilities for a transnational life. What we see as particularly challenging is that while in their envisionings, refugee children and young people may seek this kind of transnational pathway, in many situations, there are clear restrictions that bar refugees from moving from one place to another, or even within a country of exile, barred from work, from civil and political participation. So being able to imagine in the abstract a situation in which opportunities could be pursued in multiple places but in fact, instead coming up with bars to that participation in all directions.

Will Brehm  17:19
And literal bars, right? I mean, in some of these refugee camps, for instance, there are fences and bars. I’m thinking of, for instance, Manus Island, which is where Australia is basically putting all of the people seeking refuge into their country, and there’s literal bars around these camps where the refugees have to live. And so, you know, I would imagine that imagining a transnational future would be rather challenging.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  17:52
That’s right. In many places around the world, we see refugees physically barred from entering into a national space, or a transnational space. And in reality, having the clear message that their future is nowhere. For refugee education, I think that there is also a way in which we see these bars being erected somewhat more invisibly, but perhaps just as importantly. So the strategy of integrating refugees into national education systems has been a clear priority from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since the 2012 – 2016 Education Strategy. And what we see globally is the strategy being applied in different country contexts. So as wherein 2011, there were very few countries in which refugees could go to a national school, we now see the UNHCR having clear relationships with ministries of education in most of the nation states that are hosting refugees, and refugees having some type of integration to a national system. So I just like to give some examples of that before going into what I think are some of the bars that refugees face, even if they’re not literal bars.
So in research that we have been doing over the past several years, we really see three types of integration of refugees into national schools. The first is, in fact, no integration; in situations where refugees are not permitted to attend schools that nationals attend, and where we see refugees having a kind of parallel education. So this is the case in Bangladesh, for example, and in Malaysia, where there are schools that are set up for refugees, but only for refugees. And in most cases, focused on imagining a pathway to the future that either is a return to the country of origin, or a pathway towards a life outside of that country of exile. In situations where we do see refugees and nationals both in national schools, that’s really split also. So in some countries, we see refugees integrated to a national system. So following the same national curriculum in the national language of instruction, with access to the same exams that national students would write at the end of primary school and secondary school, but separated from nationals in terms of whether they actually see each other in the same classroom. And we see this separation being geographic in cases where there are refugee camps. So in Kenya, for example, that refugees are following the Kenyan curriculum in English and Kiswahili, taking primary and secondary school leaving exams, but they are isolated for the most part in camp settings, where there are only refugees in the schools. So we see that geographic separation despite the integration to the system. We also in some cases, see temporal segregation of refugees, of separation of refugees, even despite the integration to the system. So in Lebanon, for example, there are two shifts where refugees attend an afternoon shift, and nationals attend a morning shift. So they are following the same curriculum, usually with the same teachers, in the same language with the same access to a process of examination, but they’re not physically together in class. And then the third model of integration is where refugees and nationals are physically together in schools. So we see this often in urban areas in places like Uganda and Ethiopia, as well as in a place like Egypt, where Syrians are studying together with Egyptian nationals following the same curriculum with the same teachers.

And through this integration to the national system, I think has made visible some of the bars that refugees face that are not the physical bars. So we see refugees accessing a national system of education, following the national curriculum, sitting in some cases, side by side with national students, but not having the same kinds of opportunities outside of the school structure. So by that I mean that refugee students will graduate from primary school or secondary school, and then not have the right to work, or not have the right to participate in the community, or not have a kind of permanence in that country of exile that would allow them to invest in starting a business or in creating that kind of livelihood. So I think that, while the inclusion of refugees in national systems is an incredibly important message that tries to tear down some of those bars that we see globally, there’s also the kinds of bars that are erected through an experience that promises a kind of belonging and inclusion, but then a society in which refugees are struggling to be able to pursue the kinds of opportunities that they’re seeking.

Will Brehm  24:03
So in this second model of integration, where it’s integrated, but it’s separated either geographically or temporarily, why? Why is there a separation? I mean, is it just simply practical reasons like they’re geographically far away, or is there other underlying issues at play as well?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  24:28
I think that there are three real reasons for thinking about integration of refugees into national schools. And then that these models of separation kind of play into that. So the first is that integration of refugees into a national education system can increase access to formal schooling. And this connects clearly to the global commitment to universal education, with the Education For All declaration, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Sustainable Development Goals. And thinking about already existing education systems, which refugees can access, because they would be less likely to face the common barriers of lack of access to school buildings, or limited number of teachers, or a high per child cost that have been addressed through systems. That would not be the case of parallel schools were set up for refugees. I think the second rationale for this integration is to increase the quality of refugee education, which is also a clear global goal. And the focus on quality, both for refugees and for nationals, I think really reflects this notion that the pathway to the future – be that economic, political, social – is really connected to the kinds of skills and capacities that children can learn and apply then no matter where that future would be. So the rationale then would be that refugee education could be of higher quality within a national system, because there is an existing curriculum that can be followed, that there are trained teachers, and that there’s a possibility of certification. Of some way of recognizing that education has been completed, and that can be used as a signal to further education or employment.

However, I think the challenge is that the quality of education within a national system can be low, as is the case in many refugee hosting countries. And so for example, if we take the case of Lebanon, less than 20% of Lebanese nationals access public schools in Lebanon. The real push in Lebanon is to include refugees within the national education system, within public schools. And there are really clear reasons to think about how this could increase access to education for refugees; could provide some kind of stable continuity during a protracted exile;  could provide access to certification. And then there are real challenges related to the quality of education in an already existing system, let alone with an influx that has increased the population in schools serving refugees, sometimes by more than half. And this is not a challenge that’s unique to refugee education. And I think this is where it’s useful to reframe our thinking about refugee education as not just about a particular population, but really as about making visible the kinds of challenges that marginalized national populations are experiencing as well. And the the third kind of rationale for integrating refugees into national schools is that it might be enable a kind of belonging in the society of long-term exile, a feeling of security or connection, and freedom from discrimination. But these models of integration that are really premised on a separation – what we find in Kenya, for example, is that students feel that connection to a national system, and the kind of promise of trained teachers and sitting for national exams, that then is in tension with their experience of being isolated in overcrowded classrooms, in places where there are no economic opportunities and so they can’t see their education leading into that. And so on the one hand, this promise of belonging and long-term certainty through education. And on the other hand, this tension of an experience that actually sends a message of isolation and exclusion.

Will Brehm  29:03
So one of the things that I love about your work is that you’re able to bring together these larger system, structural issues of refugees and refugee education, but you also bring these issues to life by kind of in-depth looks at at individuals, and what they had to go through, and one of the people we meet in your work is named Bauma Benjamin, and what was his sort of pathways to the future, right? How did he imagine education working for his imagined future?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  29:38
One of the ways in which I think that my work has shifted over time, and in some ways mirroring the ways in which I hope that thinking about refugee education is understanding long-term trajectories of individuals who are living in conflict settings. I feel like too often we’re focused on one moment in time, and are not able to see this longer term trajectory. So you you mentioned here Bauma Benjamin, who I write about in this article, and really focus on because I think that his experience shed light on some of the bigger structural issues that we’ve just been talking about. Bauma was born in Democratic Republic of Congo. He did his teacher training in the DRC. But he was arrested for his human rights work. And he fled to Uganda, where he felt like there was no possibility to continue the kind of trajectory that he had been building as a teacher, as a husband, as an about-to-be-father. When he got to Uganda, he was sent to live in a refugee camp that was in an isolated area of the country where the theory of how refugees could subsist in this area was that they could grow their own food and create a subsistence life. He had never farmed before. So he was given a hoe and a piece of land to grow his own food, but he had no experience with that. So he and his wife and their young child decided to move from the camp setting to the city in order to pursue his livelihood and what he describes as his real passion of teaching.

And what he found when he got to Kampala was that there were thousands of refugee children who did not have the ability to go to school. And when he had been trained as a teacher in Democratic Republic of Congo, he had understood and really come to live this philosophy of: if you arrive in the middle of a forest and all you have are trees and children, then it is your job to figure out a way to teach those children. And this kind of metaphor made sense in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where there were vast forests. When he got to to Kampala, he described the city as his forest in that way. But these thousands of children who were unable to go to school, and it was his responsibility to figure out how they could get an education. I remember one day asking him, “What’s your goal for this school?” And he wrote down on a piece of paper, “Ensure for our children a basic education to prepare them for their future lives.” And I’ve kept that piece of paper that he wrote on, and I think that this in some ways, this goal was a way for him to both look back to his own trajectory and look forward to his own children and his students’ trajectories. And the way that he thought about preparing them for their future lives was really in thinking about the role that he could play as their teacher.

And Bauma had this school in many different spaces. It was originally in someone’s home, so the school couldn’t start until everybody was up and out of the house. And then it was in the space of a church and then within a national Ugandan school, but every day as the children came to this school, no matter where it was, Bauma would look at them and think about the kind of future that he saw they might inherit if he didn’t help them to think about how to create home and how to really cultivate the ways in which they might disrupt the exclusion that they were experiencing as refugees in Uganda. Every day, the students would come to school and and tell him and tell me as a researcher in this situation, that they were called names that their parents couldn’t find jobs that they had tried to go to Uganda national schools, but we’re not able to access them, and in many ways, telling us stories about how they couldn’t even imagine how to create their futures. A few of the ways in which Bauma acted as their teacher to work on helping them to imagine their futures was first to call every student by their name. And this may seem like a really simple small element, but children who were called names that were not their own – and not nice names – in the street, or who were not able to be recognized for who they were, in terms of their identity, culturally, socially, linguistically, in a new place. Being called by their name was filled with meaning. He also taught them both about peace, but also about war. And what we often see in refugee education is an avoidance of some of the really contentious issues because there is no easy resolution, and there may be many conflicting sides to a particular conflict of kids and families within one school. But what Bauma saw was that these children who would come to his school every day, were thinking about war, because they had experienced it. And they were thinking about what their identities were, and what the power structures around them were. And that avoidance of those topics was, in fact, teaching them that they had no power to act within them. And so Bauma felt it his responsibility to help the children think through those issues, even if they caused contentious situations within the classroom, to work through them.

He also included poor Ugandans, who at that time did not have access to primary school, in the school that he had started for refugees. And in that way, created a community where refugees and nationals who were both excluded in different ways could come together to build a learning community. And in many ways, it was that community of learning and a community of belonging that Bauma sought to create and was able to create, and really show to the children and families that they didn’t have to live this life of uncertainty, but could in fact, build a home and a future right there in that moment. And I think what was important about the work that he did was that it wasn’t blind to the kinds of structural barriers that the refugee children and families would continue to face. It wasn’t blind to the fact that most would not have the opportunity to work even if they graduated from school. And so trying to think through with them how they could create new opportunities, and imagine what role they might play in trying to address some of the exclusion rather than isolating themselves from it. And as we think about education, this idea of an unknowable future shapes the way that we can think about and understand the quality of the options available. I think the reality is that every day policymakers, teachers and kids need to make decisions about the curriculum that refugees will follow, the language in which they’ll be taught, the kind of certification that they will receive, and the types of schools that in the end can prepare them for the uncertainty. For work, for life in both the present and the future, as unknowable as that future might be.

Will Brehm  38:14
Well, Sarah Dryden Peterson, thank you so much for joining FreshEd; it’s just such a fascinating topic, and I just want to thank you for all the work you’ve been doing on it.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  38:23
Thanks so much Will, it’s been such a pleasure to talk with you.

ويل بريهم:سارة درايدن بيترسن، أهلًا بيكي في برنامج فريش إيد

سارة درايدن بيترسن:متشكرة جدًا يا ويل. وشكرًا لاستضافتكم

ويل بريهم:ممكن توصفي الوضع الحالي للاجئين في كل أنحاء العالم؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: طبعًا. احنا بنسمع كلمة “لاجئ” كتير جدًا هذه الأيام. لكن قبل ما نبدأ، عايزة أقول كلمة صغيرة عن هذا العالم. بعض الناس اللي بشتغل معاهم بيقبلوا مصطلح “لاجيء” والبعض يرفضوه. وأنا أعتقد كما هو الحال في كل المصطلحات، أن الأمر يعتمد على كيفية استخدامنا للمصطلح أو كيفية مشاركته، في حالات كتير، بيستخدم لعزل الناس واستبعادهم. لما باستخدم مصطلح “لاجيء”، أنا فعلًا باستخدمه بقصد الرجوع للفكرة الأساسية المتمثلة في البحث عن الملجأ والحماية والانتماء. احنا عارفين إن عدد اللاجئين عالميًا الآن هو في أعلى مستوى في التاريخ. في سنة 2016، أصبح عدد اللاجئين الكلي 22 ونص مليون في العالم. هذا العدد بيحتوي على 3.4 مليون تم تهجيرهم حديثًا ليصبح هذا هو إجمالي عدد اللاجئين في عام 2016. وهذا معناه زي ما احنا شايفين ان هناك زديادة كبيرة في عدد الناس اللي بيبقوا لاجئين.

في نفس الوقت، ناس كتير عاشوا كلاجئين لسنين كتيرة أو لعشرات السنين. على سبيل المثال، هناك زيادة بسبب الصراعات في أفغانستان، وجمهورية الكونغو الديموقراطية، والصومال. هناك بُعد تاني مهم جدًا للتفكير في الوضع الحالي للاجئين في جميع أنحاء العالم وهو أن 84% من اللاجئين بيعيشوا في معسكرات اللاجئين في الدولالمجاورة لبلدانهم الأصلية المتأثرة بالصراع. على سبيل المثال، في سنة 2016، كان أكثر من 1.4 مليون لاجئ أفغاني بيعيشوا في باكستان، وما يقرب من مليون في إيران. واحنا عارفين أن حوالي 3 مليون لاجئ سوري كانوا بيعيشوا في تركيا، ومليون في لبنان، وحوالي مليون لاجئ من جنوب السودان بيعيشوا في أوغندا وإثيوبيا. علشان كدا، في حين أن وسائل الإعلام في أمريكا الشمالية وأوروبا بإمكانها تجعلنا نعتقد في كتير من الأحيان إن أزمة اللاجئين هي أمر بيحصل كمان في أمريكا الشمالية وأوروبا، إلا أن الحقيقة هي أن معظم اللاجئين بيعيشوا بالقرب من بلدهم الأصلي، وغالبًا في البلدان المضيفة اللي بتعاني بالفعل من إرهاق من حيث توفير التعليم للمواطنين داخل هذه البلاد.

ويل بريهم: تمام. هناكناس في كل وقت بيبحثوا على ملجأ. ومعظم هؤلاء الناس أو الأغلبية العظمى منهم موجودين في دول مجاورة.  من أين جاءوا وحضرتك بتقول أن هؤلاء الناس اتهجروا من عشرات السنين؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: هذا صحيح. في الحقيقة، متوسط طول مدة اللجوء بيكون حوالي 17 سنة. ولما نفكر في هذا، هنعرف أن هذه هي الفترة الكاملة لتعليم الأطفال. في حين أن معظم اللاجئين والعائلات بيعتقدوا أنهم هيرجعوا بسرعة لدولهم الأصلية، ونأمل أن يكون هذا ما يحصل، إلا أن الواقع هو أن معظم الناس بيتم تهجيرهم لمدة سنين كتيرة. وكون أننا مش متأكدين من هذا فبيأثر على طريقة تفكيرنا في أوضاع اللاجئين، بما في ذلك كيفية تعليمهم.

ويل بريهم: تمام. علشان كدا أكيد هناك لاجئين لما بيلجأوا للدول المجاورة بيكون معاهم عائلات لازم يستقروا. بس 17 سنة مدة طويلة جدًا.

سارة درايدن بيترسن: هذا صحيح. كتير من اللاجئين والطلاب والعائلات اللي اشتغلنا معهم في مخيم داداب للاجئين في كينيا على سبيل المثال ولدوا في داداب. والمطالبات بخصوص عودتهم لأوطانهم ولبلد أبائهم وأصولهم، في الواقع بالنسبة لكتير من الشباب الصغير، هي بمثابة عودة لمكان جديد عليهم ولا يعرفونه تمامًا.

ويل بريهم: وهل المساكن اللي عايشين فيها في البلدان المجاورة عبارة عن مخيمات للاجئين، واللا بيعيشوا في المدن وأماكن تانية؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: الاثنين. مازالت هناك مخيمات للاجئين، لكن أكتر من نصف اللاجئين بيعيشوا في المناطق الحضرية. وهذا يعتمد من نواحي كتيرة على بلد الملجأ. هناك بعض البلاد اللي ليها سياسات أن اللاجئين لازم يعيشوا في مخيمات، لكن في أماكن كتيرة، اللاجئين بيعيشوا في المناطق الحضرية، وسط شعب الدولة نفسها وبيسعوا أن يكون ليهم سبل العيش اللي كانوا متمتعين بها في بلادهم الأصلية. وأنا أعتقد أن هذا يعكس كمان التحضر على مستوى العالم، علشان كدا كتير من اللاجئين بييجوا من مدن ويروحوا مدن أخرى في محاولة لان يبنوا حياتهم من جديد. وأنا أعتقد أن هذا يرجعنا للنقطة اللي كنا بنتكلم فيها قبل ذلك، وهي إذا كان الاغتراب بيكون لمدة طويلة، فالأمر بيكون متعلق ببناء حياة في المكان اللي بيعيشوا فيه، وهذا يتضمن القدرة على ممارسة أنواع المهن اللي كانوا بيمارسوها قبل الاغتراب، وقدرتهم على خلق الظروف اللي يقدروا يعلموا فيها أولادهم ويبنوا مستقبلهم.

ويل بريهم: إذًا الأمم المتحدة عندها هيئة بتعمل على أو بتحاول مساعدة اللاجئين. أيه نوع الحلول اللي بيقترحوها لهذه القضية الضخمة، زي ما حضرتك وضحتي؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن: استراتيجية التعليم للمفوضية السامية للأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين واللي بدأت في سنة 2012 واللي أنا اشتركت في صياغتها، أكدت على دمج اللاجئين في نظم التعليم الوطنية، وكان هذا تحول حقيقي من إن اللاجئين كانوا بيتعلموا غالبًا في نظم موازية. هذا الدمج وضع تصور للطريق نحو المستقبل يستجيب لطول مدة الاغتراب الطويلة جدًا اللي بيختبرها معظم اللاجئين. هذهالسياسة وضعت بعض الهياكل المهمة مثل الاعتراف بالأطفال والشباب اللاجئين داخل نطاق التعليم الوطني. قبل بداية الاستراتيجية، مكنش للمفوضية علاقات رسمية مع السلطات الوطنية في مجال التعليم في البلدان المضيفة للاجئين. بحلول سنة 2015، كانت هناك علاقات مع 20 دولة من أكبر 25 دولة مضيفة للاجئين. يعتبر هذا نوع من الشكل الرسمي والاعتراف بوجود اللاجئين وضرورة النظر ليهم فيما يتعلق بما يحدث في التعليم على مستوى الدولة. الآن ومع تطبيق هذه السياسة، بدأنا نركز في الوسائل اللي ممكن يختبر من خلالها الأطفال والشباب اللاجئين هذه السياسة. اعتقد أن أحد أهم الأسئلة في تعليم اللاجئين واللي بيتعلق بكيفية تفكيرنا في الهيئات العالمية اللي بتشتغل على هذه القضايا، هو محاولة تخيل ماهو المستقبل اللي بيستعد ليه هؤلاء اللاجئين في ظل هذا النوع من عدم اليقين اللي اتكلمنا عنه؟ علشان كدا مفوضية الأمم المتحدة السامية لشؤون اللاجئين اللي هي UNHCR، الهيئة العالمية التي ذكرتها، عندها تفويض لتقديم المساعدة للاجئين وضمان حمايتهم في المعسكرات، وبتحدد المفوضية 3 حلول ممكنة، ما يسمى بـ “الحلول الدائمة” للاجئين. هذه الفكرة قد تشير في المقام الأول إلى نهاية هذا النوع من الاضطهاد اللي أدى للهروب. أحد الحلول الدائمة هو إعادة التوطين في بلد آخر بعيد. علشان كدا في المقالة بنشوف قصة باوما بنيامين اللي في النهاية بيعاد توطينه إلى كندا بدلًا من أوغندا، رغم إن وطنه الأصلي هو جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية. خيار إعادة التوطين غير ممكن إلا لأقل من 1٪ من اللاجئين على مستوى العالم، ولكنه أحد الحلول الدائمة الممكنة بهذه الطريقة. الحل الدائم التاني هو العودة إلى الموطن الأصلي. والحل الدائم الثالث المحتمل هو الاندماج طويل الأجل في البلد المضيف. وأحد الأمور اللي كنت بأركز عليها هو كيف يمكن للمسارات الممكنة نحو المستقبل أو هذه الحلول الدائمة أنها بالفعل تتجه ناحية أو لصالح تعليم اللاجئين. هذه المسارات الثلاثة مترابطة جغرافياً بطرق عديدة، علشان كدا بتركز على ما هي الدولة القومية اللي هيكون فيها مستقبل اللاجئ.

اللي اكتشفناه أن هذا النهج اللي بيركز بالفعل على الدولة القومية مش دايمًا بيعكس الطرق العابرة للأوطان اللي بيبحث فيها اللاجئين عن فرص تعليمية وعن فرص اقتصادية وعن فرص اجتماعية.  علشان كدا، في شغلنا صممنا بالفعل أربعة مسارات للمستقبل، الحلول التلاتة الدائمة اللي بتحددها المفوضية كما ذكرنا، بالإضافة لمسار عابر للأوطان نحو المستقبل. وبما أننا بنفكر في معنى هذه المسارات نحو المستقبل بالنسبة لطفل لاجئ أو شاب بيحاول يبدأ حياته، فإحنا بنفكر في إعادة التوطين. هذه العملية بيسيب فيها اللاجئ البلد اللي حصل فيها لجوء، وبيتنقل لبلد أبعد واللي، في حالة إعادة التوطين، عادة ما بتكون بلد ذات دخل قومي إجمالي مرتفع للفرد. علشان كدا عادة ما بتكون هذه البلاد دول في أمريكا الشمالية أو في أوروبا. عملية إعادة التوطين دي بتكون في حالة اليقين بأن المسارات التانية نحو المستقبل مش بتعمل هذا بالفعل. وعلى وجه الخصوص، يتم هذا في حالة أن المسار نحو المواطنة غير متاح لمعظم اللاجئين على مستوى العالم. علشان كدا، من نواح كتيرة، فاللاجئين بيبصوا لإعادة التوطين على أنه نوع من المستقبل النهائي، خاصة فيما يتعلق بالإمكانيات التعليمية لأطفالهم. لكن كما ذكرت، فإن أقل من 1٪ من اللاجئين بيقدروا يوصلوا لإعادة التوطين. علشان كدا هناك طريق محتمل تاني للمستقبل مرتبط بنوع الحلول اللي ذكرتها، وهو إعداد الشباب للعودة لبلدهم الأصلي. وتاريخياً، كان هدف تعليم اللاجئين متوافق مع هذا المسار تجاه المستقبل. علشان كدا التفكير في تعليم اللاجئين، لازم يكون بغرض اعدادهم للعودة لبلدهم الأصلي بعد فترة من وجودهم في دولة الملجأ. لكني أعتقد أن الأمر الحرج بالنسبة للموقف اللي احنا فيه حاليًا هو أن العودة إلى الموطن الأصلي أمر غير مرجح على نحو متزايد، وخصوصًا على المدى القصير. علشان كدا إذا عرفنا أن طول فترة الوجود في دولة الملجأ طالت، فهذا يعني أننا في حاجة للتفكير بشكل مختلف بخصوص شكل التعليم من حيث متابعة هذا المسار بغرض العودة في نهاية المطاف، وليس العودة الفورية.

في بعض الأحيان، قد يؤدي التعليم اللي بيتخيل المستقبل على أنه عودة إلى الموطن الأصلي، في الواقع، إلى وضع الشباب والأطفال في وضع سيء من خلال حظر الفرص في دولة الملجأ، والمكان اللي قد يستمروا فيه لفترة طويلة من الزمن. فبيحصل انعدام للقدرة على التواصل بلغة دولة الملجأ، أو عدم فهم للطرق اللي بتشتغل بها النظم والهياكل في هذه الدولة، يحدث هذا في سبيل السعي لأنواع تانية من الفرص. من ناحية تانية، بنلاقي غالبًا أن الأطفال والعائلات اللاجئة بيسعوا للحصول على اتصال حقيقي ببلدهم الأصلي، حتى لو تم تهجيرهم لفترة طويلة من الوقت، لتوفير نوع من الاستمرارية التعليمية في سياق خبراتهم اللي فاتت، وكمان علشان يستمروا متصلين ببعض من خلال الروابط الثقافية والمجتمعية.

المسار التالت المحتمل للمستقبل هو النوع العابر للأوطان اللي ذكرته من قبل. وأعتقد أنه على عكس الحلول الدائمة اللي بتعتمد على وقف عمليات الترحيل، فهذا المسار بيركز بالفعل على الفرص اللي ممكن تيجي من الهجرة الدائمة، واللي غالباً ما بتكون مدفوعة ببحث اللاجئين عن فرص طويلة الأجل ومستقرة. واحنا بنشوف، بشكل متزايد، في المحادثات مع الأطفال اللاجئين والشباب أنهم بيتخيلوا وبيخططوا لحياة عابرة للأوطان، حتى لو كانوا مش عارفين بالضبط كيف سيكون هذا. فكرة المسار العابر للوطن، في بعض النواحي، يمكن أنها تتيح حل وسط للأفراد القادرين على مواصلة ارتباطهم بمجتمعهم اللي عايشين فيه وبلدهم الأصلي، حتى لو كانوا مهجرين في دولة ملجأ. فالإشارة للحاجة للحفاظ على لغة وثقافة الموطن الأصلي من خلال التعليم ممكن تسمح للأفراد بالعودة، مع ترك إمكانيات تانية مفتوحة لحياة عابرة للأوطان. اللي بنشوفه تحدي بشكل خاص هو أنه بينما في تصوراتهم، قد يبحث الأطفال والشباب اللاجئين على هذا النوع من المسار عبر الأوطان، إلا أنه، في كثير من الحالات، بيكون فيه قيود واضحة بتمنع اللاجئين من الانتقال من مكان لآخر، أو حتى داخل دولة الملجأ بيكونوا ممنوعين من العمل ومن المشاركة المدنية والسياسية. تقدر تتخيل بصورة مجردة الموقف اللي فيه يمكن توفير الفرص في أماكن كتيرة، ولكن في الواقع، بدلاً من هذا، بيتم وضع حواجز في جميع الاتجاهات.

ويل بريهم: حواجز حرفية، صح؟ أقصد، في بعض مخيمات اللاجئين، على سبيل المثال، بيكون فيه أسوار وحواجز. أنا بفكر، على سبيل المثال، في جزيرة مانوس، واللي فيها تضع أستراليا بشكل أساسي كل الأشخاص اللي بيلتمسوا اللجوء إلى بلدهم، وفيها حواجز حرفية حول المخيمات اللي بيعيش فيها اللاجئين. وعلشان كدا، أنا بأتصور أن تخيل مستقبل عبر وطني هيكون تحدي صعب نوعًا ما .

سارة درايدن بيترسن: هذا صحيح. في أماكن كتير حول العالم، بنشوف لاجئين ممنوعين جسديًا من الدخول إلى حيز دولة ما أو حيز منطقة عابرة للأوطان. وفي الواقع، بيعبر هذا عن وجود رسالة واضحة ليهم مفادها أن مستقبلهم ليس في أي مكان. بالنسبة لتعليم اللاجئين، أعتقد أن فيه كمان طريقة بنشوف من خلالها هذه الحواجز بيتم بناؤها بشكل غير مرئي إلى حد ما، ولكن ربما بنفس القدر من الأهمية. علشان كدا استراتيجية دمج اللاجئين في أنظمة التعليم الوطنية كانت أولوية واضحة لمفوضية الأمم المتحدة السامية لشؤون اللاجئين من وقت خطة التعليم للفترة من 2012 إلى 2016. واللي بنشوفه عالميًا هو أن هذه الإستراتيجية بيتم تطبيقها في سياقات دول مختلفة. علشان كدا، في سنة 2011، كان هناك عدد قليل جدًا من الدول اللي يمكن للاجئين فيها الالتحاق بمدرسة وطنية، إلا أنه الآن بنشوف أن المفوضية لها علاقات واضحة مع وزارات التعليم في معظم الدول اللي بتستضيف اللاجئين، واللاجئين بيتمتعوا بنوع من الاندماج في النظام الوطني. عايزه أقدم بعض الأمثلة على هذا قبل الخوض في الأمور اللي بعتقد أنها حواجز بيواجهها اللاجئين، حتى لو ماكنتش حواجز حرفية.

في الأبحاث اللي أحنا عملناها على مدار السنين القليلة اللي فاتت، رأينا بالفعل ثلاث أنواع من دمج اللاجئين في المدارس الوطنية. الأول هو، في الواقع، عدم دمج. وهذا نراه في الأوضاع اللي مش بيُسمح فيها للاجئين بالالتحاق بالمدارس اللي بيرتادها المواطنين، واللي فيها اللاجئين بيحصلوا على نوع من التعليم الموازي. هذا هو الحال في بنغلاديش، على سبيل المثال، وفي ماليزيا، واللي فيها مدارس مخصصة للاجئين، وللاجئين فقط. وفي معظم الحالات، بيتم التركيز على تصور طريق للمستقبل إما أن يكون العودة إلى الموطن الأصلي، أو طريق لحياة خارج دولة الملجأ. في الأوضاع اللي بنشوف فيها اللاجئين والمواطنين في المدارس الوطنية، بيكون فيه نوع من التمييز كمان. علشان كدا في بعض البلدان، بنشوف اللاجئين مدمجين في نظام وطني وبيتبعوا نفس المنهج الوطني في لغة التعليم الوطنية، مع إمكانية اجتياز نفس الامتحانات التي بيجتازها الطلاب الوطنيين في نهاية المدرسة الابتدائية والثانوية، لكنهم بيكونوا منفصلين عن التلاميذ الوطنيين من حيث ما إذا كانوا بيشوفوا بعض في نفس قاعة الدراسة. واحنا بنشوف هذا الفصل بين التلاميذ يحدث جغرافيا في الأماكن اللي فيها مخيمات للاجئين. في كينيا، على سبيل المثال، بيتبع اللاجئين المنهج الكيني باللغتين الإنجليزية والسواحيلية، وبيخضعوا لامتحانات التخرج من المدارس الابتدائية والثانوية، لكنهم معزولين في الغالب في نطاق المخيمات، حيث لا يوجد سوى اللاجئين في هذه المدارس. احنا شايفين ان هذا نوع من أنواع الفصل الجغرافي على الرغم من الاندماج في نظام التعليم. وفي بعض الحالات كمان بنشوف فصل زمني للاجئين، حتى على الرغم من الاندماج في نظام التعليم. ففي لبنان، على سبيل المثال، هناك فترتين يحضر اللاجئين فيها فترة بعد الظهر، بينما المواطنون يحضروا فترة الصباح. رغم أنهم بيدرسوا نفس المنهج، عادة مع نفس المعلمين، وباللغة نفسها مع إمكانية اجتياز نفس الامتحان، إلا أنهم لا يكونون مع بعض جسديًا في الفصل. وبالتالي، فالنموذج الثالث للدمج هو اللي فيه بيجتمع اللاجئين والمواطنين جسديًا في المدارس. واحنا بنشوف هذا في كتير من الأحيان في المناطق الحضرية في أماكن مثل أوغندا وإثيوبيا، وكمان في مكان مثل مصر، واللي فيها يدرس السوريين مع المواطنين المصريين ويتعلموا نفس المنهج مع نفس المعلمين.

ومن خلال هذا الاندماج في النظام الوطني، أعتقد أنه وضح أن بعض الحواجز اللي بيواجهها اللاجئين مش حواجز جسدية فقط. نحن نرى بعض اللاجئين رغم انهم بيلتحقوا بنظام تعليمي وطني وبيتبعوا المناهج الوطنية، وبيجلسوا في بعض الحالات، جنبًا إلى جنب مع الطلاب الوطنيين، إلا أنهم لا يجدون نفس الفرص المتاحة خارج المدرسة. أقصد بهذا أن الطلاب اللاجئين هيتخرجوا من المدرسة الابتدائية أو الثانوية، وبعد ذلك لن يكون لهم الحق في العمل أو المشاركة في المجتمع، أو لن يكون عندهم نوع من الاستمرارية في دولة الملجأ تسمح لهم بالاستثمار في عمل تجاري أو أي مشروع لتوفير المعيشة. أعتقد كذلك أنه على الرغم من أن دمج اللاجئين في الأنظمة الوطنية بيمثل رسالة مهمة جدًا للعمل على هدم بعض الحواجز اللي بنشوفها عالميًا، إلا أن فيه كمان أنواع من الحواجز اللي بيتم إنشاؤها من خلال تجربة بتوعد بنوع من الانتماء والإدماج، ولكن بعد ذلك نجد إن اللاجئين بيكافحوا في المجتمع علشان يكونوا قادرين على الحصول على أنواع الفرص اللي بيدوروا عليها.

ويل بريهم: إذن في هذا النموذج الثاني للدمج، بيتم دمج اللاجئين، لكن في نفس الوقت بيتم فصلهم جغرافيا أو زمنيًا، لماذا يوجد فصلهم؟ أقصد، هل هذا لمجرد وجود أسباب عملية مثل الاختلاف الجغرافي، أو هل هناك أمور أخرى خفية بتلعب دور في هذا؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن:أعتقد أن هناك ثلاثة أسباب حقيقية للتفكير في دمج اللاجئين في المدارس الوطنية. وأن هذه النماذج من الفصل بين اللاجئين والوطنيين هي نوع من التلاعب. السبب الأول هو أن دمج اللاجئين في نظام تعليمي وطني يمكن أنه يزيد من فرص الالتحاق بالتعليم الرسمي. وهذا يرتبط بوضوح بالالتزام الدولي بالتعليم العالمي، اللي بيكون من خلال ما يسمى بإعلان “التعليم للجميع”، والأهداف الإنمائية للألفية، وأهداف التنمية المستدامة. وبيتم التفكير في أنظمة التعليم القائمة بالفعل، واللي يمكن للاجئين الالتحاق بيها، لأنها هتكون أقل عرضة لمواجهة الحواجز الشائعة المتمثلة في عدم الوصول للمباني المدرسية، أو وجود عدد محدود من المعلمين، أو ارتفاع تكلفة الطفل الواحد التي تمت معالجتها من خلال هذه النظم. هذا لن يكون حال المدارس الموازية اللي أقيمت للاجئين. أعتقد أن الأساس المنطقي الثاني لهذا الاندماج هو زيادة جودة تعليم اللاجئين، وهذا أيضًا هدف عالمي واضح. وأعتقد أن التركيز على الجودة، سواء بالنسبة للاجئين أو للمواطنين، بيعكس بالفعل فكرة أن الطريق إلى المستقبل -سواء كان اقتصاديًا أو سياسيًا أو اجتماعيًا- بيرتبط بالفعل بأنواع المهارات والقدرات اللي يمكن للأطفال تعلمها وتطبيقها، وبعد ذلك لا يهم هيكون فين هذا المستقبل. بالتالي فالأساس المنطقي هنا هو أن تعليم اللاجئين يمكن أن تكون ليه جودة أعلى في إطار نظام وطني، لأن هناك منهج حالي يمكن اتباعه وفيه معلمين مدربين وفيه إمكانية لإصدار الشهادات اللي من خلالها بيتم الاعتراف بأن التعليم قد اكتمل، ويمكن استخدامها للحصول على مزيد من التعليم أو الحصول على عمل.

ومع ذلك، أعتقد أن التحدي يكمن في أن جودة التعليم في نظام وطني ممكن تكون منخفضة، كما هو الحال في كتير من الدول المضيفة للاجئين. وهكذا، على سبيل المثال، لو اخدنا حالة لبنان، فأقل من 20٪ من اللبنانيين بيلتحقوا بالمدارس العامة في لبنان. الدافع الحقيقي في لبنان هو تضمين اللاجئين في نظام التعليم الوطني داخل المدارس العامة. وفيه أسباب واضحة بالفعل للتفكير بخصوص كيف يمكن لهذا أن يؤدي لزيادة فرص حصول اللاجئين على التعليم؛ وكيف يمكن أن يوفر نوع من الاستمرارية المستقرة أثناء لجوء طويل الأمد؛ وكيف يمكن أن يوفر الحصول على شهادات. كذلك هناك تحديات حقيقية بتتعلق بنوعية التعليم في نظام قائم بالفعل، ناهيك عن التدفق اللي زود عدد السكان في المدارس اللي بتخدم اللاجئين، وأحيانًا بيزيد عن النص. وهذا التحدي مش تحدي حصري بالنسبة لتعليم اللاجئين. وأعتقد أن هذا مجال بيكون من المفيد فيه إعادة صياغة تفكيرنا في تعليم اللاجئين مش بس لسكان معينين، ولكن كمان في إظهار أنواع التحديات اللي بيواجهها السكان الوطنيين المهمشين. والنوع الثالث من الأساس المنطقي لدمج اللاجئين في المدارس الوطنية ممكن يكون من خلال نوع من الانتماء في مجتمع اللجوء طويل الأمد، والشعور بالأمان أو الارتباط، والتحرر من التمييز. اللي بنشوفه في كينيا، على سبيل المثال، هو أن الطلاب بيشعروا بالارتباط بنظام وطني، وبيتم وعدهم بأنهم يتعلموا على يد معلمين مدربين وأنهم يلتحقوا بالامتحانات الوطنية، إلا أن هذا بيكون في توتر مع تجربتهم اللي بيعانوا فيها من العزلة في الفصول الدراسية المزدحمة وفي الأماكن اللي مافيهاش فرص اقتصادية، وبالتالي بيكونوا مش قادرين يشوفوا أن تعليمهم بيؤدي لهذا. وهكذا، من ناحية، بيتم وعدهم بالانتماء والضمان على المدى الطويل من خلال التعليم، ومن ناحية تانية، هذا التوتر في تجربتهم بيرسل ليهم في الواقع رسالة من العزلة والإقصاء.

ويل بريهم: من الحاجات اللي بحبها في شغلك هي قدرتك على الجمع مش بس بين الأنظمة الكبيرة القضايا الهيكلية الخاصة باللاجئين وتعليم اللاجئين، لكنك كمان بتستحضري القضايا للحياة من خلال نظرة متعمقة على الأفراد، وأيه اللي كان لازم يمروا بيه. واحد من الأشخاص اللي التقينا بيهم في عملك اسمه باوما بنيامين. أيه هو نوع مساراته نحو المستقبل؟ وكيف يمكننا تخيل دور التعليم في المستقبل اللي بيحلم بيه؟

سارة درايدن بيترسن:من الطرق اللي بفكر بيها هي أن شغلي اتغير بمرور الوقت، وفي بعض النواحي أصبح بيعكس الطرق اللي بتمنى فيها أن عملية التفكير في تعليم اللاجئين تكون عبارة عن فهم للمسارات طويلة الأجل للأفراد اللي بيعيشوا في أوضاع صراع. بأشعر في كتير من الأحيان أننا بنركز على لحظة واحدة من الزمن، وأننا غير قادرين على رؤية المسار على المدى الطويل. أنت ذكرت باوما بنيامين، اللي أنا كتبت عنه في المقال، وأنا بركز عليه فعلا لأني أعتقد أن تجربته بتلقي الضوء على بعض القضايا الهيكلية الأكبر اللي اتكلمنا عنها. باوما اتولد في جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية، واتدرب على التدريس هناك. لكنه اعتقل بسبب عمله في مجال حقوق الإنسان. وهرب لأوغندا، وهناك شعر أن مفيش إمكانية لمواصلة هذا المسار اللي كان بيبنيه كمعلم وكزوج وكأب مرتقب. لما وصل لأوغندا، أرسلوه علشان يعيش في مخيم للاجئين في منطقة معزولة من البلاد. وكانت النظرية هي أن اللاجئين يقدروا يعيشوا في هذه المنطقة من خلال أنهم يزرعوا طعامهم ويخلقوا لنفسهم حياة الكفاف. وهو ماشتغلش في الزراعة قبل ذلك. فأعطوه جاروف وقطعة أرض علشان يزرع طعامه، لكنه مكنش عنده أي خبرة في الزراعة. قرر باوما هو وزوجته وطفلهم الصغير انهم ينتقلوا من مكان إقامة المخيم للمدينة بغرض كسب معيشته والعمل في ما يصفه بأنه شغفه الحقيقي وهو التعليم.

واللي اكتشفه لما وصل لكمبالا هو أن فيه آلاف من الأطفال اللاجئين مش قادرين يروحوا المدرسة. لما تم تدريبه كمدرس في جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية، فهم وأدرك حقيقة الفلسفة اللي بتقول: “إذا وصلت إلى وسط غابة وكل ما لديك هو أشجار وأطفال، فمهمتك هي اكتشاف طريقة لتعليم هؤلاء الأطفال”. هذا النوع من التشبيهات منطقي في شرق جمهورية الكونغو الديمقراطية اللي فيها غابات شاسعة. لما وصل لكمبالا، بنفس الطريقة وصف المدينة بأنها الغابة الخاصة به. الآلاف من الأطفال دول ماكنوش قادرين يروحوا المدرسة ، وكان من مسؤوليته اكتشاف كيف يحصلوا على تعليم. أفتكر أني سألته في يوم من الأيام: “أيه هو هدفك لهذه المدرسة؟” فكتب على قطعة ورق، “ضمان التعليم الأساسي لأطفالنا لإعدادهم لحياتهم المستقبلية”. وأنا احتفظت بهذه الورقة، وأعتقد أن هذا الهدف كان بكيفية ما وسيلة ليه علشان يتذكر مساره ويتطلع إلى أطفاله ومسارات طلابه. والطريقة اللي فكر بها في إعدادهم لحياتهم المستقبلية كانت بالتفكير في الدور اللي يمكن أنه يلعبه كمعلم ليهم.

وعمل باوما هذه المدرسة في أماكن كتيرة مختلفة. كانت في الأصل في منزل أحد الأشخاص، فماكنتش بتبدأ غير لما يكون الكل خارج المنزل. وبعدها كانت المدرسة في ساحة كنيسة وبعدين داخل مدرسة أوغندية وطنية. في كل يوم لما الأطفال كانوا بييجوا للمدرسة، بغض النظر عن مكان وجودها، كان باوما ينظر ليهم ويفكر في نوع المستقبل اللي قد يرثوه لو مساعدهمش على التفكير في كيفية بناء وطن، وكيفية تمهيد الطرق اللي من خلالها يوقفوا الاقصاء اللي عانوا منه كلاجئين في أوغندا. كل يوم كان الطلاب بييجوا للمدرسة ويقولوا لي كباحث، أنه تم تسميتهم بأسماء سيئة مختلفة عن أسمائهم الحقيقية وأن آبائهم ما قدروش يلاقوا وظائف وأنهم حاولوا يروحوا مدارس وطنية في أوغندا، لكنهم ماقدروش يلتحقوا بيها. وقالوا قصص بطرق كتيرة عن كيف انهم مش قادرين حتى يتخيلوا كيفية بناء مستقبلهم.من بعض الطرق اللي اتصرف بيها باوما كمدرس علشان يساعدهم على تخيل مستقبلهم هو أنه أولًا كان حريص على أنه ينادي كل طالب باسمه. قد يبدو هذا وكأنه شيء صغير بسيط، ولكن الأطفال اللي تم تسميتهم في الشارع بأسماء سيئة غير أسمائهم، أو الأطفال اللي مش قادرين تكون عندهم هوية يكونوا معروفين بيها، من حيث هويتهم ثقافيًا واجتماعيًا ولغويًا، في مكان جديد. كونهم يتم النداء عليهم بأسمائهم فهذا أمر ليه معنى كبير بالنسبة لهم. هو كمان علمهم عن السلام وعن الحرب. واللي بنشوفه غالبًا في تعليم اللاجئين هو تجنب بعض القضايا المثيرة للجدل بالفعل لأنه مفيش حل سهل، وقد تكون هناك جوانب متضاربة كتير لصراع معين لأطفال ولأسر داخل المدرسة الواحدة. لكن اللي شافه باوما هو أن هؤلاء الأطفال اللي كانوا بييجوا لمدرسته كل يوم، كانوا بيفكروا في الحرب، لأنهم جربوها. وكانوا بيفكروا في أيه هي هويتهم، وأيه هي نقاط القوة اللي حواليهم. تجنب هذه المواضيع، في الواقع، كان بيعلمهم أنهم مايملكوش أي قوة أو حيلة في داخلهم للتصرف. علشان كدا شعر باوما أن مسؤوليته هي مساعدة الأطفال على التفكير في هذه القضايا من خلال العمل عليها، حتى لو اتسبب هذا في مواقف مثيرة للخلاف داخل الفصل الدراسي.

هو كمان احتوى الأوغنديين الفقراء في المدرسة اللي بدأها مخصوص للاجئين، وهؤلاء كانوا من الناس اللي ماقدروش في أنهم يلتحقوا بالمدرسة الابتدائية. وبهذه الطريقة، تم إنشاء مجتمع يمكن فيه للاجئين والمواطنين اللي تم استبعادهم بطرق مختلفة أنهم يتحدوا مع بعض لبناء مجتمع تعليمي. وبطرق كتيرة، كان مجتمع التعلم ومجتمع الانتماء هو ما سعى باوما لخلقه وتمكّن من إنشاؤه، وأظهر بالفعل للأطفال والأسر أنهم ماكنش لازم يعيشوا حياة عدم اليقين، ولكنهم كانوا يقدروا في الواقع أنهم يبنوا وطن ومستقبل. وأنا أعتقد أن الأمر المهم في العمل اللي عمله هو أنه ماكنش أعمى عن أنواع الحواجز اللي هيظل الأطفال وأسر اللاجئين يواجهوها. ماكنش أعمى عن حقيقة أن معظمهم ان تتاح ليهم فرصة للعمل حتى لو اتخرجوا من المدرسة.وبالتالي هو حاول أنه يفكر معهم كيف يقدروا يخلقوا فرص جديدة، ويتخيلوا الدور اللي ممكن يلعبوه كمحاولة لمعالجة بعض أشكال الاقصاء اللي بيعانوا منه بدل ما يعزلوا نفسهم. وأحنا بنفكر في التعليم، فكرة المستقبل غير المعلوم بتشكل الطريقة اللي من خلالها بنفكر في جودة الخيارات المتاحة وفهمها. أعتقد أن الواقع هو أن صانعي السياسة والمدرسين والأطفال محتاجين كل يوم انهم ياخدوا قرارات بخصوص المنهج اللي هيتبعه اللاجئين، واللغة اللي هيتم تعليمهم بيها، ونوع الشهادات اللي هيحصلوا عليها، وأنواع المدارس اللي في النهاية يمكن أنها تهيئهم لعدم اليقين في العمل وفي الحياة في كل من الحاضر والمستقبل.

ويل بريهيم: أوك سارة درايدن بيترسن، أنا بشكر حضرتك جدًا لوجودك معنا في برنامج فريش إيد. كان موضوع شيق، وأنا عايز أشكرك على كل اللي بتعمليه.

سارة درايدن بيترسن:شكرًا جزيلًا يا ويل، سعدت بالحوار معاك

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Will Brehm 2:07
Sarah Dryden Peterson, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Sarah Dryden Peterson 2:09
Merci beaucoup Will. Merci de me recevoir.

Will Brehm 2:11
Pouvez-vous nous décrire la situation actuelle des réfugiés dans le monde ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  2:17
Evidemment. Nous écoutons très souvent ce mot ces temps-ci – “réfugié”. Et je voulais, juste avant de débuter, dire un petit mot à propos de ce mot. Certaines des personnes avec lesquelles je travaille acceptent vraiment le terme de réfugié et d’autres le rejettent. Et je trouve que comme pour toutes les étiquettes, cela dépend vraiment de la façon dont nous l’utilisons, de la façon dont ce terme est coopté ou, dans de nombreux cas, utilisé pour priver les gens de leur pouvoir et les exclure. Lorsque je parle de réfugié, c’est dans le souci de retourner à l’idée fondamentale de la recherche d’un refuge, d’un sanctuaire et d’un sentiment d’appartenance. Nous savons que le nombre de réfugiés dans le monde est actuellement au plus haut niveau de l’histoire. En 2016, il y avait au total 22 millions et demi de personnes vivant comme réfugiés dans le monde. Et en 2016, 3,4 millions de ces personnes ont été nouvellement déplacées pour devenir des réfugiés. Nous constatons donc également un accroissement du nombre de personnes devenant des réfugiés.

Parallèlement, de nombreuses personnes ont connu l’exil en tant que réfugiés pendant de nombreuses années, voire de nombreuses décennies. Par exemple, des conflits en Afghanistan, ou en République démocratique du Congo, et en Somalie. Je pense également qu’une autre dimension vraiment importante de la réflexion sur la situation actuelle des réfugiés dans le monde est que 84 % des réfugiés vivent en exil dans des pays voisins de leur pays d’origine touché par un conflit. Ainsi, par exemple, en 2016, plus de 1,4 million de réfugiés, principalement afghans, vivaient au Pakistan, et près d’un million en Iran. Nous savons que près de 3 millions de réfugiés, principalement syriens, vivaient en Turquie, et un million au Liban, et près d’un million de réfugiés, principalement sud-soudanais, vivaient en Ouganda et en Éthiopie. Ainsi, alors que nos médias en Amérique du Nord et en Europe peuvent souvent nous faire croire que la crise des réfugiés se produit là où nous sommes en Amérique du Nord et en Europe, la réalité est que la plupart des réfugiés vivent très près de leur pays d’origine, et souvent dans des pays d’accueil qui sont déjà surchargés en termes d’éducation des citoyens de ces pays.

Will Brehm  4:51
D’accord, donc il y a plus de personnes à tout moment à la recherche d’un refuge. La plupart des gens, la grande majorité de ces gens sont dans des pays voisins d’où ils viennent, et vous dites que des gens sont déplacés depuis des décennies ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson 5:09
C’est exact. En effet, la durée moyenne de l’exil est de 17 ans. Et quand on y pense, c’est vraiment toute la durée de l’éducation d’un enfant. Donc, alors que la plupart des réfugiés et des familles pensent qu’ils retourneront rapidement dans leur pays d’origine et espèrent que c’est le cas, la réalité est que de nombreuses personnes seront déplacées pendant de nombreuses années. Et l’incertitude qui en découle affecte réellement la façon dont nous envisageons la situation des réfugiés, y compris la manière dont ils sont éduqués.

Will Brehm 5:49
Exact. Et donc il doit y avoir des réfugiés qui, en cherchant refuge dans les pays voisins, ont aussi des familles et doivent s’installer dans une vie particulière. Je veux dire que 17 ans, c’est beaucoup de temps.

Sarah Dryden Peterson 6:09
C’est juste. La plupart des réfugiés, des étudiants et des familles avec lesquels nous avons travaillé dans le camp de réfugiés de Dadaab au Kenya, par exemple, sont nés à Dadaab. Et donc le genre de discours sur le retour des réfugiés, en réalité pour beaucoup de jeunes, un retour dans le pays d’origine de leurs parents est un retour dans un endroit qu’ils n’ont jamais connu.

Will Brehm 6:40
Et la maison est-elle un camp de réfugiés, ou vivent-ils à l’intérieur, vous savez, des villes et d’autres endroits dans ces pays voisins ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson 6:52
Donc, les deux. Il continue d’y avoir des camps de réfugiés, mais plus de la moitié des réfugiés habitent dans des zones urbaines. Et à bien des égards, cela dépend du pays d’exil. Certains pays ont adopté des politiques selon lesquelles les réfugiés doivent vivre dans des camps, mais dans de nombreux endroits, les réfugiés vivent dans des zones urbaines, au milieu des populations nationales, et cherchent à accéder aux moyens de subsistance qu’ils avaient dans leur pays d’origine. Et je pense que cela reflète également l’urbanisation mondiale, de sorte que de nombreux réfugiés viennent des villes et vont également dans les villes pour tenter de construire leur vie. Et je pense que cela revient au point dont nous parlions avant, à savoir que si l’exil doit être prolongé, il s’agit vraiment de construire une vie là où l’on vit, et cela inclut la possibilité de pratiquer le genre d’occupations que les gens avaient avant de fuir en exil, et la possibilité de créer les conditions dans lesquelles ils peuvent éduquer leurs enfants et construire un avenir aussi incertain soit-il.

Will Brehm 8:16
L’ONU dispose donc d’un organisme qui travaille ou essaie d’aider les réfugiés. Quel genre de solutions proposent-ils pour ce problème de grande ampleur, comme vous l’avez expliqué ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson 8:30
La stratégie d’éducation du HCR qui a débuté en 2012, et dont j’ai participé à la rédaction, mettait l’accent sur l’intégration des “réfugiés” dans les systèmes éducatifs nationaux, et c’était un véritable changement par rapport au fait que les réfugiés étaient éduqués principalement dans des systèmes parallèles. Cette intégration prévoyait réellement un chemin vers l’avenir qui répondait à l’exil très long que connaissent la plupart des réfugiés. La politique a mis en place des structures importantes comme la reconnaissance des enfants et des jeunes réfugiés dans l’espace éducatif national. Avant le lancement de la stratégie, le HCR n’avait pas de relations formelles avec les autorités nationales en matière d’éducation dans les pays d’accueil des réfugiés. En 2015, des relations existaient mais dans 20 des 25 plus grands pays d’accueil de réfugiés. Ce type de formalité et de reconnaissance du fait que les réfugiés sont ici et doivent être considérés en termes de ce qui se passe avec l’éducation dans l’État-nation. Maintenant que cette politique est en place, nous tournons notre attention vers la manière dont les enfants et les jeunes réfugiés vivent cette politique.

L’une des questions les plus fondamentales, à mon avis, dans le domaine de l’éducation des réfugiés, qui a trait à la façon dont nous considérons les organismes mondiaux travaillant sur ces questions, est d’essayer d’imaginer à quels types de futurs réfugiés se préparent, compte tenu de ce genre d’incertitude dont nous avons parlé. Ainsi, le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, qui est le HCR, l’organisme mondial que vous avez mentionné, a le mandat de venir en aide aux réfugiés et d’assurer leur protection en exil, et le HCR décrit trois solutions possibles, ce qu’on appelle des “solutions durables” pour les réfugiés ; cette idée d’une situation qui pourrait marquer la fin du type de persécution qui a conduit à la fuite en premier ressort. Une solution durable est la réinsertion dans un pays lointain. Ainsi, dans l’article, nous observons que Bauma Benjamin a finalement été relogé au Canada depuis l’Ouganda, son pays d’origine étant la République démocratique du Congo. Cette option de réinsertion n’est en réalité accessible qu’à moins de 1 % des réfugiés dans le monde, mais c’est une solution durable envisageable de cette façon. Une deuxième solution durable étant le retour dans le pays d’origine. Et une troisième solution durable possible étant l’intégration à long terme dans le pays d’accueil. Et l’une des choses sur lesquelles je me suis penchée est la manière dont ces voies d’avenir possibles ou ces solutions durables jouent réellement en termes d’éducation des réfugiés. Ces trois voies sont, à bien des égards, géographiquement délimitées, de sorte qu’elles se focalisent sur l’État nation dans lequel se situera l’avenir.

Ce que nous découvrons, c’est que cette approche qui vise réellement l’État-nation ne reflète pas toujours les manières transnationales dont les réfugiés recherchent des possibilités d’éducation, des opportunités économiques et des opportunités sociales. Ainsi, dans notre travail, nous avons réellement conceptualisé quatre voies vers l’avenir, les trois solutions durables que le HCR décrit et une voie transnationale vers l’avenir. Et lorsque nous nous interrogeons sur ce que ces voies d’avenir représentent réellement pour un enfant réfugié ou un jeune qui tente de créer sa vie, nous pensons à la réinsertion. Il s’agit d’un processus par lequel un réfugié quitterait un pays d’exil, ayant reçu l’asile dans ce pays, pour se rendre ensuite dans un pays plus lointain, qui est, dans le cas de la réinsertion, généralement un pays dont le revenu national brut par habitant est élevé. Il s’agit donc généralement de pays d’Amérique du Nord ou d’Europe. Et ce processus de réinsertion est accompagné d’une sorte de certitude que les autres voies vers l’avenir ne le sont pas vraiment. Et en particulier, il s’accompagne d’une voie vers la citoyenneté qui n’est pas disponible pour la plupart des réfugiés dans le monde. Ainsi, à bien des égards, les réfugiés percevront souvent la réinsertion comme le type d’avenir ultime, notamment en termes de possibilités d’éducation pour leurs enfants. Mais comme je l’ai mentionné, moins de 1% des réfugiés ont accès à la réinsertion. Une autre voie possible vers l’avenir, liée au type de solutions que vous avez mentionnées, consiste donc à préparer les jeunes au retour dans leur pays d’origine. Et depuis toujours, l’objectif de l’éducation des réfugiés a été harmonisé avec cette voie vers l’avenir. Il faut donc penser à l’éducation des réfugiés, afin qu’ils soient prêts à retourner dans leur pays d’origine après une période d’exil. Mais je considère que ce qui est critique dans la situation dans laquelle nous nous trouvons actuellement, c’est que le retour dans un pays d’origine est de plus en plus improbable, surtout à court terme. Donc, si nous savons que la durée de l’exil est longue, cela suppose que nous devons penser différemment à l’éducation en termes de poursuite de cette voie vers un éventuel retour, et non un retour immédiat.

Parfois, une éducation conçue comme un retour dans le pays d’origine peut en fait défavoriser les jeunes et les enfants en les empêchant d’avoir des opportunités dans le pays d’exil, où ils peuvent se trouver pendant une longue période. Ainsi, le manque de capacité à communiquer dans la langue du pays d’exil, ou le manque de compréhension sur la façon dont les systèmes et les structures fonctionnent dans ce pays, afin de poursuivre divers types d’opportunités. Par ailleurs, nous constatons souvent que les enfants et les familles de réfugiés cherchent à établir un véritable lien avec leur pays d’origine, même s’ils sont déplacés pendant une longue période, afin d’assurer une certaine continuité éducative avec leurs expériences antérieures, et aussi pour rester en contact grâce à des liens culturels et communautaires.

Une troisième voie envisageable pour l’avenir est ce type de situation transnationale que j’ai mentionné. Et je pense que, contrairement aux solutions durables qui reposent sur la cessation des migrations, cette voie est réellement centrée sur les opportunités qui pourraient être créées par une migration continue, qui est souvent motivée par la recherche par les réfugiés d’opportunités stables et à long terme. Et nous observons de plus en plus dans les conversations avec les enfants et les jeunes réfugiés qu’ils imaginent et planifient une vie transnationale, même s’ils ne savent pas exactement à quoi cela ressemblerait. Cette idée d’un parcours transnational peut, d’une certaine manière, permettre à un groupe intermédiaire d’individus de maintenir leur appartenance à leur communauté d’origine et à leur pays d’origine, même lorsqu’ils sont déplacés dans un pays d’exil. Cela souligne la nécessité de préserver la langue et la culture du pays d’origine par le biais de l’éducation, ce qui pourrait permettre aux individus de rentrer chez eux, tout en laissant ouvertes d’autres possibilités pour une vie transnationale. Ce qui nous semble particulièrement difficile, c’est que si, dans leur vision, les enfants et les jeunes réfugiés peuvent rechercher ce type de parcours transnational, dans de nombreuses situations, il existe des restrictions claires qui empêchent les réfugiés de se déplacer d’un endroit à un autre, ou même à l’intérieur d’un pays d’exil, de travailler, de participer à la vie civile et politique. On peut donc imaginer dans l’abstrait une situation dans laquelle des opportunités pourraient être recherchées dans plusieurs endroits, mais en réalité, on se heurte à des obstacles qui empêchent cette participation à tous les niveaux.

Will Brehm 17:19
Et les barres littérales, non ? Je veux dire que dans certains de ces camps de réfugiés, par exemple, il y a des clôtures et des barreaux. Je pense, par exemple, à l’île de Manus, où l’Australie place tous les réfugiés dans leur pays, et il y a des barrières autour de ces camps où les réfugiés doivent vivre. Et donc, vous savez, j’imagine qu’imaginer un avenir transnational serait plutôt difficile.

Sarah Dryden Peterson 17:52
C’est bien cela. Dans plusieurs parties du monde, nous rencontrons des réfugiés dont l’accès à un espace national ou transnational est physiquement interdit. Et en réalité, ils se voient envoyer le message clair que leur avenir n’est nulle part. En ce qui concerne l’éducation des réfugiés, je pense qu’il y a aussi une façon de voir ces barrières être érigées de façon un peu plus invisible, mais peut-être tout aussi importante. Ainsi, la stratégie d’intégration des réfugiés dans les systèmes éducatifs nationaux est une priorité claire du Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés depuis la stratégie d’éducation 2012 – 2016. Et ce que nous constatons globalement, c’est que la stratégie est mise en œuvre dans différents contextes nationaux. Ainsi, en 2011, il existait très peu de pays dans lesquels les réfugiés pouvaient aller dans une école nationale, nous voyons maintenant le HCR avoir des relations claires avec les ministères de l’éducation dans la plupart des États-nations qui accueillent des réfugiés, et les réfugiés ont un certain type d’intégration dans un système national. J’aimerais donc donner quelques exemples avant d’aborder ce que je pense être certains des obstacles auxquels les réfugiés sont confrontés, même s’il ne s’agit pas d’obstacles littéraux.

Ainsi, dans les recherches que nous avons menées au cours des dernières années, nous avons réellement constaté trois types d’intégration des réfugiés dans les écoles nationales. Le premier est, en fait, l’absence d’intégration ; dans les situations où les réfugiés ne sont pas autorisés à fréquenter les écoles que les nationaux fréquentent, et où nous voyons les réfugiés avoir une sorte d’éducation parallèle. C’est donc le cas au Bangladesh, par exemple, et en Malaisie, où il existe des écoles qui sont créées pour les réfugiés, mais uniquement pour les réfugiés. Et dans la plupart des cas, il s’agit d’imaginer un chemin vers l’avenir qui est soit un retour dans le pays d’origine, soit un chemin vers une vie en dehors de ce pays d’exil. Dans les situations où nous voyons des réfugiés et des nationaux à la fois dans les écoles nationales, c’est vraiment partagé aussi. Ainsi, dans certains pays, nous voyons des réfugiés intégrés à un système national. Ils suivent donc le même programme scolaire national dans la langue d’enseignement nationale et ont accès aux mêmes examens que les élèves nationaux à la fin de l’école primaire et secondaire, mais ils sont séparés des ressortissants nationaux pour ce qui est de savoir s’ils se voient dans la même classe. Et nous voyons que cette séparation est géographique dans les cas où il y a des camps de réfugiés. Ainsi, au Kenya, par exemple, les réfugiés suivent le programme scolaire kenyan en anglais et en swahili, et passent les examens de fin d’études primaires et secondaires, mais ils sont isolés pour la plupart dans les camps, où il n’y a que des réfugiés dans les écoles. Nous observons donc cette séparation géographique malgré l’intégration au système. Dans certains cas, nous constatons également une ségrégation temporelle des réfugiés, une séparation des réfugiés, même en dépit de l’intégration au système. Ainsi, au Liban, par exemple, il y a deux équipes, l’une pour les réfugiés l’après-midi, l’autre pour les nationaux le matin. Ils suivent donc le même programme, généralement avec les mêmes enseignants, dans la même langue et avec le même accès à un processus d’examen, mais ils ne sont pas physiquement regroupés en classe. Le troisième modèle d’intégration est celui où les réfugiés et les nationaux sont physiquement regroupés dans les écoles. Nous le constatons souvent dans les zones urbaines en Ouganda et en Éthiopie, ainsi qu’en Égypte, où les Syriens étudient avec les Égyptiens et suivent le même programme avec les mêmes enseignants.

Et grâce à cette intégration au système national, je pense qu’elle a rendu visibles certains des obstacles auxquels les réfugiés sont confrontés et qui ne sont pas des obstacles physiques. Nous constatons donc que les réfugiés accèdent à un système d’éducation national, qu’ils suivent le programme national, qu’ils sont parfois assis aux côtés d’élèves nationaux, mais qu’ils n’ont pas les mêmes possibilités en dehors de la structure scolaire. Je veux donc souligner que les élèves réfugiés obtiendront leur diplôme de l’école primaire ou secondaire et n’auront pas le droit de travailler, de participer à la vie de la communauté ou d’avoir une sorte de permanence dans le pays d’exil qui leur permettrait d’investir dans la création d’une entreprise ou d’un moyen de subsistance. Je pense donc que, si l’inclusion des réfugiés dans les systèmes nationaux est un message extrêmement important qui tente de faire tomber certaines de ces barrières que nous voyons dans le monde, il y a aussi les types de barrières qui sont érigées à travers une expérience qui promet une sorte d’appartenance et d’inclusion, mais ensuite une société dans laquelle les réfugiés luttent pour pouvoir poursuivre le genre d’opportunités qu’ils recherchent.

Will Brehm  24:03
Alors dans ce deuxième modèle d’intégration, où tout est intégré, mais où tout est séparé géographiquement ou temporairement, pourquoi ? Pourquoi y a-t-il une séparation ? Je veux dire, est-ce simplement pour des raisons pratiques comme l’éloignement géographique, ou y a-t-il d’autres questions sous-jacentes en jeu également ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  24:28
Je considère qu’il existe trois véritables raisons de penser à l’intégration des réfugiés dans les écoles nationales. Et ensuite que ces modèles de séparation jouent un peu là-dedans. La première est donc que l’intégration des réfugiés dans un système éducatif national peut améliorer l’accès à la scolarité formelle. Et cela est clairement lié à l’engagement mondial en faveur de l’éducation universelle, avec la déclaration de l’Éducation pour tous, les objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement et les objectifs de développement durable. Et il convient de penser aux systèmes éducatifs déjà existants, auxquels les réfugiés peuvent accéder, car ils seraient moins susceptibles de faire face aux obstacles communs que sont le manque d’accès aux bâtiments scolaires, le nombre limité d’enseignants ou le coût élevé par enfant, auxquels les systèmes ont remédié. Ce ne serait pas le cas des écoles parallèles mises en place pour les réfugiés. Je pense que la deuxième raison de cette intégration est d’améliorer la qualité de l’éducation des réfugiés, ce qui est également un objectif global clair. Et la priorité accordée à la qualité, tant pour les réfugiés que pour les nationaux, reflète, je pense, cette notion selon laquelle la voie vers l’avenir – qu’il soit économique, politique ou social – est réellement liée aux types de compétences et de capacités que les enfants peuvent apprendre et appliquer, quel que soit l’endroit où se trouve cet avenir. La justification serait donc que l’éducation des réfugiés pourrait être de meilleure qualité au sein d’un système national, parce qu’il existe un programme existant qui peut être suivi, qu’il y a des enseignants formés et qu’il y a une possibilité de certification. D’une manière ou d’une autre, on reconnaîtrait que l’éducation a été achevée et que cela peut être utilisé comme un signal pour poursuivre des études ou trouver un emploi.

Cependant, je pense que le défi est que la qualité de l’éducation au sein d’un système national peut être médiocre, comme c’est le cas dans de nombreux pays d’accueil de réfugiés. Ainsi, par exemple, si nous prenons le cas du Liban, moins de 20 % des ressortissants libanais accèdent aux écoles publiques au Liban. Le véritable effort au Liban consiste à inclure les réfugiés dans le système éducatif national, dans les écoles publiques. Et il existe des raisons très claires de réfléchir à la manière dont cela pourrait accroître l’accès à l’éducation pour les réfugiés ; pourrait fournir une sorte de continuité stable pendant un exil prolongé ; pourrait permettre l’accès à la certification. Et puis il y a de réels défis liés à la qualité de l’éducation dans un système déjà existant, sans parler de l’afflux qui a augmenté la population dans les écoles servant les réfugiés, parfois de plus de la moitié. Et ce n’est pas un défi qui est propre à l’éducation des réfugiés. Et je pense que c’est là qu’il est utile de recadrer notre pensée sur l’éducation des réfugiés, non seulement en ce qui concerne une population particulière, mais aussi pour rendre visible le type de défis que les populations nationales marginalisées rencontrent également. Et le troisième type de justification de l’intégration des réfugiés dans les écoles nationales est qu’elle pourrait permettre une sorte d’appartenance à la société d’un exil de longue durée, un sentiment de sécurité ou de connexion, et la liberté de ne pas subir de discrimination. Mais ces modèles d’intégration qui reposent en réalité sur une séparation – ce que nous constatons au Kenya, par exemple, c’est que les élèves ressentent ce lien avec un système national, et le genre de promesse d’enseignants formés et de candidats aux examens nationaux, qui est alors en tension avec leur expérience d’être isolés dans des salles de classe surpeuplées, dans des endroits où il n’y a pas d’opportunités économiques et donc ils ne peuvent pas voir leur éducation mener à cela. Et donc, d’une part, cette promesse d’appartenance et de certitude à long terme grâce à l’éducation. Et d’autre part, cette tension d’une expérience qui envoie en fait un message d’isolement et d’exclusion.

Will Brehm  29:03
L’une des choses que je trouve intéressantes dans votre travail, c’est que vous êtes capable de réunir ces questions plus vastes, structurelles, de réfugiés et d’éducation des réfugiés, mais vous donnez également vie à ces questions en examinant en profondeur les individus et ce qu’ils ont dû traverser. L’une des personnes que nous rencontrons dans votre travail s’appelle Bauma Benjamin, et quel était son cheminement vers l’avenir, n’est-ce pas ? Comment imaginait-il que l’éducation puisse fonctionner pour l’avenir qu’il imaginait ?

Sarah Dryden Peterson  29:38
Je considère que mon travail a évolué au fil du temps et, d’une certaine manière, reflète la façon dont j’espère que la réflexion sur l’éducation des réfugiés consiste à comprendre les trajectoires à long terme des personnes qui évoluent dans des situations de conflit. J’ai souvent l’impression que nous nous concentrons sur un moment précis et que nous ne sommes pas capables de voir cette trajectoire à long terme. Vous avez donc mentionné ici Bauma Benjamin, sur lequel j’écris dans cet article, et je me concentre vraiment sur lui parce que je pense que son expérience a mis en lumière certains des problèmes structurels plus importants dont nous venons de parler. Bauma est né en République démocratique du Congo. Il a fait sa formation d’enseignant en RDC. Mais il a été arrêté pour son travail en faveur des droits de l’homme. Il s’est alors enfui en Ouganda, où il a senti qu’il n’y avait aucune possibilité de poursuivre le genre de trajectoire qu’il avait construite en tant qu’enseignant, en tant que mari, en tant que futur père. Lorsqu’il est arrivé en Ouganda, il a été envoyé dans un camp de réfugiés situé dans une région isolée du pays où la théorie de la subsistance des réfugiés dans cette région était qu’ils pouvaient cultiver leur propre nourriture et créer une vie de subsistance. Il n’avait jamais pratiqué l’agriculture auparavant. On lui a donc offert une houe et un morceau de terre pour qu’il puisse cultiver sa propre nourriture, mais il n’avait aucune expérience en la matière. Il a donc décidé, avec sa femme et leur jeune enfant, de quitter le campement pour la ville afin de poursuivre sa vie et ce qu’il décrit comme sa véritable passion, l’enseignement.

Et ce qu’il a découvert en arrivant à Kampala, c’est qu’il y avait des milliers d’enfants réfugiés qui n’avaient pas la possibilité d’aller à l’école. Et lorsqu’il a été formé comme enseignant en République démocratique du Congo, il a compris et est vraiment venu vivre cette philosophie : si vous arrivez au milieu d’une forêt et que tout ce que vous avez, ce sont des arbres et des enfants, alors c’est votre travail de trouver un moyen d’enseigner à ces enfants. Et ce genre de métaphore avait un sens dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo où il y avait de vastes forêts. Lorsqu’il est arrivé à Kampala, il a décrit la ville comme sa forêt de cette façon. Mais ces milliers d’enfants qui ne pouvaient pas aller à l’école, et il était de sa responsabilité de trouver comment ils pourraient recevoir une éducation. Je me souviens qu’un jour, je lui ai demandé : “Quel est votre objectif pour cette école ?” Et il a écrit sur un bout de papier : “Assurer à nos enfants une éducation de base pour les préparer à leur vie future”. Et j’ai gardé ce morceau de papier sur lequel il avait écrit, et je pense que d’une certaine manière, cet objectif était une façon pour lui de regarder à la fois son propre cheminement et d’envisager le cheminement de ses propres enfants et de ses élèves. Et la façon dont il a pensé à les préparer à leur vie future était en fait de penser au rôle qu’il pourrait jouer en tant que leur professeur.

Et Bauma tenait cette école dans de nombreux endroits différents. A l’origine, elle se trouvait dans la maison de quelqu’un, donc l’école ne pouvait pas commencer avant que tout le monde soit debout et hors de la maison. Mais chaque jour, lorsque les enfants venaient dans cette école, peu importe où elle se trouvait, Bauma les regardait et songeait au genre d’avenir dont ils pourraient hériter s’il ne les aidait pas à réfléchir à la manière de créer un foyer et de cultiver réellement les moyens de mettre fin à l’exclusion dont ils faisaient l’objet en tant que réfugiés en Ouganda. Tous les jours, les élèves venaient à l’école et lui disaient et me disaient, en tant que chercheur dans cette situation, qu’on les traitait de tous les noms, que leurs parents ne pouvaient pas trouver de travail, qu’ils avaient essayé d’aller dans les écoles nationales ougandaises, mais que nous ne pouvions pas y accéder, et à bien des égards, ils nous racontaient des histoires sur la façon dont ils ne pouvaient même pas imaginer comment créer leur avenir. Pour les aider à imaginer leur avenir, le professeur Bauma a commencé par appeler chaque élève par son nom. Et cela peut sembler un petit élément très simple, mais les enfants qui étaient appelés par des noms qui n’étaient pas les leurs – et pas des noms sympathiques – dans la rue, ou qui n’étaient pas capables d’être reconnus pour ce qu’ils étaient, en termes d’identité, culturellement, socialement, linguistiquement, dans un nouvel endroit. Le fait d’être appelé par son nom avait un sens. Il leur enseignait aussi bien la paix, mais aussi la guerre. Et ce que nous voyons souvent dans l’éducation des réfugiés, c’est un évitement de certaines des questions vraiment litigieuses parce qu’il n’y a pas de solution facile, et qu’il peut y avoir de nombreuses parties conflictuelles à un conflit particulier d’enfants et de familles au sein d’une même école. Mais ce que Bauma a vu, c’est que ces enfants qui venaient à son école tous les jours, pensaient à la guerre, parce qu’ils en avaient fait l’expérience. Et ils pensaient à leur identité et aux structures de pouvoir qui les entouraient. Et le fait d’éviter ces sujets leur apprenait en fait qu’ils n’avaient pas le pouvoir d’agir en leur sein. C’est pourquoi Bauma a estimé qu’il était de sa responsabilité d’aider les enfants à réfléchir à ces questions, même si elles étaient à l’origine de situations litigieuses dans la classe, pour les résoudre.

Il a également intégré des Ougandais pauvres, qui à l’époque n’avaient pas accès à l’école primaire, dans l’école qu’il avait créée pour les réfugiés. Et de cette façon, il a créé une communauté où les réfugiés et les nationaux qui étaient tous deux exclus de différentes manières pouvaient se réunir pour créer une communauté d’apprentissage. Et à bien des égards, c’est cette communauté d’apprentissage et cette communauté d’appartenance que Bauma a cherché à créer et qu’il a pu créer, et montrer réellement aux enfants et aux familles qu’ils n’avaient pas à vivre cette vie d’incertitude, mais qu’ils pouvaient en fait construire un foyer et un avenir à ce moment précis. Et je trouve que ce qui était important dans le travail qu’il a fait, c’est qu’il n’a pas ignoré le type de barrières structurelles auxquelles les enfants et les familles de réfugiés allaient continuer à être confrontés. Il n’a pas ignoré le fait que la plupart d’entre eux n’auraient pas la possibilité de travailler même s’ils obtenaient leur diplôme. Ainsi, il a essayé de réfléchir avec eux à la manière dont ils pourraient créer de nouvelles opportunités et d’imaginer le rôle qu’ils pourraient jouer pour tenter de remédier à certaines exclusions plutôt que de s’en isoler. Et lorsque nous pensons à l’éducation, cette idée d’un avenir inconnaissable façonne la manière dont nous pouvons réfléchir et comprendre la qualité des options disponibles. Je pense que la réalité est que chaque jour, les décideurs politiques, les enseignants et les enfants doivent prendre des décisions sur le programme d’études que les réfugiés suivront, la langue dans laquelle ils seront enseignés, le type de certification qu’ils recevront et les types d’écoles qui, en fin de compte, peuvent les préparer à l’incertitude. Pour le travail, pour la vie dans le présent et dans l’avenir, aussi inconnaissable que cet avenir puisse être.

Will Brehm  38:14
Eh bien, Sarah Dryden Peterson, merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd ; c’est un sujet tellement fascinant, et je tiens à vous remercier pour tout le travail que vous y avez consacré.

Sarah Dryden Peterson  38:23
Merci beaucoup Will, ce fut un plaisir de parler avec vous.

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OverviewTranscriptBản dịch Tiếng ViệtResources

Have you ever thought about how polarized some debates in education are?

Think about it.

Whole language versus phonics.

Direct versus indirect instruction.

Public versus private schools.

My guest today, Professor Yong Zhao, says that these polarized debates result, in part, from research studies that only look at effects – or side effects – of educational interventions. Rarely do studies acknowledge what works and what doesn’t.

Yong Zhao, a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, argues that educational research should learn from medical science.

Citation: Zhao, Yong, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 79, podcast audio, June 26, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/yongzhao/

Will Brehm 1:35
Young Zhao, welcome to FreshEd.

Yong Zhao 1:37
Thank you, Will. Glad to be here.

Will Brehm 1:40
So, this may sound like a rather strange place to start our conversation on education research but bear with me for a second. In medical research, what are researchers typically looking for?

Yong Zhao 1:53
Well, typically, I think, we know it is not only typical, but they are required to look for both effects. That is, how it works and what does work, and the side effects, the negative consequences or outcomes that might come, you know, with a medicine or medical procedure.

Will Brehm 2:14
So, this is like why we see possible side effects written on the box of over-the-counter drugs, for instance.

Yong Zhao 2:23
Yes, yes, that is one of the, I think, results is that when you get a bottle of medicine, maybe it cures kind of your headache, but may cause a bleeding stomach. Yes, and things like that.

Will Brehm 2:35
And you said that it is required. Who is requiring medical research to look at this, not only the effects but also the side effects, and make them publicly known?

Yong Zhao 2:46
Well, we know in the US, the FDA – the Food and Drug Administration – any government agency that approves drugs to be released on the market or approves any medical procedures, there is a government always looking for those that require pharmaceutical companies or any kind of medical and I think institutions try to do that.

Will Brehm 3:10
So, in terms of medical research and looking at side effects and effects, what are some of the typical methods that are usually employed?

Yong Zhao 3:19
Well typically, the methods is really we called the “randomized controlled trials”, that is, you randomize people and put them in different groups, then you give some people the medicine, you give some people the placebo – you know, called the “placebo effect” – so,  to see the results. But the important thing is that, when they measure the outcome, they do not measure if it is effective in curing disease, but it also looks at damages. For example, some medicine may cure your liver problem, but it can kill you.

Will Brehm 3:54
So, you would not want to take that one.

Yong Zhao 3:56

Will Brehm 3:58
So, are these random controlled trials found in the social sciences?

Yong Zhao 4:03
Typically, in education, it is not much. That’s why in recent years, there’s been encouragement action to say social sciences should do a lot more randomized trials, but, you know, it’s how difficult it is. You cannot seriously randomize kids a lot, and it is very expensive as well. However, it is growing, because it has been believed that advancement of medicine is due to these randomized controlled trials in methods. And so, it is happening a lot, it is costing a lot of money, and so, here we are. We see a lot of those things encouraged, but I am not sure how that is going to improve education or not.

Will Brehm 4:44
So, what sort of side effects could, you know, be uncovered if this method were employed more widely?

Yong Zhao 4:52
Well, side effects like you know, one thing we could see long term and short-term outcomes. For example, you may be able to push students to memorize math or memorize some historical facts, but that’s short term. You can measure that. In a week, my students have been able to memorize this formula, but at the same time, they might have lost interest in the subject. Maybe the more they learn, the more the hate the subject.  I think that would be a bad idea. We have also seen that some parents maybe like to say, you know, “We force children to memorize, and we’re proud they can memorize so many words now”, but then they’ve lost interest in reading. That may not be a good idea either.

Will Brehm 5:38
So, surely some educational research does look at side effects, right?

Yong Zhao 5:42
I do not think they look at side effects and effects at the same time. I think the challenge is this: There are a lot of researchers who do not like certain methods. They will say, “Okay, our problems are this”. For example, you see a lot of people reporting. I mean, you’re in Japan, so people say, “Japanese education has caused students to lose creativity, curiosity and all those kind of things.” But at the same time, the other side, will say, ” No, we’ve looked at Japanese education. Kids’ math scores are high, their science scores are high.” But they are studied separately. That is the problem.

Will Brehm 6:18
So, they are studied in the sense that one group of researchers will look at one issue without recognizing the side effect to that issue.

Yong Zhao 6:29
Well, yes. In a sense, the proponents of certain methods will say, “Look how effective my method is.” That is what you see people say if they want to go for test scores, “Oh, East Asian countries are doing so great. You get Shanghai, you get Japan, Korea, Singapore, all have great scores.” So, they said, “Let’s learn from them. Let’s learn from Japan.” This is a lot of people saying that. But at the same time, people say, “No, no, no. They’re actually damaging their kids, you know, and so we should never do that.” So, you have two camps of people, then finally they kind of evolve into ideological war; they began to argue with each other, but not trying to say, “Yes, it is the same system.” It is the same thing, it just results in different consequences, but it is the two sides of the same coin.

Will Brehm 7:17
And so, when there is this ideological divide that ends up happening, I mean there must be very difficult dialogue across these different camps, but it also must impact policymakers in a particular way. How do they attach themselves to certain camps over other camps?

Yong Zhao 7:38
Yes, I think that is the big issue is that when they are studied separately, you have these ideological arguments, which does not really help improve education; it does not lead to betterment. So then you have policy makers, if they happen to be aligned with one ideology over the other, they will promote that as national policies or educational system-wide policies, and then you may have another government come in five years later to say, “Oh, look at the damage it’s done. Let’s throw that away. Let’s pick something else.” And the something else also has side effects, so they begin to have this pendulum swing. A few years to say, “Oh, this method doesn’t work.” And then, “Let’s pick something new, because it’s so exciting.” Look at only the positive effects, they, after a few years, some other group comes in and says, “Look at all the side effects.” Then, “Let’s throw it away. Let’s pick something else.” So, there is this pendulum swing. New ideas get recycled. But very few people would say, “Okay, if we look at the side effects, what if we say, “Okay, can we do something to mitigate the side effects?” to reduce that, to minimize that.” Now that represents improvement. So, this way, we do not just randomly throw things away based on ideology and based on one set of data and measurement.

Will Brehm 8:58
So, wouldn’t an example of this be the “No Child Left Behind” Act?

Yong Zhao 9:04
Well, in the US, definitely. Yes. For example, in the US, you know, technically when No Child Left Behind was introduced, it was a good idea. Many people think that you hold schools accountable, you want to raise student test scores, you want to test a lot, and those things actually could and should result some improvement. But at the same time, and we know from experiences in Asian countries, you know like high stakes testing, test students often, is going to result in a test-driven education. Education becomes test preparation. Then your assessed students lose interest. When you hold teachers accountable for raising test scores, and when they actually cannot do that, it’s demoralizing education. And then you need to a narrow of the curriculum, which we know happened in Asian countries. So, if we had known that for sure, we may have found ways to say, “Can we design some other ways to make sure that doesn’t happen?” Or, “Can we make sure that we’re not simply borrowing something wholesale, but at the same time designing something that’s slightly different?”

Will Brehm 10:13
And how would you incorporate cultural differences into the idea of learning from abroad, and learning about the side effects and the effects from abroad? So, for example, in the case of No Child Left Behind, you were saying that policymakers and educational researchers could have easily looked at other countries that have implemented the same sort of test-based accountability measures. But how do you incorporate cultural differences when thinking about, say, the US versus Japan?

Yong Zhao 10:48
Well, that is a fabulous question. In essence, cultural differences or cultural conditions bring out the causes or reasons for some other side effects. For example, some people are more allergic to penicillin than others. So, if, as a body – if you imagine a physical body as a culture – some medicine works for one group of people and not others. We see warning signs. For example: “If you are pregnant, do not take this medicine. You know, take something different.” The same thing, when you import ideas from other cultures, you want to say, “Okay, does it work in this environment?” So, we should really test some of ideas. For example, one thing America is trying to borrow from Japan is something called “lesson studies”. And lesson studies may work in Japan, because of the, honesty, I think, the hierarchical culture in schools. And actually works, you respect the more senior teacher. The senior teacher can have authority over junior teacher. Which actually doesn’t exist in the US culture. So that may not work very well at all. In the US, as you probably know this very well, the flat structure that unionized, it is very hard to put one teacher to be the authority on top of other teachers, and to learn. But also, at the same time, you have to think about: if education is about innovation, the hierarchical culture actually constraints innovation. If you borrowed this whole thing in, if you think teaching is only just trying to become like the senior teacher, that means there is no innovation, right? When do the new methods come out? The new method has to come from people who are not like the senior teacher, who has come from maybe young teachers. So those are, again, the side effects. So that is why I think culture is really very much like a human body. Medicine works for some people but do not work for other people. Some medicine may work for a certain age, some medicine may not work for a certain age.

Will Brehm 12:55
Do you think there’s limitations to the analogy of medical research to educational research?

Yong Zhao 13:03
Well, there is definitely limitations, because these are two different things. However, the idea that the idea of side effects, I think works very well. Because as we know, in anything you do, there is a kind of equal opportunity cost. For example, if you spend time all your time studying math, you are not going to have the same time to go out to play music. That is the kind of thing. So, there are some universals that can go together.

Will Brehm 13:31
And so, in educational research, why hasn’t there been like a demand for looking at both effects and side effects?

Yong Zhao 13:42
Well, I think there are really many reasons. I think one of the primary reasons would be a lot of people trying to think education does no harm. So, we always think of education as a good thing, so we do not really question that. And number two, we talk about side effects. They do not necessarily show up at the same time. Medicine is the same way. Some kind of damage, when you take medicine is long term, it doesn’t show up. But we should monitor that. But in education, you know, we do not. Once you teach kids, if the schools are held accountable for producing good test scores, if you want your children to memorize some math functions, but the side effect is a loss of interest and loss of passion, but that will be showing up maybe five years later, when kids begin to hate schools. “Oh, that was caused …”  then it is hard to draw a direct connection between the two because one is so short term. Another thing, of course, is that, I think, schools have always looked at one type of effect that is called “academic outcomes”. And all academic outcomes are measured in the short term. After one week of instruction, after one semester of instruction, one year. But then the other damages may be done in much longer term. You do not even know those things. And then of course, you know, it seems to be such a common sense, but I have not seen people calling for the study of this so far. This is really what is called a “common sense idea”, and so nobody has done this. I found it is actually puzzling, too.

Will Brehm 15:23
I mean it seems like it would be rather challenging to measure something like “passion” rather than something like how a student is doing on a test.

Yong Zhao 15:33
Yes, apparently. But you could measure it, and also, so like “passion”, “curiosity”, all these things, are much, you know, longer term, takes a long time to lose or to gain. For example, if you are going to school – I do not know, Will, if this happened to you – but it definitely happened to many people, going to school make you feel stupid, for example. You cannot do this test. You cannot do the homework. You tried very hard. Somehow, you are just not as good as your brother or your next-door neighbor. And that is going to make you feel really bad. But feeling bad may be developed over a long time. And actually, most often, we don’t care. Most teachers do not even pay attention to that. And so, you do not even know you were damaged. I do not know; you apparently seems to be a happy guy. I think you might have done okay in school, but you know how many schools … I am sure you have friends who really hated school and get disengaged. And then we do not count them. In our general world view, we really believe all schools are good. I do not know why, going to school seems to be a good thing. We always believe that. It is shocking, right? But a lot of kids get really hurt, but nobody pays attention to them. We blame them. We say, “You didn’t try hard.”, “You’re stupid.”, “You were distracted.”

Will Brehm 16:54
Yes, I must say, I personally very much did not like taking tests. And I think it is the reason that I got into studying education as I got older: To try and understand why it was that I disliked education so much when I was a child.

Yong Zhao 17:14
Well, that is another side effect, right? Hating school may not be a bad thing if you want to, like you, turn this to your attention and say, “I want to know why it’s so bad.” That is another side effect. By the way, side effects sometimes are not all necessarily bad. You know like medicine. For example, I think Viagra was not invented for sexual enhancement. It was really more for something else. Then we discovered, “Oh, it can do this.” Okay, that is cool. So, you know, side effects might uncover a lot more different uses for the same education methods.

Will Brehm 17:52
So, I want to go back to this idea that you said that education can actually do some harm. So other than like students disliking school, what other harm can actually manifest?

Yong Zhao 18:05
Well, for a large scale, if you look at a system level, some education system can be simply a brainwashing, or trying to, I would say, homogenize individuals, getting rid of different kind of talents. Which was actually in many ways was designed to do. So, if you look at Asian countries, I think their systems have done a great job in making sure everybody is alike, think alike, learn the same things. And anyone who is defiant or non-compliant may be kicked out of the system, which results in “talent homogeneity”, which hampers innovation in a long run. But also, then, the effect is that everybody can think the same. That is really cool. But if you think, “Well everyone thinks the same, they are easier to govern.” But at the same time, you do not expect people to be very creative and innovative. On the other hand, in the US education system, it is really horrible in the sense of trying to make sure everybody learns the same thing. Making sure they be obedient. But at the same time, the other side effect is it has resulted in a bunch of people who can think outside the box.

Will Brehm 19:21
So, it seems like a lot of this issue is really about the value of education. Having a debate over what it is that a particular system of education, and I guess it would be what policymakers, or those in power, deem the right effect that they’re looking for. So, if it is thinking outside the box, or if it is discipline, or whatever it is. I mean, so really, it seems like the issue is a lot deeper than just looking at effects and side effects, but it’s actually about having this kind of deeper debate on the different values of education.

Yong Zhao 19:59
Yes. I think that is precisely…Also, for parents and for educators, as consumers… You want to know when it does this, it also does that. So, you have got to weigh over, do you want that? Or do you want this? When you cannot have both. I think people in education, many educators, even researchers, they really hope we can have both. But sometimes you really cannot have both, so you need to know. As we talked about you, when you when you put yourself into surgery, you sign those long pages and pages of risk. It could do this. Are you willing to take the risk? I hope with education, you have sent your children to school to say, “Now okay, I want to know what the side effects has been. What this cannot do. What are the risks of my kids going to your school? What might be the side effects? What are the possible damages you could do to my children? What will my children not get?” For example, you go to some school … I am sure, Japan, anywhere else … You go to a school, you want to ask, “Yes, you’re great academically, but at what cost?” You want to say, “At what cost? Will my children still have time to play? Will my children be happy? Will my children be making friends? Will my children be anxious?” You want to know those things. If that is the case, you say, “Man, I don’t like that. I’m going to go some somewhere else.” Then you go to another, maybe a play-based school and say, “Yes, your children will be very happy. They’ll be playing with nature, all those things.” But they say, so at what cost? And they say, “Well, maybe your children will not be as competitive in taking a test.” So, you as parents say, “Yes, I’m willing to live with that.” So that is the kind of thing I think we need to think about.

Will Brehm 21:47
So, in a sense, are you advocating for something like an over-the-counter drug that is in a box that has publicly and clearly labeled the side effects? Somehow that would work for education. How would parents, and how would teachers, and how would policymakers and principals, how would they actually know these side effects? There is no FDA for education in America, but are you saying there should be one?

Yong Zhao 22:16
I think so. First of I think there should be somebody, maybe starting with the professional organizations and academic journals that publish this research, to really require people, researchers, to report both, to study both. First of all, that information has to be available – to study both. And I am working on the book trying to compile existing findings, but that has to come from both sides, by different independent researchers, both ideological camps. That is going to be the beginning of that. But I would love to say professional organizations, academic journals requiring people to study and reporting known effects and side effects at the same time. And then any kind of new pedagogical methods and new textbooks or new policies would continue that information for the public, for parents and for teachers to understand. I think it is very important to do that. And of course, there are some other kinds of medicine. For example, some generic medicine that may not have as much side effects…but we still need to know. Do they have any other effect? I do not know if you have noticed that, Will, on television now, most of medicine when they promote them, TV ads, I think they read out the side effects for a much longer term than the effects.

Will Brehm 23:46
And really quickly as well.

Yong Zhao 23:48
Yes, exactly.

Will Brehm 23:49
Yes, I guess, for me, education seems so deeply political to, particularly, a nation state. And I would imagine that some nation states would be very uncomfortable making all of these different decisions so publicly available with the known side effects and effects.

Yong Zhao 24:11
Oh, yes. I think, definitely. It’s like in a pharmaceutical companies- many of them try to hide side effects, many of them do not study them, many of them, you know they try to hide. It is very possible, so it is really nothing new in that sense. If you trade from huge, giant pharmaceutical companies as a nation state, they want to hide. They do not want to let everybody know, so that is really possible.

Will Brehm 24:39
But in education, typically it is the nation state that is also producing the education. Right, so it is the nation state that is producing the education and also the ones who are regulating it. So, if they are trying to hide something, it is a little difficult to get some regulatory body to uncover it. There is no kind of …

Yong Zhao 25:04
Oh, yes. I know there are countries who try to hide children anxiety data, children mental health data. Some countries try not to report youth suicide rates, or at least to not make them public. So those are, it is possible. And there are countries who do not allow you to write any kind of critical … which is a measure of side effects. We have one nation state that funds all educational research and they will censor any publication of that.

Will Brehm 25:39
But at the same time, we also do see big companies like Pearson, or all these other for-profit education companies that are, in a sense, acting like those pharmaceutical companies and hiding, or controlling their data and only, you know, releasing the data that shows how great their educational products are.

Yong Zhao 25:59
I do not think these companies in education, like I mentioned before, even study side effects. Again, they are they are busy proving how good it is.

Will Brehm 26:09
Yes, that is right. I mean it seems like such a valuable endeavor to do, and it almost seems, like you said, common sense. But it just seems like it will be very difficult to get educational researchers to do that, particularly because it’s become so ideological for a lot of these different issues in education.

Yong Zhao 26:34
Yes, I think. Definitely. But I think it is a must we have. So that is why I hope with your help, with other people’s help, we can spread the idea. It is actually essential, really, for us to advance this whole field. Because if you’ve been in education long enough, you know we recycle these kind of ideas. Whole language? No, it has to be phonics. Remember those wars? We do pure math and back to the basics. Now we do inquiry-based learning. We argue all the time. And really, we just need to have a clear understanding of what we are talking about. We need to advance. So, the people argue. Like now, you know, direct instruction is back in full swing. I know in Australia, some government said, “They’ve got to do direct instruction because it’s very effective. Children do not need to discover one plus one equals two.” … But at the same time you say, you know that might be simply what I call “unproductive success”. In short term success, but it is not productive in a long run.

Will Brehm 27:43
Well, Yong Zhao, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. It was really great to talk today.

Yong Zhao 27:47
Thank you, Will. This is great, and I hope you will help us spread the word. This demand that is required: Study side effects and effects. You know, when it works, it hurts.

Will Brehm 1:35
Yong Zhao, chào mừng ông đến với FreshEd.

Yong Zhao 1:37
Cám ơn, Will. Tôi rất vui được có mặt ở đây.

Will Brehm 1:40
Có lẽ đây sẽ là một cách hơi lạ lùng để bắt đầu cuộc trò chuyện của chúng ta về nghiên cứu giáo dục, nhưng các bạn hãy cố gắng kiên nhẫn một chút nhé.
Thưa ông, trong nghiên cứu y học, thông thường thì các nhà nghiên cứu muốn tìm hiểu điều gì?

Yong Zhao 1:53
Tôi nghĩ là, không phải chỉ là thông thường đâu mà họ được yêu cầu phải tìm hiểu cả hai loại tác dụng. Đó là, thuốc hay phương pháp điều trị hiệu quả như thế nào và cái gì thực sự hiệu quả, cũng như những tác dụng phụ, những tác dụng tiêu cực có thể xảy đến nữa.

Will Brehm 2:14
Vâng, đó là lý do mà, ví dụ như, chúng ta thấy những tác dụng phụ có khả năng xảy ra được viết trên hộp của các loại thuốc không kê đơn.

Yong Zhao 2:23
Đúng vậy, tôi nghĩ là khi bạn mua một lọ thuốc có thể giúp bạn chữa đau đầu, nó cũng có thể gây ra chảy máu dạ dày nữa. Một vài tác dụng phụ kiểu như vậy đấy.

Will Brehm 2:35
Và như ông đã nói, đó là một điều được yêu cầu phải thực hiện. Ai là người yêu cầu các nghiên cứu y khoa phải tìm hiểu không chỉ tác dụng mà còn cả tác dụng phụ và thông tin cho công chúng biết?

Yong Zhao 2:46
Như chúng ta biết thì ở Mỹ, chính là FDA – Cục quản lý Thực phẩm và Dược phẩm – một cơ quan nhà nước có vai trò chấp thuận cho việc tung ra thị trường các loại thuốc hay các phương thức điều trị. Các cơ quan nhà nước như vậy yêu cầu các công ty dược phẩm hoặc các công ty y tế thực hiện điều này.

Will Brehm 3:10
Vậy thì những phương pháp nào thường được sử dụng cho việc nghiên cứu y khoa và tìm hiểu những tác dụng và tác dụng phụ thưa ông?

Yong Zhao 3:19
Thường thì, những phương pháp này được gọi tên là “Thử nghiệm đối chứng ngẫu nhiên” (randomized controlled trials). Nghĩa là bạn lấy ngẫu nhiên một số lượng người và phân chia họ thành nhiều nhóm khác nhau, rồi bạn đưa cho một số thuốc điều trị, còn một số khác là giả dược – bạn biết không, đấy gọi là hiệu ứng giả dược (placebo effect) – và chờ đợi kết quả. Tuy nhiên điều quan trọng ở đây là, khi họ đo lường kết quả, họ không chỉ đánh giá xem thuốc có hiệu quả trong việc chữa trị bệnh hay không mà họ còn quan tâm các tác hại của chúng nữa. Ví dụ như, một số loại thuốc có thể chữa bệnh gan nhưng cũng có thể giết chết bạn.

Will Brehm 3:54
Ồ, vậy chắc là không ai muốn dùng loại thuốc đó rồi.

Yong Zhao 3:56
Đúng vậy.

Will Brehm 3:58
Vậy thì phương pháp thử nghiệm đối chứng ngẫu nhiên có được sử dụng trong khoa học xã hội không?

Yong Zhao 4:03
Trong lĩnh vực giáo dục thì không nhiều lắm. Đó là lý do mà trong những năm gần đây, người ta đang thực hiện các biện pháp khuyến khích nghiên cứu khoa học xã hội sử dụng các thử nghiệm ngẫu nhiên nhiều hơn. Nhưng bạn biết đấy, điều này rất khó khăn. Chúng ta không thể lấy ngẫu nhiên trẻ em hoài được, và làm như vậy cũng tốn rất nhiều chi phí. Tuy nhiên, đang có những bước tiến nhất định, bởi vì người ta tin rằng sự phát triển trong lĩnh vực y khoa chính là nhờ những phương pháp thử nghiệm đối chứng ngẫu nhiên này. Do đó, những thử nghiệm này đang diễn ra nhiều hơn, và cũng tốn rất nhiều tiền đấy. Chúng ta thấy có nhiều thử nghiệm đang được ủng hộ, nhưng tôi thì không chắc rằng chúng có giúp cải thiện được giáo dục hay không.

Will Brehm 4:44
Vậy thì theo ông, những loại tác dụng phụ nào có thể được tìm thấy nếu phương pháp này được sử dụng rộng rãi hơn?

Yong Zhao 4:52
Tác dụng phụ như vấn đề về kết quả dài hạn và ngắn hạn. Ví dụ, bạn có thể bắt học sinh ghi nhớ toán và các sự kiện lịch sử, nhưng đây chỉ là những kết quả ngắn hạn thôi. Bạn có thể đo lường được điều này. Trong vòng một tuần, những học sinh của tôi có thể ghi nhớ được một công thức nào đó, nhưng đồng thời, các em cũng có thể mất đi niềm yêu thích với môn học này. Có lẽ càng học nhiều, các em càng ghét môn học đó hơn. Tôi nghĩ đây là một ý tưởng rất tồi. Chúng ta thấy nhiều phụ huynh nói rằng “Chúng tôi bắt con của chúng tôi ghi nhớ và chúng tôi rất tự hào là bây giờ chúng đã nhớ được rất nhiều từ”. Nhưng sau đó các em sẽ dần mất đi niềm yêu thích với việc đọc. Đây có lẽ cũng không phải là một việc tốt.

Will Brehm 5:38
Nhưng đương nhiên cũng có những nghiên cứu về giáo dục tìm hiểu những tác dụng phụ chứ, thưa ông?

Yong Zhao 5:42
Tôi nghĩ họ không nghiên cứu tác dụng và tác dụng phụ cùng một lúc. Tôi nghĩ thử thách ở đây là: Có rất nhiều nhà nghiên cứu không thích một số phương pháp nhất định. Họ sẽ nói rằng, “Đây chính là vấn đề của chúng ta”. Ví dụ như, ở Nhật Bản, nhiều người nói rằng “Nền giáo dục Nhật Bản làm cho học sinh mất đi sự sáng tạo, sự tò mò và những điều tương tự như vậy.” Nhưng đồng thời, một bên khác sẽ nói rằng “Không, chúng tôi đã nghiên cứu về giáo dục Nhật Bản rồi. Điểm toán của bọn trẻ rất cao, điểm khoa học cũng cao.” Nhưng vấn đề nằm ở chỗ cả hai bên đều nghiên cứu những điều này một cách tách biệt.

Will Brehm 6:18
Như vậy có nghĩa là nhiều vấn đề đang được nghiên cứu theo kiểu có một nhóm những nhà nghiên cứu khi tìm hiểu về vấn đề đó thì không quan tâm đến các tác dụng phụ của nó?

Yong Zhao 6:29
Đúng vậy. Những người ủng hộ một số các phương pháp nào đó sẽ nói “Này nhìn xem, phương pháp của chúng tôi rất hiệu quả.” Đó là điều mà chúng ta thấy mọi người hay nói khi muốn ủng hộ việc sử dụng điểm số của các bài kiểm tra. “Các quốc gia ở Đông Á đang làm thật tuyệt. Chúng ta có Thượng Hải, Nhật Bản, Hàn Quốc và Singapore. Tất cả các quốc gia này đều đang có những số điểm rất cao.” Và rồi họ nói, “Hãy học hỏi từ họ đi. Hãy học từ Nhật Bản kìa.” Có rất nhiều người đang nói như vậy. Nhưng đồng thời, cũng có những người cho rằng “Không được, không được. Cách làm như vậy đang hủy hoại những đứa trẻ, chúng ta không bao giờ nên làm như vậy.” Vậy đó, chúng ta có hai nhóm người ở đây và dần dần tạo nên một cuộc chiến về quan điểm. Họ bắt đầu tranh cãi với nhau mà không cố gắng thấy rằng “Thật ra đây chỉ là cùng một hệ thống mà thôi”. Tất cả đều cùng là một, chỉ là nó mang lại những kết quả khác nhau thôi. Đấy chính là hai mặt của cùng một đồng xu.

Will Brehm 7:17
Vậy thì khi xảy ra sự phân chia về mặt quan điểm như vậy, tôi nghĩ có lẽ rất khó để mà hai bên có thể thảo luận với nhau, và điều đó có lẽ sẽ tạo ra những tác động nhất định đến các nhà hoạch định chính sách. Những nhà hoạch định chính sách làm thế nào khi đối mặt với những nhóm quan điểm khác nhau như vậy?

Yong Zhao 7:38
Vấn đề lớn ở đây chính là khi họ nghiên cứu tác dụng và tác dụng phụ một cách tách biệt và tạo ra những tranh cãi về mặt quan điểm như vậy, những tranh cãi đó không giúp ích gì cho việc cải thiện giáo dục cả, không làm cho mọi thứ trở nên tốt hơn. Nếu các nhà hoạch định chính sách đồng tình với một quan điểm này hơn quan điểm khác, họ sẽ đề xuất các chính sách dựa trên quan điểm đó cho toàn bộ quốc gia. Và rồi có thể 5 năm sau, một chính quyền khác lên sẽ nói “Ôi, nhìn xem điều này đã gây ra những thiệt hại gì. Hãy bỏ chúng đi và chọn một chính sách khác.” Và chính sách khác ấy thật ra cũng có những tác dụng phụ và tất cả bắt đầu giống như một con lắc đu đưa. Một vài năm sau họ lại nói “Ôi, cách này không hiệu quả rồi.” và “Hãy làm một điều gì đó khác đi vì nhìn xem điều đó thật sự thú vị.” Chỉ nhìn những mặt tích cực của nó thôi, một vài năm sau, một nhóm người khác lên lãnh đạo và nói rằng “Hãy nhìn tất cả những tác dụng phụ của điều đó kìa”. Và lại nói “Hãy dẹp những điều đó đi. Chọn lấy một thứ khác.” Và con lắc lại tiếp tục đưa qua đưa lại như vậy. Những ý tưởng mới cứ được tái sử dụng. Có rất ít người có thể thấy rằng “Hãy nhìn vào các tác dụng phụ của việc này và xem chúng ta có thể làm gì để hạn chế chúng.” Việc đó mới thật sự mang lại sự tiến bộ. Chúng ta không nên loại bỏ mọi thứ một cách ngẫu nhiên chỉ dựa trên quan điểm hay chỉ dựa trên một vài bộ dữ liệu và đo lường.

Will Brehm 8:58
Có phải đạo luật “Không một trẻ em nào bị bỏ lại phía sau” (No Child Left Behind) là một ví dụ cho việc này không?

Yong Zhao 9:04
Đối với nước Mỹ, đúng là như vậy. Ví dụ, ở Mỹ, theo lý thuyết thì khi đạo luật về “Không một trẻ em nào bị bỏ lại phía sau” được ban hành, đó là một ý tưởng tốt. Nhiều người cho rằng cần phải làm cho trường học chịu trách nhiệm hơn, cần phải nâng cao điểm số của học sinh, cần phải kiểm tra nhiều hơn, và những điều đó thực sự cũng có thể mang lại một số tiến bộ. Tuy nhiên đồng thời thì như chúng ta cũng đã thấy từ kinh nghiệm của các nước Châu Á, các kỳ kiểm tra mang tính chất quyết định, kiểm tra học sinh thường xuyên như vậy sẽ tạo nên một nền giáo dục bị chi phối bởi việc kiểm tra. Giáo dục trở thành quá trình chỉ để chuẩn bị cho việc kiểm tra mà thôi. Và vì vậy mà học sinh dần trở nên mất đi hứng thú. Khi mà bạn bắt giáo viên phải chịu trách nhiệm cho việc nâng cao điểm số, và họ không làm được điều đó, niềm tin vào hệ thống giáo dục sẽ bị suy giảm. Và như vậy, bạn lại phải thực hiện rút gọn lại chương trình. Điều này đã xảy ra ở các nước Châu Á. Nếu chúng ta có thể dự đoán trước được mọi việc như vậy, ngay từ đầu chúng ta đã có thể đặt câu hỏi rằng “Chúng ta có thể thiết kế mọi thứ theo một cách nào đó khác để việc đó không xảy ra không?” hoặc, “Chúng ta có thể đảm bảo là đang không vay mượn hoàn toàn một thứ gì đó mà chưa thiết kế cho nó khác đi một chút không?”

Will Brehm 10:13
Làm thế nào chúng ta có thể tính đến những khác biệt về văn hóa trong quá trình học tập các ý tưởng từ nước ngoài, và tìm hiểu về những tác dụng phụ cũng như tác dụng của các ý tưởng đó? Ví dụ như, trong trường hợp của đạo luật “Không một trẻ em nào bị bỏ lại phía sau”, ông cho rằng các nhà hoạch định chính sách và các nhà nghiên cứu giáo dục đã có thể dễ dàng nhìn vào các quốc gia khác đã thực hiện các biện pháp tương tự để gia tăng trách nhiệm giải trình dựa trên kết quả các bài kiểm tra. Nhưng, sự khác biệt về văn hóa, chẳng hạn như giữa Mỹ và Nhật Bản, nên được cân nhắc như thế nào?

Yong Zhao 10:48
Vâng, đó là một câu hỏi rất hay. Về bản chất, sự khác biệt về văn hóa hay các điều kiện về văn hóa chính là nguyên nhân tạo nên một số tác dụng phụ. Ví dụ như, có một số người dị ứng với penicillin nhiều hơn những người khác. Nếu bạn tưởng tượng cơ thể con người cũng giống như văn hóa, một số loại thuốc thì phù hợp với một nhóm người nhưng không hiệu quả với những nhóm khác. Chúng ta cũng thường thấy các cảnh báo. Ví dụ như, “Nếu bạn đang mang thai thì không nên sử dụng thuốc này. Hãy dùng một loại thuốc khác.” Cũng tương tự như vậy, khi chúng ta sử dụng những ý tưởng từ các nền văn hóa khác, chúng ta cần phải tự hỏi, “Chúng có hiệu quả trong bối cảnh này không?” Chúng ta thật sự nên thử nghiệm các ý tưởng trước. Ví dụ như, một ý tưởng mà Mỹ đang muốn mượn của Nhật Bản là các buổi “nghiên cứu lớp học” (lesson studies). Tôi cho rằng các buổi nghiên cứu lớp học này có thể hiệu quả ở Nhật Bản là nhờ có văn hóa cấp bậc, vai vế trong các trường học. Những giáo viên lớn tuổi hơn được kính trọng và có nhiều thẩm quyền hơn so với các giáo viên trẻ tuổi. Điều này thì lại không tồn tại ở văn hóa Mỹ. Do đó phương pháp này có thể không mang lại hiệu quả. Ở Mỹ, cấu trúc các mối quan hệ rất phẳng, rất khó để có thể đặt một giáo viên nào ở vị trí cao hơn những giáo viên khác và bắt họ phải học tập người đó. Tuy nhiên, đồng thời thì chúng ta cũng phải hiểu rằng giáo dục chính là sự sáng tạo. Một nền văn hóa cấp bậc như vậy sẽ làm hạn chế sự sáng tạo. Nếu chúng ta vay mượn toàn bộ ý tưởng này, và chúng ta cho rằng quá trình giảng dạy chỉ nhằm để các giáo viên mới trở nên giống với những giáo viên lớn tuổi, thì sẽ không tạo ra được sự sáng tạo, phải vậy không? Như vậy thì những phương pháp mới làm sao có thể xuất hiện được? Các phương pháp mới thường đến từ những giáo viên trẻ hơn, không phải những giáo viên lớn tuổi. Và như vậy, một lần nữa chúng ta thấy các tác dụng phụ ở đây. Do đó, tôi nghĩ rằng văn hóa rất giống với cơ thể con người. Một số loại thuốc có tác dụng với một số người nhưng không có tác dụng với những người khác. Một số thuốc có thể có tác dụng ở một vài lứa tuổi nhưng không có tác dụng với các lứa tuổi khác.

Will Brehm 12:55
Ông có nghĩ là có hạn chế nào đó trong việc so sánh giữa nghiên cứu y học và nghiên cứu giáo dục không?

Yong Zhao 13:03
Đương nhiên sẽ có những hạn chế chứ vì đó là hai thứ hoàn toàn khác nhau. Nhưng tôi cho rằng ý tưởng về tác dụng phụ thì là một ý tưởng rất hay. Bạn biết đấy, trong bất cứ việc gì mà chúng ta làm, đều có chi phí cơ hội. Ví dụ, nếu bạn dành toàn bộ thời gian để học toán, bạn không thể nào có ngần ấy thời gian để ra ngoài và chơi nhạc. Mọi việc luôn là như vậy đấy. Có những vũ trụ không thể cùng diễn ra song song một lúc được.

Will Brehm 13:31
Vậy thì vì sao chưa có nhu cầu phải tìm hiểu cả tác dụng lẫn tác dụng phụ trong nghiên cứu về giáo dục?

Yong Zhao 13:42
Tôi nghĩ có rất nhiều nguyên nhân. Tôi cho rằng một trong những nguyên nhân chính là do rất nhiều người luôn cố gắng tin rằng giáo dục không gây ra tác hại gì. Chúng ta luôn cho rằng giáo dục là điều tốt đẹp và không có bất kì nghi ngờ gì về điều đó. Và điều thứ hai là, tác dụng phụ không nhất thiết diễn ra cùng một lúc với tác dụng. Tác dụng phụ của thuốc cũng như vậy. Có những tác hại mà chỉ trong khoảng thời gian dài mới có thể thấy được. Dù vậy, chúng ta vẫn phải kiểm soát chúng.
Nhưng trong giáo dục, chúng ta lại không làm được điều đó. Khi nhà trường bị buộc phải chịu trách nhiệm cho việc phải nâng cao kết quả kiểm tra, học sinh bị buộc phải ghi nhớ các phép toán, tác dụng phụ của điều đó là học sinh sẽ mất đi sự hứng thú và đam mê với việc học. Nhưng điều đó sẽ không xuất hiện ngay mà có thể 5 năm sau mới thấy được, và trẻ con bắt đầu ghét trường học. Và khi đó thì rất khó để có thể tìm ra mối liên kết trực tiếp giữa hai việc này nữa vì phần nguyên nhân diễn ra trong một thời gian quá ngắn.
Một vấn đề khác, tôi cho rằng, là trường học thường chỉ nhìn vào một loại tác dụng duy nhất là “kết quả học tập”. Tất cả các loại kết quả học tập đều được đo lường trong ngắn hạn. Một tuần sau khi giảng dạy hoặc một học kì hoặc một năm. Nhưng những tác hại thì lại có thể diễn ra sau đó lâu hơn và chúng ta không biết gì về chúng. Điều này dường như trở thành một lẽ dĩ nhiên, và cho đến giờ tôi chưa thấy mọi người kêu gọi cho những nghiên cứu về vấn đề này. Những ý tưởng này mang “tính chất hiển nhiên”, và do đó không ai quan tâm cả. Tôi cũng thấy điều này thật khó hiểu.

Will Brehm 15:23
Tôi nghĩ có lẽ là mọi người thấy việc đo lường những thứ như “đam mê” khó khăn hơn nhiều so với đo lường việc học sinh thực hiện bài kiểm tra như thế nào.

Yong Zhao 15:33
Vâng, hiển nhiên là như thế. Nhưng tôi nghĩ là có thể đo lường được. Những thứ như “đam mê” hay “sự tò mò” là những thứ diễn ra trong dài hạn, phải mất nhiều thời gian mới có được hay mất đi. Và ví dụ như, khi bạn đến trường, Will, tôi không biết liệu việc này cũng đã xảy ra với anh hay không, nhưng chắc chắn là đã xảy ra với rất nhiều người khác, trường học làm chúng ta cảm thấy chúng ta thật ngu ngốc. Bạn không làm được bài kiểm tra, không làm được bài về nhà. Dù cho có cố gắng đến mấy, bạn cũng không thể giỏi bằng anh trai bạn hay người bạn hàng xóm. Và điều đó làm bạn cảm thấy rất tồi tệ. Cảm giác tồi tệ này có thể gia tăng dần theo thời gian. Và thường thì chúng ta không quan tâm đến điều đó. Nhiều giáo viên không hề chú ý đến việc đó. Và như vậy, bạn còn không hề biết là bạn đang bị tổn thương.
Tôi không chắc, Will à, anh trông có vẻ là một người hạnh phúc. Có lẽ là anh đã học tốt khi đi học. Nhưng mà tôi nghĩ ở rất nhiều trường học… tôi nghĩ chắc chắn là anh cũng có những bạn bè rất ghét đi học và muốn bỏ học. Nhưng chúng ta thường không tính đến họ. Trong suy nghĩ thông thường của mọi người, chúng ta đều tin rằng mọi trường học đều tốt cả. Tôi không biết vì sao, nhưng đi học thường được cho là một điều tốt đẹp. Chúng ta luôn tin như vậy. Điều này rất sốc phải không? Có rất nhiều trẻ em bị tổn thương nhưng không ai quan tâm đến chúng. Chúng ta đổ tội cho chúng. Chúng ta nói rằng “Em không đủ cố gắng”; “Em thật là ngu ngốc”; “Em không chịu tập trung”.

Will Brehm 16:54
Vâng, tôi phải nói là cá nhân tôi không thích phải làm bài kiểm tra. Và tôi nghĩ đây là nguyên nhân mà khi lớn hơn tôi lại học về giáo dục: Để cố gắng hiểu xem vì sao tôi lại ghét giáo dục như vậy khi còn nhỏ.

Yong Zhao 17:14
Vâng, đó cũng chính là một dạng tác dụng phụ. Ghét trường học có thể không phải là một điều tồi tệ nếu như bạn thay đổi cách nghĩ và nói rằng “Tôi muốn biết vì sao nó tệ như vậy.” Đó cũng là một tác dụng phụ khác. Và thật ra thì, tác dụng phụ không nhất thiết phải luôn tiêu cực. Như đối với các loại thuốc, ví dụ như, Viagra không được sáng chế để gia tăng hưng phấn tình dục. Nó `đã được tạo ra cho một mục đích khác. Nhưng rồi chúng ta phải hiện ra “Ồ, nó có thể giúp ích cho việc này và điều đó thật thú vị.” Do đó, tác dụng phụ có thể giúp mở ra rất nhiều cách thức sử dụng khác cho cùng một phương pháp giáo dục.

Will Brehm 17:52
Tôi muốn quay lại vấn đề mà ông đã nói về việc giáo dục thật sự có thể gây hại. Ngoài việc học sinh có thể ghét trường học thì có những tác hại nào có thể xảy ra không?

Yong Zhao 18:05
Tôi nghĩ là nếu ở phạm vi rộng hơn, ở cấp độ hệ thống, một số hệ thống giáo dục có thể cố gắng tẩy não mọi người, cố gắng đồng hóa mọi người, xóa bỏ đi những loại tài năng khác nhau. Và nhiều trường học được thiết kế để làm điều đó. Nếu bạn nhìn vào các quốc gia Châu Á, tôi cho rằng các hệ thống của họ đã làm rất tốt trong việc đảm bảo mọi người trở nên giống nhau, suy nghĩ giống nhau, học những thứ giống nhau. Những ai thách thức điều đó hoặc không nghe lời sẽ bị loại bỏ khỏi hệ thống, tạo nên một sự “đồng nhất về tài tăng”. Và điều này sẽ làm cản trở sự sáng tạo trong dài hạn. Tuy nhiên đồng thời thì tác dụng của việc này là mọi người đều suy nghĩ giống nhau. Điều đó cũng tốt vì như vậy thì “Mọi người suy nghĩ giống nhau, vậy thì quản lý họ sẽ dễ dàng hơn.” Nhưng như vậy thì cũng không thể mong mọi người trở nên sáng tạo và đổi mới được. Mặt khác thì ở hệ thống giáo dục của Mỹ, sẽ rất tồi tệ nếu cố gắng bắt mọi người học những thứ giống nhau và bắt họ nghe lời. Nhưng tác dụng phụ chính là có rất nhiều người có khả năng suy nghĩ sáng tạo, vượt ra khỏi giới hạn.

Will Brehm 19:21
Tôi nghĩ vấn đề này có lẽ liên quan đến giá trị của giáo dục. Tôi nghĩ việc tranh luận về một nền giáo dục như thế nào chủ yếu nằm ở chỗ các nhà hoạch định chính sách, những người có quyền lực muốn tìm kiếm loại tác dụng như thế nào. Dù cho đó là việc suy nghĩ sáng tạo hay là kỷ luật hay là bất kì thứ gì. Có lẽ mọi thứ cần được hiểu một cách sâu sắc hơn là chỉ nhìn vào vấn đề tác dụng và tác dụng phụ. Có lẽ mọi thứ liên quan đến những tranh cãi sâu sắc hơn về các giá trị khác nhau của giáo dục.

Yong Zhao 19:59
Vâng, tôi nghĩ điều đó rất chính xác. Với phụ huynh hay các nhà giáo dục, trong vai trò của những khách hàng, bạn sẽ muốn biết rằng những gì bạn sử dụng có tác dụng này, nhưng cũng có tác dụng khác. Và rồi bạn sẽ phải cân nhắc, bạn muốn điều này, hay điều kia, nếu bạn không thể có cả hai.
Tôi nghĩ trong giáo dục, nhiều nhà giáo dục và ngay cả những nhà nghiên cứu hy vọng rằng họ có thể có cả hai. Nhưng đôi khi bạn không thể có cả hai được và bạn cần phải biết điều đó. Ví dụ như khi bạn chuẩn bị làm phẫu thuật, bạn phải ký rất nhiều, rất nhiều giấy tờ về các nguy cơ. Nếu bạn đồng ý thực hiện, bạn có sẵn sàng chấp nhận các nguy cơ này không? Tôi hy vọng là với giáo dục, khi bạn gửi con bạn đến trường, bạn có thể hỏi “Tôi muốn biết các tác dụng phụ của việc này. Việc gì mà ngôi trường này sẽ không làm được? Đâu là những nguy cơ mà con tôi sắp phải trải qua khi đi học ở trường của bạn? Các tác dụng phụ có thể là gì? Những tổn thương nào mà trường của bạn có thể gây ra cho con tôi? Con tôi sẽ không nhận được gì?”. Ví dụ như nếu bạn đến một số trường ở Nhật Bản, hay có thể ở bất kì nơi nào, bạn sẽ muốn hỏi rằng, “Vâng, thành tích học tập của trường này tốt đấy, nhưng cái giá phải trả là gì?” Bạn sẽ muốn hỏi “Cái giá phải trả là gì? Con tôi có còn còn thời gian để chơi đùa không? Con tôi sẽ hạnh phúc chứ? Con tôi sẽ có bạn chứ? Con tôi có bị căng thẳng không?” Bạn sẽ muốn biết tất cả những điều đó. Và khi đó bạn sẽ có thể nói “Này, tôi không thích điều đó đâu. Tôi sẽ tìm một nơi khác.” Và khi bạn đến một nơi khác, một ngôi trường lấy việc vui chơi làm trung tâm và họ nói rằng “Vâng, con của bạn sẽ rất hạnh phúc. Chúng sẽ được chơi đùa với thiên nhiên và những thứ như vậy.” Nhưng rồi cái giá phải trả là gì? Và họ nói rằng “Vâng, có lẽ là con bạn sẽ không thể cạnh tranh với các bạn khác trong việc làm các bài kiểm tra đâu.” Và với tư cách là một phụ huynh, bạn sẽ nói “Vâng, tôi sẵn sàng chấp nhận điều đó.” Đó là điều mà tôi nghĩ là chúng ta cần phải nghĩ đến.

Will Brehm 21:47
Như vậy có nghĩa là ông đang cổ vũ cho một việc tương tự như việc các loại thuốc không kê đơn được bỏ vào hộp có dán nhãn một cách công khai và rõ ràng về các tác dụng phụ? Và như vậy điều này có thể giúp cho giáo dục trở nên tốt hơn. Nhưng làm thế nào mà phụ huynh, hay giáo viên hay các nhà hoạch định chính sách, hiệu trưởng biết về các tác dụng phụ này? Làm gì có cục FDA nào cho giáo dục ở Mỹ, nhưng có phải ông cho rằng nên có một điều gì đó như vậy không?

Yong Zhao 22:16
Tôi nghĩ đúng là như vậy đấy. Tôi nghĩ cần phải có ai đó, có lẽ là các tổ chức nghề nghiệp, các tạp chí khoa học bắt buộc những nhà nghiên cứu phải nghiên cứu và công bố đồng thời cả tác dụng và tác dụng phụ. Đầu tiên là những thông tin như vậy cần phải có để có thể tìm hiểu được cả hai. Tôi đang thực hiện một quyển sách tổng hợp những kết quả nghiên cứu từ cả hai phía của nhiều nhà nghiên cứu độc lập khác nhau, đến từ cả hai hệ quan điểm khác nhau. Có lẽ đó sẽ là sự bắt đầu. Nhưng tôi cũng mong là các tổ chức nghề nghiêp và các tạp chí khoa học phải yêu cầu mọi người nghiên cứu và báo cáo cả tác dụng và tác dụng phụ cùng một lúc. Và bất kì một phương pháp sư phạm mới nào, sách giáo khoa mới hay những chính sách mới đều phải thông tin những điều đó cho công chúng, cho phụ huynh và giáo viên. Tôi nghĩ điều này rất quan trọng. Và đương nhiên, có một số loại thuốc, ví dụ như các loại thuốc phổ biến thì không có nhiều tác dụng phụ, nhưng chúng ta cũng cần biết điều đó. Chúng có những tác dụng gì khác không? Tôi không biết bạn có để ý thấy không, Will, nhưng hiện nay trên TV, khi họ quảng cáo cho các loại thuốc, họ đọc những tác dụng phụ trong thời gian còn lâu hơn là tác dụng.

Will Brehm 23:46
Nhưng mà họ đọc cũng rất nhanh.

Yong Zhao 23:48
Vâng, đúng vậy.

Will Brehm 23:49
Vâng, với tôi thì giáo dục mang tính chính trị sâu sắc với mỗi quốc gia. Tôi hình dung là một số quốc gia sẽ cảm thấy không thoải mái với việc ra quyết định dựa trên những thông tin về tác dụng và tác dụng phụ được công bố rộng rãi như vậy.

Yong Zhao 24:11
Chắn chắn là như vậy. Giống như nhiều công ty dược phẩm cố gắng che giấu các tác dụng phụ, hoặc không nghiên cứu, hoặc cố gắng giấu đi. Điều này thì cũng không có gì lạ. Nếu bạn là nhà nước và muốn mua bán với các công ty dược phẩm lớn, họ sẽ muốn giấu bạn điều đó. Họ không muốn mọi người biết đâu. Chuyện như thế rất có thể xảy ra.

Will Brehm 24:39
Nhưng trong lĩnh vực giáo dục, thường là nhà nước cũng chính là nơi sản xuất ra hệ thống giáo dục. Như vậy có nghĩa là nhà nước vừa sản xuất, vừa kiểm soát. Nếu họ muốn giấu một điều gì đó, chắc chắn là sẽ rất khó để có một cơ quan kiểm soát nào có thể tìm được. Không có một hình thức nào….
Yong Zhao 25:04
Đúng vậy. Tôi biết có những quốc gia cố gắng che giấu đi các số liệu về hội chứng lo âu ở trẻ em, các dữ liệu về sức khỏe tinh thần của trẻ em. Nhiều quốc gia không có báo cáo các tỷ lệ tự tử ở trẻ vị thành niên, hoặc ít ra là không công khai. Nên đúng là những việc đó có thể xảy ra. Có những quốc gia còn không cho phép bạn viết bất kì điều gì có tính chất phê phán… mà đó lại là một thước đo cho các tác dụng phụ. Có một quốc gia tài trợ cho toàn bộ các nghiên cứu giáo dục và kiểm duyệt tất cả những sản phẩm công bố từ các nghiên cứu đó.

Will Brehm 25:39
Tuy nhiên đồng thời, chúng ta cũng thấy những công ty lớn như Pearson, hay cả những công ty giáo dục vì lợi nhuận khác, hành động giống như những công ty dược phẩm, che giấu và kiểm soát dữ liệu để chỉ công khai những dữ liệu cho thấy các sản phẩm giáo dục của họ là tốt thôi.

Yong Zhao 25:59
Tôi không nghĩ là những công ty về giáo dục này có nghiên cứu về tác dụng phụ, như tôi đã đề cập lúc nãy. Họ nhăm nhăm chứng minh xem sản phẩm của họ tốt như thế nào thôi.

Will Brehm 26:09
Vâng đúng vậy. Tôi nghĩ đây là một nỗ lực rất có giá trị và là một điều gì đó, như ông đã nói, rất hiển nhiên. Nhưng nó cũng có vẻ là một việc rất khó để bắt buộc các nhà nghiên cứu giáo dục phải làm như vậy, đặc biệt là vì nhiều vấn đề giáo dục đã trở thành những vấn đề mang tính chất quan điểm rồi.

Yong Zhao 26:34
Vâng, đương nhiên. Nhưng tôi nghĩ đây là một điều mà chúng ta cần phải làm. Đó là lý do mà tôi hy vọng rằng với sự giúp đỡ của bạn, của mọi người, chúng ta có thể lan tỏa thông điệp này đi. Việc phát triển chủ đề này là thực sự rất quan trọng. Vì nếu bạn đã ở trong lĩnh vực giáo dục đủ lâu, bạn sẽ nhận thấy là chúng ta cứ sử dụng đi sử dụng lại các ý tưởng giáo dục. Phương pháp ngôn ngữ trọn vẹn (whole language) ư? Không, phải là phương pháp ngữ âm chứ. Bạn nhớ những cuộc chiến này chứ. Chúng ta đã từng làm toán theo kiểu cơ bản. Và bây giờ chúng ta đang thực hiện việc học tập dựa trên khám phá, nghiên cứu. Chúng ta tranh cãi với nhau suốt ngày. Đáng ra chúng ta cần phải hiểu là chúng ta đang nói về cái gì. Mọi người tranh cãi với nhau đủ thứ. Như bây giờ đây, việc giảng dạy trực tiếp (direct instruction) đang quay lại như một trào lưu. Tôi biết như ở Úc chẳn hạn, nhiều người trong chính phủ đang nói rằng “Chúng ta cần thực hiện giảng dạy trực tiếp vì điều đó mới thật sự hiệu quả. Trẻ em đâu cần phải khám phá xem vì sao một cộng một bằng hai.” …Nhưng đồng thời thì ai đó cũng có thể nói rằng đó chỉ là những “thành công không mang lại hiệu quả” (unproductive success). Trong ngắn hạn thì đó là thành công nhưng lại không mang đến hiệu quả trong dài hạn.

Will Brehm 27:43
Vâng xin cám ơn ông Yong Zhao vì đã tham gia cùng FreshEd. Rất tuyệt vời khi được trò chuyện với ông ngày hôm nay.

Yong Zhao 27:47
Cám ơn, Will. Rất tuyệt vời, và tôi hy vọng anh sẽ giúp tôi lan tỏa thông điệp này đi. Điều cần phải làm đó là: Hãy nghiên cứu cả tác dụng và tác dụng phụ. Bạn biết đấy, cái gì mà có tác dụng, ắt sẽ có tác hại.

Translated by Linh Hong Ho

Want to help translate this show in other languages? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com

Have useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com

Today we discuss human rights education with Monisha Bajaj. Monisha, has recently edited a book entitled Human Rights Education: Theory, Research Praxis, which was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

In our conversation, we discuss the origins of human rights education, its diverse range of practices, and the ways it has changed overtime.

We also discuss the challenges to human rights education today.

Monisha Bajaj is a Professor of International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco.

Citation: Bajaj, Monisha, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 72, podcast audio, May 8, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/bajaj/


Will Brehm  1:45
Monisha Bajaj, welcome to FreshEd.

Monisha Bajaj  1:57
Thanks so much for having me, Will.

Will Brehm 2:00
So, what is Human Rights Education?

Monisha Bajaj 2:04
Sure. Well, a very basic definition of Human Rights Education is any teaching and learning that happens to impart values, notions, knowledge about human rights among learners. And human rights, most basically, are legal and ethical frameworks for human dignity. And they’ve existed for many, many, many years, in many traditions, in many cultural backgrounds but they were most kind of concretized after the Second World War, as nations came together in the wake of two world wars, looking at the horrors of the Holocaust, and the ravages of what happened there -trying to create a shared moral, ethical, legal framework for individuals, communities, nations living in peace and in dignity.

Will Brehm  2:52
And that framework -that moral, and ethical, legal framework- was through the United Nations?

Monisha Bajaj  2:57
Yeah, so the United Nations came about -the ideas for it had existed through the League of Nations and other proposals that had existed before World War Two. But after World War Two, as nations recovered from many different things on many different continents that were happening, the proposals really moved forward in terms of creating the architecture and the structure for the United Nations. And through that there was a proposal for a Universal Declaration of Human Rights that would codify some basic human standards for living together. The basic principles for which every human would be entitled to.

Will Brehm  3:35
And so human rights as a framework through the United Nations, that was in the 1940s, 1950s, but when did the Human Rights “Education” first emerge?

Monisha Bajaj  3:46
Sure, so actually, Human Rights Education as I mentioned, you know, you have these traditions and cultures where notions of human rights emerged for many years and education about rights and basic values of human dignity have existed in many cultures historically and through the years. But again, at this codification in 1948, through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -through these 30 articles of this kind of milestone document that’s been translated thousands of times, all around the world- there is Article 26 that fundamentally in Part 1 says that everyone has a right to education. And notably, in Part 2 of that says that education should be directed to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. So, there was this awareness and the individuals who debated this document, there were three years of debates and, you know, arguing over language and getting the right terms and the right notions and the phrasing and the types of principles that would be in this document. There was a lot of debates about individuals who were educated that participated in the Holocaust. So, people who were medical doctors who were experimenting in awful ways on individuals: torture, murder, atrocities, and the Nazi indoctrination of youth through education during that time -during the Nazi regime. So, there was this perspective that it’s not just access to education, which is Part 1 of Article 26, but education for what? Education towards peace, tolerance, friendship among nations, the strengthening of fundamental freedoms, respect for human rights. So HRE has actually existed -since in that kind of formal form- since the creation of the document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Will Brehm  5:28
And who are some of the main proponents of Human Rights Education?

Monisha Bajaj  5:51
Sure. So, in that kind of debating, there were people from different nations. There was a lot of strong support from women from India and from the Dominican Republic, who are delegates in drafting this document for inclusive language around gender. In terms of education, a lot of the Latin American countries pushed the economic, social and cultural rights into the document. Obviously, some of the drafters that we know about were Rene Cassin of France. Different individuals who were leading philosophers and theorists of that time, Charles Malik of Lebanon -other individuals. And so, these debates were happening among this group of individuals. Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the council that drafted the declaration, but she didn’t actually participate in a lot of the drafting of it, which is a bit of a misconception that a lot of individuals have -that she was the main drafter of the declaration. So, these were all kind of leading scholars, philosophers, intellectuals of the time that had come together through this platform of the drafting committee to put in what they saw were the most important rights that each individual should have across societies. What’s interesting about that drafting committee, a lot of individuals bring up the cultural relativist critique. And actually, the strong support for the kind of universalism was from nations of the global South. The few that were involved at that time who had already become free -if we think about the period of 1948 a lot of the countries of Asia, South Asia, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa, were still under colonial rule. And a lot of the colonial powers didn’t want the universal language to be in there. Because that would mean that then the colonies that were under their rule would have to be entitled to these rights that they weren’t at that time giving them. So, there’s this misnomer, I think, right? Or this misconception these days that cultural relativism is something that global South nations are arguing for. But at this time in the 1940s it was actually the reverse: That European powers were arguing for cultural relativist language so that they could maintain you know, their power over the colonies that they had that were very lucrative for them. But a lot of that history is very hidden.

Will Brehm  7:40
So, when did it change to the critique being that cultural relativism was what the global North was doing?

Monisha Bajaj  7:47
Yeah, so that -there’s a really interesting book, it’s a long answer to that question but I would point any listeners towards this book by -I think the first name of the, I can’t remember the first name of the author, but the last name is Burke, and again, the name of the book also escapes me- but it’s a I think it’s something on Decolonizing human rights or something like that. And it talks very extensively -it’s about a 200-page book- about every debate through the process of drafting the declaration. And then how different nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, different representatives from there, switched the debate on cultural relativism to then be a debate about the western imposition of values in order to be able to resist some of the universal framing around the 60s and 70s that was coming out about bringing attention to nations that were not abiding by some of these standards and advancing human rights for all people in those countries.

Will Brehm  8:44
Yeah, I know in the 90s a lot of Asian nations, when they came together during the Vienna Conference, they explicitly stated that human rights should not be used to pressure nations into a universal direction. They kind of made this very interesting balance between, on the one hand, they recognized human rights as universal but at the same time, they didn’t want nations -particularly a Western nations- to pressure Asian nations into following a certain direction of human rights. And it makes me realize that this difference between cultural relativism and the universal notion of human rights I mean, its intention and obviously, as you’re saying changes over time, depending on which nations are advocating for the different sides.

Monisha Bajaj  9:36
Yeah, I mean, I think the history of that debate is a really productive area to look into because it’s so complex and it’s so interesting to look kind of from the 1940s to the present who is on each side of that debate and how that’s shifted over time and even within nations to look at who argues for each of that. I know in my own work my I know we’re talking right now about this new book, but in my previous book on Human Rights Education in India, I looked at kind of the different definitions of Human Rights Education that people have. And it definitely was a lot of individuals who had a bit more privileged status that were arguing for cultural relativism and that these notions can’t be imposed on us. We have Asian values, or we are not like those nations that want us to be like them. Whereas the communities kind of at the very bottom, particularly Dalit rights activists and organizations that I work with -Dalit is considered formerly called “untouchable” groups. A lot of the organizations that were advancing Human Rights Education were Dalit rights organizations. And what they were saying is that, “we do want these universal notions because then what it can allow us to do is advocate for rights that we’ve been denied for thousands and thousands of years”. And the individuals who were arguing for cultural relativism were individuals who would then be upset or disrupted by a change in social relations that had privileged them for a very long time. So, I think it’s also very fruitful to look within nations to see how different structures are arranged and when groups who are some of the most marginalized begin to use human rights framing and language, how then the cultural relativist critique comes from local elites that don’t want any disruption of the privileges and benefits that they’ve had for a very long time.

Will Brehm  11:15
Right. So, it can be particular interests domestically, can latch on to some of these international ideas to push their agenda forward.

Monisha Bajaj  11:23
Yeah. And who is attending the UN meetings where they’re arguing for cultural relativism? For example, in the declaration that you mentioned, in the Vienna conference, the individuals who represent nations are often from elites, right? So, when there’s not the parallel tracks for NGOs or civil society or social movements to be part of those conversations, only one side of the story often gets put forward. So, it would be interesting to see -I think the World Conference against Racism in Durban in 2001 was a very interesting conference where many NGOs, social movements, civil society groups were present alongside the government representatives, and particularly around Dalit rights and the human rights framing, as well as other issues globally. You had a very sort of tense conference where even government actors walked out of the conference because of the strong presence of civil society that were basically telling them when the government of certain countries would say, No, the situation is like this. The civil society actors would say, “No, it’s not. We are living this, we are working this”. And so, you had both voices and it was very difficult for governmental actors to be able to spin a story that wasn’t countered by anyone else because you had a strong presence of civil society there.

Will Brehm  12:39
Yeah. So, let’s switch or let’s change gears to this: How Human Rights Education is actually practiced. Is this something that we see civil society and NGO organizations practicing? Or are governments actually practicing it as well?

Monisha Bajaj  12:56
Yeah. What I think is really interesting about Human Rights Education is you have a sort of “from above” approach and a “from below”. And then a lot of kind of grassroots, transformative education, social justice education, you only have the “from below”, which is kind of empowerment education, trying to reach marginalized groups, bring some sort of Freirean-inspired consciousness raising education in order to empower them. With Human Rights Education, you have that. You have a lot of grassroots movements. This was particularly true in Latin America, during the time of authoritarian rule. A lot of organizations were working with communities to bring in Human Rights Education to build a political base for movements to overthrow authoritarianism. You see that in many different contexts. At the same time, from the 1990s forward, you have a very strong intergovernmental legitimization of human rights discourses and Human Rights Education, particularly through the Vienna Conference on Human Rights in 1993. That was the first big World Conference on human rights after the fall of the Soviet Union where in the declaration that come out of the plan of action that came out of this conference, there were many paragraphs devoted to Human Rights Education being a priority. That awareness about human rights. Through that declaration, there was also the creation of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education, which was 1995 to 2004. So, you have this very strong intergovernmental movement at the same time that you have this very vibrant sort of grassroots movement and it looks different in both those places. So, the way governments talk about Human Rights Education may be putting a paragraph in a textbook, or kind of doing it so that they look good in the international community. Whereas grassroots movements are really trying to bring about individual and social change through working with marginalized groups to advocate for their own rights and demand sort of more dignity and basic freedoms. So, you have this interesting dual movement happening, and maybe there are other levels as well, but it also allows grassroots movements to draw on that global framework to bring legitimacy to what they’re doing. And you see a lot of groups -I see this in my work in India, as well as in other places where I’ve done research- where groups that we’re framing their work on education or consciousness raising around a particular right like the right to land or the right to be free from caste discrimination or gender, that they start using human rights more broadly to frame the issues that they’re working on because it does link to this global framework and this global discourse that then all of a sudden they can make claims on the nation-state because the nation-state has said that they agree to these kinds of global values and norms. So, you see a lot of reframing in the 1990s of individual social movements and NGOs that are working in different areas to a broader human rights lens because funding, legitimacy, networks and different ways of accessing these global goods can also be available by reframing into a human rights lens. And it’s not that what they were working on isn’t human rights. It’s just that all of a sudden there’s this kind of more pan-human rights perspective that individuals can link their own demands and struggles into.

Will Brehm  16:11
So why are nation-states -at this at these intergovernmental agencies and conferences- why are they adopting the language of human rights? Even if it’s only, like you said, a paragraph in a textbook. What is the reason for this global convergence in a sense at that intergovernmental level?

Monisha Bajaj  16:33
There are many scholars who’ve written on this, and I think -it’s not an area that I focus on squarely in my work. But we do have some chapters in the book that do talk about this kind of shift towards the kind of more individual rights in the global kind of economy. You see, this rise of neoliberalism to some extent has opened up the space for this discussion of individual rights. I would say it has a lot to do with kind of how the movement, particularly this kind of Cold War period, where it was very much the First World, the Second World, the Third World. Different groups were focused on different rights. So, the West and the global north was definitely kind of more on political and civil rights. Whereas you see the kind of Soviet nations more focused on economic-social rights, not necessarily cultural rights in that regard. But you see this kind of emergence of political and civil rights as sort of this framework that then becomes to frame a lot of the post-Soviet period. So, it is this way that human rights originally kind of gets in these documents and gets to this kind of international community through the political and civil rights. But as more people enter this space and start using the whole expanse of the human rights documents and frameworks that you see more attention to economic, social, cultural rights coming in as well

Will Brehm  17:53
Since the end of the Cold War -and maybe since the Vienna conference in the early 1990s- has the practice of Human Rights Education changed to today in 2017?

Monisha Bajaj  18:06
Yeah, definitely. So, I would say that -so you have this document in 1948 where Human Rights Education is clearly stated as a fundamental right, you know, a kind of social good that’s in this universal declaration, but not much action on it, or very disparate, different movements towards Human Rights Education. Until really there is this kind of global convening, this focus on Human Rights Education that comes out of the Vienna Conference, and then through the decade -that was like an interagency decade for Human Rights Education across UN agencies- there was then coordination and movement for individuals who are doing different things and may not even know about each other. If you think about the early 1990s, there wasn’t even the internet as easily available that really comes about in the late 90s, early 2000s. So, this decade really allowed people to coordinate and say, “hey, I’m doing this over here. Hey, I’m doing this over here, hey, let’s connect, let’s get together”. And through that coordination of action plans, nation-states then had an incentive because they were being required to submit action plans of what was happening, they had to take stock nationally and say, “Hey, what’s going on in our nation? What can we report that will make us look good about what’s going on in Human Rights Education”? So, it was also a chance for this kind of connection horizontally across the globe, at the civil society level. And I know in the case of India as well, which is where a lot of my research has taken place, government actors got interested in what civil society was doing, because they could use it as a way to show the UN agencies what was happening. Whether or not they were actually involved in it or not, but they could kind of take some credit for actions and show up at events that NGOs were putting on -there was a creation of a National Human Rights Commission at that time in India, for example. So, it was a chance to kind of take stock, connect and also move different initiatives forward because of this kind of international -I wouldn’t say comparison but this kind of focus that then everybody wanted to rally around and show what they were doing.

Will Brehm  20:06
Is Human Rights Education fundamentally different today than it was in the 90s? Or do we see similar trends happening?

Monisha Bajaj  20:14
Yeah, so I would say it is different. So, you see this kind of exponential growth in the term Human Rights Education being used. Initiatives that are specifically on Human Rights Education. So, whereas before the 90s, you probably had very disparate, very kind of Amnesty International was working in that space. Some individuals and organizations were but after the 1990s, you see a lot of individuals who had been doing education -maybe citizenship education or agenda rights education- using Human Rights Education as a frame. Sort of repackaging, maybe expanding the focus of what they were doing to include other rights and then just a monumental shift in pedagogies, practices, publications, textbook reforms, pedagogical reforms. So, the proliferation of initiatives and activities and NGOs that were working in this space after the 1990s till the present day. And what we see now, I think, which is really interesting is just different approaches. So, some of my previous work has also kind of looked at different ideological bents to Human Rights Education. So, I’ve kind of conceptualized some different areas of Human Rights Education for global citizenship, Human Rights Education for coexistence, where different groups whether those ethnic groups, religious groups have been in conflict, bringing initiatives for Human Rights Education that addresses that. And then Human Rights Education that is rooted much more in sort of analysis of asymmetrical power relations that really seeks to bring about transformative learning and action that will address some of these inequities locally and in some instances globally. So, you have a proliferation of initiatives with very different ends. So you might have someone calling what they do Human Rights Education that is very different even in the same nation-state as another group that is using the term Human Rights Education and working with a very marginalized group, and doing something that looks totally different than something that’s happening 50 miles away in a privileged, urban, private school that is sort of doing Skype chats with individuals in other countries and trying to bring about global citizenship. So, you definitely have sort of this proliferation of the term and the perspectives of Human Rights Education, but with very different definitions of what that means as you get down into what they’re doing, what rights they’re focusing on, and what approaches they’re taking to impart learning around human rights.

Will Brehm  22:35
So, I mean, this makes me wonder, what is the value of using the term Human Rights Education if it can mean so many different things?

Monisha Bajaj  22:44
Yeah, I mean, I think the value of using it is very similar to the value of kind of any social justice efforts, right? It allows for people to congregate around this banner of Human Rights Education and address different issues of basic dignity, social justice, critical analysis, but the way that people take up that movement will always be very different. And I think that’s where scholars and practitioners can be in dialogue. I think what’s interesting about Human Rights Education is because it’s a fairly new field, and it’s very grounded in both practice and scholarship. There’s one listserv that is extremely vibrant, that’s coordinated by the US based NGO, Human Rights Education Associates, that started kind of in the late 90s, early 2000s with a few dozen people. When I wrote my book on Human Rights Education in India a few years ago, it was about 8,000 people on the listserv. I’m on this listserv now. I think the latest I looked up its 16,000 people on this listserv from 170 different countries. And it’s an extremely active space for people to share what’s going on, what they’re doing, perspectives, insights, government efforts, feedback on the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training that came out a few years ago. There were several conversations about what should go into that. It’s very rare in other intergovernmental spaces, that you would have such an active civil society participation in the drafting of a declaration or in the discussions about the everyday kind of practice. So, I think being a field that’s relatively new and relatively small, more or less, it allows for this very vibrant and dynamic space where people can contest the definitions or bring in new ideas to it. But it also means that we can’t think it’s all the same. It’s not a monolithic whole. The way individual’s kind of think about Human Rights Education is shaped by where they’re positioned, their social location, what their goals are through the project. And that’s why I think this book is really, you know, it’s meant to be a very introductory textbook on you know, what is Human Rights Education, who’s in the space, what are the different perspectives that exists there and kind of teasing out some of these different conceptual and theoretical perspectives that infuse the way that we think about the field

Will Brehm  25:00
Are there any examples of the outcomes of Human Rights Education? Like, “this is a great outcome of this particular initiative or practice of Human Rights Education”.

Monisha Bajaj  25:14
Yeah, so the area of sort of, I mean, I think research contributes to that. But definitely the area of evaluation is very contested. Because, as with any sort of educational program, it’s difficult to say this is the concrete outcome of this. But there have been studies that look at kind of prejudice reduction, there are three kind of large buckets that Human Rights Education focuses on: So, one is the cognitive. So greater awareness, knowledge about human rights history, standards, norms, maybe they’re domestic rights that everyone has access to. The second bucket would be kind of the affective, attitudinal. So, how does Human Rights Education affect the way that individuals interact with each other? This kind of emotional or attitudinal behavioral area. Is there actually less bullying because Human Rights Education is happening in a school? Is there greater inclusion among different social groups in a school or educative community? And then the third bucket is action-oriented. And that’s one of the trickiest areas to assess because a lot of school children don’t have a lot of time for social action. But Human Rights Education also takes place in a lot of non-formal education learning spaces where there are adult learners, it can happen in community-based spaces, it can happen in after school spaces. So, these are areas that different scholars have looked at. So, what is kind of the content, what are the sort of affective, and what are the action-oriented components that learners -whatever age they are- develop and incorporate into -and even educators- as they learn about Human Rights Education, what are they taking up and doing with this information? I look at that some in my book on Human Rights Education in India. Schooling for Social Change, is the name of that book. Other scholars have also done that, and we have, you know, chapters by about 20 different authors in this new book Human Rights Education: Theory, Research and Praxis, that gives short chapter snippets of what they’re looking at. One of the really interesting chapters that we were excited to include in this book is by Oren Pizmony-Levy and Megan Jensen, where they look at a professional development Human Rights Education program for individuals who work with people who work with refugees who are claiming asylum based on persecution of their gender identity or sexual orientation. So, this was a really important chapter to include because a lot of human rights frameworks, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, doesn’t identify sexual orientation as an area that you have to be free from discrimination of. And as we move from the 1940s forward, more declarations and conventions and international frameworks have incorporated some around sexual orientation, but it is a very sort of contested area when you think about the different nation-states and different laws that criminalize activity. So, this was an important chapter to include and they present some evidence of a training program done by an organization that really does show how individuals who participated, in a quantitative measure, reduce prejudice towards individuals of different sexual orientations through participation in this professional development. So, there are these ways of sort of evaluating. It could be that long term, there are kind of reversals to old ways of thinking, but there are different methodological approaches in the field and some attention towards addressing, “Okay, what are the outcomes and how do we assess these outcomes so that we are moving towards greater respect for human rights through Human Rights Education?”

Will Brehm  28:52
I want to bring the conversation all the way to today when where Marine Le Pen did not win the French presidency, but she came in second and earned more votes than her father did. And in a way she exemplifies this rise of nationalism and ethnocentric thinking -at least in Europe and maybe in the US where Donald Trump won the presidency- and we see this new anti-global talk and discourse and much more nationalistic and I wanted to in your sense: Do you think that this sort of discourse that we see in Europe and in America is going to affect Human Rights Education?

Monisha Bajaj  29:41
So, I see it as not only Europe and America. I mean if we look at the Philippines what’s going on with the leader there. India you know there’s been a tremendous cracking down on descent, revoking of human rights organizations sort of national permission to operate by the Prime Minister there right now. I think it’s a global trend. So, I just want to say that it’s not just the United States and Europe, even though that’s what we get most of the news about. It is really a global trend towards this kind of authoritarianism. In my opinion, it definitely makes Human Rights Education more necessary than ever. So, if you see Human Rights Education as a political and pedagogical project, we need more consciousness raising, critical thinking, critical media literacy, we need it more than ever. And the way I kind of give a quick definition of Human Rights Education sometimes is that space where cosmopolitanism meets Paulo Freire’s ideas. So, I think there’s this beautiful merging of this cosmopolitan thinking, that we are kind of global citizens, that we do have these shared moral, legal, and ethical frameworks which we see in human rights. But that individual consciousness raising has to happen at very local levels with very kind of tailored approaches to the communities that you’re involved in. So how individual communities link to that global, ethical framework and what’s needed to get them to think in perspective, or in relation to that is very different. So that consciousness raising that political, pedagogical, participatory education that happens has to take into account how people are situated in relation to this global. And right now, I think this move towards authoritarianism and this very kind of “rise of nationalism”, is related to a very sophisticated explanation that these kind of charismatic leaders who tend towards authoritarianism are able to give, which is that your economic woes and your hardships are because of “the other”. So particularly with Brexit, there was a very strong propaganda, whatever effort, towards blaming immigrants for the economic hardships when in reality if you take a structural lens on what’s happening is that manufacturing -a lot of the industrial jobs that individuals were in- moved overseas long ago. But the way that the kind of right-wing efforts were able to pin that answer, when people were asking, “Why is my life so hard?”, they were able to pin that answer on individuals who looked different and this kind of rise of multiculturalism through the European Union and migration that had been facilitated to that. When that actually, structurally, was not the reason why people’s lives were harder. It was the collapsing global economy and the rise of neoliberalism and factories moving to where wage labor is the cheapest in places like Bangladesh or Cambodia or Haiti. So, there’s this very sophisticated, I would say political education by the Right to give answers to these kinds of questions that we human rights educators really have to counter with correct and clear analysis that includes critical thinking, critical media literacy, historicizing the situations that individuals find themselves in but I think some of the ways that Human Rights Education operates is so grassroots. It’s very difficult to counter such sophisticated and well-funded campaigns on the other side.

Will Brehm  33:10
Well, Monisha Bajaj, thank you so much for joining FreshEd, it was really great to talk today.

Monisha Bajaj  33:15
Thank you so much for having me.

ويل بريهم: مونيشا باجاج، أهلًا بيكي في برنامج فريش إيد
مونيشا باجاج: شكرًا جدًا لاستضافتكم لي يا ويل
ويل بريهم: إيه هو تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، التعريف الأوّلي لتعليم حقوق الإنسان أن هو أي تعليم وتعلم بيحصل عشان ينقل القيم والمفاهيم والمعرفة الخاصة بحقوق الإنسان بين المتعلمين. وحقوق الإنسان، بشكل أساسي، هي الإطار القانوني والأخلاقي لكرامة الإنسان. وهي موجودة من سنين بعيدة جدًا وفي ثقافات كتيرة، لكنها لم تصبح بالأهمية دي غير بعد الحرب العالمية التانية، لما اجتمعت الدول بعد حربين عالميتين وشافت أهوال الحرب النووية وويلات ما حصل فيها، وحاولوا يعملوا إطار أخلاقي وقانوني مشترك للأفراد والمجتمعات والدول عشان يعيشوا في سلام وكرامة.
ويل بريهم: وهل كان هذا الإطار القانوني والأخلاقي من خلال الأمم المتحدة؟
مونيشا باجاج: نعم، ما حدث هو إن الأمم المتحدة جابت الأفكار إللي كانت موجودة قبل كده من خلال عصبة الأمم، وكمان بعض المقترحات إللي كانت موجودة قبل الحرب العالمية الثانية. لكن بعد الحرب العالمية التانية، ومع تعافي الدول من أمور كثيرة كانت بتحدث في قارات مختلفة، أخذت المقترحات دي خطوة حقيقية للأمام ساهمت في وضع المبادئ التأسيسية والهيكل التنظيمي للأمم المتحدة. ومن خلال هذا تم اقتراح إعلان عالمي لحقوق الإنسان وإللي فيه وضعت معايير إنسانية أساسية للتعايش المشترك. المبادئ الأساسية إللي يحق لكل إنسان إنه يحصل عليها.
ويل بريهم: هذا معناه إن حقوق الإنسان كإطار تم وضعه من خلال الأمم المتحدة في الأربعينات والخمسينات من القرن الماضي، لكن متى ظهر “تعليم” حقوق الإنسان لأول مرة؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، في الواقع كما قلت، ظهرت مفاهيم حقوق الإنسان في تقاليد وثقافات مختلفة من سنين، كذلك التعليم عن حقوق الإنسان والقيم الأساسية للكرامة الإنسانية كانت موجودة تاريخيًا في ثقافات كثيرة عبر السنين. لكن مرة تاني، في تشريع سنة 1948، من خلال الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان- ومن خلال بنوده الثلاثين إللي بيحتويها كوثائق مهمة، وهذا الإعلان تمت ترجمته آلاف المرات في كل أنحاء العالم. ينص الإعلان بشكل أساسي في المادة 26 والجزء الأول منها على أن لكل شخص الحق في التعليم. وخصوصًا في الجزء الثاني من المادة وبينص على أنه ينبغي أن يتم توجيه التعليم إلى تعزيز الاحترام لحقوق الإنسان والحريات الأساسية. لذلك فإن هذا الوعي كان موجودًا، والأفراد إللي ناقشوا هذه الوثيقة على مر 3 سنين كانوا بيتناقشوا بخصوص اللغة المستخدمة، وبيحاولوا الوصول للمصطلحات والمفاهيم والصياغات والمباديء الصحيحة إللي كانت ستحتويها هذه الوثيقة. وكان هناك جدل كبير بخصوص الأفراد المتعلمين وإللي شاركوا في الهولوكوست، أو محرقة اليهود، مثل بعض الأطباء إللي عملوا تجارب طبية مروعة على الأفراد من تعذيب وقتل وأمور فظيعة. وكمان بخصوص التلقين النازي العنصري للشباب من خلال التعليم أثناء حكم النظام النازي. علشان كدا كان هناك هذا المنظور وهو: إن الموضوع مش مجرد الحصول على التعليم، كما هو موجود في الجزء الأول من المادة 26، لكن التعليم بأي غرض؟ التعليم المتجه إلى السلام والتسامح والتآخي بين الدول وتعزيز الحريات الأساسية واحترام حقوق الإنسان. كان تعليم حقوق الإنسان موجود بالفعل من وقت وضع هذه الوثيقة، الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان.
ويل بريهم: ومن هم أهم المؤيدين لتعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، في هذا النوع من النقاش بيشارك ناس من دول مختلفة. فكان هناك مثلًا دعم كبير من النساء من الهند ومن جمهورية الدومنيكان، وإللي كانوا ممثلين في صياغة هذه الوثيقة بهدف الحصول على لغة شاملة تتناسب مع كل جنس. وفيما يتعلق بالتعليم، فكثير من دول أمريكا اللاتينية اهتمت بالحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية في الوثيقة. من الواضح أن بعض المشاركين في الصياغة وإللي نعرف عنهم كان منهم رينيه كاسان من فرنسا. كذلك كان هناك فلاسفة وأصحاب نظريات في ذلك الوقت مثل تشارلز مالك من لبنان وغيره. كانت المناقشات بتحصل بين هذه المجموعة من الأفراد. وترأست إليانور روزفلت المجلس إللي صاغ الإعلان، لكنها لم تشارك فعليًا في صياغة كتير منه، وهذا مفهوم خاطئ بعض الشيء موجود عند ناس كثير، لكنها كانت العامل الرئيسي في صياغة الإعلان. كان كل هؤلاء من كبار العلماء والفلاسفة والمفكرين في ذلك الوقت وإللي اجتمعوا مع بعض من خلال منصة لجنة الصياغة لوضع ما رأوا أنه يكون أهم الحقوق إللي لابد يتمتع بها كل فرد في المجتمعات. من الأمور المثيرة للاهتمام بخصوص لجنة الصياغة، أن أفرادًا كثيرين أثاروا فكرة النقد الثقافي النسبي. وفي الواقع، فإن الدعم القوي لهذا النوع من الشمولية كان من دول الجنوب وهي الأقلية إللي كانت مشاركة في ذلك الوقت وإللي بالفعل تحررت من الاستعمار. لو فكرنا في فترة 1948 فإن كثير من دول آسيا، وجنوب آسيا أو على الأقل في أفريقيا جنوب الصحراء الكبرى، كانت لاتزال تحت الحكم الاستعماري. وكثير من القوى الاستعمارية ماكنتش عايزة وجود اللغة العالمية هناك. لأن هذا يعني ان المستعمرات إللي كانت بتخضع لحكمها لابد أن تحصل على هذه الحقوق، لكنها ماكنتش بتاخدها في ذلك الوقت. علشان كدا، اعتقد ان فيه خطأ في التسمية. كمان هناك الاعتقاد الخاطئ في تلك الفترة بأن النسبية الثقافية هي أمر تنادي به دول الجنوب. لكن في الأربعينات كان العكس هو الواقع. كانت القوى الأوروبية نفسها بتدافع عن لغة النسبية الثقافية عشان يستمروا في الاحتفاظ بسلطتهم على المستعمرات إللي كانت مربحة جدًا ليهم. لكن كتير من هذا التاريخ مخفي.
ويل بريهم: متى تغير هذا لنقد فكرة أن النسبية الثقافية هي ما كانت تمارسه دول الشمال؟
مونيشا باجاج: فيه كتاب غاية في الروعة يجاوب على هذا السؤال باستفاضة وأنا أحب أوجه المستمعين إليه. هذا الكتاب كتبه واحد اسمه……..، الحقيقة مش قادر افتكر اسمه الأول لكن اسمه التاني بروك، وللأسف نسيت كمان اسم الكتاب لكني اعتقد إن اسمه “انهاء استعمار حقوق الإنسان” أو شيء شبه هذا. وهذا الكتاب يتكلم بتركيز شديد في حوالي200 صفحة عن كل الجدال إللي حصل أثناء عملية صياغة الإعلان. وبعدين بيتكلم عن كيف حوّلت الدول المختلفة،وخصوصًا السعودية والمندوبين المختلفين النقاش بخصوص النسبية الثقافية ليكون النقاش بعد ذلك عن تطويع الغرب للقيم علشان يقدروا يقاوموا بعض الأطر العالمية في فترة الستينيات والسبعينيات إللي تم وضعها لمحاسبة الدول إللي لم تكن تلتزم بمعايير حقوق الإنسان وتتيحها لكل الناس في تلك الدول.
ويل بريهم: فعلًا أنا عارف أن في التسعينيات كثير من الدول الآسيوية، لما اجتمعوا مع بعض خلال مؤتمر فيينا، أعلنوا صراحةً أنه لا ينبغي استغلال حقوق الإنسان للضغط على الدول لتسير في تيار عالمي معين. وبكده يكونوا عملوا توازن رائع بين اعترافهم بحقوق الإنسان كأمر عالمي من جهة، لكن في نفس الوقت ماكانوش عايزين الدول، وخصوصًا الغربية، تضغط على الدول الآسيوية لاتباع اتجاه معين لحقوق الإنسان. ودا دفعني إن أنا أدرك إن هذا الاختلاف بين النسبية الثقافية والمفهوم العالمي لحقوق الإنسان بيتغير من وقت للتاني بحسب الدول إللي بتدافع عن واحد من الجانبين.
مونيشا باجاج:نعم، أنا أعتقد إن تاريخ هذا الجدال هو مجال مثمر للبحث فيه لأنه معقد للغاية ومن الشيق البحث في الفترة من الأربعينيات حتى الوقت الحالي عن مين من الدول كان بيدعم أي جانب من جوانب الجدال، وكيف تغير هذا مع الوقت حتى داخل نفس هذه الدول لتحديد مين إللي كان بيدعم كل جانب من النقاش. أنا عارف إننا بنتكلم دلوقت عن كتابي الجديد، لكن في كتابي السابق عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان في الهند، أنا بحثت في نوع من المفاهيم المختلفة عند الناس عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان. وكان بالتأكيد معظم الأفراد إللي بيتمتعوا بمكانة مميزة بيدافعوا عن النسبية الثقافية وأنه لا يمكن فرض هذه الأفكار علينا. عندنا قيمنا الأسيوية يعني إحنا مختلفين عن الدول إللي عايزانا نبقى زيها. في حين إن نوعية المجتمعات إللي في القاع وخصوصًا نشطاء منظمة داليت الحقوقية والمنظمات إللي بتتعاون معاها، منظمة داليت تعتبر رسميًا مجموعة “محظورة”. كتير من المنظمات إللي كانت بتقدم تعليم حقوق الإنسان كانت من منظمات بتتعاون مع داليت الحقوقية. وكانوا بيقولوا احنا عايزين القيم العالمية دي لأنها هتخلينا قادرين على الدفاع عن الحقوق إللي اتحرمنا منها لآلاف السنين. والأفراد إللي كانوا بيدافعوا عن النسبية الثقافية شعروا فيما بعد بالإحباط والانزعاج بسبب التغير إللي حصل في العلاقات الاجتماعية إللي ميزتهم لمدة طويلة. علشان كدا أنا بعتقد انه كمان من المفيد النظر داخل الدول لفهم كيفية ترتيب الهياكل التنظيمية المختلفة ومتى بدأت بعض أكثر المجموعات المهمشة في استخدام لغة ومبادئ حقوق الإنسان، وكيف بعد ذلك جاء النقد النسبي الثقافي من النخب المحلية إللي لا تريد أي تعطيل للامتيازات والفوائد إللي تمتعوا بيها لفترة طويلة جدًا.
ويل بريهم: صحيح، فممكن تكون هناك مصالح خاصة على الصعيد المحلي وبتلتصق ببعض الأفكار الدولية علشان تدفع أجندتها لقدام.
مونيشا باجاج: طبعًا، ومين إللي بيحضر اجتماعات الأمم المتحدة إللي بيدافعوا فيها عن النسبية الثقافية؟ على سبيل المثال، في الإعلان إللي ذكرته، في مؤتمر فيينا، غالبًا بيكون الأفراد إللي بيمثلوا الدول من النخبة، صح؟ علشان كدا لما مش بيكون فيه مسارات موازية من المنظمات غير الحكومية، أو المجتمع المدني أو الحركات الاجتماعية علشان تكون جزء من هذه المحادثات، غالبًا بيتم طرح جانب واحد بس من القصة. علشان كدا هيكون من الشيق إننا نشوف هذا. أعتقد أن المؤتمر العالمي لمناهضة العنصرية في ديربان في عام 2001 كان مؤتمر مثير للاهتمام لأن العديد من المنظمات غير الحكومية حضرت فيه، كذلك الحركات الاجتماعية، ومجموعات المجتمع المدني إلى جانب ممثلي الحكومة، حضروا خصوصًا لمناقشة قضية حقوق داليت وتأطير حقوق الإنسان، وغيرها من القضايا الأخرى على الصعيد العالمي. كانت هناك نوعية من المؤتمرات المتوترة، وإللي انسحب منها حتى الممثلين الحكوميين بسبب الوجود القوي للمجتمع المدني، لما كانت حكومات بعض الدول بتقول “لا، الوضع عندنا كذا”، فكان ممثلو المجتمع المدني يردوا ويقولوا “لا، الوضع مش كدا، احنا عايشين بهذه الطريقة، وبنشتغل بالطريقة الفلانية. وهكذا، كان عندنا كلا الصوتين وكان من الصعب جدًا بالنسبة للممثلين الحكوميين انهم يختلقوا قصة لا يتم التصدي ليها لأن كان هناك حضور قوي للمجتمع المدني.
ويل بريهم: تمام، خلينا ننقل أو نغير الحديث لنقطة تانية: كيف تتم ممارسة تعليم حقوق الإنسان فعليًا؟ هل نرى إن المجتمع المدني والمنظمات غير الحكومية بتمارسه؟ أو هل الحكومات كمان بتمارسه فعليًا؟
مونيشا باجاج: تمام، الأمر إللي أنا بعتقد أنه شيق جدًا بخصوص تعليم حقوق الإنسان أن عندنا مدخلين “من أعلى” و “من أسفل”. في مدخل “من أعلى” هناك أنواع كتيرة من التعليم الشعبي، والتعليم التحولي، والتعليم عن العدالة الاجتماعية. أما مدخل “من أسفل”، فيوجد فيه فقط التعليم التمكيني، ودا بيحاول يوصل للفئات المهمشة، وبيستحضر نوع من التعليم المستوحى من الأفكار المنسوبة لفرير وهو فيلسوف وتربوي برازيلي ركز على رفع مستوى التعليم والوعي للناس بهدف تمكينهم من حقوقهم. مع تعليم حقوق الإنسان تجد الآتي. هناك حركات شعبية كثيرة، ودا صحيح على وجه الخصوص في أمريكا اللاتينية خلال فترة الحكم الاستبدادي. كتير من المنظمات كانت بتشتغل مع المجتمعات لنشر تعليم حقوق الإنسان علشان تبني قاعدة سياسية للحركات بهدف الإطاحة بالاستبداد. وتقدر تشوف دا في سياقات مختلفة عديدة. في نفس الوقت، من التسعينيات وما بعدها، هناك شرعية حكومية دولية قوية جدًا لخطابات حقوق الإنسان ولتعليم حقوق الإنسان، وخصوصًا من خلال اعلان مؤتمر فيينا عن حقوق الإنسان في سنة 1993. ودا كان أول مؤتمر عالمي ضخم عن حقوق الإنسان بعد سقوط الإتحاد السوفيتي وفيه تم الإعلان عن خطة الأعمال إللي نتجت عن المؤتمر، وكانت هناك فقرات كثيرة مخصصة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان كأولوية تساهم في زيادة الوعي عن حقوق الإنسان. من خلال هذا الإعلان، قامت الأمم المتحدة بتخصيص فترة عشر سنين لتعليم حقوق الإنسان، من 1995 لـ 2004. عشان كدا عندنا الحركة الحكومية الدولية القوية جدًا، في نفس الوقت إللي فيه الحركة الشعبية النابضة بالحياة دي؛ ويبدو الأمر مختلف بين هذين الاتجاهين. فالطريقة إللي بتتكلم بيها الحكومات عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان ربما تكون بوضع فقرة في كتاب مدرسي، أو أي حاجة زي كدا علشان يظهروا بصورة جيدة قدام المجتمع الدولي. في حين إن الحركات الشعبية هي فعلًا بتحاول تعمل تغيير على مستوى الفرد والمجتمع من خلال العمل مع الفئات المهمشة للدفاع عن حقوقها والمطالبة بنوع من الكرامة والحريات الأساسية. علشان كدا عندنا الحركة المزدوجة والمثيرة للاهتمام دي، وربما هناك كمان مستويات تانيةـ لكن دا برضه بيسمح للحركات الشعبية انها تستفيد من الإطار العالمي علشان تضفي شرعية على إللي بتعمله. واحنا بنشوف فئات كتيرة- أنا مثلًا بشوف دا في شغلي في الهند وكمان في أماكن تانية عملت فيها أبحاث. هناك مجموعات بتقوم بوضع إطار لشغلها على التعليم ورفع الوعي حول حق معين زي حق الأرض، أو حق الحرية من التمييز الطبقي أو الجنسي، وإنهم يبدأوا يستخدموا حقوق الإنسان على نطاق أوسع لوضع إطار للقضايا إللي بيشتغلوا عليها لأنها بترتبط بالإطار العالمي دا، والخطاب العالمي دا، وبكدا يقدروا يقدموا مطالبات للدولة القومية لأنها قالت إنها موافقة على هذه الأنواع من القيم والقواعد العالمية. علشان كدا انت بتشوف إعادة صياغة كتير في التسعينات لحركات اجتماعية فردية ومنظمات غير حكومية بتشتغل في مجالات مختلفة لتوسيع نطاق حقوق الإنسان لأن الدعم المالي، والقواعد، والشبكات والطرق المختلفة للوصول للسلع العالمية بتكون متاحة من خلال إعادة صياغة نطاق حقوق الإنسان. وفجأة أصبح عندنا هذا النوع من منظور حقوق الإنسان إللي يقدر الأفراد يربطوا مطالبهم وصراعاتهم بيه.
ويل بريهم: طيب ليه، الوكالات والمؤتمرات غير الحكومية دي، ليه بيتبنوا لغة حقوق الإنسان؟ حتى لو، زي ما حضرتك قلت، انها مجرد فقرة في كتاب مدرسي. إيه سبب هذا التقارب العالمي على المستوى الحكومي الدولي؟
مونيشا باجاج: فيه علماء كتير كتبوا عن هذا، وأنا أعتقد، إنه مش المجال إللي أنا بركز عليه بشكل مباشر. لكن عندنا بعض الفصول في الكتاب بتتكلم عن هذا النوع من التحول تجاه شكل من الحقوق الفردية في الاقتصاد العالمي. فتح صعود الليبرالية الحديثة إلى حد ما المجال لهذا النوع من المناقشات عن الحقوق الفردية. عايز أقول إن فيه حاجات كتير عايزة تتعمل بخصوص الكيفية إللي لابد تتعامل بيها هذه الحركة مع الفئات المختلفة، وخصوصًا في فترة الحرب الباردة، إللي بينقسم العالم فيها للعالم الأول والعالم الثاني والعالم الثالث. فئات مختلفة ارتكزت على حقوق مختلفة. فالغرب ودول الشمال بالتأكيد أكثر تركيزًا على الحقوق السياسية والمدنية. في حين ركزت الدول السوفيتية على الحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية، ومش ضروري الحقوق الثقافية. لكنك بتشوف هذا النوع من ظهور الحقوق السياسية والمدنية كنوع من الإطار إللي أصبح بعد كدا إطار لمعظم فترة ما بعد الإتحاد السوفيتي. هذه الطريقة إللي بتدخل بيها حقوق الإنسان في الأساس لهذه الوثائق وبتصل للمجتمع الدولي من خلال الحقوق السياسية والمدنية. لكن كل ما دخل ناس كتير لهذه المنطقة وابتدوا يستخدموا وثائق وأطر حقوق الإنسان بشكل كامل، كل ما هتشوف اهتمام أكبر بالحقوق الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية.
ويل بريهم: من نهاية الحرب الباردة وربما من وقت مؤتمر فيينا في أوائل التسعينات حتى الآن، هل حصل تغير في ممارسات تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: طبعًا بالتأكيد، عشان كدا أحب أقول أن عندنا هذه الوثيقة من سنة 1948 وفيها تم الإعلان بوضوح على إن تعليم حقوق الإنسان هو حق أساسي، وكون إن هذا ورد في الإعلان العالمي هو أمر جيد اجتماعيًا، لكن لم يتم اتخاذ إجراءات أو خطوات كثيرة تجاه تعليم حقوق الإنسان. لما حصل الاجتماع العالمي تم التركيز على تعليم حقوق الإنسان إللي نتجت عن مؤتمر فيينا، وبعدها خلال العشر سنين إللي كانت عبارة عن عشر سنين مشتركة بين وكالات الأمم المتحدة بخصوص تعليم حقوق الإنسان، كان فيه تناسق وحركة لأفراد بيعملوا حاجات مختلفة وربما كانوا حتى لا يعرفون بعضهم البعض.  لو فكرت في بداية التسعينيات، ماكانش فيه حتى إنترنت متاح بسهولة زي أواخر التسعينات وأوائل الألفية التانية. عشان كدا العشر سنين دول بالفعل سمحت للناس بالتنسيق مع بعض وأنهم يقولوا لبعض “انتبه، أنا بعمل دا هنا، وأنا بعمل دا هناك، خلينا نكون على اتصال، خلينا نشتغل مع بعض.” ومن خلال التنسيق لخطط العمل، كان للأمم المتحدة بعد ذلك الحافز لأنهم مطالبون بوضع خطط عمل للي كان بيحصل. وكان عليهم إجراء تقييم على المستوى الوطني ويسألوا، “انتبه، إيه إللي بيحصل في بلدنا؟ وإيه إللي نقدر نعلنه يساعد في إننا نظهر بصورة كويسة بخصوص إللي حاصل في موضوع تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟” دي كانت كمان فرصة لهذا النوع من التواصل الأفقي العالمي على المستوى الاجتماعي المدني. وأنا عارف أن في حالة الهند كذلك، تم فيها اجراء أبحاث كتيرة، اهتمت جهات حكومية بما يعمله المجتمع المدني، لأنهم يقدروا يستخدموه كوسيلة عشان يظهروا لوكالات الأمم المتحدة إللي بيحصل. سواء كانوا فعلًا مهتمين ومنخرطين في الموضوع أو لا، إلا إنه يُحسب ليهم إنهم أخدوا إجراءات وأظهروا في الأحداث إن المنظمات غير الحكومية كانت بتدّعي حاجات مبالغ فيها. كان فيه ظهور للجنة قومية لحقوق الإنسان في ذلك الوقت في الهند على سبيل المثال. فدي كانت فرصة لإجراء تقييم وللتواصل وكمان نقل مبادرات مختلفة لقدام بفضل هذا النوع من التركيز الدولي، مش هقول المقارنة، لكن الكل أراد إنهم يجتمعوا ويظهروا إللي كانوا بيعملوه.
ويل بريهيم: هل تعليم حقوق الإنسان مختلف اليوم اختلافًا جوهريًا عما كان عليه في التسعينيات؟ واللا احنا بنشوف اتجاهات مماثلة بتحصل؟
مونيشا بجاج: أنا عايز أقول إنه مختلف. فاحنا بنشوف هذا النوع من التطور الهائل في مصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان وهو مُستخدَم. هناك مبادرات بشكل خاص في تعليم حقوق الإنسان. ربما قبل فترة التسعينيات كان فيه تباين شديد، وده نوع من الأشياء اللي جعلت منظمة العفو الدولية تشتغل في هذا المجال. كان فيه بعض الأفراد والمنظمات، لكن بعد فترة التسعينيات، بنشوف أفراد كتير من إللي بيقدموا ربما تعليم عن المواطنة أو عندهم أجندة عن التعليم عن الحقوق بيستخدموا تعليم حقوق الإنسان كإطار ليهم. نوع من إعادة التقديم ربما يتوسع في نطاق التركيز على إللي بيعملوه علشان يشمل حقوق تانية وبعدها يحصل تحول كبير في علم أصول التربية، والممارسات، والمنشورات، وإصلاح الكتب المدرسية، والإصلاحات التربوية. هذا موجود في كثير من المبادرات والأنشطة والمنظمات غير الحكومية إللي كانت تعمل في هذا المجال بعد التسعينيات وحتى اليوم. وده إللي احنا بنشوفه هذه الأيام، وإللي أعتقد إنه فعلًا شيق، وأعتقد إنه يقدم مداخل مختلفة. بعض أعمالي السابقة تبدو مختلفة بعض الشيء في التوجهات الأيديولوجية المختلفة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان. علشان كدا أنا عملت صياغة لبعض المجالات المختلفة مثل: تعليم حقوق الإنسان من أجل مواطنة عالمية، وتعليم حقوق الإنسان من أجل التعايش المشترك، في الأماكن إللي فيها فئات مختلفة سواء كانت فئات دينية أو عرقية بتعيش في صراع، وعملت مبادرات لتعليم حقوق الإنسان إللي بتخاطب هذا الأمر. كذلك تعليم حقوق الإنسان إللي بيتأصل أكتر في تحليل علاقات القوة غير المتكافئة وإللي بيحاول تحقيق تعلم تحولي بيعالج بعض أوجه عدم المساواة، محليًا وفي بعض الحالات عالميًا. إذًا هناك تزايد للمبادرات بأهداف مختلفة تمامًا. فربما نجد شخص يسمي ما يعمله تعليم حقوق الإنسان لكنه هيكون مختلف جدًا حتى في داخل الدولة الواحدة عن شخص آخر يستخدم مصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان ويشتغل مع فئة مهمشة جدًا تعمل أشياء مختلفة تمامًا عن أشياء بتحصل على بعد 50 ميل في مدرسة خاصة في مدينة قريبة تتمتع بامتيازات وبتعمل محادثات عبر الإسكايب مع أفراد من دول تانية وبيحاولوا يحصلوا على مواطنة عالمية. علشان كدا انت بالتأكيد عندك نوع من الانتشار لمصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان ووجهات النظر عنه، لكن مع تعريفات مختلفة لمعناه بحسب إللي بيعملوه والحقوق إللي بيركزوا عليها والأساليب إللي بيتخذوها لتوصيل المعرفة عن حقوق الإنسان.
ويل بريهيم: دا بيخليني أتساءل، إيه قيمة استخدام مصطلح تعليم حقوق الإنسان لو كان ممكن يعني أمور مختلفة كتيرة؟
مونيشا باجاج: أنا أعتقد أن القيمة من استخدامه متشابهة جدًا لقيمة أي نوع من جهود العدالة الاجتماعية، صحيح؟ لأنها بتسمح للناس انهم يتجمعوا حول شعار تعليم حقوق الإنسان ومعالجة القضايا الأساسية المختلفة مثل الكرامة، والعدالة الاجتماعية، والتحليل النقدي. لكن الطريقة إللي بيستخدمها الناس لعمل هذا دائمًا هتكون مختلفة جدًا. وأنا أعتقد إن هذه هي المساحة إللي فيها يقدر العلماء والممارسون أنهم يكونوا في حوار. أنا أعتقد أن الأمر الشيق بخصوص تعليم حقوق الإنسان هو أنه مجال جديد إلى حد ما ويرتكز إلى حد كبير على كل من النظرية والتطبيق. هناك مثلًا قائمة للتواصل الالكتروني حيوية للغاية، بيتم تنسيقها بواسطة منظمة غير حكومية مقرها الولايات المتحدة، وهي منظمة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان، وإللي بدأت تقريبًا في أواخر التسعينيات، وأوائل العقد الأول من القرن العشرين بعشرات قليلة من الناس. لما كتبت كتابي عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان في الهند من سنوات قليلة، كان فيه حوالي 8000 شخص في القائمة. أنا واحد من ضمن الموجودين على هذه القائمة الآن. أعتقد أن آخر عدد على القائمة وصل لـ 16000 شخص من 170 دولة مختلفة. وهذه مساحة نشطة جدًا للناس علشان يشاركوا بإللي بيحصل وبإللي بيعملوه وبوجهات نظرهم وبرؤاهم وبمجهودات الحكومة وردود الأفعال على إعلان الأمم المتحدة بخصوص تعليم وتدريب حقوق الإنسان إللي صدر من سنين قليلة. كان فيه أيضًا محادثات متنوعة بخصوص إيه إللي لابد للبدء في العمل بيه. من النادر جدًا في المجالات الحكومية الدولية الأخرى أن تكون عندك مشاركة نشطة مماثلة من المجتمع المدني في صياغة إعلان أو في المناقشات حول نوع الممارسة اليومية. علشان كدا أنا أعتقد أن كونه مجال جديد نسبيًا وصغير نسبيًا، أكثر أو أقل، فهو يتيح هذه المساحة الحيوية والديناميكية جدًا وإللي فيها الناس يقدروا يعارضوا المفاهيم أو يقدموا أفكار جديدة. ولكن هذا معناه أننا ما نقدرش نعتقد أن كل تعليم لحقوق الإنسان هيكون نفس الشيء. فهو مش مجرد وحدات جامدة متراصة. فطريقة تفكير الفرد في تعليم حقوق الإنسان بتتشكل من خلال مكانته، وموقعه الاجتماعي، وما هي أهدافه من خلال المشروع. لهذا السبب أعتقد أن هذا الكتاب فعلًا من المفترض أنه يكون كتاب تمهيدي وإللي فيه بتعرف، إيه هو تعليم حقوق الإنسان، ومين رواده، وإيه هي وجهات النظر المختلفة الموجودة بخصوصه، وكيفية استخراج بعض وجهات النظر الخاصة بالمفاهيم والنظريات المختلفة إللي بتغرس الطريقة إللي بنفكر بيها في هذا المجال.
ويل بريهيم: هل هناك أي أمثلة لنتائج تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟ مثلًا لو هتقول “إن هذا الأمر هو نتيجة عظيمة للمبادرة، أو تلك الممارسة لتعليم حقوق الإنسان.”
مونيشا باجاج: نعم، أنا أعتقد إن البحث العلمي بيساهم في هذا. لكن بالتأكيد مجال التقييم أمر فيه صراع. لأن، كما هو الحال في أي برنامح تعليمي، من الصعب أنك تقول كذا هو الناتج الملموس لكذا. لكن كان فيه دراسات بتبحث في تقليل التمييز. فيه 3 أنواع من الجوانب بيركز عليهم تعليم حقوق الإنسان: الأول هو الجانب المعرفي، إللي فيه بيحصل مزيد من الوعي والمعرفة بتاريخ حقوق الإنسان والمعايير والقواعد. ربما تكون هذه الحقوق حقوق محلية يمكن لكل فرد أن يصل إليها. الجانب الثاني هو الجانب السلوكي الوجداني. إللي بيبحث في، كيف يؤثر تعليم حقوق الإنسان على الطريقة إللي بيتفاعل بها الأفراد مع بعضهم البعض؟ هذا النوع من الجوانب السلوكية العاطفية. فهل فيه فعلًا انخفاض في نسبة البلطجة بفضل وجود تعليم حقوق الإنسان في مدرسة ما؟ هل فيه اندماج أكبر بين الفئات الاجتماعية المختلفة في المدرسة أو المجتمع التعليمي؟ الجانب الثالث هو الموجه نحو العمل. وهذا واحد من أصعب المجالات إللي يجب تقييمها لأن الكتير من أطفال المدارس معندهمش وقت كبير للعمل الاجتماعي. لكن تعليم حقوق الإنسان بيتم كذلك في كتير من أماكن التعليم غير النظامي إللي فيه متعلمين بالغين، فممكن يحصل في الأماكن الأهلية، أو يحصل في أماكن تفتح أبوابها بعد انتهاء وقت المدرسة. هذه المجالات بحث فيها علماء مختلفون. علشان كدا، ما هو المحتوى، وما هو الجانب السلوكي الوجداني، وإيه هي عناصر الجانب الموجه نحو العمل إللي المتعلمين، أيًا كان عمرهم، وحتى المعلمين بيتعلموها ويدمجوها أثناء تعلمهم عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان، إيه إللي بيعملوه أو بينفذوه بهذه المعلومات؟ أنا بناقش دا في كتابي عن تعليم حقوق الإنسان في الهند. التعليم من أجل التغيير الاجتماعي هو اسم هذا الكتاب. فيه علماء تانيين عملوا نفس الشيء، وأحنا عندنا فصول لحوالي 20 مؤلف مختلفين في هذا الكتاب الجديد “تعليم حقوق الإنسان: النظرية والبحث والتطبيق العملي” وإللي فيه فصول قصيره مقتطفة من المساهمين في الكتاب. واحد من الفصول الشيقة فعلًا وإللي كنا متحمسين أنه يكون في الكتاب كتبه أورين بيزموني ليفي، وميجن جنسن وإللي فيه بيبحثوا في برنامج تعليمي عن التطوير في مجال حقوق الإنسان للأفراد إللي بيشتغلوا مع أشخاص بيعملوا مع اللاجئين إللي بيطلبوا اللجوء بناء على اضطهاد هويتهم الجنسية أو ميولهم الجنسية. علشان كدا، كان هذا الفصل مهم بالفعل ويجب تضمينه في الكتاب لأن كتير من أطر حقوق الإنسان، وخاصة الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان، لا تحدد الميول الجنسية كمجال لابد أن يكون خالي من التمييز. واحنا بنتحرك من فترة التسعينات وما بعدها، تم إدماج اعلانات واتفاقيات وأطر دولية بعضها بخصوص الميول الجنسية، لكنها من الجوانب المتنازع عليها لما تفكر في الدول والقوانين المختلفة إللي بتجرم هذا الأمر. هذا الفصل هو فصل مهم موجود في الكتاب وهما بيقدموا فيه بعض الدلائل على برنامج تدريبي مهني قامت به منظمة بتوضح كيف أن الأفراد إللي شاركوا، في مقياس كمي، بيقللوا من تحيزهم ضد الأفراد إللي عندهم ميول جنسية مختلفة من خلال المشاركة في هذا التطور المهني. هناك وسائل للتقييم ممكن تتم على المدى البعيد. فيه نوع من الإنقلاب على طرق التفكير القديمة، لكن فيه مداخل منهجية مختلفة في المجال وبعض الاهتمام بالمعالجة، “طيب، ما هي النتائج وكيف نقيمها علشان نقدر نتحرك ناحية احترام أكبر لحقوق الإنسان من خلال تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟”
ويل بريهيم: ممكن ننقل الحوار لفكرة ثانية ونتكلم عن هذه الأيام لما ماري لوبان ما فازتش بمنصب الرئاسة الفرنسية، لكنها احتلت المرتبة التانية وحصلت على نسبة أصوات أعلى من والدها. وهي بتجسد بكيفية ما صعود القومية والتفكير العرقي، على الأقل في أوروبا وربما في الولايات المتحدة أيضًا، لما فاز دونالد ترامب بمنصب الرئاسة، واحنا بنشوف الحوار أو الخطاب الجديد المناهض للعالمية لكنه أكثر قومية، فأنا عايز أسألك عن إحساسك: هل تعتقدين أن هذا النوع من الخطاب إللي احنا شايفينه في أوروبا وفي أمريكا هيأثر في تعليم حقوق الإنسان؟
مونيشا باجاج: أعتقد أن مش بس أوروبا وأمريكا. يعني لو ألقينا الضوء على الفلبين وإللي بيحصل مع القائد هناك. وفي الهند إنت عارف أنه كان فيه اجراءات صارمة ضد التوريث، لكنهم ألغوا منظمات حقوق الإنسان ولابد وجود تصريح قومي من رئيس الوزراء هناك. فأنا أعتقد إنه إتجاه عالمي. علشان كدا أنا عايز أقول إن مش بس الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا، على الرغم من أن هذا هو ما تعلنه الصحف لينا. هو فعلًا إتجاه عالمي تجاه هذا النوع من الاستبداد. في رأيي، إن هذا بالتأكيد يجعل تعليم حقوق الإنسان أكثر ضرورة من قبل. فإذا رأيت تعليم حقوق الإنسان كمشروع سياسي أو تربوي، فنحن في حاجة لزيادة الوعي والتفكير النقدي ومحو الأمية الإعلامية، محتاجين لهذا أكتر من أي وقت مضى. تعريفي المختصر أو السريع لتعليم حقوق الإنسان هو “تلك المساحة حيث تلتقي العالمية بأفكار باولو فرير”. فأنا أعتقد إن فيه دمج رائع لهذا التفكير العالمي، وإننا مواطنون عالميون بنتشارك في أطر أخلاقية وقانونية ندركها في حقوق الإنسان. لكن لابد يحصل رفع لهذا الوعي الفردي على المستوى المحلي مع وجود نوع من الأساليب المصممة لتناسب المجتمعات إللي إنت بتشارك فيها. فكيف تتواصل المجتمعات الفردية بهذا الإطار الإخلاقي العالمي وما هو المطلوب لجعلهم يفكروا بمنظور صحيح أو له علاقة بهذا؛ هو أمر مختلف جدًا. علشان كدا رفع الوعي السياسي أو التربوي والتشاركي إللي بيحصل لابد أنه يأخد في الاعتبار موقع الناس بالنسبة للعالمية. في هذا الوقت، أنا أعتقد إن التحرك ناحية الاستبداد، وكذلك “صعود القومية” له علاقة بتفسير معقد جدًا بأن هذا النوع من القادة الكارزماتيين وإللي بيميلوا للاستبداد قادرين على إظهار أن مشاكلك الاقتصادية والصعوبات التي تواجهك هي بسبب “الأخرين”. علشان كدا، خصوصًا مع خروج بريطانيا من الإتحاد الأوروبي، كان فيه بروباجاندا قوية جدًا تجاه إلقاء اللوم على المهاجرين كسبب للصعوبات الاقتصادية، بينما في الواقع، إذا نظرنا بعمق على إللي حصل، سنجد أن السبب هو الصناعة. فكثير من الوظائف الصناعية إللي كانوا بيعلموا فيها الأفراد- انتقلت للخارج من فترة طويلة. لكن الطريقة إللي كان يتم الإجابة بيها على تساؤل الناس “ليه حياتي صعبة جدًا؟” كانوا قادرين على تعليق السبب على الأفراد إللي يبدو إنهم مختلفون، وعلى التعددية الثقافية من خلال الإتحاد الأوروبي والهجرة إللي سهلت لهذا. إلا أن هذا فعليًا لم يكن السبب الحقيقي لمشكلة لماذا أصبحت حياة الناس أصعب. عندك مثلًا انهيار الاقتصاد العالمي وصعود الليبرالية الجديدة وانتقال المصانع للأماكن ذات الأجور المنخفضة زيبنجلاديش أو كمبوديا أو هايتي. علشان كدا فهذا التفسير معقد جدًا، وأنا عايز أقول إن التعليم السياسي إللي بتقدمه أحزاب اليمين كإجابات على هذه النوعية من الأسئلة لابد علينا كمعلمين لحقوق الإنسان أننا نواجهه ونقدم له تحليل واضح وصحيح يشمل التفكير النقدي، ومحو الأمية الإعلامية، وتأريخ للمواقف إللي الأفراد يجدوا أنفسهم فيها، لكن أعتقد أن بعض الطرق إللي بيعمل من خلالها تعليم حقوق الإنسان هي القواعد الشعبية. من ناحية تانية من الصعب جدًا مواجهة  حملات معقدة وممولة زي دي.
ويل بريهيم: أوك مونيشا باجاج، أنا بشكر حضرتك جدًا لوجودك معنا في برنامج فريش إيد. أنا استمتعت بالحوار معاكي النهارده.
مونيشا باجاج:شكرًا لاستضافتكم ليَّ.

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What’s the relationship between test scores and gross domestic product? Do higher test scores lead to higher GDP?

This question may seem a bit strange because most people think about the value of education on a much smaller, less abstract scale, usually in terms of “my children” or “my education.” Will my children earn a higher wage in the future if they do well on school examinations today? If I major in engineering, will I earn a higher income than if I majored in English?

The answer to these question is usually assumed to be a resounding “yes.” Doing better on examinations or studying subjects that are perceived to be more valuable will result in higher wages at the individual level and higher GDP at the national level. Such a belief shapes educational policies and influences educational decision making by families. It has even resulted in a global private tutoring industry that prepares students for tests in hopes of getting ahead.

But what if this assumption isn’t true? What if the relationship between test scores and GDP isn’t so straightforward?

With me today are Hikaru Komatsu and Jeremy Rappleye. Recently they have been publishing numerous articles (see here, here, and here) challenging the statistical research supporting the conclusion that higher tests scores cause higher GDPs. Instead, they find that test scores don’t determine GDP by all that much.

Hikaru Komatsu and Jeremy Rappleye are based at the Graduate School of Education at Kyoto University. Their most recent op-ed appeared in the Washington Post.

Citation: Komatsu, Hikaro and Rappleye, Jeremy, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 71, podcast audio. May 1, 2017.

Will Brehm:  2:12
Hikaru Komatsu and Jeremy Rappleye, welcome to FreshEd.

Hikaru Komatsu:  2:16
Thanks for having us.

Jeremy Rappleye:  2:18
Thank you, Will. Before we begin, let me just say how much I really enjoy your show. And I learned so much from it. And I really applaud you for creating this space and doing such high quality shows week in and week out. So thank you very much for having us.

Will Brehm:  2:30
Thanks for the kind words. You, two have been doing quite a lot of work lately on really challenging some commonplace assumptions between test scores and GDP – gross domestic product. What is the normal relationship many researchers have between test scores? What students know and gross domestic product? How much a country is growing or how much it’s worth?

Jeremy Rappleye:  2:59
Yeah, thanks, Will. I’ll take the first question here, I would say that the common understanding of the relationship between test scores and gross domestic project is the higher your test scores, the greater your future GDP. This is the claim at its most simple and if we try to be more specific, the understanding is that the higher people test scores in a particular population in fields that are, say relevant for economic growth, the higher GDP will be in the future. So relevant fields here are most likely to be defined as math and science or math and science scores, and also language to a certain extent in particular reading. So the exact fields that international learning assessments such as PISA measure, and in that sense, we can also be more specific about the type of economic model embedded in this common understanding. Specifically, it is one that envisions an economy growing as a result of technological progress. That is, the more technological innovation and the accumulation of knowledge, the higher economic growth rates will be in the future.

Will Brehm:  4:02
And what sort of evidence exists, like do researchers have data, empirical data that shows that this relationship is correct, that higher test scores will equate to higher GDP in the future?

Jeremy Rappleye:  4:19
Yes. So in particular, in the last, let’s say, 10 years, the empirical research base for these claims has become very strong in some circles. Now, try to be specific here, the evidence for this common understanding in its current form, I believe, comes from, primarily from two researchers: one is Eric Hanushek at Stanford University and Ludger Woessmann. I apologize, I probably don’t pronounce the name right, based at Munich University. And I think Eric Hanushek appeared on FreshEd quite recently, if I’m not mistaken. In any case, their work constructs roughly a 40 year history of test scores, and matches that with 40 years of economic growth worldwide. So roughly from the 1960s to the year 2000. And when they say worldwide, they actually mean about 60 countries globally, mostly the high income countries that have participated in international assessments, international achievement tests consistently over that period. So to be more specific, their 40 year history of test scores combines data from two international comparative tests: the IEA-SIMS and TIMSS studies and the OECD’s recent PISA studies. So for GDP, they use a standard Penn World Table data set and listeners who are interested can find kind of full details of this in our paper. But I think the point here is that when Hanushek and Woessmann look at the longitudinal relationship between test scores and GDP growth, they find a very strong correlation. That means that across 60 countries, the higher test score outcomes were, the higher GDP growth was, and I think Hikaro might talk about this in more detail, the difference, particularly between the idea of association and causality.

But the point I want to make here is that it’s been so strong, these empirical claims have been so strong, that’s given a lot of momentum to the idea that there’s this strong empirical basis for the linkage between test scores and GDP. And I think that the work of Hanushek and Woessmann is spelled out in many places, as maybe I’ll discuss later in the interview. But the most comprehensive treatment is found in a book entitled “The Knowledge Capital of Nations – Education and the Economics of Growth”, which was published in the year 2015.

Will Brehm:  6:43
So you said that there’s a strong correlation, but is this the relationship between test scores and GDP causal? And I mean, maybe this is a little getting into some of the more technical statistical language here might be useful, to try and understand this claim.

Jeremy Rappleye:  7:02
Yes. So it’s a very good point. And it’s very important to understand the difference between an association or correlation and causality, I think we probably are betters to wait for Hikaro’s discussion of this. But let me kind of lead into that by giving you two quotes where Hanushek and Woessmann really make the claim that the relationship is causal, not just the correlation. So the first quote and this is this kind of crystallizes or kind of encapsulates the whole findings from their body of work, and they say, quote, “with respect to magnitude, one standard deviation in test scores measured at the OECD student level is associated with an average annual growth rate in GDP per capita, two percentage points higher over the 40 years that we observed.” Now, in that quote, they use the word association, as many of the listeners will have heard. But elsewhere, they talk and talk repeatedly about causality. So here’s the second quote, they say, “our earlier research shows the causal relationship between a nation skills its economic capital, and its long run growth rate, making it possible to estimate how education policies affect each nation’s expected economic performance.” So in simple terms, if you can boost test scores, you will achieve higher GDP growth. And this certainty comes out of the idea that the relationship is indeed causal.

Will Brehm:  8:38
That level of certainty, obviously, must impact education policymakers, right to know that if you increase scores as measured on PISA or TIMSS, you will achieve greater economic growth. I mean, it seems like it makes the lives of policymakers a lot easier.

Jeremy Rappleye:  8:55
Absolutely Will, we believe that the attraction, both the attraction of this claim, and the impact of this claim is growing. And through these types of studies, policymakers who previously had to deal with a very complex equation around education are led to believe that the data shows that an aggressive reform policy that increases test scores will, say, 20 or 30 years in the future, lead to major, quite major economic gains. And if I can give you just another quote, and I apologize for the quotes, but I don’t want you to think I’m misphrasing or summarizing the work of Eric Hanushek and Woessmann, but this quote that of their shows the types of kind of spectacular education gains or economic gains that policies can expect to achieve if they implement this kind of policies directed towards raising test scores. So here, I quote, “for lower middle income countries, future gains would be 13 times current GDP and an average out to a 28% higher GDP over the next 80 years. And for upper middle income countries, it would average out to a 16% higher GDP” unquote. So now, Will, if you are a policymaker, you wouldn’t want to forfeit these games, would you? So this research becomes really a motivation for policymakers putting a much greater emphasis on not just math and science, but on cognitive test scores across the board.

But there’s a fascinating bit here, I want to highlight and maybe we want to unpack it later on in the interview. But you might expect that this kind of narrowing the focus of education around test scores would create a lot of resistance. But actually, the GDP gains of increasing test scores that Hanushek and Woessmann project is actually so great that it is projected to pay for everything in education. So it’s not really a choice between alternatives. But instead of a sure-win policy versus kind of more of the same policy, uncertainty, ambiguity, complexity that we’ve seen in the past.

And sorry, this is a long answer, Will. But I would just really want to emphasize, if we talk about how these academic research claims are finding their way into policy or impacting policy, we have to talk about two organizations that have really latched onto these views, and are advocating them strongly to policymakers worldwide. And the first is the World Bank who hired Hanushek and Woessmann to connect their academic findings to policymaking for low income countries. And this report was published by the World Bank as education quality and economic growth as the title “Education Quality and Economic Growth” was published in 2007. And the second organization that has been really at the forefront here is the OECD, they also hired Hanushek and Woessmann to share their findings and discuss the policy implications. And this report was entitled, “Universal Basic Skills: What Countries Stand to Gain” and that was published in 2015. So maybe towards the end of the interview, after we discuss our study, we can return to discuss how these organizations are really central to making that empirical work into concrete policy recommendations.

Will Brehm:  12:13
So what sort of problems do you find with Hanushek and Woessmann analysis of the relationship between test scores and GDP?

Hikaru Komatsu:  12:23
Okay, the problem we found is temporal mismatch that is Professor Hanushek used an inappropriate period for economic growth. That is Professor Hanushek compare test scores recorded during 1960 to 2000 with economic growth for the same period. But this is a little bit strange. Why, because it takes at least several decades for students to become adults and occupy a major portion of workforce. So from our perspective, test scores for given period should be compared with economic growth in subsequent periods. This is the problem we found.

Will Brehm:  13:17
So for instance, it would be like the test scores from 1960 should be connected to the economic growth rate of say, the 1970s there needs to be some sort of gap between the two, is that correct?

Hikaru Komatsu:  13:31
That’s correct.

Will Brehm:  13:31
Okay. So then in your study, I mean, did you do this and what did you find?

Hikaru Komatsu:  13:36
We did this, our study is very simple. We compare test scores for 1960 to 2000, which is exactly the data used by Professor Hanushek. We compare this data with economic growth in subsequent periods such as 1980 to 2000 or 1990 to 2010 or something like that. And we found that the relationship between test scores and economic growth were much much weaker than that reported by Professor Hanushek. Probably audience would see figure in the web, in the website of FreshEd, and there would be two figures, left one is the original one reported by Professor Hanushek. And there is a strong relationship between economic growth and test scores. While the right one is that we found and the relationship is very unclear. So let me explain how we that relationship is when test score for 1960 to 2000 was compared with economic growth. For 1995 to 2014, only 10% of the variation in economic growth among countries was explained by the variation in test scores. That is, the remaining 90% of the variation in economic growth should be responsible for other factors. This means that it is totally unreasonable to use test scores as the only factor to predict future economic growth. And this is what Professor Hanushek did in his study and policy recommendations.

Will Brehm:  15:40
So in your study, you found that 10% of the variation of GDP can be explained by the variation of test scores. What percentage did Hanushek and Woessmann’s study uncover?

Hikaru Komatsu:  15:53
Probably their percentage was around 70 and we try to replicate Professor Hanushek’s finding, in our case, the percentage was 57 or so and the difference between 57, 70 would be caused by the difference in the version of the data we used. In order to extend that time period, we used an updated version of that data, that data set is exactly the same, but the difference is only the version.

Will Brehm:  16:28
So a difference between 50% and 70% is pretty minimal. But the difference between 10% and 70% is enough to question the basically the conclusions that are drawn from that data.

Hikaru Komatsu:  16:42
Yeah, right. If that relationship originally reported by Professor Hanushek is causal, we should have found that comparably strong relationship between test scores for a given period and economic growth for subsequence periods. But we found very weak relationship so it suggests that that relationship originally reported by Professor Hanushek does not always represent the causal relationship. This is our point.

Will Brehm:  17:17
It seems like this is a very profound point that could be rather earth shattering for many people’s assumptions about education and its value for economic growth.

Jeremy Rappleye:  17:31
Thanks, Will, I’d like to fill in a little bit pick up on what Komatsu sensei was arguing there. One of the important points to understand about this 70% of the variation is explained by test scores, the strength of that correlation leads to very strong policy recommendations. So, I’m going to try to unpack a little bit of what I said earlier, because I think it’s an important point, I’ll try to do it academically first, and then I will try to give a simple version that will be a lot easier for listeners to understand.

But basically, if you have a correlation causality link that strongly then Hanushek and Woessmann are claiming that you can first increase your test scores, and it will produce so much excessive growth in the future, that you can redirect that excessive growth back into all other types of educational goods that you need. So in terms of equity, in terms of inclusiveness, you could even redirect that much extra money into healthcare, to sustainability goals, all of these things. So as we both know, these are two sides of the camp is education for economic growth, or is it for equities, is it for inclusiveness, is it personal development. These are the types of debates that have always been with education as an academic study, but he’s able to transcend, they are able to transcend that debate based on the strong causal claims, though, just to fill that in academically. So the claim is that if 3.5% of GDP is spent for education, this is from the World Bank report in 2007. But if over 20 or 30 years, you could increase your test scores by point five standard deviation, it would lead to 5% higher GDP on average, and quote, “this gross dividend would more than cover all the primary and secondary schools spending.” What that means is if you focus on raising cognitive levels, test scores, you could get enough growth that you would ultimately get more money for education for whatever types of educational goals you want to pursue. In the 2015 OECD report Hanushek and Woessmann write that quote “the economic benefit of cognitive gains, carries tremendous potential as a way to address issues of poverty and limited healthcare and to foster new technologies needed to improve the sustainability and inclusiveness of growth.” So as I mentioned before, instead of a trade off between growth related policies and equity, the Hanushek’s results are so strong that they suggest that first raising test scores will eventually produce enough extra gain to pay for everything. So this really relieves them of the need to engage in the kinds of debates over priorities that have taken place for as long as education policy has been around.

Now, if that sounds academic, I apologize. Let me try to put it in more concrete terms to make it easier to understand. Sure. So if the United States based on the PISA 2000 scores could have a 20 or 30 year reform plan that would eventually lead them to achieve the level of Finland or Korea’s PISA scores in 2006. Hanushek claims that, Hanushek and Woessmann claims that GDP, United States’ GDP will be 5% bigger. Now Hanushek really spotlights that in 1989, the governors of the United States came together with then president George Bush, and they promised by the year 2000 to make America number one in the world in math and science. So at that time, it would have been a 50 point gain. And so Hanushek argues in a different work but produced by Brookings called “Endangering Prosperity”, that if the US would have stayed the course in 1989, and actually achieve the goals rather than getting distracted, its GDP would be 4.5% greater today. And that would allow us to solve all of our distributional, our, I’m American, apologies our distributional or equity issues that have constantly plagued American education. And even in more concrete terms Hanushek is based on that strong causality. He’s saying that the gains would actually equal and I quote, “20% higher paychecks for the average American worker over the entire 21st century.”

Will Brehm:  22:02
So he’s reading the future with that relationship that he assumes he can read the future and basically says that focus on test scores first and worry about everything else later, because we’re going to increase so much GDP that will be able to pay for everything that education needs. That’s kind of that policy gist.

Jeremy Rappleye:  22:25
That’s absolutely right, Will, and he made this calculation for the United States, as you can imagine, he’s based in the United States. But if you look at the OECD report, in 2015, they actually make the same calculations for all countries worldwide. So we spotlight that in our full paper in the introduction, just picking up the case of Ghana, because OECD really picked up the case of Ghana and say, you would have this huge economic gain if you could just stay the course on raising test scores.

Will Brehm:  22:54
So these are future predictions or projections. Has there ever been like a real life example of like a bit working the way Hanushek and Woessmann theorize?

Jeremy Rappleye:  23:07
Well, I believe that they would probably argue that the piece of data itself shows that it works. So of course, you have up and down fluctuations of individual countries, but I think they would have a hard time showing a particular country or giving you a case of a particular country who enacted reforms and then achieved higher GDP growth. It’s all abstracted to the level of correlation and causality rather than brought back into kind of concrete terms of particular countries.

Will Brehm:  23:44
And your analysis obviously shows that those future projections are incorrect, or wouldn’t necessarily work out the way Hanushek and Woessmann claim. You know, how do we begin to theorize that this connection between test scores and GDP, like what sort of implications does your study have on education policymakers?

Hikaru Komatsu:  24:09
In my opinion, or according to the data, it is okay to say that improving test score both lead to higher economic growth on average, but actually test scores are only one factor as we found, as we said, only 10% of the variation in economic growth was explained by the variation in test scores. So in that sense, educational test scores are only one factor affecting economic growth. And as we see there’s a huge variation in fiscal capital, land or enterprise between countries, and those should affect economic growth. So education is only one of those factors. This is, I think, reasonable understanding of the relationship between economic growth education and then affect us.

Will Brehm:  25:14
So in a sense, we recognize that education plays some role in future economic growth. But there are other things that also affect future economic growth. And we shouldn’t lose sight of them either.

Hikaru Komatsu:  25:25
You’re right. So that problem Professor Hanushek had is that he believed or assumed that it is the sole factor and he uses only test scores to predict future economic growth. But the route is not so simple. This is our point.

Will Brehm:  25:45
And it seems like it’s a simple point you’re making. But like I said, I think it’s quite profound, because it really upsets what countries are pursuing in their educational goals. I mean, it challenges the rise of PISA, I mean, are all of these countries that are trying to join PISA? Is this actually what they should be doing, right? I mean, for me, the policy implications become so much more difficult, and the confidence of certain policy prescriptions kind of goes out the door.

Jeremy Rappleye:  26:16
Yeah, Will. We would wholeheartedly agree with that summary of kind of the implications of our study, it is a simple idea. And it’s pretty obvious even to, let’s say, masters level students, that education is not that complex. But one of the problems is all of this big data creates all the potential for kind of this dog fight using data up at the higher stratosphere. And people can’t really touch that. So as long as you are up there fighting it out, then it seems to be pretty solid. And I think that to be very honest, actually, neither Hikaro or I really like doing this work that much. Right. To be very honest, we don’t really enjoy this work. We’d rather be thinking about big ideas and complex ideas and doing those types of things.

But the problem is that it blocks the view, the simple views of education block the complexity or the depth of what we should be seeing in these ecologies of education or these types of things. Now, that was a very kind of big picture response. But if we have time, I’d like to talk more specifically about the specific policy recommendations and what are the implications of our studies. So we believe that our research findings have recommendations but these are not really recommendations in the usual sense of identifying a best practice or a magic bullet or as a magical potion that will improve education worldwide. Instead, the implications of our research is what we might call negative policy recommendations. And by that, I mean it helps policymakers realize what they should not do. Specifically, it tells policymakers that they should not be seduced by promises that focusing on raising test scores, and purely test scores in areas such as science technology, math is a surefire policy that will raise GDP growth rates, and it tells them not to believe kind of advisors who would come in and tell them that raising test scores alone will lead to enough GDP, future growth to quote “and the financial and distributional problems of education,” unquote. Now I want to even be more specific about this, more concrete, two points. As most listeners will know, one of the biggest educational policy trends over the last two decades has been PISA. And there are currently plans to extend PISA to low income countries through the PISA for development exercise. I think that by 2030, the OECD and the World Bank plan to have PISA in every country worldwide, despite a whole range of critiques from academics, from practitioners, from just the normal belief that education is more complex than that.

The central rationale for the expansion of PISA testing is that it will lead to higher GDP growth. In effect, countries are being persuaded to sign up to PISA, because of the types of claims that we reviewed throughout this interview. But our research shows that this will not happen. Some of my favorite research in recent years have come from scholars around Paul Morris, at the Institute of Education in London, working with young scholars, Euan Auld, Yun You or Bob Adamson in Hong Kong, showing how PISA tests are really driven much more by a range of private companies such as Pearson, ETS, and so on. And scholars like Stephen Ball, Bob Lingard, and Sam Seller also write some great stuff along these lines. And another important line of research comes from folks like Radhika Gorur who writes about the dangers of standardization and how it might ultimately destroy the diversity necessary for future adaptation and innovation in education. And so again, we hope that our research removes the belief that research that, academic research somehow proves the PISA and GDP linkage, and that’s let’s policymakers see all of these warnings much more clearly. And if you let me quickly go on to the second dimension of really concrete, what’s happening now is that, as many listeners will also know, is that the world is, the world of education, where the development more generally is talking about the post 2015 goals. Basically, what comes after the Millennium Development Goals that we’re going in the 1990s. And in terms of education, the Sustainable Development Goal Four is the one that deals with education, it sets global targets for improving learning by 2030. And one of the disappointing things we have noticed in these discussions is that it seems the discussion seem to be imitating the OECD and World Bank that is, we see UNESCO and other agencies referring explicitly to the Hanushek and Woessmann studies to argue for why PISA-style assessments are the best way to achieve Sustainable Development Goal number four. And so compared to discussions around EFA, in the early 1990s, the discussion around the SDG number four seems to be taking this knowledge capital claim as truth as academic truth.

And we worried that this will put the whole world on a course for implementing PISA-style tests. And, of course, the change in curriculum that comes in its wake. I don’t want to be, you know, kind of, to overstate this too much. But we worried that there’s really no evidence for that and that these will be very costly exercises that will ultimately do very little to improve education. So, again, we hope our study will give policymakers the kind of academic research basis for resisting the advances made by the OECD and World Bank.

Will Brehm:  31:59
Have you experienced any pushback about some of the findings because I mean, obviously, you’re challenging some of the wisdom that’s taken for granted by the World Bank, by the OECD, by private companies, like you said, Pearson and ETS, the Educational Testing Service, which produces a whole bunch of tests. So I mean, one would imagine that your negative recommendations that come out of your findings may ultimately create a pushback from those who interests are being challenged.

Jeremy Rappleye:  32:30
Yeah, I guess we would love to have a pushback, because pushback implies an explicit engagement. Again, our findings are not new, that there’s no link between educational outcomes and GDP growth. These claims are very, this idea is actually very old. But what happens is that with each kind of wave of data that comes out that kind of dog fight that I was talking about, kind of gets it goes from maybe kids throwing rocks at each other from different trees up to hot air balloons up to airplanes up to jet planes, and it just keeps going up. There’s no real engagement with the ground level realities that would refute all of this. So if we were to get pushback, we would welcome it. We would love to see the evidence because our mind is not made up. It’s quite possible. I mean, there are no certainties, and it would be wonderful to see a more elaborate discussion around these ideas. So our results are conclusive. But in the sense of with that data set, it conclusively disproves a particular hypothesis or claim, but they’re not conclusive in the terms of a terminus of learning. There’s always more that we can understand about the relation the complex relationship between society, economics, culture and these types of things. So we would really welcome that as a way to elaborate.

Will Brehm:  34:00
Well, I really hope that you can kind of open up this door for a much deeper engagement to get to some of those big questions that you obviously have in mind, but Hikaro Komatsu and Jeremy Rappleye, thank you so much for joining Fresh Ed. It was really a pleasure to talk today.

Hikaru Komatsu:  34:15
Thanks for having us. I really enjoyed it.

Jeremy Rappleye:  34:18
Thank you very much, Will. Keep up the great work. We all appreciate the hard work you’re doing on behalf of educational researchers and educational practitioners worldwide.

Will Brehm 2:12
Hikaru Komatsu和Jeremy Rappleye,你们好,欢迎做客FreshEd!

Hikaru Komatsu 2:16

Jeremy Rappleye 2:18

Will Brehm 2:30

Jeremy Rappleye 2:59

Will Brehm 4:02

Jeremy Rappleye 4:19
是的,尤其在过去10年左右的时间里,这一观点在某些圈子里得到了很强的实证研究支持。展开来说,很多关于目前这个共识的证据主要都是源自于两位研究者,分别是斯坦福大学的埃里克·哈努谢克(Eric Hanushek)教授和慕尼黑大学的卢德格尔·沃斯曼因(Ludger Woessmann)教授。如果我没记错的话,FreshEd之前有一期节目就请到过哈努谢克教授。话说回来,他们两人研究了1960至2000年间,差不多40年的考试成绩,并与同时期世界范围内的经济发展情况相对照。这里所谓的世界范围是指全球近60个国家,绝大多数是在上述时期参加过国际评估和国际成果测试的高收入国家。更具体地来说,他们结合了两项国际比较测试的数据,即国际教育成就评价协会(IEA)的第二次国际数学研究(SIMS)和国际数学与科学趋势研究(TIMSS),以及经济合作与发展组织(OECD)的PISA;GDP采用的是佩恩表(Penn World Table)的标准数据库,感兴趣的读者可以在我们的论文里找到所有的详细数据。哈努谢克和沃斯曼因研究了考试成绩和GDP增长之间的纵向关系,发现两者有很强的相关性。也就是说,在这60个国家里,谁的测试得分越高,谁的GDP增长就越高。这一点过会儿Komatsu教授会详细讨论,尤其是关于相关性和因果的概念。

Will Brehm 6:43

Jeremy Rappleye 7:02
你问到点子上了!关联性,或者说相关性,和因果性是不一样的。理解这一点很关键。我想最好是一会儿由Komatsu教授来具体解释。在那之前,我先引用两处哈努谢克和沃斯曼因的原话,他们提到成绩和GDP之间有因果关系,而不仅仅是有相关性。第一处是在概述研究的主要发现时,他们写到:“对于影响的程度,OECD 学生水平测试成绩的一个标准差与GDP的平均年增长率有关,在我们观察到的40年间,这一数字高出了两个百分点。”大家可能也都听到了,他们在这里用的词是“关系到”。但此外的其他地方,他们反复谈论的却是“因果关系”。比如我要引用的第二处,他们写到:“此前我们的研究显示,一个国家的技能(即它的经济资本)与长期增长率之间存在因果关系,因此能够推测教育政策是如何影响国家的预期经济效益。”简单来说就是,只要能提高考试成绩,就能实现GDP增长。也只有因果关系才能得出这么肯定的结论。

Will Brehm 8:38

Jeremy Rappleye 8:55
抱歉说了这么多,我还要强调最后一点,是关于这些学术研究的主张如何进入到政策领域的。有两个组织功不可没,一个是世界银行(World Bank),另一个是OECD。他们牢牢抓住这些研究成果,并向世界各国的政策制定者积极推广。前者聘请了哈努谢克和沃斯曼因,要求他们研究成果运用到低收入国家的政策制定中去。2007年世界银行发表了题为《教育质量在经济增长中的作用》的报告。后者同样也聘请了哈努谢克和沃斯曼因来分享研究成果、讨论政策意义,并于2015年发布了《普及基本技能:国家能获得什么》的报告。在谈完我们的研究之后,如果访谈结束前还有时间的话,可以回过头来再讨论一下这些组织在推动实证研究进入具体政策建议中的重要作用。

Will Brehm 12:13

Hikaru Komatsu 12:23

Will Brehm 13:17

Hikaru Komatsu 13:31

Will Brehm 13:31

Hikaru Komatsu 13:36

Will Brehm 15:40

Hikaru Komatsu 15:53

Will Brehm 16:28

Hikaru Komatsu 16:42

Will Brehm 17:17

Jeremy Rappleye 17:31
这听上去可能比较学术,不好意思。为方便理解,我举个具体例子吧。比如美国,哈努谢克和沃斯曼因声称,基于其在2000年PISA测试中的成绩,如果有一个20年或30年的改革计划使其提高到2006年PISA测试中的芬兰或韩国的水平,那么美国的GDP会有5%的增长。哈努谢克和沃斯曼因他们还指出,早在1989年,时任美国总统的乔治·布什(George Bush)和各州州长曾承诺到2000年要让美国学生的数学和科学成绩成为世界第一,在那时候,也就是提高50分。他在由布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution)出版的另一本题为《濒危的繁荣》的书中称,如果美国在1989年坚持这一政策,切实实现目标而没有分心的话,那么美国的GDP应该比现在多4.5%。那么,这样就能解决所有困扰我们教育系统的分配和公平的问题。抱歉,因为我是美国人,所以用“我们”一词。基于那种超强的因果关系,哈努谢克通过具体的数据表示,(成绩提高)带来的效益会使“在整个21世纪,美国工人的平均收入提高20%。”

Will Brehm 22:02

Jeremy Rappleye 22:25

Will Brehm 22:54

Jeremy Rappleye 23:07

Will Brehm 23:44

Hikaru Komatsu 24:09

Will Brehm 25:14

Hikaru Komatsu 25:25

Will Brehm 25:45

Jeremy Rappleye 26:16
然而,我们的研究恰恰表明那一观点所期待的结果未必会发生。近年来也有其他一些我很喜欢的研究,比如伦敦大学学院教育学院的莫礼时(Paul Morris),他和尤安·奥尔德(Euan Auld)、游韵,以及香港的鲍勃·亚当森(Bob Adamson)等中、青年学者的研究认为,PISA其实更多是由培生(Pearson)、美国教育考试服务中心(ETS)等私企所推动的;史蒂芬·鲍尔(Stephen Ball)、鲍勃·林嘉德(Bob Lingard)和山姆·塞勒(Sam Sellar)等学者在诸多论文里也提出了类似的观点。此外,还有一些学者如拉迪卡·哥尔(Radhika Gorur),他们的研究显示出标准化的危害,以及它将如何最终破坏未来教育变革和创新所需的多样性。这些学术研究都表明PISA和GDP之间并无多少联系。希望我们的研究能再次证明这一点,并帮助政策制定者更清楚地看到学界的这些示警。

Will Brehm 31:59

Jeremy Rappleye 32:30

Will Brehm 34:00
我真的希望你们能打开这扇门,探触到你们脑海中已经形成的那些更深刻更复杂的问题。Hikaru Komatsu和Jeremy Rappleye,很高兴你们能来做客FreshEd,再次感谢你们的分享!

Hikaru Komatsu 34:15

Jeremy Rappleye 34:18

Want to help translate this show? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com 

Will Brehm:  2:12
HikaruKomatsu et Jeremy Rappleye, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Hikaru Komatsu:  2:16
Merci de nous recevoir.

Jeremy Rappleye:  2:18
Merci, Will. Avant de commencer, laissez-moi vous dire à quel point j’apprécie votre spectacle. Et j’ai tellement appris de lui. Et je vous félicite vraiment d’avoir créé cet espace et de faire des spectacles de si grande envergure, semaine après semaine. Merci beaucoup de nous recevoir.

Will Brehm:  2:30
Merci pour ces aimables propos. Vous avez beaucoup travaillé ces derniers temps pour réfuter certaines hypothèses banales entre les résultats des tests et le PIB – produit intérieur brut. Quelle est la relation normale que de nombreux chercheurs entretiennent entre les résultats des tests ? Que savent les étudiants et le produit intérieur brut ? Quelle est la croissance d’un pays ou quelle est sa valeur ?

Jeremy Rappleye:  2:59
Oui, merci, Will. Je répondrai à la première question ici, je dirais que la compréhension commune de la relation entre les résultats des tests et le projet intérieur brut est que plus vos résultats aux tests sont élevés, plus votre PIB futur est important. C’est l’affirmation la plus simple qui soit et si nous essayons d’être plus précis, il est entendu que plus les gens obtiennent des résultats aux tests dans une population particulière dans des domaines qui sont, disons, pertinents pour la croissance économique, plus le PIB sera élevé à l’avenir. Ainsi, les domaines pertinents ici sont plus susceptibles d’être définis comme les mathématiques et les sciences ou les scores en mathématiques et en sciences, ainsi que la langue dans une certaine mesure, en particulier la lecture. Les domaines exacts que les évaluations internationales de l’apprentissage telles que PISA mesurent, et dans ce sens, nous pouvons également être plus précis sur le type de modèle économique qui s’inscrit dans cette compréhension commune. Plus précisément, il s’agit d’un modèle qui envisage une économie en croissance grâce au progrès technologique. En d’autres termes, plus l’innovation technologique et l’accumulation de connaissances seront nombreuses, plus les taux de croissance économique seront élevés à l’avenir.

Will Brehm:  4:02
Et quel type de preuve existe-t-il, comme les chercheurs disposent-ils de données, de données empiriques qui montrent que cette relation est correcte, que des résultats plus élevés aux tests seront synonymes d’un PIB plus élevé à l’avenir ?

Jeremy Rappleye:  4:19
Oui. Donc, au cours des dix dernières années, par exemple, la base de recherche empirique pour ces affirmations est devenue très forte dans certains milieux. Maintenant, tentez d’être précis, les preuves de cette compréhension commune sous sa forme actuelle, je crois, proviennent principalement de deux chercheurs : l’un est Eric Hanushek de l’université de Stanford et l’autre Ludger Woessmann. Je m’excuse, je ne prononce probablement pas correctement le nom, basé à l’université de Munich. Et je pense qu’Eric Hanushek est apparu sur FreshEd tout récemment, si je ne me trompe pas. Quoi qu’il en soit, leur travail retrace environ 40 ans d’histoire des résultats aux tests, ce qui correspond à 40 ans de croissance économique mondiale. Donc à peu près des années 1960 à l’an 2000. Et lorsqu’ils disent mondial, ils font en fait référence à environ 60 pays dans le monde, principalement les pays à revenu élevé qui ont participé à des évaluations internationales, des tests de performance internationaux de façon constante au cours de cette période. Pour être plus précis, l’historique des résultats de ces tests sur 40 ans regroupe des données provenant de deux tests comparatifs internationaux : les études IEA-SIMS et TIMSS et les récentes études PISA de l’OCDE. Ainsi, pour le PIB, ils utilisent un ensemble de données standard de la Penn World Table et les auditeurs intéressés peuvent trouver des détails complets à ce sujet dans notre document. Mais je pense que le point ici est que lorsque Hanushek et Woessmann examinent la relation longitudinale entre les résultats des tests et la croissance du PIB, ils trouvent une très forte corrélation. Cela signifie que dans 60 pays, plus les résultats aux tests sont élevés, plus la croissance du PIB est élevée, et je pense que Hikarumight en parle plus en détail, la différence, en particulier entre l’idée d’association et de causalité.

Mais ce que je veux dire ici, c’est que ces affirmations empiriques sont si fortes, qu’elles ont donné beaucoup d’élan à l’idée qu’il existe cette base empirique solide pour le lien entre les résultats des tests et le PIB. Et je pense que le travail de Hanushek et de Woessmann est bien expliqué à de nombreux endroits, comme je l’expliquerai peut-être plus tard dans l’interview. Mais le traitement le plus exhaustif se trouve dans un livre intitulé “The Knowledge Capital of Nations – Education and the Economics of Growth”, qui a été publié en 2015.

Will Brehm:  6:43
Vous avez donc indiqué qu’il y a une forte corrélation, mais est-ce que la relation entre les résultats des tests et le PIB est causale ? Et je veux dire, peut-être que c’est un peu entrer dans le langage statistique plus technique qui pourrait être utile ici, pour essayer de comprendre cette affirmation.

Jeremy Rappleye:  7:02
Oui, c’est donc un point très pertinent. Et il est essentiel de comprendre la différence entre une association ou une corrélation et une causalité, je trouve que nous sommes probablement mieux placés pour attendre la discussion d’Hikaro à ce sujet. Mais laissez-moi vous guider en vous donnant deux citations où Hanushek et Woessmann affirment que la relation est causale, et pas seulement la corrélation. La première citation, qui est en quelque sorte une synthèse des résultats de leurs travaux, dit, je cite, “en ce qui concerne l’ampleur, un écart-type des résultats aux tests mesurés au niveau des étudiants de l’OCDE est associé à un taux de croissance annuel moyen du PIB par habitant, supérieur de deux points de pourcentage sur les 40 ans que nous avons observés”. Maintenant, dans cette citation, ils utilisent le mot association, comme beaucoup d’auditeurs l’auront entendu. Mais ailleurs, ils parlent et évoquent sans cesse la causalité. Voici donc la deuxième citation, ils disent : “nos recherches antérieures démontrent la relation de causalité entre les compétences d’une nation son capital économique, et son taux de croissance à long terme, ce qui permet d’estimer comment les politiques d’éducation affectent la performance économique attendue de chaque nation”. Donc, pour faire simple, si vous pouvez améliorer les résultats aux tests, vous obtiendrez une croissance du PIB plus élevée. Et cette certitude découle de l’idée que la relation est effectivement causale.

Will Brehm:  8:38
Ce niveau de certitude doit évidemment avoir un impact sur les décideurs politiques en matière d’éducation, qui ont le droit de savoir que si vous augmentez les scores mesurés par PISA ou TIMSS, vous obtiendrez une plus grande croissance économique. Il semble que cela facilite grandement la vie des décideurs politiques.

Jeremy Rappleye:  8:55
Tout à fait Will, nous pensons que l’attrait, à la fois l’attrait de cette revendication, et l’impact de cette revendication sont en croissance. Et grâce à ce type d’études, les décideurs politiques qui devaient auparavant faire face à une équation très complexe autour de l’éducation sont amenés à croire que les données révèlent qu’une politique de réforme dynamique qui accroît les résultats aux tests conduira, disons, dans 20 ou 30 ans, à des gains économiques importants, assez importants. Et si je peux vous donner juste une autre citation, et je m’excuse pour les citations, je ne veux pas que vous pensiez que j’ai mal formulé ou résumé le travail d’Eric Hanushek et de Woessmann, mais cette citation, celle de leur auteur, illustre le type de bénéfices spectaculaires en matière d’éducation ou de gains économiques que les politiques peuvent espérer obtenir si elles mettent en œuvre ce type de politiques visant à augmenter les résultats aux tests. Ainsi, je cite : “Pour les pays à revenu moyen inférieur, les gains futurs seraient de 13 fois le PIB actuel et une moyenne de 28 % de PIB plus élevée au cours des 80 prochaines années. Et pour les pays à revenu moyen supérieur, la moyenne serait de 16 % de PIB en plus”. Alors maintenant, Will, si vous êtes un décideur politique, vous ne voudriez pas renoncer à ces jeux, n’est-ce pas ? Cette recherche devient donc une véritable motivation pour les décideurs politiques, qui mettent davantage l’accent non seulement sur les mathématiques et les sciences, mais aussi sur les résultats des tests cognitifs dans tous les domaines.

Mais il existe une partie fascinante que je veux souligner et que nous voulons peut-être décortiquer plus tard dans l’interview. Mais on peut s’attendre à ce que ce genre de rétrécissement du champ de l’éducation autour des résultats des tests suscite beaucoup de réticences. Mais en réalité, les gains de PIB résultant de l’augmentation des résultats aux tests, que Hanushek et Woessmann projettent, sont si importants qu’ils devraient permettre de financer tout ce qui concerne l’éducation. Il ne s’agit donc pas vraiment de choisir entre plusieurs alternatives. Mais au lieu d’une politique gagnante à coup sûr contre une politique plus ou moins identique, l’incertitude, l’ambiguïté, la complexité que nous avons vues par le passé.

Et je suis désolé, c’est une longue réponse, Will. Mais je tiens à insister sur le fait que si nous évoquons la manière dont ces affirmations de la recherche universitaire se frayent un chemin jusqu’à la politique ou ont un impact sur la politique, nous devons parler de deux organisations qui se sont vraiment appropriées ces points de vue et les défendent avec force auprès des décideurs politiques du monde entier. La première est la Banque mondiale, qui a recruté Hanushek et Woessmann pour faire le lien entre les résultats de leurs recherches universitaires et l’élaboration de politiques pour les pays à faible revenu. Et ce rapport a été publié par la Banque mondiale sous le titre “Qualité de l’éducation et croissance économique” en 2007. La deuxième organisation qui a vraiment été à l’avant-garde dans ce domaine est l’OCDE, qui a également engagé Hanushek et Woessmann pour partager leurs conclusions et discuter des implications politiques. Et ce rapport était intitulé ” Universal Basic Skills : What Countries Stand to Gain”, qui a été publié en 2015. Donc, peut-être que vers la fin de l’entretien, après avoir discuté de notre étude, nous pourrons revenir sur la façon dont ces organisations sont réellement au centre de la transformation de ce travail empirique en recommandations politiques concrètes.

Will Brehm:  12:13
Quels sont donc les types de problèmes que vous trouvez dans l’analyse de Hanushek et Woessmann sur la relation entre les résultats des tests et le PIB ?

Hikaru Komatsu:  12:23
D’accord, le problème rencontré est le déphasage temporel, c’est-à-dire que le professeur Hanushek a utilisé une période inappropriée pour la croissance économique. C’est-à-dire que le professeur Hanushek compare les résultats des tests enregistrés entre 1960 et 2000 avec la croissance économique pour la même période. Mais c’est un peu étrange. Pourquoi, parce qu’il faut au moins plusieurs décennies pour que les étudiants deviennent adultes et occupent une grande partie de la population active. Donc, de notre point de vue, les résultats des tests pour une période donnée devraient être comparés à la croissance économique des périodes suivantes. C’est le problème que nous avons rencontré.

Will Brehm:  13:17
Ainsi, par exemple, les résultats des tests de 1960 devraient être liés au taux de croissance économique, par exemple, dans les années 1970, il doit y avoir une sorte d’écart entre les deux, est-ce exact ?

Hikaru Komatsu:  13:31
C’est tout à fait exact.

Will Brehm:  13:31
D’accord. Alors, dans votre étude, je veux dire, avez-vous fait cela et qu’avez-vous trouvé ?

Hikaru Komatsu:  13:36
Nous l’avons réalisé, notre étude est très simple. Nous comparons les résultats des tests de 1960 à 2000, ce qui correspond exactement aux données utilisées par le professeur Hanushek. Nous mettons ces données en parallèle avec la croissance économique des périodes suivantes, comme 1980 à 2000 ou 1990 à 2010, ou quelque chose comme ça. Et nous avons trouvé que la relation entre les résultats des tests et la croissance économique était beaucoup plus faible que celle rapportée par le professeur Hanushek. Le public verrait probablement un chiffre sur le web, sur le site de FreshEd, et il y aurait deux chiffres, celui de gauche est le chiffre original rapporté par le professeur Hanushek. Et il existe une relation étroite entre la croissance économique et les résultats aux tests. Alors que le chiffre de droite est celui que nous avons trouvé et la relation est très peu claire. Permettez-moi donc d’expliquer comment nous avons établi cette relation lorsque les résultats des tests de 1960 à 2000 ont été comparés à la croissance économique. Pour les années 1995 à 2014, seuls 10 % des variations de la croissance économique entre les pays s’expliquent par la variation des résultats aux tests. Autrement dit, les 90 % restants de la variation de la croissance économique devraient être responsables d’autres facteurs. Cela revient à dire qu’il est totalement déraisonnable d’utiliser les résultats des tests comme seul facteur pour prédire la croissance économique future. Et c’est ce que le professeur Hanushek a fait dans son étude et ses recommandations politiques.

Will Brehm:  15:40
Ainsi, dans votre étude, vous avez constaté que 10 % de la variation du PIB peut s’expliquer par la variation des résultats aux tests. Quel pourcentage l’étude de Hanushek et Woessmann a-t-elle mis en évidence ?

Hikaru Komatsu:  15:53
Leur pourcentage était sans doute d’environ 70 et nous essayons de reproduire la conclusion du professeur Hanushek, dans notre cas, le pourcentage était d’environ 57 et la différence entre 57, 70 serait due à la différence de version des données que nous avons utilisées. Afin de prolonger cette période, nous avons utilisé une version actualisée de ces données, cet ensemble de données est exactement le même, mais la différence n’est que la version.

Will Brehm:  16:28
Une différence entre 50 et 70 % est plutôt minime. Mais la différence entre 10 % et 70 % est suffisante pour remettre en question les conclusions fondamentales qui sont tirées de ces données.

Hikaru Komatsu:  16:42
Oui, en effet. Si cette relation décrite à l’origine par le professeur Hanushek est causale, nous aurions dû trouver cette relation relativement forte entre les résultats des tests pour une période donnée et la croissance économique pour les périodes suivantes. Mais nous avons trouvé une relation très faible, ce qui suggère que la relation rapportée à l’origine par le professeur Hanushek ne représente pas toujours la relation de cause à effet. C’est là où nous voulons en venir.

Will Brehm:  17:17
Il semble que ce soit un point très fondamental qui pourrait être plutôt déconcertant pour les hypothèses de nombreuses personnes sur l’éducation et sa valeur pour la croissance économique.

Jeremy Rappleye:  17:31
Merci, Will, j’aimerais revenir un peu sur ce que Komatsu sensei a évoqué là-bas. Un des points majeurs à comprendre à propos de ces 70 % de variation est expliqué par les résultats des tests, la puissance de cette corrélation conduit à des recommandations politiques très fortes. Donc, je vais essayer de déballer un peu ce que j’ai dit plus tôt, parce que je pense que c’est un point important, je vais essayer de le faire de manière académique d’abord, et ensuite je vais essayer de donner une version simple qui sera beaucoup plus facile à comprendre pour les auditeurs.

Mais fondamentalement, si vous avez un lien de causalité de corrélation aussi fort, alors Hanushek et Woessmann affirment que vous pouvez d’abord accroître vos résultats aux tests, et cela produira une croissance tellement excessive à l’avenir, que vous pouvez réorienter cette croissance excessive vers tous les autres types de biens éducatifs dont vous avez besoin. Ainsi, en termes d’équité, en termes d’inclusion, vous pourriez même réorienter cette somme supplémentaire vers les soins de santé, vers des objectifs de durabilité, toutes ces choses. Comme nous le savons tous les deux, il s’agit là de deux aspects du camp : l’éducation pour la croissance économique, ou bien les actions, l’inclusion, le développement personnel. Ce sont les types de débats qui ont toujours été menés avec l’éducation en tant qu’étude académique, mais il est capable de transcender, ils sont capables de transcender ce débat basé sur les fortes revendications causales, cependant, juste pour remplir cela de manière académique. L’affirmation veut donc que si 3,5 % du PIB est dépensé pour l’éducation, cela provient du rapport de la Banque mondiale de 2007. Mais si, sur 20 ou 30 ans, vous pouviez accroître vos résultats aux tests de cinq points d’écart type, cela entraînerait une hausse de 5 % du PIB en moyenne, et je cite : “ce dividende brut couvrirait largement toutes les dépenses en matière d’écoles primaires et secondaires”. Cela revient à dire que si vous vous concentrez sur l’accroissement des niveaux cognitifs, des résultats aux tests, vous pourriez obtenir une croissance suffisante pour obtenir en fin de compte plus d’argent pour l’éducation, quel que soit le type d’objectifs éducatifs que vous souhaitez poursuivre. Dans le rapport de l’OCDE de 2015, Hanushek et Woessmann écrivent que “les avantages économiques des gains cognitifs offrent un potentiel énorme pour résoudre les problèmes de pauvreté et de soins de santé limités et pour encourager les nouvelles technologies nécessaires pour améliorer la durabilité et l’intégration de la croissance”. Ainsi, comme je l’ai déjà mentionné, au lieu d’un compromis entre les politiques liées à la croissance et l’équité, les résultats du Hanushek sont si probants qu’ils suggèrent qu’une première hausse des résultats aux tests produira finalement suffisamment de gains supplémentaires pour tout payer. Cela les dispense donc vraiment de s’engager dans le genre de débats sur les priorités qui ont lieu depuis que la politique de l’éducation existe.

Maintenant, si cela paraît académique, je m’en excuse. Laissez-moi essayer de le formuler en termes plus concrets pour le rendre plus facile à comprendre. Bien sûr, si les États-Unis se fondaient sur les résultats de PISA 2000, ils pourraient avoir un plan de réforme sur 20 ou 30 ans qui les amènerait à atteindre le niveau des résultats de PISA de la Finlande ou de la Corée en 2006. Hanushek et Woessmann affirment que le PIB, le PIB des États-Unis sera supérieur à 5 %. Hanushek met en avant le fait qu’en 1989, les gouverneurs des États-Unis se sont réunis avec le président George Bush et qu’ils ont promis de faire de l’Amérique le numéro un mondial en mathématiques et en sciences d’ici l’an 2000. À l’époque, cela aurait donc représenté un gain de 50 points. C’est pourquoi Hanushek affirme dans un autre ouvrage, mais produit par Brookings et intitulé “Endangering Prosperity”, que si les États-Unis avaient maintenu le cap en 1989 et avaient réellement atteint les objectifs fixés plutôt que de se laisser distraire, leur PIB serait aujourd’hui supérieur de 4,5 %. Et cela nous permettrait de résoudre tous nos problèmes de distribution, de, je suis américain, d’excuses, de répartition ou d’équité qui ont constamment affligé l’éducation américaine. Et même en termes plus concrets, Hanushek est basé sur cette forte causalité. Il dit que les gains seraient en fait égaux et je cite : “20% de salaires en plus pour le travailleur américain moyen sur l’ensemble du 21ème siècle”.

Will Brehm:  22:02
Ainsi, il lit l’avenir avec cette relation qu’il suppose pouvoir lire l’avenir et dit en gros qu’il faut se focaliser sur les résultats des tests d’abord et se préoccuper de tout le reste ensuite, parce que nous allons tellement augmenter le PIB que nous pourrons payer tout ce dont l’éducation a besoin. C’est en quelque sorte l’essence même de cette politique.

Jeremy Rappleye:  22:25
C’est bien cela, Will, et il a fait ce calcul pour les États-Unis, comme vous pouvez l’imaginer, il est basé aux États-Unis. Mais si vous regardez le rapport de l’OCDE, en 2015, ils font en fait les mêmes calculs pour tous les pays du monde. C’est pourquoi nous mettons l’accent sur ce point dans notre document intégral en introduction, en reprenant le cas du Ghana, parce que l’OCDE a vraiment repris le cas du Ghana et a dit : “Vous auriez cet énorme gain économique si vous pouviez simplement maintenir le cap sur l’amélioration des résultats aux tests.

Will Brehm:  22:54
Il s’agit donc de prévisions ou de projections futures. Y a-t-il jamais eu un exemple concret de la façon dont Hanushek et Woessmann théorisent ?

Jeremy Rappleye:  23:07
Eh bien, je suppose qu’ils pourraient probablement soutenir que l’élément de données lui-même montre que cela fonctionne. Il existe donc bien évidemment des variations à la hausse et à la baisse pour chaque pays, mais je pense qu’il serait difficile de montrer un pays en particulier ou de vous donner le cas d’un pays qui a mis en œuvre des réformes et qui a ensuite enregistré une croissance plus élevée de son PIB. Tout est ramené au niveau de la corrélation et de la causalité plutôt qu’aux termes concrets de pays particuliers.

Will Brehm:  23:44
Votre analyse indique évidemment que ces projections sont incorrectes, ou ne fonctionneraient pas nécessairement comme le prétendent Hanushek et Woessmann. Vous savez, comment pouvons-nous commencer à théoriser que ce lien entre les résultats des tests et le PIB, comme par exemple quel type d’implications votre étude a sur les décideurs politiques de l’éducation ?

Hikaru Komatsu:  24:09
À mon humble avis, ou selon les données, on peut affirmer que l’amélioration des résultats aux tests entraîne une croissance économique plus élevée en moyenne, mais en réalité, les résultats aux tests ne sont qu’un facteur parmi d’autres, car nous avons découvert, comme nous l’avons dit, que seulement 10 % de la variation de la croissance économique s’expliquait par la variation des résultats aux tests. Donc, en ce sens, les résultats des tests éducatifs ne sont qu’un facteur influençant la croissance économique. Et comme nous le voyons, il existe une énorme variation du capital fiscal, des terres ou des entreprises entre les pays, et cela devrait affecter la croissance économique. L’éducation n’est donc qu’un de ces facteurs. C’est, je pense, une compréhension raisonnable de la relation entre la croissance économique, l’éducation et les effets sur nous.

Will Brehm:  25:14
Ainsi, dans un sens, nous reconnaissons que l’éducation joue un rôle dans la croissance économique future. Mais il existe d’autres facteurs qui influent également sur la croissance économique future. Et nous ne devrions pas les perdre de vue non plus.

Hikaru Komatsu:  25:25
Vous avez raison. Le problème du professeur Hanushek est donc qu’il croit ou suppose que c’est le seul facteur et qu’il n’utilise que les résultats des tests pour prédire la croissance économique future. Mais le chemin n’est pas si simple. C’est là où nous voulons en venir.

Will Brehm:  25:45
Et on dirait que c’est un simple point de vue. Mais comme je l’ai dit, je pense que c’est assez sérieux, parce que cela bouleverse vraiment les objectifs éducatifs des pays. Je veux dire que cela remet en question la montée en puissance du PISA, je veux dire, est-ce que tous ces pays qui essaient de rejoindre le PISA ? Est-ce vraiment ce qu’ils devraient faire, n’est-ce pas ? Je veux dire que pour moi, les implications politiques deviennent beaucoup plus difficiles, et la confiance de certaines prescriptions politiques disparaît en quelque sorte.

Jeremy Rappleye:  26:16
En effet, Will. Nous sommes tout à fait d’accord avec ce résumé des implications de notre étude, c’est une idée simple. Et il est assez évident, même pour, disons, des étudiants de niveau master, que l’éducation n’est pas si complexe. Mais l’un des problèmes est que toutes ces grandes données créent un potentiel pour ce genre de combat de chiens en utilisant des données de la haute stratosphère. Et les gens ne peuvent pas vraiment y toucher. Donc, tant que vous êtes là-haut à vous battre, alors cela semble assez solide. Et je pense que pour être très honnête, en fait, ni Hikaruor ni moi n’aimons vraiment faire ce travail à ce point. C’est vrai. Pour être très honnête, nous n’aimons pas vraiment ce travail. Nous préférons penser à de grandes idées et à des idées complexes et faire ce genre de choses.

Mais le problème est que cela limite la vue, les vues simples de l’éducation limitent la complexité ou la profondeur de ce que nous devrions voir dans ces écologies de l’éducation ou ce genre de choses. C’était une sorte de réponse globale. Mais si nous avons le temps, j’aimerais parler plus précisément des recommandations politiques spécifiques et des implications de nos études. Nous pensons donc que les résultats de nos recherches comportent des recommandations, mais il ne s’agit pas vraiment de recommandations au sens habituel du terme, c’est-à-dire l’identification d’une meilleure pratique ou d’une solution miracle ou d’une potion magique qui améliorera l’éducation dans le monde entier. Au contraire, les implications de nos recherches sont ce que l’on pourrait appeler des recommandations politiques négatives. Et par là, je veux dire qu’elles aident les décideurs politiques à réaliser ce qu’ils ne devraient pas faire. Plus précisément, elle leur dit qu’ils ne doivent pas se laisser séduire par des promesses selon lesquelles le fait de se concentrer sur l’augmentation des notes d’examen, et uniquement des notes d’examen dans des domaines tels que la science et la technologie, les mathématiques est une politique infaillible qui augmentera les taux de croissance du PIB, et elle leur dit de ne pas croire le genre de conseillers qui viendraient leur dire que l’augmentation des notes d’examen à elle seule conduira à un PIB suffisant, à une croissance future pour citer “et aux problèmes financiers et de répartition de l’éducation”, pour ne pas citer. Je voudrais maintenant être encore plus précis sur ce point, plus concret, sur deux points. Comme la plupart des auditeurs le savent, l’une des plus grandes tendances en matière de politique de l’éducation au cours des deux dernières décennies a été l’enquête PISA. Et il est actuellement prévu d’étendre le PISA aux pays à faible revenu dans le cadre de l’exercice PISA pour le développement. Je pense que d’ici 2030, l’OCDE et la Banque mondiale prévoient de mettre en place le PISA dans tous les pays du monde, en dépit de toute une série de critiques émanant d’universitaires, de praticiens, de la croyance normale selon laquelle l’éducation est plus complexe que cela.

La principale raison de l’extension du test PISA est qu’elle mènera à une plus forte croissance du PIB. En effet, les pays sont amenés à s’inscrire au PISA, en raison des types d’allégations que nous avons analysées tout au long de cet entretien. Mais nos recherches indiquent que ce ne sera pas le cas. Certaines de mes recherches préférées de ces dernières années ont été menées par des chercheurs autour de Paul Morris, à l’Institut de l’éducation de Londres, en collaboration avec de jeunes universitaires, Euan Auld, Yun You ou Bob Adamson à Hong Kong, ce qui illustre le fait que les tests PISA sont en réalité beaucoup plus pilotés par une série d’entreprises privées telles que Pearson, ETS, etc. Et des universitaires comme Stephen Ball, Bob Lingard et Sam Seller écrivent également de très bons articles dans ce sens. Une autre ligne de recherche importante émane de personnes comme Radhika Gorur qui écrit sur les dangers de la normalisation et sur la manière dont elle pourrait finalement détruire la diversité nécessaire à l’adaptation et à l’innovation futures dans l’éducation. Nous voulons donc, une fois de plus, que nos recherches fassent disparaître la croyance selon laquelle les recherches universitaires prouvent d’une manière ou d’une autre le lien entre le PISA et le PIB, et que les décideurs politiques perçoivent beaucoup plus clairement tous ces avertissements. Et si vous me permettez de passer rapidement à la deuxième dimension du concret, ce qui se passe maintenant, comme beaucoup d’auditeurs le savent aussi, c’est que le monde est, le monde de l’éducation, où le développement parle plus globalement des objectifs de l’après 2015. Fondamentalement, ce qui suit les objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement que nous allons dans les années 1990. Et en matière d’éducation, le quatrième objectif de développement durable est celui qui concerne l’éducation, il fixe des objectifs au niveau mondial pour améliorer l’apprentissage d’ici 2030. Et l’une des choses regrettables que nous avons remarquées dans ces discussions, c’est qu’il semble que la discussion imite l’OCDE et la Banque mondiale ; c’est-à-dire que nous voyons l’UNESCO et d’autres agences se référer explicitement aux études de Hanushek et Woessmann pour défendre les raisons pour lesquelles les évaluations de type PISA sont le meilleur moyen d’atteindre le quatrième objectif de développement durable. Ainsi, par rapport aux discussions autour de l’EPT, au début des années 1990, la discussion autour du quatrième objectif de développement durable semble prendre cette affirmation de capital de connaissances comme une vérité, une vérité académique.

Et nous nous sommes inquiétés de ce que cela mette le monde entier sur la voie de la mise en œuvre de tests de type PISA. Et, bien sûr, le changement de programme qui s’ensuit. Je ne veux pas, vous savez, un peu trop exagérer. Mais nous craignons qu’il n’y ait pas vraiment de preuves à cet égard et qu’il s’agisse d’exercices très coûteux qui, en fin de compte, ne contribueront que très peu à améliorer l’éducation. Nous espérons donc, une fois encore, que notre étude donnera aux décideurs politiques le type de base de recherche universitaire qui leur permettra de résister aux avancées de l’OCDE et de la Banque mondiale.

Will Brehm:  31:59
Avez-vous fait l’expérience d’un recul par rapport à certaines des conclusions parce que, de toute évidence, vous remettez en question certaines des idées reçues par la Banque mondiale, par l’OCDE, par des entreprises privées, comme vous l’avez dit, par Pearson et par ETS, le Service d’évaluation de l’éducation, qui produit toute une série de tests. On pourrait donc supposer que vos recommandations négatives qui découlent de vos conclusions pourraient finalement créer une réaction de rétraction de la part de ceux dont les intérêts sont contestés.

Jeremy Rappleye:  32:30
Oui, je crois que nous aimerions vivement avoir un retour en arrière, parce que le retour en arrière implique un engagement explicite. Encore une fois, nos observations ne sont pas nouvelles, à savoir qu’il n’y a pas de lien entre les résultats scolaires et la croissance du PIB. Ces affirmations sont très, très anciennes, cette idée est en réalité très ancienne. Mais ce qui se passe, c’est qu’à chaque vague de données qui sortent de ce genre de combat de chiens dont je parlais, cela va des enfants qui se lancent des pierres depuis différents arbres jusqu’aux ballons à air chaud en passant par les avions à réaction, et cela ne cesse de croître. Il n’y a pas de véritable engagement avec les réalités du terrain qui réfuterait tout cela. Donc, si nous obtenions un retour en arrière, nous l’accueillerions avec plaisir. Nous aimerions voir les preuves parce que notre décision n’est pas prise. C’est tout à fait possible. Je veux dire qu’il n’y a pas de certitudes, et il serait merveilleux de voir une discussion plus élaborée autour de ces idées. Nos résultats sont donc concluants. Mais dans le sens où avec cet ensemble de données, ils réfutent de manière concluante une hypothèse ou une affirmation particulière, mais ils ne sont pas concluants en termes de fin d’apprentissage. Nous pouvons toujours en comprendre davantage sur la relation complexe entre la société, l’économie, la culture et ce genre de choses. Nous serions donc très heureux de pouvoir élaborer sur ce point.

Will Brehm:  34:00
J’espère vraiment que vous pourrez ouvrir cette porte à un engagement beaucoup plus profond pour aborder certaines de ces grandes questions que vous avez évidemment à l’esprit, mais HikaruKomatsu et Jeremy Rappleye, merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint Fresh Ed. C’était vraiment un plaisir de vous parler aujourd’hui.

Hikaru Komatsu:  34:15
Merci de nous recevoir. J’ai vraiment apprécié.

Jeremy Rappleye:  34:18
Merci infiniment, Will. Continuez votre excellent travail. Nous apprécions tous le dur labeur que vous accomplissez au nom des chercheurs en éducation et des praticiens de l’éducation du monde entier.

Translation sponsored by NORRAG.

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OverviewTranscriptFrançais TranscriptionResources
Today I speak with Arathi Sriprakash, a lecturer in the sociology of education at the University of Cambridge.

Arathi co-edited with Keita Takayama and Raewyn Connel a special issue of Comparative Education Review on post-colonialism in the field of comparative and international education.

The special issue shows that the field of comparative and international education continues to have many colonial entanglements, which have gone unrecognized in most accounts. Colonial logics underpinned many of the field’s founding figures and contemporary forms of modernization theory continue to be widely assumed today:. Knowledge is produced in the global north, often with data taken from the global south; theory is reserved for northern scholars; and some societies, like CIES in North America, have held more power over smaller societies from Asia and Africa. In most aspects of the field, we continue to see uneven power dynamics of where and how knowledge is produced by whom and with what effect.

The special issue argues that post-colonial theory, broadly defined, can help overcome the continued prevalence of colonialism in the field today.  The co-editors call for a rethinking of the way knowledge is produced in CIE.

Arathi joined FreshEd to detail some of the ideas in the special issue.

Citation: Sriprakash, Arathi, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 57, podcast audio, January 23, 2017. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/arathisriprakash/

Will Brehm 1:55
Arathi Sriprakash, welcome to FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 1:57
Thanks, Will.

Will Brehm 1:59
So, what is the typical narrative of the history of comparative education? How do people in the field normally understand the history of the field itself?

Arathi Sriprakash 2:11
Well, as we as we outline and now opening piece at the of the Special Issue, the foundational story of the field of Comparative Ed is one that is very much seen as Western in terms of the main protagonists and their ideas and approaches. So, for example, we see the typical story of the foundation of the field, well certainly the one found in major textbooks. It begins with a work of French thinker, Marc-Antoine Jullien, whose plan and preliminary views for a work on comparative education, which was published in 1817 emphasized the need for a kind of scientific study of education during the Enlightenment paradigm of modernity. And then from there other prominent figures that make an entry later in the story of the foundation of the field in the 20th century include Michael Sadler, Isaac Kandel, Nicholas Hans, George Bereday amongst a host of familiar names. And so, all of these figures significantly were trained and working in the global north. And so, what we’re exploring in this special issue is how what’s often missing in this narrative about the field of the ways that non-English language and non-Western scholarship in education has shaped the field from its inception. And also, when accounts of non-Western projects of comparative ed are included in the field’s history, these are somehow seen as a separate development – an occurrence that can be added on to the main story if you like. And the effect of this is that the story remains one that locates comparative education as a particularly Western scientific development. So, the concern that Keita and Raewyn and I had when we were thinking about the Special Issue is that this kind of narrative of the field’s development obscures the very specific historical and geopolitical context in which comparative methodological advances were made. What we were trying to do is set up to explore how the narratives of the field erases its deep entanglements with colonial hierarchies, interests and modes of control, if you like.

Will Brehm 4:29
So, let’s dig into that a little bit more.  From my understanding, the field… there’s always an emphasis on context. How does our field, or how does the field of Comparative Education understand context? And perhaps, is that problematic? Is that part of this global north perspective?

Arathi Sriprakash 4:59
Good question. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that a respect for others has been a central concern of the field since it began. After all, comparativists consider it one of their responsibilities to provide fully contextual knowledge of other countries’ educational practices. So, you know, one can’t understand education separate from its social and cultural environment. And quite simply, the idea that ‘context matters’ is at the heart of Comparative Education. So, in this sense, Competitive Ed has a history of embracing what might be understood as a “relativist” epistemology. That’s the idea that knowledge is always relative to the particular conditions of knowing. And I think this is especially apparent in the founding scholars’ interest in the idea of a national character, meaning that education always needed to be adjusted according to the cultural context or the character of each nation. So certainly, the idea of context is at the heart of what we do in the field.

Will Brehm 6:03
So, is this where the idea of methodological nationalism would come in, where the unit of analysis is the nation and that’s how we see the different cultures are usually nation bound?

Arathi Sriprakash 6:17
There has been a strong tradition in the field of this what’s now called methodological nationalism. But there’s also been movements away from that. I think we’ve seen in the last decade or so an increasing interest in the transnational circulation of ideas. And I think this is important to recognize that we do have people working in the field who are not seeing the nation as the unit of analysis, or the unit of comparison, per se. I mean, we’ve also importantly, had very important work done in the field that has considered time as the unit of comparison where historical approaches have sought to understand the shifts in how education systems or practices have been differently understood over different periods of time within a nation or within a geographic context.

Will Brehm 7:12
And what has been the purpose of comparison in the way we understand the history of Comparative Education?

Arathi Sriprakash 7:21
Well, I’d say the purpose of comparison, specifically, deeply contextualized comparison is to better understand one’s own society. And this has in fact, been a long-standing underpinning ethos of the field. So, for example, one of the fields prominent scholars, George Bereday, argued in 1964, it’s self-knowledge born of the awareness of others that’s the finest lesson in Comparative Education. So, we can say that the field has in one sense emerged from an ethics of deep reflexivity. George Bereday went on to say that the aim of Comparative Education is to relax national pride in order to permit events and voices from abroad to count in the reappraisal and reexamination of schools in one’s own country. So, you can see that there is this engagement of learning about others in order to reflect upon oneself if you like.

Will Brehm 8:16
And it seems like that notion of comparing with others to reflect about oneself is very much bound up with the field’s many societies around the world. And these societies are usually geographically bound. So, in Europe, or in America, or in Australia they have the Oceania and in Japan they have a society. And so, there’s all these different Comparative Education societies, and in a sense it’s these different societies trying to learn from one another and they actually all come together and something that you wrote about, the World Congress of Comparative Education Societies. Can you tell us a little bit about the World Congress?

Arathi Sriprakash 9:08
Yes, so the World Congress, the WCCES, as many know acts as an umbrella body if you like for some 40 comparative and international education societies around the world, and I think what’s important for us to note is the core of the mission of the WCCES is to recognize and respect the plurality amongst its members. So, I guess the collective effort of the Comparative Education field is its respect for different national values, practices, histories and systems. So, this kind of respect for difference and inclusive kind of approach is certainly at the heart of the field and even in how the field is organized institutionally through societies and through the umbrella organization of the WCCES. However, what I want to say Will, is that I think what we in the field have failed to do as a collective enterprise is give more attention to the critical role that uneven power relations have played and continue to play in the making of comparative knowledge. So, for example, I’m thinking about the structural inequalities between the researcher and the research within our own work between the home country of the researchers and the so-called “targeted” countries of our scholarship. So, what I’m talking about is really the geopolitics of comparative knowledge production.

And I think about the dimension of power relations, these power relations, is how and why specific types of social science theories and methodologies becomes sponsored and taken up by the field over other forms of knowledge and approaches. And I think this is particularly important, especially in the current context, where we see the rise of ideas about evidence-based policy discourse, where academics’ scholarship is increasingly tied to interventions, not only by states, but by non-state agencies. So, the kinds of problems that get recognized and are deemed to be solvable over other kinds of problems; the sort of frames that we bring to understand the world and the kinds of solutions we sponsor in our work are very, very important. They have very real material effects, given the link between research and policy and intervention. So, I guess to put this simply, Comparative Education has been really great at acknowledging diversity, but I think it’s done less well at acknowledging the ways in which historically specific power relations really profoundly shape how knowledge about difference in the field is produced.

Will Brehm 12:04
Can you give an example of the geopolitics of the knowledge production that you’re talking about?

Arathi Sriprakash 12:12
Yes, so I guess if we look back through history, modern education systems and practices have had deep connections to colonial projects of control. So, historical research has shown how education was central to colonial administration, for example, in the British and French control of Africa and South Asia. And from the late 19th century, education scholars in particular, played a role in establishing educational systems in the colonized world. So, in the post-colonial context after World War II, research has also shown how education was a primary site of soft power. So, for example, in the 1950s, the US State Department contracted over 50 universities to work in underdeveloped countries worldwide. So systematically if you like, Western comparative educationalists operated as experts, in a way, who legitimized and spread particular ways of knowing the world. So, where knowledge is seen to reside, and how it is seen to kind of be legitimately spread, this is part of the geopolitics of knowledge production and circulation. So, particular scientific ideas about education in the name of progress development and modernization, these were all part of this kind of effort around postwar nation-building that was tied to the geopolitics of the time. I’d say that after the Cold War, such ideologically charged engagement with education overseas was arguably not so explicit. However, there have been scholars who have pointed out the ways in which contemporary Education Development is enmeshed in new securitization agendas and militarization agendas, and also how the resurgence of particular types of methodologies, particularly kind of the resurgence of quantitative methods in the field produces a particular type of knowledge that’s tied to neoliberal agendas of governance. The old saying goes, “the relationship between knowledge and power”. This is very much seen in how Comparative Education has been used, historically very much bound up in a broader politics of global change.

Will Brehm 14:40
Let’s take a short break. Each year, the Comparative and International Education Society holds elections for the position of Vice President. The way the Society is organized means that this person will automatically become the President of the Society after serving one year as Vice President. Every VP, in other words, steps up to hold the Presidency. So, VP elections are a big deal. This year, two outstanding candidates have been nominated David Post and Aaron Benavot. FreshEd will interview both David and Aaron about their plans for CIES if elected. In the run up to these interviews – which will air on February 6th – you can submit questions for me to ask both candidates. You can submit questions by tweeting @ FreshEdPodcast, or by emailing will@freshedpodcast.com. Questions have to be submitted by January 25th, so please hurry. Let’s return to my conversation with Arathi Sriprakash about colonialism in comparative and international education.
So, is one of the main problems here that indigenous knowledge is not recognized as being as valuable as the knowledge coming out of the global North?

Arathi Sriprakash 16:06
Yes. So, as Raewyn Connell emphasized a decade ago in her book Southern Theory, the global south is a rich and varied theoretical resource. But a review of Comparative Education research will quickly reveal the dominance of Northern theoretical tools and views. So, the South simply is seen as a side of data collection, the North as a side of theory generation. And this is indeed a matter of geopolitics. It’s about where expertise is seen to lie, where labor and institutions have funded, and how particular theories and methodologies are made legitimate, if you like, over others. And I guess to give you a contemporary example, there are currently huge national funding schemes in the United Kingdom, where I work, to sponsor social science research on international education. And what I found that is built into many of these schemes is an explicit requirement for so-called “capacity building”. Now, capacity building can take many forms, but it does have echoes of technical assistance programs in which Western scholars are positioned as the “experts” using their knowledge to build capacity in poor countries. Now, I can see that materially poor countries might benefit from infrastructural provision, but there is a risk that such discourses of capacity building in the research world positions the global South as somehow empty of its own epistemological resources for tackling those complex social problems that societies are facing. So, as such, the uneven power relations in the circulation and production of knowledge and education is reproduced. So once again, the South is seen as a side of data extraction, or intervention through the use of Northern theoretical expertise, and in fact, Northern labor.

Will Brehm 18:01
Yes, I feel like I see this all the time. And in fact, I must say, I admit to doing some of it. You know, using French theorists to try and understand what’s going on in Cambodia. And so, I feel like I’m also very much a part of that legacy of Comparative Education.

Arathi Sriprakash 18:24
Well, I mean, I think that’s it’s really important for us so to be reflecting on this because I too was trained in the work of Northern theorists. This still figures highly on our syllabuses within the field. And I think it’s important to recognize the ways these legacies shape our engagement in the field and how we ourselves are enmeshed in this. So this is not so much about instilling guilt within individual researchers, or trying to lay blame amongst individuals, but it is about recognizing the history of the field and understanding the deep politics in what we do so that we can strive to act ethically in our engagements moving forward.

Will Brehm 19:19
So, turning to the field, again, how do textbooks on Comparative Education understand these issues of uneven knowledge production and uneven power relations and theoretical devices being created in the global North and simply being applied to developing countries or the global South? Are these issues captured in the histories, or in the textbooks on Comparative Education? And more importantly, is there a recognition of indigenous knowledge in Comparative Education?

Arathi Sriprakash 20:01
Good question. I think there is a growing recognition of indigenous knowledges in some theories, even the role of postcolonial analyses in the field. There is an emerging discussion on this. But I would say that the way that it’s frequently configured is add on to the dominant narrative of the field emerging from the West. So, it might be that you’ve got the dominant narrative, but then there have been different ways of knowing, and it’s sort of an additive approach. I think, Raewyn Connell talks about this as a mosaic epistemology; that there are many different parts that make up a picture. So, this is one way to think about plurality, but I think in general, it doesn’t address head-on the relations of power that mean that some knowledge becomes more legitimate and is allowed to become dominant over others.

Will Brehm 21:14
One of the things that you do in this introduction to the Special Issue is, in a sense, give a retelling of one of the main founders of the field named Isaac Kandel. Can you tell us this, in a sense this “retelling” of his background?

Arathi Sriprakash 21:33
Yes, okay. So this is an interesting story that Keita actually did some work on and Kandel was a professor at Columbia’s Teachers College and was a lead researcher at the university’s International Institute in the 1920s up to the 1940s, I believe, and really reflecting the field’s interest in epistemological relativism that I mentioned the before – the idea of national cultures and characters. Kandel really did acknowledge national differences; he had this acceptance of plurality in his work at one level. This is certainly the narratives of the foundational scholars such as Kandel. But I think what’s important to recognize is that he was writing from a particular geopolitical position, so the International Institute in which he worked was involved in the administration and assessment of colonial education systems introduced by the US government, works that that by and large accepted the logics of US imperialism. So, what we start to see in Kandel’s work is that national difference was explained through cultural models. So, different cultural levels were used to explain the failure of particular nations in introducing a so-called “American system”. And it’s the American system that Kandel described as – and this is a quote – “the most advanced experiment in democratic education”. So, national difference then became understood as a kind of civilizational gap. So, if you weren’t able to have the most advanced system in your country, then this is somehow a reflection of a gap in your civilizational history or capacity. So, at the core of such ideas, even if they were implicit, rather than explicit, were racialized schemes of stages of maturity or stages of civilization in which colonial subjects were placed at the bottom of an evolutionary progression. So, even though we might see Kandel and other founding figures in the field as very much respecting diversity, these appeals to diversity – that recognition of national difference – are actually not without hierarchy. So, a relativist epistemology might appear to value diversity, but when it’s situated within its geopolitical context, we can actually see how it reproduces a colonial logic of difference and, in fact, subjugation.

Will Brehm 24:19
And with Isaac Kandel, that story, it also has the complex notion of “the expert”, where it’s Isaac Kandel himself who can help those “lower-tiered” civilizations move up using the right prescribed educational kind of remedies. And so, you have that notion too, which is so telling back then, but also so relevant to today’s world of Comparative Education scholars doing a lot of work in Educational Development where we see a similar sort of hierarchy and difference.

Arathi Sriprakash 25:10
Absolutely. And I think it’s in how our program is structured, it’s how funding circulates through the field, and there’s a real epistemological legacy here in the sense that modernization theory, even though it’s been highly contested over many decades, continues to be dominant – if not named – within the field currently. Because expertise is seen to lie in the West and the idea that the non-West would be modernizing or developing in this kind of linear, staged way, with these correct inputs from the West, I mean, this sort of relationship very much exist in the present day.

Will Brehm 25:59
Do you think that modernization theory is in a sense, in many respects, the assumed position of many researchers in the field?

Arathi Sriprakash 26:08
I think, if not consciously, then it’s something that is certainly enmeshed in our categories of analysis, in our approach; certainly in Comparative Ed when we’re thinking about systems in one country and think, “Okay, how might we reform an education system in another to look like the ideal?” So I certainly think it’s not necessarily something that scholars or researchers might set out to be enacting, but I certainly think it’s embedded in our frames of knowledge, and part of that comes back to this history of Comparative Education as having the normative West central to our idea of the world.

Will Brehm 27:06
So, some of this inequality, or this privileging of the North over other ways of knowing and thinking comes from this – like you’re saying – the structures that exist of Comparative Education. And so those structures can be, as we said earlier, the World Congress, and even there you show that there is an inequality in which societies have, in a sense, “power” within that umbrella organization.

Arathi Sriprakash 27:39
Yes, very much so. It’s also if we reflect on journal publications, some of the leading journals in our field published in English, they are run mostly in the UK and in North America, the editorial boards are largely made up of scholars from those countries. I think that these all create factors which allow western frames of knowing to dominate in the field.

Will Brehm 28:15
So, your new Special Issue tries to bring in ideas of postcolonialism into the field of Comparative Education. What is post colonialism in a nutshell?

Arathi Sriprakash 28:29
So, postcolonialism in a nutshell – I’d say that it’s about recognizing the historically specific relations of colonialism that led to, or deepened, inequalities between countries and peoples and groups, and having a deeper understanding of this history also allows us to see the active legacies of colonialism in the present day. So we might say that we are in the postcolonial era as in “after colonialism”, but there are continuing legacies of the colonial era that shape our present knowledge systems; the hierarchies around institutions, cultural practices; and even the ways in which we perhaps don’t use language of “uncivilized” and “civilized” anymore, but those hierarchies of culture and practice that  continue to be assumed, if not explicitly, implicitly, within the field.

Will Brehm 29:37
So you mentioned that we can recognize and reflect on the history of our field in our own work, but how else can we, in a sense, try and break free from this colonial past that is so clear, and that you articulated so clearly?

Arathi Sriprakash 29:59
Well, I think one part of it is to start considering what the role of Southern theory and indigenous knowledge might be for the field. And I suppose in saying that, what I do want to emphasize is that these terms, “Southern theory”, “indigenous knowledge”, they attempt to capture the many and rich sources of knowledge about the social world that have been located in the global South or/and amongst indigenous people. So, there is no one Southern theory or one indigenous knowledge. They’re not sources that are static, and unchanged by time, but just like any other knowledge system they’re historically situated and mutable. So, I guess by thinking about these areas of knowledge as legitimate and important resources for the field, we start to decenter the Global north in the process of knowledge production. And I think this has been done fairly well by the decolonial school that has emerged most prominently in Latin America, which has used the “culture of the colonized” to critique the coloniality of knowledge, if you like.

Will Brehm 31:15
So, you think that these sorts of approaches could help Comparative Education as a field? Kind of embrace postcolonialism and maybe make knowledge more diverse and open and have new ideas?

Arathi Sriprakash 31:37
Yes, okay, so I think there’s a few things that it could do. Firstly, the use of such non dominant theoretical framework – Southern theories, indigenous knowledges, etc. – can work to undermine the uneven power relations that naturalizes the intellectual division of labor in the field, the idea that we talked about where Western scholars have seen as “experts”, somehow that the expertise lies in the West and can be applied to the global South. So, in that sense, it sort of interrupts the taken-for-grantedness of Western expertise in the work in Comparative Education. Secondly, I think that such knowledge helps to provincialize what’s otherwise seen as a universalist epistemology; the idea that Western theory is universally applicable. Well, I think this is an idea that gets shaken up, and I think it recognizes that there are different ways in which the complex social problems of the world can be addressed. And I think lastly, the recognition of Southern theory and indigenous knowledges revalues knowledge that has been subjugated by colonial power relations over different periods and times. So, whether we’re talking about colonialism, relations of neocolonialism and what we’re seeing in the contemporary context neoliberal governance which is narrowing particular forms of knowledge. I think this is about that difficult task of countering what Gayatri Spivak terms “epistemic violence”, in which the knowledge and understanding of the Southern majority are dismissed, and the South is continued to be positioned as the colonial “other”. So, it’s really about disrupting that hierarchy of the South as “other”, if you like. So, what we’re calling for here is an ongoing conversation about how the field can recognize its colonial entanglements and work towards this sort of postcolonial engagement.

Will Brehm 33:56
Well, it sounds like a very exciting future direction for our field, so Arathi Sriprakash thank you so much for joining FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 34:06
Thanks very much, Will.

Will Brehm 1:55
Arathi Sriprakash, bienvenue à FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 1:57
Merci, Will.

Will Brehm 1:59
Donc, quel est le récit typique de l’histoire de l’éducation comparée ? Comment les personnes travaillant dans ce domaine comprennent-elles normalement l’histoire du domaine lui-même?

Arathi Sriprakash 2:11
Eh bien, comme nous l’avons souligné et comme nous entamons désormais le numéro spécial, l’histoire fondamentale du domaine de l’éducation comparée est très largement assimilée à l’Occident en ce qui concerne les principaux protagonistes, leurs idées et leurs approches. Ainsi, par exemple, nous voyons l’histoire typique de la fondation du domaine, et certainement celle que l’on trouve dans les principaux manuels scolaires. Elle débute avec un ouvrage du penseur français Marc-Antoine Jullien, dont le plan et les vues préliminaires pour un ouvrage sur l’éducation comparée, qui a été publié en 1817, ont souligné le besoin d’une sorte d’étude scientifique de l’éducation pendant le paradigme des Lumières de la modernité. Et puis de là, d’autres personnalités éminentes qui entrent plus tard dans l’histoire de la fondation du domaine au XXe siècle, dont Michael Sadler, Isaac Kandel, Nicholas Hans, George Bereday parmi une foule de noms familiers. Ainsi, toutes ces personnalités ont été entraînées et ont travaillé dans le Nord. Ce que nous explorons dans ce numéro spécial est donc la façon dont ce qui manque souvent dans ce récit sur le domaine, c’est la façon dont les langues non anglaises et les bourses non occidentales dans le domaine de l’éducation ont façonné le domaine depuis sa création. De plus, quand des projets non occidentaux d’éducation comparée sont inclus dans l’histoire du domaine, ils sont en quelque sorte considérés comme un développement séparé – un événement qui peut être ajouté à l’histoire principale si vous le souhaitez. Et l’effet de ceci est que l’histoire reste celle qui situe l’éducation comparée comme un développement scientifique particulièrement occidental. Ainsi, le souci que Keita, Raewyn et moi-même avions quand nous avons pensé au numéro spécial est que ce genre de récit du développement du domaine obscurcit le contexte historique et géopolitique très spécifique dans lequel les avancées méthodologiques comparatives ont été faites. Ce que nous essayions de faire, c’est d’explorer comment les récits du terrain effacent ses enchevêtrements profonds avec les hiérarchies coloniales, les intérêts et les modes de contrôle, si vous voulez.

Will Brehm 4:29
Donc, creusons un peu plus ce sujet.  D’après ce que je comprends, le domaine… il y a toujours une emphase sur le contexte. Comment notre domaine, ou comment le domaine de l’éducation comparative, comprend-il le contexte ? Et peut-être est-ce problématique ? Est-ce que cela fait partie de cette perspective globale du Nord?

Arathi Sriprakash 4:59
Bonne question. Je crois qu’il est vraiment essentiel de reconnaître que le respect des autres a été une préoccupation centrale du domaine depuis ses débuts. Après tout, les comparativistes considèrent qu’il est de leur responsabilité de fournir une connaissance pleinement contextuelle des pratiques éducatives des autres pays. Vous savez donc qu’on ne peut pas comprendre l’éducation sans tenir compte de son environnement social et culturel. Et tout simplement, l’idée que “le contexte importe” est au cœur de l’éducation comparée. En ce sens, l’éducation compétitive a toujours embrassé ce qui pourrait être compris comme une épistémologie “relativiste”. C’est l’idée que la connaissance est toujours relative aux conditions particulières de la connaissance. Et je crois que cela est particulièrement évident dans l’intérêt des universitaires fondateurs pour l’idée d’un caractère national, ce qui signifie que l’éducation doit toujours être ajustée en fonction du contexte culturel ou du caractère de chaque nation. Il est donc certain que l’idée de contexte est au cœur de ce que nous faisons sur le terrain.

Will Brehm 6:03
Donc, c’est là qu’intervient l’idée de nationalisme méthodologique, où l’unité d’analyse est la nation et c’est ainsi que nous voyons que les différentes cultures sont généralement associées à une nation?

Arathi Sriprakash 6:17
Il y a eu une forte tradition dans le domaine de ce que l’on appelle aujourd’hui le nationalisme méthodologique. Mais il y a aussi eu des mouvements qui s’en sont écartés. Je crois que nous avons remarqué, depuis une dizaine d’années, un intérêt croissant pour la circulation transnationale des idées. Et je pense qu’il est essentiel de reconnaître que nous avons des gens qui œuvrent dans ce domaine et qui ne considèrent pas la nation comme l’unité d’analyse, ou l’unité de comparaison, en soi. Je veux dire, nous avons aussi, et c’est essentiel, fait faire des travaux très importants dans le domaine qui ont considéré le temps comme l’unité de comparaison, où les approches historiques ont cherché à comprendre les changements dans la manière dont les systèmes ou les pratiques d’éducation ont été compris différemment sur différentes périodes de temps au sein d’une nation ou dans un contexte géographique.

Will Brehm 7:12
Et quel a été le but de la comparaison dans la façon dont nous comprenons l’histoire de l’éducation comparée?

Arathi Sriprakash 7:21
Eh bien, je dirais que le but de la comparaison, plus précisément de la comparaison profondément contextualisée, est de mieux comprendre sa propre société. Et c’est en fait un principe de base de longue date dans ce domaine. Ainsi, par exemple, l’un des plus éminents spécialistes du domaine, George Bereday, a affirmé en 1964 que la meilleure leçon de l’éducation comparative est la connaissance de soi, née de la conscience des autres. On peut donc dire que ce domaine est en quelque sorte issu d’une éthique de la réflexivité profonde. George Bereday a poursuivi en déclarant que le but de l’éducation comparée est d’assouplir la fierté nationale afin de permettre aux événements et aux voix de l’étranger de compter dans la réévaluation et le réexamen des écoles de son propre pays. Vous pouvez donc voir qu’il y a cet engagement à apprendre sur les autres afin de réfléchir sur soi-même si vous le souhaitez.

Will Brehm 8:16
Et il paraît que cette notion de comparaison avec les autres pour penser à soi-même est très liée aux nombreuses sociétés du domaine dans le monde. Et ces sociétés sont généralement liées géographiquement. Ainsi, en Europe, ou en Amérique, ou en Australie, il y a l’Océanie et au Japon, il y a une société. Et donc, il y a toutes ces différentes sociétés d’éducation comparée, et dans un sens, ce sont ces différentes sociétés qui essaient d’apprendre les unes des autres et elles se réunissent en fait toutes ensemble et quelque chose que vous avez écrit, le Congrès mondial des sociétés d’éducation comparée. Pouvez-vous nous en dire un peu plus sur le Congrès mondial ?

Arathi Sriprakash 9:08
Oui, donc le Congrès mondial, le CMAEC, comme beaucoup le savent, agit comme un organisme de tutelle si vous voulez pour quelque 40 sociétés d’éducation comparée et internationale dans le monde, et je pense que ce qui est important pour nous de noter est que le cœur de la mission du CMAEC est de reconnaître et de respecter la pluralité parmi ses membres. Donc, je pense que l’effort collectif du domaine de l’éducation comparée est son respect des différentes valeurs, pratiques, histoires et systèmes nationaux. Ce respect de la différence et cette approche inclusive sont certainement au cœur du domaine, et même dans la façon dont le domaine est structuré institutionnellement à travers les sociétés et l’organisation faîtière du CMAEC. Toutefois, ce que je veux dire, Will, c’est que je pense que ce que nous avons échoué à faire sur le terrain en tant qu’entreprise collective, c’est d’accorder plus d’attention au rôle critique que les relations de pouvoir inégales ont joué et continuent de jouer dans l’élaboration de la connaissance comparative. Ainsi, par exemple, je pense aux inégalités structurelles entre le chercheur et la recherche au sein de notre propre travail entre le pays d’origine des chercheurs et les pays dits “ciblés” de notre bourse. Ce dont je parle, c’est en fait de la géopolitique de la production de connaissances comparatives.

Et je pense à la dimension des relations de pouvoir, ces relations de pouvoir, c’est comment et pourquoi des types spécifiques de théories et de méthodologies des sciences sociales sont parrainés et repris par le terrain par rapport à d’autres formes de connaissances et d’approches. Et je pense que c’est particulièrement important, surtout dans le contexte actuel, où nous assistons à la montée des idées sur le discours politique basé sur les faits, où les travaux des universitaires sont de plus en plus liés aux interventions, non seulement des États, mais aussi des agences non étatiques. Ainsi, les types de problèmes qui sont reconnus et jugés comme pouvant être résolus par rapport à d’autres types de problèmes ; le type de cadres que nous apportons pour comprendre le monde et les types de solutions que nous parrainons dans notre travail sont très, très significatifs. Ils ont des effets matériels très réels, étant donné le lien entre la recherche et la politique et l’intervention. Donc, pour dire les choses simplement, l’éducation comparée a été très efficace pour reconnaître la diversité, mais je crois qu’elle l’est moins pour reconnaître la manière dont les relations de pouvoir historiquement spécifiques façonnent profondément la production de connaissances sur la différence dans le domaine.

Will Brehm 12:04
Pouvez-vous fournir un exemple de la géopolitique de la production de connaissances dont vous parlez?

Arathi Sriprakash 12:12
Oui, donc je crois que si nous regardons en arrière dans l’histoire, les systèmes et pratiques d’éducation contemporains ont eu des liens étroits avec les projets coloniaux de contrôle. Ainsi, la recherche historique a montré comment l’éducation était au centre de l’administration coloniale, par exemple, dans le contrôle britannique et français de l’Afrique et de l’Asie du Sud. Et à partir de la fin du XIXe siècle, les spécialistes de l’éducation, en particulier, ont joué un rôle dans la mise en place des systèmes éducatifs dans le monde colonisé. Ainsi, dans le contexte post-colonial après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la recherche a également montré comment l’éducation était un site principal de pouvoir doux. Ainsi, par exemple, dans les années 1950, le Département d’État américain a passé des contrats avec plus de 50 universités pour qu’elles œuvrent dans les pays sous-développés du monde entier. Ainsi, systématiquement si vous voulez, les éducateurs comparatifs occidentaux ont œuvré comme des experts, d’une certaine manière, qui ont légitimé et diffusé des manières particulières de connaître le monde. Ainsi, l’endroit où le savoir est considéré comme résidant, et la manière dont il est considéré comme étant légitimement diffusé, fait partie de la géopolitique de la production et de la circulation du savoir. Ainsi, les idées scientifiques particulières sur l’éducation au nom du développement du progrès et de la modernisation, tout cela faisait partie de ce genre d’effort autour de la construction de la nation d’après-guerre qui était liée à la géopolitique de l’époque. Je dirais qu’après la guerre froide, un tel engagement idéologique en faveur de l’éducation à l’étranger n’était sans doute pas aussi explicite. Cependant, certains universitaires ont indiqué la manière dont le développement de l’éducation contemporaine s’inscrit dans les nouveaux programmes de sécurisation et de militarisation, et aussi comment la résurgence de certains types de méthodologies, en particulier la résurgence des méthodes quantitatives sur le terrain, produit un type particulier de connaissances qui sont liées aux programmes néolibéraux de gouvernance. Le vieil adage dit : “la relation entre la connaissance et le pouvoir”. On le voit bien dans la façon dont l’éducation comparée a été employée, historiquement très liée à une politique plus large de changement mondial.

Will Brehm 14:40
Faisons une courte pause. Chaque année, la Société d’éducation comparative et internationale organise des élections pour le poste de vice-président. La manière dont la Société est structurée signifie que cette personne deviendra automatiquement le Président de la Société après avoir servi un an comme Vice-Président. Chaque vice-président, en d’autres termes, se présente pour assumer la présidence. L’élection des vice-présidents est donc un événement important. Cette année, deux candidats exceptionnels ont été nommés : David Post et Aaron Benavot. FreshEd va interviewer David et Aaron sur leurs projets pour le CIES s’ils sont élus. Dans la perspective de ces entretiens – qui seront diffusés le 6 février – vous pouvez me soumettre des questions à poser aux deux candidats. Vous pouvez soumettre vos questions en tweetant @ FreshEdPodcast, ou en envoyant un courriel à will@freshedpodcast.com. Les questions doivent être soumises avant le 25 janvier, alors dépêchez-vous. Revenons à ma conversation avec Arathi Sriprakash sur le colonialisme dans l’éducation comparative et internationale.

L’un des principaux soucis est donc que le savoir indigène n’est pas reconnu comme étant aussi précieux que le savoir provenant du Nord ?

Arathi Sriprakash 16:06
Oui, comme Raewyn Connell l’a souligné il y a dix ans dans son livre “Southern Theory”, le Sud global est une ressource théorique riche et variée. Mais un examen des recherches en éducation comparative révélera rapidement la prédominance des outils et des points de vue théoriques du Nord. Ainsi, le Sud est simplement considéré comme un côté de la collecte de données, le Nord comme un côté de la génération de théories. Et c’est bien là une question de géopolitique. Il s’agit de savoir où se situe l’expertise, où le travail et les institutions ont été financés, et comment des théories et des méthodologies particulières sont rendues légitimes, si vous voulez, par rapport à d’autres. Et je pense, pour vous donner un exemple contemporain, qu’il existe actuellement d’énormes programmes de financement nationaux au Royaume-Uni, où je travaille, pour sponsoriser la recherche en sciences sociales sur l’éducation internationale. Et j’ai constaté que bon nombre de ces programmes comportent une exigence explicite de “renforcement des capacités”. Aujourd’hui, le renforcement des capacités peut prendre de nombreuses formes, mais il fait écho aux programmes d’assistance technique dans lesquels les universitaires occidentaux sont positionnés comme les “experts” qui emploient leurs connaissances pour renforcer les capacités dans les pays pauvres. Je peux voir que les pays matériellement pauvres pourraient bénéficier de la mise en place d’infrastructures, mais il y a un risque que de tels discours sur le renforcement des capacités dans le monde de la recherche positionnent le Sud global comme étant en quelque sorte vide de ses propres ressources épistémologiques pour s’attaquer aux problèmes sociaux complexes auxquels les sociétés sont confrontées. Ainsi, les relations de pouvoir inégales dans la circulation et la production de la connaissance et de l’éducation sont reproduites. Une fois de plus, le Sud est considéré comme une partie de l’extraction de données, ou de l’intervention par l’utilisation de l’expertise théorique du Nord, et en fait, le travail du Nord.

Will Brehm 18:01
Oui, j’ai le sentiment de voir cela tout le temps. Et en fait, je dois dire que j’avoue en faire une partie. Vous savez, en employant des théoriciens français pour essayer de comprendre ce qui se passe au Cambodge. Et donc, j’ai l’impression de faire partie de cet héritage de l’éducation comparée.

Arathi Sriprakash 18:24
Eh bien, je veux dire, je crois que c’est vraiment essentiel pour nous de réfléchir à cela, car j’ai moi aussi été formé au travail des théoriciens du Nord. Cela figure toujours en bonne place dans nos programmes d’études dans ce domaine. Et je pense qu’il est essentiel de reconnaître la façon dont ces héritages façonnent notre engagement sur le terrain et comment nous sommes nous-mêmes impliqués dans ce processus. Il ne s’agit donc pas tant de culpabiliser les chercheurs ou d’essayer de rejeter la faute sur les individus, mais de reconnaître l’histoire du domaine et de comprendre la politique profonde dans ce que nous faisons afin de pouvoir nous engager à agir de manière éthique dans nos engagements à l’avenir.

Will Brehm 19:19
Donc, pour en revenir au terrain, comment les manuels d’éducation comparative comprennent-ils ces questions de production inégale de connaissances et de relations de pouvoir inégales et les dispositifs théoriques créés dans le Nord global et simplement appliqués aux pays en développement ou au Sud global ? Ces questions sont-elles abordées dans les histoires ou dans les manuels d’éducation comparée ? Et, plus essentiel encore, y a-t-il une reconnaissance des connaissances indigènes dans l’éducation comparée ?

Arathi Sriprakash 20:01
Bonne question. Je pense qu’il y a une reconnaissance croissante des savoirs indigènes dans certaines théories, et même du rôle des analyses postcoloniales sur le terrain. Une discussion émerge à ce sujet. Mais je dirais que la façon dont il est fréquemment configuré s’ajoute au récit dominant du domaine émergeant de l’Occident. Donc, il se peut que vous ayez le récit dominant, mais il y a eu différentes façons de savoir, et c’est une sorte d’approche additive. Je pense que Raewyn Connell parle de cela comme d’une épistémologie en mosaïque ; qu’il y a beaucoup de parties différentes qui composent une image. C’est donc une façon de penser la pluralité, mais je pense qu’en général, elle ne s’attaque pas de front aux relations de pouvoir qui font que certaines connaissances deviennent plus légitimes et sont autorisées à dominer d’autres.

Will Brehm 21:14
L’une des choses que vous faites dans cette introduction au numéro spécial est, dans un sens, de donner une nouvelle version de l’un des principaux fondateurs du domaine, Isaac Kandel. Pouvez-vous nous dire cela, en un sens, cette “relecture” de son parcours ?

Arathi Sriprakash 21:33
Oui, d’accord. C’est donc une histoire passionnante sur laquelle Keita a travaillé et Kandel était professeur au Teachers College de Columbia et chercheur principal à l’Institut international de l’université dans les années 20 à 40, je crois, et qui reflète vraiment l’intérêt du domaine pour le relativisme épistémologique que j’ai mentionné plus haut – l’idée de cultures et de personnages nationaux. Kandel reconnaissait vraiment les différences nationales ; il avait cette acceptation de la pluralité dans son travail à un niveau. Ce sont certainement les récits des érudits fondateurs comme Kandel. Mais je pense qu’il est essentiel de reconnaître qu’il écrivait à partir d’une position géopolitique particulière, de sorte que l’Institut international dans lequel il travaillait était impliqué dans l’administration et l’évaluation des systèmes éducatifs coloniaux introduits par le gouvernement américain, des travaux qui, dans l’ensemble, acceptaient les logiques de l’impérialisme américain. Ainsi, ce que nous commençons à voir dans le travail de Kandel, c’est que la différence nationale s’explique par des modèles culturels. Ainsi, différents niveaux culturels ont été employés pour expliquer l’échec de certaines nations dans l’introduction d’un soi-disant “système américain”. Et c’est le système américain que Kandel a décrit comme – et c’est une citation – “l’expérience la plus avancée en matière d’éducation démocratique”. Ainsi, la différence nationale a alors été comprise comme une sorte de fossé civilisationnel. Ainsi, si vous n’avez pas pu avoir le système le plus avancé dans votre pays, alors c’est en quelque sorte le reflet d’un fossé dans votre histoire ou votre capacité civilisationnelle. Ainsi, au cœur de ces idées, même si elles étaient implicites, plutôt qu’explicites, se trouvaient des schémas racialisés de stades de maturité ou de stades de civilisation dans lesquels les sujets coloniaux étaient placés au bas d’une progression évolutive. Ainsi, même si nous pouvons estimer que Kandel et d’autres figures fondatrices dans ce domaine respectent beaucoup la diversité, ces appels à la diversité – cette reconnaissance de la différence nationale – ne sont en fait pas sans hiérarchie. Donc, une épistémologie relativiste peut paraître valoriser la diversité, mais quand elle se situe dans son contexte géopolitique, on peut en fait voir comment elle reproduit une logique coloniale de différence et, en fait, d’assujettissement.

Will Brehm 24:19
Et avec Isaac Kandel, cette histoire a aussi la notion complexe de “l’expert”, où c’est Isaac Kandel lui-même qui peut aider ces civilisations “de niveau inférieur” à gravir les échelons en utilisant le type de remède éducatif prescrit. Et donc, vous avez aussi cette notion, qui est si révélatrice à l’époque, mais aussi si pertinente pour le monde actuel des chercheurs en éducation comparée qui font beaucoup de travail dans le domaine du développement de l’éducation, où nous constatons une hiérarchie et des différences similaires.

Arathi Sriprakash 25:10
Absolument. Et je crois que c’est dans la façon dont notre programme est structuré, c’est dans la façon dont le financement circule dans le domaine, et il y a un véritable héritage épistémologique ici en ce sens que la théorie de la modernisation, même si elle a été fortement contestée pendant de nombreuses décennies, continue à être dominante – si elle n’est pas nommée – dans le domaine actuellement. Parce qu’on considère que l’expertise se trouve en Occident et que l’idée que le non-Ouest se modernise ou se développe de cette manière linéaire, par étapes, avec ces apports corrects de l’Occident, je veux dire que ce genre de relation existe très bien aujourd’hui.

Will Brehm 25:59
Croyez-vous que la théorie de la modernisation est en quelque sorte, à bien des égards, la position supposée de nombreux chercheurs dans ce domaine ?

Arathi Sriprakash 26:08
Je crois que, si ce n’est pas consciemment, c’est quelque chose qui est certainement enraciné dans nos catégories d’analyse, dans notre approche ; certainement dans l’éducation comparative lorsque nous pensons aux systèmes d’un pays et que nous nous disons : “Bon, comment pourrions-nous réformer un système d’éducation dans un autre pour qu’il ressemble à l’idéal ? Je crois donc que ce n’est pas nécessairement quelque chose que les universitaires ou les chercheurs pourraient vouloir mettre en œuvre, mais je pense que c’est ancré dans nos cadres de connaissances, et une partie de cela revient à cette histoire de l’éducation comparée comme ayant l’Occident normatif au centre de notre idée du monde.

Will Brehm 27:06
Donc, une partie de cette inégalité, ou de ce privilège du Nord par rapport à d’autres modes de connaissance et de pensée, provient – comme vous le dites – des structures qui existent de l’éducation comparée. Et donc ces structures peuvent être, comme nous l’avons dit plus tôt, le Congrès mondial, et même là vous montrez qu’il y a une inégalité dans laquelle les sociétés ont, en un sens, un “pouvoir” au sein de cette organisation-cadre.

Arathi Sriprakash 27:39
Oui, absolument. C’est aussi si nous réfléchissons aux publications des revues, certaines des principales revues dans notre domaine sont publiées en anglais, elles sont gérées principalement au Royaume-Uni et en Amérique du Nord, les comités de rédaction sont largement constitués d’universitaires de ces pays. Je pense que tout cela crée des facteurs qui permettent aux cadres de connaissances occidentaux de dominer dans le domaine.

Will Brehm 28:15
Ainsi, votre nouveau numéro spécial tente d’introduire les idées du postcolonialisme dans le domaine de l’éducation comparée. Qu’est-ce que le postcolonialisme en bref?

Arathi Sriprakash 28:29
Ainsi, le postcolonialisme en un mot – je dirais qu’il s’agit de reconnaître les relations historiquement spécifiques du colonialisme qui ont conduit à des inégalités entre les pays et les peuples et groupes, ou les ont aggravées, et le fait de mieux comprendre cette histoire nous permet également de voir les héritages actifs du colonialisme à l’heure actuelle. Nous pourrions donc dire que nous sommes dans l’ère postcoloniale comme dans “l’après-colonialisme”, mais il y a des héritages continus de l’ère coloniale qui modèlent nos systèmes de connaissance actuels ; les hiérarchies autour des institutions, les pratiques culturelles ; et même les façons dont nous n’utilisons peut-être plus le langage des “non civilisés” et des “civilisés”, mais ces hiérarchies de culture et de pratique qui continuent à être assumées, sinon explicitement, implicitement, dans le domaine.

Will Brehm 29:37
Vous avez donc mentionné que nous pouvons reconnaître et réfléchir à l’histoire de notre domaine dans notre propre travail, mais comment pouvons-nous, dans un autre sens, essayer de nous dégager de ce passé colonial qui est si clair, et que vous avez articulé si clairement ?

Arathi Sriprakash 29:59
Eh bien, je crois qu’une partie de la démarche consiste à commencer à réfléchir au rôle que la théorie du Sud et les connaissances indigènes pourraient jouer dans ce domaine. Et je crois qu’en disant cela, ce que je veux souligner, c’est que ces termes, “théorie du Sud”, “savoirs autochtones”, tentent de saisir les nombreuses et riches sources de connaissances sur le monde social qui ont été localisées dans le Sud global ou/et parmi les peuples autochtones. Il n’y a donc pas une seule théorie du Sud ou un seul savoir indigène. Ce ne sont pas des sources statiques et inchangées par le temps, mais comme tout autre système de connaissances, elles sont historiquement localisées et modifiables. Donc, je crois qu’en considérant ces domaines de connaissance comme des ressources légitimes et importantes pour le domaine, nous commençons à décentrer le Nord global dans le processus de production de la connaissance. Et je pense que cela a été assez bien fait par l’école décoloniale qui a émergé le plus en Amérique latine, qui a employé la “culture des colonisés” pour critiquer la colonisation du savoir, si vous voulez.

Will Brehm 31:15
Donc, vous croyez que ce genre d’approche pourrait aider l’éducation comparée en tant que domaine ? A embrasser le postcolonialisme et peut-être à rendre le savoir plus diversifié et plus ouvert et à avoir de nouvelles idées ?

Arathi Sriprakash 31:37
Oui, d’accord, donc je pense qu’il y a quelques choses que cela pourrait faire. Premièrement, l’utilisation de ce cadre théorique non dominant – les théories du Sud, les savoirs indigènes, etc. – peut permettre de saper les relations de pouvoir inégales qui naturalisent la division intellectuelle du travail dans ce domaine, l’idée dont nous avons parlé, selon laquelle les universitaires occidentaux sont des “experts”, que l’expertise se situe en quelque sorte en Occident et peut être appliquée au Sud global. En ce sens, cela interrompt en quelque sorte la prise en compte de l’expertise occidentale dans les travaux sur l’éducation comparée. Deuxièmement, je crois que ces connaissances aident à provincialiser ce qui est autrement considéré comme une épistémologie universaliste, l’idée que la théorie occidentale est universellement applicable. Eh bien, je crois que c’est une idée qui est ébranlée, et je pense qu’elle reconnaît qu’il y a différentes façons d’aborder les problèmes sociaux complexes du monde. Et enfin, je crois que la reconnaissance de la théorie du Sud et des savoirs autochtones réévalue les connaissances qui ont été soumises par les relations de pouvoir coloniales à différentes périodes et à différents moments. Ainsi, qu’il s’agisse du colonialisme, des relations du néocolonialisme et de ce que nous voyons dans le contexte contemporain de la gouvernance néolibérale qui réduit certaines formes particulières de savoir. Je pense qu’il s’agit de cette tâche difficile de contrer ce que Gayatri Spivak appelle la “violence épistémique”, dans laquelle la connaissance et la compréhension de la majorité du Sud sont rejetées, et le Sud continue à être positionné comme “l’autre” colonial. Il s’agit donc vraiment de perturber cette hiérarchie du Sud en tant qu'”autre”, si vous voulez. Ce que nous demandons ici, c’est une conversation permanente sur la manière dont le terrain peut reconnaître ses enchevêtrements coloniaux et travailler à ce type d’engagement postcolonial.

Will Brehm 33:56
Eh bien, cela paraît être une direction future très excitante pour notre domaine, alors Arathi Sriprakash vous remercie beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd.

Arathi Sriprakash 34:06
Merci beaucoup, Will.

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What is the connection between education and the economy? For many neoclassical economists, the connection is found in Human Capital theory.

My guest today, Professor Steve Klees, thinks human capital theory and rates of return analyses are very problematic.

In our conversation, Steve talks about his new article, “Human Capital and Rates of Return: Brilliant Ideas or ideological dead ends?”, which can be found in the latest issue of the Comparative Education Review. He takes us through human capital theory, its internal logical fallacies, and proposes a set of alternatives.

Steve Klees is a professor of International Education Policy in the College of Education, University of Maryland.

Citation: Klees, Steve, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 54, podcast audio, December 5, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/steveklees/

Will Brehm  1:45
Steve Klees, welcome to FreshEd.,

Steve Klees  1:52
I’m very glad to be here. Thank you for having me.

Will Brehm  1:55
You are an economist by training. But you have spent most of your career in the comparative and international education field. How do economists typically think about, or look at education?

Steve Klees  2:12
That’s a huge question, but the answer really depends on what kind of economist you’re talking about; they’re different schools of thought. But the the main dominant school of thought is called neoclassical economics. And neoclassical economics is really about competitive capitalist market systems. And within that education is a very important piece of understanding education, economics and development. In particular, neoclassical economists have developed something they call “human capital theory” that is a framework for understanding education’s role in the economy and in society.

Will Brehm  3:10
And how is human capital theory measured? How do economists see human capital?

Steve Klees  3:22
Well, human capital is a latecomer to economics, to neoclassical economics. Neoclassical economics goes back to Adam Smith, and the Wealth of Nations in the 1700s and the term “neoclassical” actually was coined at the end of the 1800s, and it’s about how a competitive market system operates. Human capital theory wasn’t developed till the late 1950s, early 1960s. Prior to human capital theory, economists understood the economy in terms of supply and demand, you’d always see economists talking about supply and demand – of small companies, small firms, small households competing with each other – and trying to understand how that competition worked, what you got out of it, how a market system worked.

Prior to human capital theory, economists had a lot of difficulty understanding labor and work. Labor prior to human capital theory was an anomaly. It wasn’t something you could talk about in terms of supply and demand. The economists in those days, in the 50s, look more like sociologists; it was a whole field of labor economics where they studied real world labor, they studied strikes, they studied unions, they studied how large firms operated. But education didn’t really fit into that structure at all – that way of thinking. And there were odd people out in neoclassical economics because they were more like sociologists, and they weren’t talking about competitive market structures and supply and demand, and human capital changed all that

Will Brehm  5:28
How so?

Steve Klees  5:29
Well, it really made economists able to talk and think about education and labor. Labor, especially, as a commodity like any other commodity that’s bought and sold on a marketplace, that has a price, that’s determined by supply and demand in the marketplace. Human Capital theory developed because it was explaining puzzles. People were trying to understand how economies grew. And they understood that there were more workers, and there was more capital investment, but they didn’t really have any idea about quality of work. And the whole idea of human capital, was it explained better, to neoclassical economists anyway, why some countries grew faster versus slower. They called it a revolution in thought, and the idea behind it was essentially simple – that education wasn’t just a consumer good, it was an investment. It was an investment in individuals, and it was an investment by society and societal development.

Will Brehm  6:48
So in a sense, it would be that if an individual were to receive education, or more education than another, they or he or she would be more productive in an economy, and maybe measured through income? Is this the way the neoclassical economists were seeing this?

Steve Klees  7:12
Yes. They looked at two outcomes of education in particular They looked at earnings, and they weren’t interested in private benefits as much; earnings were a benefit to you, income is a benefit to you. But they were interested in, within their framework earnings as a proxy for people’s productivity, like you said. And so, they were trying to get a handle on education’s connection to individual productivity. And secondly, education’s direct influence on economic growth, its effect on gross national product. So you saw starting in the 60s, lots of studies of the “rate of return”, they called it, the return on investment. So education in terms of earnings as a proxy for productivity, and in terms of economic growth measured by gross national product.

Will Brehm  8:15
So based on the rate of return methodology is is some education better than other education for foreign economy or for foreign individuals’ productivity?

Steve Klees  8:27
Yes. I should explain a little bit about rates of return. Rates of return are a measure of benefits and costs. In neoclassical economics, the private sector is motivated by profit. Profit is a signal that this endeavor is valuable. Adam Smith talked about the invisible hand of supply and demand working in the public interest. That’s the profits supposedly representing where peoples’ benefits exceed their costs; where the outcome of whatever you’re making, tables or software or whatever, the benefits exceed the costs. And so economists were looking for something as analogous to that in the public sector. So the idea was to explicitly study the benefits and costs of public sector activities, whatever field, education, health care, environment, transportation, and rate of return is a summary measure, after you figure out what are all the benefits to an education investment, what are all the costs of that investment, and it’s a summary measure to try and get at  – gosh, you know, you’re making 20% on your investment, the benefits exceed costs by 20%. And so that’s applied to lots of different types of educational activities, and other sector activities, to study the returns to education, of various types of vocational education versus academic education; of higher different levels of education, higher education versus early childhood, or primary education; different programs of education. Anything where you can find reasonable monetary measures of outcomes. Sometimes you can’t do that, you’re just looking at test score differences between different programs. And then economists do a more limited array of what they call “cost effectiveness” analysis. But mostly economists really like to go after cost-benefit analysis, because that gives them a metric that they can compare with returns in the private sector: Is this a better investment to take your money out of the private sector, tax it and put in an education or health care or environmental protection?

Will Brehm  11:13
This sort of thinking of cost-benefit analysis of education to an economy, do you see this is problematic in anyway?

Steve Klees  11:24
Yes, the paper you mentioned that I did, and actually much of my work over the last – I hesitate to say it – 40 years (I’ve been working in this field for a while) has been with the problems of neoclassical economics, generally. And more specifically, with the internal dynamic, the internal problems with that field that gives you measures like benefit-cost studies of rates of return. My work has been recently basically saying that even not taking in a critical outside neoclassical economics look, which we can talk about in a little bit, of political economy perspective, for example. But even if you take the neoclassical economics perspective, there are so many problems within that framework, that for me, the benefit-cost analysis/rate of return type measures just fall apart; that they become almost meaningless.

Will Brehm  12:41
How, so? Let’s dig into it, human capital theory, rates of return analyses. If you’re saying that there are problems of the internal logic of neoclassical economics for human capital theory, and for rates of return analysis, can you can you dig more into that? Like how, so? What are some examples of this?

Steve Klees  13:05
I don’t know whether to start with the details or the broader picture. Let me just start with the broader picture, because I think, then the problems with the details become clearer. And the broader picture really revolves around one central idea of neoclassical economics, and that’s the idea of economic efficiency or societal efficiency. They sometimes called it Pareto efficiency after an Italian economist a century ago called Pareto, and it’s a complex idea that I find completely unsound and unreal. And I’ll try and explain the idea briefly, explain why I think it’s unsound, and then give you how it manifests itself in this cost-benefit/rate of return type studies. So efficiency is something, you know, it’s a common sense concept. So to us, people talk about efficiency of this or that; it’s an engineering concept, it’s a physics concept of, you know, you can do more with less somehow. But in education, you can talk about it sensibly, right? Limited ideas of efficiency, like you can talk about an educational system as inefficient because it has a lot of dropouts, or a lot of people repeating grades, or a lot of people who aren’t learning much. So there’s a common sense idea of efficiency that makes sense to all of us. And I have no objections to that. It’s the economist concept of efficiency that’s problematic. And that’s not about an individual sector or individual project, as much as it’s the overall society is deemed economically efficient if it operates according to the assumptions of a very highly competitive market framework that in abstract neoclassical economics discussion is called “perfect competition”. Perfect competition is a competitive system that is so highly competitive that you’ve got many buyers and many sellers of identical products: that nobody’s big, nobody can influence prices, they’re all taking prices in the market, they’re all small potatoes. Consumers and producers are the two major motivators and movers of the economy. Consumers are just out there maximizing their happiness, and producers are just out there maximizing their profits. And if everything functions according to, and information is perfect, you know everything about everything. If you operate according to these simple assumptions, the whole economy is deemed efficient. And what they mean by that is that somehow, not only is there no waste, you’re you’re doing everything as cheaply as you possibly can. But you’ve got the right balance of everything, the correct balance of everything. So you’re producing the right amount of chairs and tables, and movies and hamburgers, and software. There’s something called “correct balance”. And that’s what’s efficient in this. And it’s completely separable from their other major concept, which is equity or fairness or the distribution of these things. So the distribution is sort of irrelevant to efficiency. You can have an efficient society in which half the people in the world are starving. That’s that can be efficient, because efficiency is just about those people who have effective demand, meaning they have money. And they can wave that money in the marketplace and demand goods and services. And so efficiency is really to economists about forgetting equity, forgetting distribution. Are we producing as much as possible with the inputs of land/labor/capital/technology that we have? In the theory, and in practice, this is just simply absurd.

There’s actually in theory neoclassical economists have something called “second best theory”. And second best theory says that if you don’t live in the first best world of perfect competition with all those tight assumptions – unreal, impossible assumptions – but let’s say have one monopoly in one sector in which everything else is highly competitive, second best says in the second best world with just one imperfection, you have no idea if the economy’s efficient at all, there’s no idea if it’s close to efficient at all. Because this framework is so tight that you only get this overall efficiency of the correct balance of things if prices are the accurate signal sending benefit and costs signals to producers that act in the public interest. With one price off, all of the prices are affected. So in practice, efficiency demands, for example, that you have the correct balance, the correct inputs balance of producing yachts for rich people and rice and beans for poor people. Well, that’s just a distributional issue to me. That’s an equity issue to me. There’s no right balance of yachts and rice and beans; there’s no right balance of computer software, higher education, early childhood education, nutritional programs, roads building. There’s no correct balance of that. And in practice, there’s just no vantage point in the sky. That’s what this efficiency idea is. Where you could separate what we produce from who gets it. They’re all integrally tied in practice. And this is what in practice they’re trying to do with cost-benefit analysis of rate of return: get an idea of whether something in particular is efficient or not.

Will Brehm  20:06
Just hearing that, it just makes me think that the theory of the world in neoclassical economics doesn’t match the reality that I live in. I mean, certainly people do not have perfect information when it comes to to buying anything. But at the same time, I also think that this separation of equity and distribution from efficiency seems to have actually happened. The world I see today, there seems to be a huge gap between the rich and the poor, that those eating rice and beans and those on their yachts.

Steve Klees  20:48
Yes, absolutely. The real world today is very problematic in terms of distribution, as we all know. In terms of equity.

Will Brehm  21:04
How is this embodied in rates of return?

Steve Klees  21:08
The whole efficiency framework is translated into guidelines for the public sector through cost-benefit analysis. And not costs and benefits to private individuals they’re after, they’re after costs and benefits to society as a whole. Because they want to correct the market, to account for all the costs and benefits to society as a whole. And so if you’re thinking about education, you think about the benefits of education. They buy benefits in terms of earnings to an individual. That’s a benefit to society if earnings reflect productivity. That’s problematic because earnings are a price, and prices are distorted in real world economies. So there’s no reason to believe that earnings reflect productivity at all. Earnings are determined by market power, by the vagaries of who’s got skills and who doesn’t have skills, on where firms do their business. So the idea of earnings as a proxy for productivity is a problem.

A second problem is that even if you wanted earnings as a proxy for productivity, that’s just one individual benefit. That is a social benefit, because it measures productivity, but there are what they call externalities. There are benefits to other people who were not included in the market transaction, you decide how much education you’re getting, some supplier gives it to you, a public school or private school, a training program, the benefits to education go way beyond you. And those are not taken into account in the market. So when there are benefits beyond the individual, they’re called externalities, because the market doesn’t take them into account. And therefore, the market is making inefficient decisions, because it’s not counting all the benefits. So in education, you can think of lots of benefits that aren’t just to you, your education benefits other people through your coworker productivity, through your family, through household health decisions, through helping your children, through lowering crime rates, through lowering welfare rates. It’s got lots of these external effects. And the second problem with rates of return is measuring those all are very problematic.

And the third problem with rates of return is that even if we were trusting earnings as a good measure, it’s very hard, I would say impossible, to figure out the effect of education on earnings. This goes to our problems, not neoclassical economics, but our problems with research methods generally. Separating our causes from effect, impact evaluation is extremely difficult to the point where I think it can’t be done quantitatively. If, for example, you took 1000 people and you ask them what’s their income, and then you try to figure out what are the dozens of factors that make those incomes different. And then you’ve actually tried to build a mathematical model that would separate those dozens of factors, so that you could say, “Well, their income went up, because they were a union this much, because they had another year of education this much, because they were in a high demand field this much, because they were healthy that much.” I mean, it boggles the mind. I’ve done another paper on the economist statistical procedure called regression analysis that tries to do that – it tries to take the dozens of factors affecting some outcome and separate them out. And my view is that we just can’t do that. So that even the minimal idea of looking at the impact of education on individual earnings is problematic. Taking them all together, I find rates of return and cost-benefit analysis, generally not a good basis for decision-making.

Will Brehm  25:48
But yet, it has been. These methods and this particular theory have been dominant and have been used to make decisions in education systems, among other sectors. So what’s the scholarly track record of those using rates of return and human capital theory? All of the critiques that you put forward seem very plausible to me, but yet rates of return and human capital theory has had quite the long longevity in academic research.

Steve Klees  26:23
Yes, it’s certainly has. And just two things to say in response to that. One is you asked about their track record, and in terms of track record, there’s no testing this. This isn’t something you can predict and then find out was a true. Because, I say the rate of return to expanding higher education is 12% in your country at this time. Is that a good investment, if you decide 12% is a good return, and you put your money in. But there’s no validation of whether you got 12% or not, so there’s no track record in terms of these predictions. They’re making predictions now, for example, about education and GNP. And I just find those scary and absurd. There’s some very interesting economists, very competent economists doing this. Eric Hanushek and [Ludger] Woessmann, and they tried to do regression analysis to say if your PISA scores go up (the PISA being that international test that people take as a proxy for cognitive achievement), how much will your GNP go up? And they come to these conclusions like a 10% increase in cognitive skills gives you a 2% boost on GDP and if everybody moved a standard deviation on PISA, your GNP would grow seven times in the next 30 years. I mean, this is carrying this framework to an absurdity to me. They can’t separate out the impact of education from the dozens and dozens of other factors that influence GDP or GNP, and then to take that out as its influence now and project that 30 or 40 years in the future is just the height of irrational use of a framework of this kind. And I understand why they do it. These are reasonable people, you want good information for decision-making, and to economists, this idea of efficiency, separable from equity is the touchstone.

But the real question for me is the second question you asked: basically, why has this framework been dominant for so long? And neoclassical economists would say at the very simple answer – it’s because of its explanatory power. It explains differences in investments in health and differences in individual behavior. And it’s true, I mean, in differences in individual behavior, this is useful framework because your decisions are affected by the returns to you, and you make decisions about your educational investment versus your investment in health care, versus your decision to go to a movie or your decision to buy a house, about returns to you. And that’s fine. So there is some use for this framework in terms of understanding people’s motivations. But in terms of societal’s efficiency and investment preferences, this framework is bankrupt and it’s empty. So to me, and to many critics, it’s not the dominant framework because of its explanatory power, it’s the dominant framework because it fits. Human capital theory is embedded in neoclassical economics, and that’s embedded in capital market – it fits with a capitalist market economy. The critics would argue the reason there’s so much attention to efficiency and rates of return and technical views of whether you invest in this thing, or that and how much do you do is because it makes sense in terms of efficiency. If you lose that efficiency framework, you realize that this is just a way to support a market system. This is neoclassical economics is an ideological justification for capitalist market systems to be efficient. To act in everybody’s interests aside from equity. If you question that, then you can see neoclassical economics generally, and human capital theory, as basically an ideological framework and ideological bulwark.

The whole skills discourse today comes from human capital theory and a skills discourse seems like common sense. It says if people only had better skills, they would be better off, and their countries and societies would be better off. That skills discourse based as it is on human capital theory and neoclassical economics is very problematic. People today have talked about the “triple economic challenge” that we face, and they talk about the three things: job creation; poverty elimination; and inequality reduction. Human capital theory and neoclassical economics generally gives one simplistic answer to all three challenges: lack of skills or equivalently, the mismatch between what education is producing and what businesses in the economy need. For the critics, lack of skills is not why people are poor, are not why jobs are scarce, and not why societies are so unequal. The culprit for the critics is that the very structure of the world system in which we are living, capitalism most particularly, but patriarchy, racism and other structures. Those very structures are problematic. While capitalism has increased our ability to produce material goods tremendously, so it looks very productive in that way, in another sense, it’s one of the most inefficient and destructive structures that you can imagine. Why? Because almost half the world – the World Bank says 3 billion people – are relegated to the margins of society. Capitalism has not created jobs for them, livelihoods for them. For the vast majority of our global population, if capitalism was an efficient system, we would be taking advantage of the skills and develop the skills of the 7 billion people on the planet and produced a lot more. Capitalism in its 200, 300 years hasn’t done that, and isn’t doing that. You know, some people talk about we live in a meritocracy. What nonsense! These 3 billion people are relegated to the margins of society because they’re not meritorious? It’s not that at all. It’s poverty, unemployment and inequality, not to mention environmental destruction and other problems, are not failures of capitalism, as they’re sometimes seen, but the logical outcome of its inherent structure. So that that in many ways, contrary to prevailing economic views, human capital has been a very destructive discourse. This is contrary to what the majority of economists think as it’s been brilliant, but it’s been a destructive discourse, because it’s really blamed individuals for their lack of skills, their lack of investment in the right skills, the lack of good choices. And so instead of understanding problematic structures that we need to do something about, we’ve been directing attention towards the supply of individuals and how to fix that. And we’ve been fixing it for decades. And the payoff with poor countries is abysmal. And the payoff even within rich countries is abysmal. The inequalities within the US, the level of hunger in the United States, the level of marginalization, the level of poor dead end jobs, the level of insecurity, the level of environmental destruction, this is not an efficient system.

Will Brehm  36:04
Turning to alternatives. I mean, is it even possible, or can we even have an education system in a capitalist economy without human capital theory? It almost seems like many of these problems that we see in education in terms of equity that you were just mentioning stem from the capitalist economic systems that that are pervasive in most countries. So how can we envision and create education systems in alternative ways that account for equity while still being in capitalist economies?

Steve Klees  36:48
Yes. All you’re asking today’s tough questions.

Will Brehm  36:55
I apologize.

Steve Klees  36:57
That’s okay. Let me preface my response to education with a little bit on how these alternatives are viewed to the very structures in which we live. Because education can only be successful if it’s a part of a challenge to those structures in fundamental ways. And there’s a lot of alternatives. Everything is contested terrain in this world; everything is up for grabs, up for debates with different views. So I view the alternative to neoclassical economics as what I call “political economy”. Political economy is a contested term and people on the right use it as well as people on the left. I’m using it more from the left of center point of view of critics of capitalism, critics of other world system structures. And for me, a political economy perspective today raises questions about the structures of the world system in which we live.

It’s the intersection of feminist perspectives, of post- perspectives, postcolonial, post structural, neo-Marxist perspectives, queer theories about heterosexism in society, disability theories, critical race theories. Not that these theories are identical, not that these approaches are identical, but all of them see marginalization as central, and all of them see marginalization not as failures of the world system -they’re failures for sure – but more is a logical consequence of the structures of patriarchy and racism and capitalism in which we live. And while there’s agreement that reproduction is pervasive, that is this marginalization is not an aberration, systems are out there that reproduce and legitimate marginalization and inequality. And the education system is part of that, as are all of the systems in which we live.

But the critics, the political economists, as I label them agree that while reproduction is pervasive, there are lots of spaces for progressive action. Through exercising individual and collective agency. You have the ability, and especially collectively, we have the ability to challenge these structures. And collective challenge is perhaps the watchword of political economists. Social movements like the women’s movement, like the civil rights movement. These are worldwide now. Like the landless movement in Brazil and now other countries. The poorest people in the world are organized and having an influence on policy. The untouchable movement in India, not anti-globalization, but the alter-globalization movement and in human rights movements and the children rights movement. And so there’s lots of examples of contestation at the systemic level and in education.

There’s lots of examples in every education in every city, in every country, and in every school system of what political economists call more progressive approaches to education. The legacy of people at Paolo Freire, the famous Brazilian educator who founded a field that we call today “critical pedagogy”. Critical pedagogy is a political economy approach to education, arguing that while reproduction is pervasive in schools, there’s lots of ways to challenge that. And so people, individual teachers challenge that all the time. They close their doors to their classroom, they use different learning materials, they teach their students differently about fairness, about equity, about the structures in which they live, they raise questions on that. And it’s not just individual teachers, there are systems of it. In Brazil, the landless movement which I just mentioned, have their own schools that are Freirean, that are participatory, that are so different from the technicist technical approach to education that we have today throughout the world. In Brazil, something called the citizen school movement that, again, is very participatory, that involves the community. We say “community involvement” all the time, but this is serious community involvement. This is serious democracy for students, for teachers, for administrators, participating and directing curriculum, directing grading, making decisions at a local level together, and sometimes very explicitly challenging the types of feeding education into work and into the labor market that dominates so strongly. On the alternative, for most political economists, when you reject the sort of functionalist view of sociologists, of society, of efficiency of markets, and say, “This is not something in which everybody is benefiting, there’s conflict here, there’s different interests, and the only way that’s going to change is through struggle, through individual and collective struggle.”

What that means in terms of alternative system-wide is difficult to say. At a minimum, where we’re not a neoliberal form of capitalism. Capitalism in the 60s, and 70s was a much more liberal capitalism in which government intervention was recognized as necessary to correct the ills that were essentially built into the structure of capitalism. Neoliberalism starting in the 80s with Reagan and Thatcher and Kohl in Germany said: Government is the problem, the market is the solution. We need to get away from that. We need to restore the legitimacy of government action, we’ve got the sustainable development goals of the United Nations on the table. Goals that are very ambitious about improving the world, we’re not going to get there under neoliberal capitalism. We’re not going to get there when we think it’s illegitimate for government to direct action. We’re not going to get there if everything is a public-private partnership and depends on corporate profitability in order to direct that system.

And maybe we have to move beyond capitalism. At the local level there’s lots of alternatives. And  broadly speaking, it’s the subject to a whole another conversation. And I have a paper coming out next year on capitalism in education that talks about alternatives, so maybe we’ll do another podcast there. But the broad answer is, you need to build towards a more participatory democracy and more towards a workplace democracy. The problem with capitalism is that our workplace is authoritarian. We teach democracy in the political sphere; we don’t have a lot of that at a very participatory level either. But we need democracy in the workplace as well.

Will Brehm  45:28
It seems like a lot of what you’re saying is that we have to think beyond the connection of education as being for the development of human capital, and having a different value of education. And there can be many it sounds like, and many different ways of achieving those values or putting those values into action. But it seems like that’s the first step: decoupling, or de-linking the connection between education and human capital development.

Steve Klees  46:05
No, I would agree. And to be fair to human capital theorists, some of them recognize that broad connection. It’s got narrowed in practice so much that all we’re looking at as the connection to education to the workplace. But citizenship can be subsumed in that human capital framework. The problem is its basis in efficiency. You want to talk about the many things education does, the many more things we want it to do. We don’t want to just make education about workplace. We don’t want to make education just about literacy and numeracy. We need education for peacebuilding, for people to not be aggressive, for people to be fair with each other, for people to have resilience, and people to be creative. So there’s lots of purposes of education, and human capital theory and practices just narrow the field too much. And more broadly speaking about this political economy framework versus a more mainstream dominant human capital neoclassical framework, the political economy framework doesn’t offer the technical policy guidance that rates of return give. For neoclassical economists, policies are a dime a dozen. You just do your cost-benefit analysis and this year, vocational education is better than academic education, higher education is better than primary education.

If you reject that framework, what you have is human capital theory, neoclassical economics – our ideologies masking as science. It’s absurd to think that there’s some way to assess technically, the tradeoff between higher education and primary education, between education and health and the environment. All we have is a messy, participatory democratic struggle of individuals and groups with some common interests and some different interests. And for me, what we have to do is find ways to facilitate that struggle and in doing so, economics and the dominant scientific perspective says you need to stay neutral and objective. For me, I’ve learned that you always take sides. That when I write a paper, when I teach a class, when I’m doing research, when I engage in policy, when I engage in my life, I always have to take a side. And if you don’t think you’re taking a side, you are because this is a struggle. This is contestation. And I guess my concluding point is that for me, this is what I said in the paper you cited, neoclassical economics and human capital theory are ideological dead ends. But fortunately for all of us, there are lots of alternatives.

Will Brehm  49:29
Well, Steve, Klees, you gave us a lot to think about in this conversation. Thank you so much for joining FreshEd, and you’re definitely welcome back when that new paper comes out on capitalism in education.

Steve Klees  49:41
Thank you very much for having me.

Want to help translate this show? Please contact info@freshedpodcast.com
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How can we think about inequality and education? My guest today, Mario Novelli, dives into the subject by looking at the role of schools in the production of inequality.

Since 2010, Mario has researched issues related to the role of education in peace building processes, working with UNICEF on a series of projects.

In our conversation, Mario not only details how modernity, capitalism, and colonialism combine to create systems of inequality inside school systems but also publicly struggles with his role in the production of inequality through his work in international educational development.

Mario Novelli is Professor of the Political Economy of Education and Director of the Centre for International Education (CIE) at the University of Sussex. His latest article discussed in this podcast can be found in the most recent issue of the British Journal of the Sociology of Education.

Citation: Novelli, Mario, Interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 41, September 12, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/marionovelli/

Will Brehm:  1:58
Mario Novelli, welcome to Fresh Ed.

Mario Novelli:  2:01
Thanks very much for having me.

Will Brehm:  2:03
The British Journal of Sociology of Education has put out a special issue on the work of the French economist Thomas Piketty, who wrote a pretty famous book in 2013 called Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. And you have a piece in this special issue. What is Piketty’s main argument in Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century? And why does it warrant a whole issue of an education journal?

Mario Novelli:  2:33
Okay, well, Piketty’s book is a big one. And it really focuses around the rise of inequality over the last 200, 220 years.

And his central argument is that, unlike orthodox economic belief that as capitalism has developed, and as nations develop, inequality reduces. In fact, what he highlights is that, apart from a brief interlude between the first and second world war, inequality has tended to increase and what that leads into develop is a kind of the assertion of an economic law, which is that private wealth, inherited wealth increases faster than productive investment or economic growth.

And that has a tendency to increase inequality in the long run. And I think that for education, there are lots of implications, there are lots of implications around the role of education in the reproduction of inequality, the role of education in potentially redressing inequality and being in a sense an equalizing factor in society. So there are many dimensions that we thought in the special issue we might be able to explore. And as you know, my particular work focuses on the relationship between education and conflict. So I went a bit more deeply into that area.

Will Brehm:  4:11
And we will touch on that in a second. But first, just generally speaking, in your opinion, does Piketty have any weaknesses in his argument that you were able to uncover during your research?

Mario Novelli:  4:28
I mean, I think there are a lot of weaknesses, I would like to say that I think it’s a great book, I think it’s a really important book. And I think that in an accessible way, despite the length of the book, and he puts on the table, some really important ideas around issues of inequality, which for many years, has not been a problem for orthodox economists, inequality seems to be something that should be embraced as a natural part of economic development.

In terms of challenges, I think the first one is that Piketty is an economist. And although he’s much more open than neoclassical economists, his focus is firmly on the economic domain and economic inequality, which, for me, is important, but insufficient. I think, if we look at the history of popular movements, who have struggled against the inequality over the last 70 years, economic inequality is only one domain of confrontation, it’s a key domain. But nevertheless, it’s just one site of contestation, I think, what we need to explore are other modes of inequality alongside economic inequality, cultural, political, national, and their effects on genders, identities, political rights, human rights, etc. So I think, you know, the big area is the kind of narrow economism within which we approach inequality. So I think there are lots of more depth different dimensions to focus on.
The second thing, and I think this is linked to his empiricism, the focus on numbers on evidence that is attainable is that I don’t think that everything that is important can necessarily be measured, and not everything that’s measured is necessarily important. And I think that’s why theory matters, because theory sometimes helps us to get under the surface of things that we can’t see unequal structures, social classes, racism, things like that, that exists, but are not necessarily visible in, you know, the classic, countable ways of empiricism.
And I think, then, the third difficulty in Piketty’s work, or the third omission, at least for me, particularly, is his failure to explore the issue of imperialism, the role of the north and the south, slavery, the history of colonialism in the history of capitalist development. It’s as if capitalist development unfolded through economic laws. But actually, what we know is that capitalism has also unfolded through conquest, colonialism, etc.

Will Brehm:  7:03
It sounds like he misses some of the, my guess, more complex issues of inequality as a social and cultural phenomenon. But how does Piketty or does Piketty bring up the issue of education in his work?

Mario Novelli:  8:07
Well, I guess as an economist, it’s not surprising that Piketty sees education as a kind of an engine of growth. And potentially, I think, an engine of equity and the reduction of inequality. And, you know, that’s linked to his understanding of human capital. And the idea that we invest in education in order to improve both our own personal economic wealth, but also the wealth of the nation. Though, of course, this is challenged, the relevance of human capital theory is challenged by himself in the book, because essentially, what he’s arguing is that inherited capital, debt capital is more productive than economic growth and productive capital. So investing in education may not bring you the returns that it might want have brought. So even for the human capital theory, there is a problem at the moment in terms of the nature of capitalist development. So that’s really where his focuses on the returns of education in terms of economic development and economic growth.

Will Brehm:  9:33
In your opinion, what is the relationship between education and capitalism if it’s not human capital?

Mario Novelli:  9:42
Okay, well, I think human capital is part of the story. Let’s be clear about that. I’m not saying that human capital is not important. But I think that if we look at the relationship between education and capitalism, it’s much more complex. I guess, I would start with Roger Dale’s work of the 1970s Education and the Capitalist State, where you need to think about education’s relationship to accumulation ie human capital, social cohesion – the role of education systems in making different population groups get on or not, and also in legitimation, the role of education in making students accept the situation that they’re in, the state of affairs that exists in society. So in a sense, it has a legitimating effect. It has a social cohesion affect, it also has an accumulation effect. And as Roger always pointed out, these three dimensions are not necessarily compatible. So if you focus on accumulation, you may undermine social cohesion, through selectivity etc.

And you may undermine accumulation and social cohesion by focusing too much on the legitimation. So there are range of contradictions in that. So that’s the first area that I think is important to return to. And I think the second area which is a more modern phenomenon is that education is not just human capital, in the terms of self-investment, and the production or the role of education in economic growth.

Education has emerged as an important commodity in the late 20th century, early 21st century whereby it’s one of the fastest growing industries and we can see that the expansion of universities and international chains of schools, so education itself is a factor in economic exchange now and I think that needs to be explored in much more detail and is completely avoided in Piketty’s work, as Susan Robertson’s article in the same special issue focuses on.

The third area, and I think this is, again, really important is the area of inequalities, the role of education in reproducing inequalities. And I’m not just thinking about class and gender, which is a lot of the focus but also about the way education systems reproduce north south inequality, you know.

How is it that Sub Saharan Africa, for example, remains marginalized in terms of the international economy. And I would say that the role of education, education actors, the International architecture of education, delivery, and policy also plays its role in the reproduction of those inequalities. So there are different dimensions. So in a sense, Piketty importantly looks at one area, but I think that if you’re going to take education seriously, you have to look at it much more broadly.

Will Brehm:  13:21
I think it would be very interesting for listeners to hear more about how education can contribute to inequality because I think on the surface that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, because they would see it as education is the way to achieve equality and to achieve progress.

Mario Novelli:  13:47
Yeah, that’s right. Well, I guess you know, the simplest terms, particularly if you have a Western if we’re thinking about a Western audience, is the way that education privileges some actors and undermines others, the inequality in the provision of education in my own country, in the UK, depending on your postcode, the qualities of schools are often highly differential.

The differentiation in your parents’ salary may determine what type of school you go to whether you go to a private school. So education, in that sense, acts as a filter for social class, whether you can afford a house in a nice area, a wealthy area where there are good schools, or you live in a poor area. So those dimensions, I think, reproduced himself around the world in a sense that education is often highly stratified. But there are also other dimensions of the way education reproduces inequality in terms of, for example, language.

The language issue is a big one whose language gets taught in countries and whose languages get marginalized and what is the effect of that on those that speak that marginalized language? How do they perform in schools? Do they perform less well? If so, what’s the effect of that in the long term? And then in terms of even the content, the curriculum content of schooling, let’s think about you are from a minority community in a particular country, and you’re learning about the heroes of that nation, and none of your communities are ever represented. They’re always representations from other communities, how does that make you feel? What does it lead to? So there’s a lot of ways that education can reproduce alienation. And of course, vice versa, a highly equitable, inclusive open education system may be able to smooth over some of those inequalities that are inherited through generation.

Will Brehm:  16:17
And is part of the inheriting through generations related to imperialism, as you said earlier?

Mario Novelli:  16:24
Yes, certainly, if you’re looking at, let’s take the exploration of the African curriculum, what we see is a legacy of colonial interventions into the national education system. So take a country like Kenya that inherited its education system, from years of colonial rule where there was a highly elitist education system where for the vast majority were excluded and the minority were selected to play roles in the civil service, a small elite, that model of education still carries on to reproduce a highly unequal class structure, often justified by education attainment, but actually pre-ordained through social class.

Will Brehm:  17:27
I’d like to shift gears here to look at some of your work in educational development, particularly in countries like South Sudan or Myanmar and some more of these conflict areas as you said earlier. What have you found how inequalities kind of manifest and function inside education in some of these conflict areas or countries that have experienced conflict?

Mario Novelli:  18:00
Right. Well, maybe I should take a step back. I think that development itself as a field is a highly contradictory field. On the one hand, international development has this idea within it of the rest catching up with the West. This idea that through the study of development, national ex-colonial states, postcolonial states will eventually catch up with the West. But at the same time, international development for other thinkers is a mechanism through which the chains of colonialism were the armies were replaced by new mechanisms, new chains, which with far less visible, not necessarily less powerful than the troops. And so I think that the field itself reproduces some of these dilemma wherever it goes in a sense, the question of, is international development, doing good?

And redressing some of these inequalities or actually, is it there to reproduce them in different modes in different ways. And I think that you see that all around, you know, you see, for example, in Sierra Leone, the role of the international peacekeeping community that came during the war, and after the war in the 1990s, massively increasing the cost of housing and accommodation in the central rise, forcing prices of food up as the international community intervenes in the conflict. And it’s those kinds of things, you know, some would say, the unintentional effects of intervention, which often reproduce or exacerbate inequalities and the same you can go for looking at international intervention in education systems, are they improving the system? Are they reducing inequalities? Or are they actually exacerbating those? And, you know, depending where you’re looking, you have different answers. I mean, Kenya, come back to Kenya, just because I’ve done work in there recently. And the British government DFID has been promoting low cost basic education for poor communities and private schooling for poor communities, which is it seems to be having a demonstrable negative effect on poor communities. And that’s being pushed by an international development agency in the name of doing good, but actually seems to be having devastating effects. So I think that when I teach students of international development, which I do every year, and I always kind of ask them at the beginning of the class, how they feel about entering the field of international development. And they always say, you know, we’re really pleased, we want to, you know, help in Africa, we want to help in Asia. And I say, well, I hope by the end of the course, that you feel a little bit ashamed as well. And that by the end of the course, you actually think that some of the things that have been done in the name of development are actually just as bad as some of the things that have been done in the name of war.

Will Brehm:  22:02
Is that how you feel?

Mario Novelli:  22:06
Ah yes, largely I mean, as I said, it’s a contradictory field. If I thought that it was only doing bad I wouldn’t remain inside the field. But there is a strong sense that like many other terrains, there is a battle going on, it’s the terrain of contestation, and you fight your battles inside that field, to push it in certain directions, and dependent on different social forces at different times, development moves in different directions, so take the 1980s and the global policy of structural adjustment that had an absolutely devastating effect on African and Latin American communities, massively increasing inequalities, and I don’t think anybody can say that that was a positive period.

But the reaction to that was a period of, let’s say, more social democratic approach, a range of different reforms, a range of different challenges to that model. Although I have to say that, you know, a lot of the remnants of that model still remain, particularly within some of the big institutions like the World Bank.

Will Brehm:  23:30
In your article, you say that you have to manage your existential angst when it comes to the contradictions of educational development. Do you have any tips for someone like myself, who does a little bit of work in international development as well and feel similar, conflicting kind of emotions working in that space?

Mario Novelli:  23:58
I think so. I mean, I am uncomfortable. And, you know, I’m happy to say that and I say it to everyone. But on the other hand, what I say to myself as well, in the field I work, which is on the relationship between education and conflict and violent conflict, if I didn’t engage with organizations and in the field, then I wouldn’t be able to make any commentary on it. So I kind of say that you have to, in a sense, get your hands dirty, in order to have some legitimacy in the debates that you’re entering into.

And so in a sense, I wouldn’t advocate for people not to engage, but they would engage cautiously. The second area, I think that’s important is to understand that institutions I’ve been working for UNICEF, I think, for the last seven years, more or less, most of my research time, which is about half of my time, my work time, for the last seven years, has been involved with UNICEF. And I think that what I’ve learned from that experience is that these institutions themselves are not homogenous, there are different actors, different processes going on. And in a sense, often what happens is, you get picked up by certain actors, they kind of know what they’re looking for, and pick people that think that they can deliver that. So in a sense, you get caught up in political battles that are going on in institutions, and you often get picked up and then dropped by these institutions. But I think that you can learn a lot. And I think the good thing about yourself, myself, if we’re academics, and not consultants, we’re not only as good as our last job, we have our own job to go back to, we can select, we can be a bit more selective about what we get involved in. And I think that, you know, the problem with full time consultants is that actually, they’re always looking for their next job. And so they’re always trying to please the people who are paying them. And I think that leads sometime to some complicity in the production of information and evidence. So I would say for people to engage when they engage, within a sense, real world research that they enter into that domain cautiously, and also recognize, you know, some of the constraints.

Will Brehm:  26:48
So part of this work that you’ve done kind of straddling both the researcher and the consultant practitioner in educational development is that you’ve ended up with your team, putting together a framework of trying to understand inequality and education in ways that are probably more robust and complex than those being put forward by others. Can you talk a little bit about your framework and the value that you think it has?

Mario Novelli:  27:22
Yeah, well, as you were saying, I’ve been leading or co-leading a Research Consortium between the University of Amsterdam and the University of Ulster, where we’ve been working in a range of different countries on the relationship between education and peace building. So when we came in, we had a lot of initial meetings around how would we conceptualize peace building in education, and then how would we apply that in the field to start analyzing different countries.

Now, that project began on the back of an earlier one that I did with Professor Alan Smith, between 2010 and 2012. And in that we looked at Lebanon, Nepal, and Sierra Leone, and explored the relationship between education and conflict. And through that analysis, we develop to critique of the international community’s approach to peace building. And the location of education there in which was essentially that the broad approach of the international community to peacebuilding was a kind of security first liberal peace approach. And I’ll just explain those very quickly. And essentially, the argument was that you need to have security before anything else can move forward. So you need to retrain the military, retrain the police, sort the prison system out and then the social development, education, health can come later. And this is also tied with an argument that there was a kind of process of the reconstruction of a conflict affected state that you need to have security, then democracy, then open the country to open the markets up, allow the economy to develop, and then eventually, the rest of this stuff will follow. And basically, our critique of that was that it produced a kind of negative piece, the violence stopped. But the reasons that underpin the violence often remained, and the things that underpinned that violence was often inequalities. So I remember that we went to rural villages in Sierra Leone and ask questions around, you know, 10 years after the peace process, what has peace brought? And often the response was very little. So communities largely saw little benefit from peace in terms of their material lives, their access to education, their access to water, etc. And what we argued was that that approach, while short termly successful in the long term was laying the seeds for another conflict, that they hadn’t addressed the reasons why the conflict broke out in the first place. And we see that reproduced in many parts of the world. So that’s our starting point to say that we need a more social peace building model and more health and education are important.

So from that, with the new research project that we’ve done over the last couple of years, we developed a kind of social justice plus reconciliation approach, which we called the four Rs.

We took the first three Rs from Nancy Fraser’s work on social justice: redistribution, recognition, and representation. So economic inequality, cultural inequality, and political inequality. And we also added the fourth R of reconciliation, which was basically that you needed to address the drivers of conflict, which were often economic inequality, political and cultural inequality. But after a period of war, you also need to bring communities together, you need to have process of reconciliation.

And in a sense, those are often in contradiction. On the one hand, if you want to address those inequalities, you have to upset people, you have to redress, redistribute, reorganize. If you try to reconcile people, you need to deal with the legacies of conflict, which means often bringing them together. So those four different Rs, those four different dimensions working together, provided us in a sense, with the kind of roadmap to explore different countries approaches to education, so allowed us to look at different dimensions of the education system, how much money is spent on the education system? Where does it go? How is it distributed? Who gets what, where? Why don’t others get more? It also allows us to look at recognition which cultures are rarified, which languages which histories which communities are marginalized. It allows us to ask about representation, political issues, who gets to make decisions about issues in the education system that affect them? Who are marginalized and excluded from those decisions? And then finally, what is the education system doing in terms of reconciliation in terms of bringing communities back together after war? Is the school an obstacle to that process of reconciliation or a facilitator for that? So we looked at those different dimensions, and then produced a range of Country Reports around that looking at different aspects of them. And, you know, all kind of heuristic approaches have their limitations. But I think that it’s had some important policy effects. It has been taken up by a range of different national governments, I’m thinking South Sudan and South Africa, in particular. So you know, I’m pretty pleased with that.

Will Brehm:  33:55
One of your critiques about Thomas Piketty earlier was that he focused on empiricism. And in a sense, he wasn’t taking a critical realist approach about trying to realize that there are, there’s a social ontology more than empiricism. So some things we can’t see that that are important, or structures that exist that determine behavior and action that can’t necessarily be seen. How does your framework include a critical realist perspective?

Mario Novelli:  34:34
Well, I mean, I think that that framework, the four R’s is only a beginning, in a sense that all it is this kind of coat hangers to hang different dimensions of injustices and inequalities on what matters then is how you theorize and understand the underpinnings of those inequalities. Yeah, how did they emerge? What are their drivers, and I think that’s why in the sociology paper that you talk about on Piketty, I’ve tried to talk about the interaction between capitalism, imperialism and modernity and the complex and into weaved ways that these three phenomena intersect to reproduce those inequalities.

Will Brehm:  35:29
Well, Mario Novelli, thank you so much for joining Fresh Ed. It was really wonderful to talk on so many different topics.

Mario Novelli:  35:35
Thank you very much for inviting me.

Will Brehm:  1:58
Mario Novelli,欢迎你做客FreshEd

Mario Novelli: 2:01

Will Brehm:  2:03
针对法国经济学家托马斯·皮凯蒂(Thomas Piketty)于2013年的著作《21世纪资本论》,《英国教育社会学杂志》出了一期特刊。作为特刊的撰稿人之一,可否总结一下皮凯蒂在《21世纪资本论》中的主要论点,以及它有何特殊之处会使得一本教育期刊专门出特辑讨论呢?

Mario Novelli:  2:33

Will Brehm:  4:11

Mario Novelli:  4:28




Will Brehm:  7:03

Mario Novelli:  8:07

Will Brehm:  9:33

Mario Novelli:  9:42
需要澄清的是,人力资本是一方面,我并不否认其重要性,但教育和资本主义之间的关系要复杂得多。首先,我想引用一下罗杰·戴尔(Roger Dale)的观点,他于上世纪70年代发表的《教育与资本主义国家》一文中反思了教育与资本积累的关系(即人力资本)、教育与社会凝聚力的关系(即教育系统能否起到使不同人群和谐相处的作用),以及教育与合法性的关系(即教育使学生接受他们所处地位与社会现状)。所以,从某种意义上说,教育具有正当合法、凝聚社会和积累资本的作用。罗杰一直表示这三点未必能兼得。比如,如果强调资本积累,那么社会凝聚力可能会因为择优性而受损。如果过分强调合法性,那么资本积累和社会凝聚力也会被削弱。这其中有很多重矛盾。这是我认为第一个值得回顾的重要观点。

第二点是一种比较新的现象,即在自我投资和生产方面,或者说教育在经济增产中的作用不仅是人力资本,而是成为一种重要的商品形式。自20世纪末至21世纪初,教育是发展最快的行业之一,大学和国际学校不断扩张。因此如今,教育本身也变成了经济交换的一种形式。这一点需要更加深入仔细的研究,但正如我们的特刊中苏珊·罗伯森(Susan Robertson)强调的,皮凯蒂的书里完全忽略这一点。


Will Brehm:  13:21

Mario Novelli:  13:47


Will Brehm:  16:17

Mario Novelli:  16:24

Will Brehm:  17:27

Mario Novelli:  18:00



Will Brehm:  22:02

Mario Novelli:  22:06

Will Brehm:  23:30

Mario Novelli:  23:58



Will Brehm:  26:48

Mario Novelli:  27:22





Will Brehm:  33:55

Mario Novelli:  34:34

Will Brehm: 35:29
Mario Novelli,很高兴能聊到这么多的话题,感谢你的分享!

Mario Novelli: 35:35

Have any useful resources related to this show? Please send them to info@freshedpodcast.com
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In a recent paper for the University of Johannesburg, Raewyn Connell shared some of her thinking on the decolonization of knowledge. In many ways she aimed to re-think the history of knowledge itself, moving away from the Northern bias and colonial structures in mainstream social science. She argues, “The relationship between knowledge produced in different parts of the world is not as simple as “Western” domination. Knowledge flows in multiple directions from the metropole to the periphery and from the periphery to the metropole.”

Raewyn is a Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney. She has been an advisor to United Nations initiatives on gender equality and peacemaking, and, in 2010, the Australian Sociological Association established the Raewyn Connell Prize for the best book in Australian sociology.

Citation: Connell, Raewyn, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 35, podcast audio, August 1, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/raewynconnell/

Will Brehm:  2:12
Raewyn Connell, welcome to Fresh Ed.

Raewyn Connell:  2:15
I am glad to be here.

Will Brehm:  2:17
In a recent paper for the University of Johannesburg, you shared some of your thinking on the decolonization of knowledge. Now for you to decolonize knowledge, it must be colonized in the first place. So how do you see knowledge is being colonized?

Raewyn Connell:  2:40
Well, that’s got a number of dimensions.

It is a very live issue in South Africa at the moment because there’s a Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town, but it’s also been an issue around the majority world, the postcolonial world, for generations, in fact. And it’s an issue, now, of course, because of what’s happened over the last four or 500 years as global empires have been created, and then a global economy with its center in the rich countries of the Global North. And parallel to that material economies, if you like, is an economy of knowledge in which information, concepts, ways of thought, methodologies, and so forth, all circulate, and are exchanged, and that has been very strongly shaped by the growth of Empire, and then the inequality as it is the neoliberal economy. And that’s what we’re referring to when we talk about the colonization of knowledge or the interconnection, if you like, between colonialism and the construction of knowledge. So we have now in the world an economy of knowledge of dominant knowledge formation in which the colonized world has been very important historically, but hasn’t controlled what’s going on.

And to the extent that intellectual workers in the global periphery have been able to participate in recent generations, they fundamentally had to do so in the terms that are laid down by knowledge institutions in the Global North, reflecting their point of view on the world and their historical experiences. So, when we talk about the decolonization of knowledge, we’re talking about the various ways in which that history and that current massive structure of inequalities is being addressed and contested and slowly in small steps gradually changed.

Will Brehm:  5:10
So, you say that empire and neoliberal economies are shaping this dominant knowledge that is colonizing knowledge around the world.

Raewyn Connell:  5:23
Absolutely. And that’s a very familiar point actually, in the history of science. So, if you read, you know, Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle,for instance, one of the most famous scientific documents ever written where the young Charles Darwin sailed around the world with his British Navy survey ship and collected specimens and did geological observations. He looked at the famous finches in the Galapagos Islands, looked at coral reefs, and out of that, over a long period of reflection and maturation but to very significant extent out of that experience, came modern biology, modern theories of evolution.

And you can tell that kind of story or you can see elements of that kind of story in the history of many other scientific fields, too. Astronomy, for instance, you know, half of the heavens, if you like, are visible from the southern hemisphere. The southern knowledge from the southern hemisphere has been quite important in particular fields of astronomy. In the social sciences too and this is in a way, the first way I came to understand these kinds of issues because I’m a sociologist. You look at the history of sociology, we’re given various myths about how it was all about modernization in Europe and Weber and Marx and so forth. But actually if you look back in the very early days of sociology, it was very largely about knowledge from the colonized world which was built into a 19th century narrative of progress and what I call the image or a model of global difference between the primitive and the advanced but then became the framework of all modern sociology up until about the time of the first World War.

So, the encounter between European colonizers and the colonized societies has been really formative for the history of what we inaccurately call Western science. In fact, it has always been global science, though in the last two, 300 years, it has been essentially centered in the rich and powerful states of the Global North.

Will Brehm:  7:56
And you said that oftentimes those people who are creating knowledge in the Global South or in postcolonial states, or even in colonial states, they are using the same framework and concepts that are developed by Western or, you know what is seen as, quote-unquote, “Western scientists.” Can you give an example of how that is happening?

Raewyn Connell:  8:22
Oh, well, if you like, you know, stand in any country in the periphery and look around you, and you will see it.

Not all knowledge producers are doing this, but this is, if you like, the official knowledge formation in the university system. It is what is recognized as a science, it’s what funded by government research funding agencies, it is what the Chinese have been building as they restructure the university system, you know. I look around myself at the University of Sydney here in Australia. And, you know, from in just about every direction, I see people who are doing research, constructing knowledge, within the framework of methods and theories and what’s observable and how you actually conduct yourself as a scientist, that is, you know, something like 97% imported from Europe and North America. And, that’s just typical of the official knowledge institutions globally. So, that’s why I talk about the situation of global hegemony in the mainstream knowledge formation.

So, I mean again, if I can mention my own discipline of sociology, you look at the local sociology journal, it’s called Journal of Sociologyand you know, the typical article in it is by an Australian or someone from New Zealand from the region. And it will have data from Australia or New Zealand or the region that the typical article in the journal, but the rest of theoretical framework in which is done will be Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, the modern masters of the Global North or, you know, Marx, Weber, Durkheim – that is the official founding fathers of the discipline.

And the methods that they will be following will again, typically not in absolutely every case, but overwhelmingly the case, the methods will be those that have been acquired from people who studied in American or European universities, want to do surveys or qualitative analysis or whatever it may be from Northern institutions or following Northern models that is regarded as proper scientific sociology. And if you operate in any other way, you are seen as, you know, not a proper, you’re likely to be seen as somehow not a proper sociologists or doing something bizarre or extraneous to the real businesses of the discipline, And that of course is not particular to sociology; that’s true in every discipline, with perhaps exception if it is a discipline of postcolonial studies where that exists, which isn’t very often.

And the little bits of the university where bits of indigenous knowledge begins to creep in but that is very, very much marginalized and in some parts of the university’s work, for instance, biomedical research, you don’t find it at all.

Will Brehm:  11:56
Let’s talk about some of the indigenous knowledge or these other ways of conducting research using different methodologies and different theories than those found in the Global North or in the West, particularly in Europe. So, can you describe some of these alternative ways of theorizing or using methods that are different than using Bourdieuor Durkheim?

Raewyn Connell:  12:24
Yeah, well, the first thing you’d say is that the very idea of constructing research or conducting research is, if you like, embedded currently in the dominant knowledge formation. So, for instance, people in indigenous communities in Australia, who are regarded as bearers of knowledge, would typically not see themselves as researchers. They would see themselves as bearers of knowledge, wisdom, knowhow. The knowledge will actually include a great deal of empirical knowledge, empirical information, data about their country, about their social relationships, about their people that will be part of their knowledge, but it is not organized in the form of research enterprise where you publish results in peer reviewed journals, and so on, and so forth. So we have to always understand that knowledge formations are social processes, social constructions, which had an institutional base and the modern university is, with certain interesting exceptions, but overwhelmingly this is true, is institutionally organized around the Northern dominated research-oriented knowledge system. So we think of as quote, “Western science,” unquote.

So we’re looking at different knowledge practices, sometimes different institutional basis, if we think, for instance, is another kind of knowledge formation, that is the Islamic knowledge, Islamic science. We are looking at a different institutional history because all amount the Islamic scholars has historically been organized in different kinds of institutions from the European University model, although there’s now an attempt, of course, the last hundred years or so have been attempts to synthesize this in the Islamic world, not in the Christian world.

And in certain institutional pluralisms, in that kind of context, if you’re looking at indigenous communities, say, in South America, or Australia, or the Pacific Islands, you’re looking at groups who have not historically had large knowledge institutions like either the Islamic or the European model. And there the institutional basis of knowledge is likely to be ceremonies, age gradings, cohorts, communities as a different shape.

This will make it a little difficult to plug out of those contexts, a kind of abstracted knowledge. Label it indigenous knowledge and, say, okay, we can take this as our framework and start publishing in mainstream European or North American journals. That model does not seem to work, or at least it is very hard to get working.

It is not totally out of the question. There are people who tried to do this, for instance, picking up some theories from the Islamic scholar, Ibn Khaldun from the Maghreb North West Africa some hundreds of years ago, as a kind of classic social theorist and trying to do analysis of contemporary problems in the kinds of terms that he was working out. There are some people who do that, but that does not have a major presence, either in Islamic scholarship or in the research-oriented mainstream.

Will Brehm:  16:48
I think, it is interesting that, you know, it is oftentimes we try and contrast the Western science with this quote-unquote, indigenous scientists, if it’s the same sort of, you know, body, that body of knowledge that can be, you know, in a sense, taken as Western knowledge, but really, you’re saying that there’s all sorts of different ways that knowledge is formed, and economies of knowledge operate.

Raewyn Connell:  17:17
And we should not be surprised at this, because this is also true in the Global North. You know, there is this formal knowledge system in the education system in the, you know, organized in the elite level in the universities, research institutes, and so forth. But there are other knowledge formations in the society for the Global North too. There are local knowledge formations, ways of thinking, ways of knowing, ways of understanding the natural world that you find, for instance, in rural communities in Europe or North America that do not correspond in any simple way to the mainstream knowledge institutions. So this is not the West versus the rest at all, although there are power relations, and there is a, when I talk about a knowledge economy, this is not exactly a metaphor, I mean, there are actually flows and exchanges going on. And the main pattern of that, which was pointed out particularly by West African philosopher whom I greatly admire called Paulin Hountondji.

The main pattern of the global economy is knowledge is much the same as in the material economy. That is, the majority world serve as a source of raw material, just as in the material economy, you know is a production of minerals, oil, agricultural products, crops and so forth, which is shipped to the Global North to supply the way of life there.

So there is a flow of data usually fairly raw, sometimes more processed. And that’s a form of contestation that goes on now to how much knowledge producers in the global periphery are able to control the development of and processing of knowledge.

For instance, in the AIDS area: AIDS research is now dominated by biomedical researchers with a strong presence of social sciences too. There are in fact contestations going on in Southern Africa, which has the highest burden of HIV infection in the world at exactly this point, because the dominant Northern model of biomedical research, AIDS, now involves very tightly controlled, very large multivariate trials of different forms of drug treatment of HIV infection. And the old model for this has been that this was very expensive kind of research to do. The only two forces of funding on that scale are governments in the Global North, such as the Center for Disease Control in the United States, or drug companies also in the Global North, and they want therefore, if you are paying for it, they want to control it. But this collection of data, absolutely rely on some knowledge workers in Southern Africa, who have been claiming more and more that their expertise and their labor is central to this place, process. They should have a great deal, more control, and responsibility and recognition in it and has been given them in the past. So, they’ve got a kind of contestation about the inequalities of knowledge production that’s going on in this you know, if you like heartland area of biomedical research. And this is not exactly a confrontation between indigenous knowledge and wisdom fans.

It’s within broadly the framework of biomedical research, but it’s recognizing the global dimension of this, and the multiple players and forms of expertise are involved in producing mainstream forms of knowledge.

Will Brehm:  22:08
It seems quite similar to the example that you used earlier on Albert Einstein and his work in the Portuguese colonies.

Raewyn Connell:  22:17
Yeah, well, Albert himself did not go there. It’s a lovely story, actually.

I wonder, we do not think of nuclear physics or relativity theory, cosmology and so forth as the most Northern and abstract and pure science stuff.

And indeed, Albert who developed the first version of the theory of relativity, when he was working in Switzerland, then went to Germany, when he was working on general relativity, published his famous papers on general relativity in the middle of the First World War.

And because science is a little more international than national politics, this is read by scientists in Britain. And when Germany, you know, was defeated in the First World War, lost all of its colonies, lost everything. It was British scientists who worked out the way to test Albert’s theory through, which predicted the deflection of light on the gravity, something that in Newtonian cosmology was impossible.

But Einstein not only predicted it but worked out how much it would probably be mathematically. And it was British scientists, who then thought, aha, the solar eclipse coming up, which we can be observed from the South Atlantic. So they set up observatories wanting some Portuguese controlled Island off the coast of Africa, and the other one on the other side of the South Atlantic in Brazil, which is the largest former Portuguese colony, did their observations, took this very famous picture of the sun being eclipsed, and, lo and behold, the star, the images of the stars near the surface whose light passed near the surface of the sun was deflected about as much as Einstein’s theory had predicted. That experiment was what made Einstein world famous, and it was knowledge that came from the colonized and postcolonial world. And without, you know, that connection, the theory of relativity would not be tested in that way.

So, I mean, that is a quite a stark example, if you like, of the global dimension in what is conventionally called wisdom and science. But so many fields of knowledge have absolutely depended on flows of data and, behind them, certain form of expertise, sometimes practical, sometimes knowledge work in the Global South.

What we are really looking at then is an international knowledge economy, where wealth and authority are centered in the Global North, where those institutions of the Global North still, to quite striking degree, depend on data flows from the rest of the world. Think of climate science, think of all these climate models, things have been so central to political debate about climate change in the last, you know, 10 – 15 years, where do you think the data from them come, a great deal of it comes from Global South.

Will Brehm:  26:01
So do you see any counter currents in terms of the flow of knowledge?

Raewyn Connell:  26:06
Yeah, look, there has always been contestation of these processes. There has always been a degree of dependence by the North. This is not just a single northern dominance, southern subordination scenario. So northern science, if you like, northern controlled science operating in the south, always depended on practices, knowledge, institutions, and so forth in the Global South, so there is sort of dependence there. There have been many appropriations, partial appropriations and changes of so-called Western thinking, Western concepts, series, and methods in countries that were under colonial or semi-colonial influence. You know, there’s a whole history of that in India, there’s a history of that in China, which was not directly colonized or quasi colonized for 50 or 60 years, and where a whole couple of generations of intellectuals, you know, address themselves to adapting European knowledge systems for Chinese use, something that’s still going on.

And there have been – and this is something that I, you know, center my discussion on in the book Southern Theory– there is theoretical work that goes on in the colonized and postcolonial world. So although the mainstream knowledge formation has a division of labor, where theory and method are developed in the Global North, data gathering occurs around the global periphery. What that does, actually is ignore the production of concepts, methodologies, and analyses by the intellectuals of the colonized world. And when you go looking for it, which of course, most conventional research in the social sciences doesn’t do, but when you go looking for it, there’s a really rich literature of social analysis from the colonized and then the postcolonial world. So there’s a rich tradition of cultural analysis and debate in India, in the Arab world, in the Islamic world more general. This fascinating intellectual debates and analyses, sociological reasoning in Iran, for instance, influenced by Shia Islam.

And, you know, in colonized and postcolonial Africa, in Latin America, I mean this is a rich source of those ideas, theories and debates about society which has historically been marginalized from mainstream social science, but are there, and in the very beginning to contest the current situation.

So yeah, look, there’s always been contestation around this. There’s probably more contestation now. I think certainly in the social sciences is something of a movement going on in social science at the moment of the decolonial, decolonizing southern perspective kind. It still hasn’t come to be a dominant form of thinking in social science yet. But it certainly is a lively presence at the moment.

Will Brehm:  30:17
So, this may sound like a stupid question, but where would you find the ideas that you were talking about in terms of southern theory in say, India or Iran? Like, are these ideas that are inside national research journals? Or do they appear in other places?

Raewyn Connell:  30:40
Well, as I tell my students, no questions are stupid. But sometimes the answers are.

You can find some of this in academic journals, but not a great deal. Why? Because academic journals are characteristic of, you know, institutional forms of the dominant knowledge formation and the tendency in, you know, if you look at, again, because I’m a social scientist, I know this field best, if you look at the social science journal published in India or China or Australia or South Africa, you will typically find that structure that I suggested before that is northern theory, southern data.

But you may also find some contestation of that, you may find some writing, you will find actually some writing about local intellectuals who have moved outside that framework. When I’ve gone looking for this kind of material, I have looked very, you know, very widely indeed. I have gone way outside conventional academic sources.

I have haunted secondhand bookshop. I have browsed libraries. I have looked for genres which would not, you know, normally occur in the bibliography of a mainstream social science journal article. So, for instance, some really quite interesting social analysis by a guy like Ali Shariati in Iran is in the form of a sermon.

There is a considerable amount of social analysis in books that might be though of as politically polemic.

Let me give two examples of that by people who are very famous in their own areas but not widely known in the Global North. One is Ambedkar, who was the moving spirit behind the writing of the Indian constitution after independence, very important figure. He published an analysis of the caste system, which incidentally was very critical of Gandhi, whom Ambedkar thought was not serious about contesting the caste system and the social exclusion of the underneath caste. And that I think is a very interesting document from the point of view of social analysis of stratification studies in fact. Go to another continent to Southern Africa, again going back into history – Ambedkar’s stuff that I’m thinking about was written in the 1930s – go back to the time of First World War, there’s a remarkable book called Native Life in South Africawritten by Sol Plaatje published in 1916. Sol Plaatje was a younger, contemporary of Durkheim and Weber. This book is not the story of an African farm or an ethnography of a native community. It is actually an analysis based on field research of the impact of laws passed by the South African Union Government a few years before called the Natives Land Act, which was basically appropriating indigenous land for white commercial farmers.

So, this is a massive land grab and forcing black families of their ancestral land to create a prosperous agricultural capitalist economy in South Africa. Plaatje was the secretary of the organization and later became the African National Congress, i.e., the current government of South Africa. And he bicycled around the country because he didn’t own a car, and doing fieldwork, collecting the narratives with the families who’ve been forced off their land and wrote it up in his book, together with an account of the political processes involved. The book was published in England in an attempt to influence the British government to override this legislation, which conspicuously failed to do.

That is a marvelous piece of social analysis and social research. It’s really, I think, the classic of world sociology. You never hear about it in mainstream sociology, mainstream histories of sociology, you know, because it’s written in a different genre in a colonized part of the world by a black guy, who no one in the mainstream ever heard about.

So I mean, those are just two examples that I could give hundreds and just seems to me that, you know, what currently exists as mainstream social science is terribly impoverished, because it doesn’t access this enormous wealth of thinking analysis, theory, concepts and data that exists in the colonized and postcolonial world.

Will Brehm:  37:00
And it’s interesting that you showed that it exists historically. And also in the present moment, there’s plenty of work being done. So, are you hopeful that universities that produce the dominant knowledge that’s, quote unquote, Western science? Are you hopeful that those institutions will change to begin to incorporate some more of this Southern theory or the indigenous knowledge, all the different examples that you have talked about today?

Raewyn Connell:  37:36
I blow hot and cold on this, I have to say. Sometimes, you know, when a discussion of some of these issues occurs, I think, yeah, mainstream institutions can do this and are beginning to pay attention and, you know, hybrid institutions that combined, say, the university form with indigenous knowledge or with Southern theory are coming into existence. So, for instance, a group of indigenous universities have recently been founded in Bolivia. And there’s more of this kind of work going on in Ecuador that I know of and there are, I know, similar kinds of work being done in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

So, and every now and again, we have a, you know, a panel or debate or plenary session on decolonizing knowledge, postcolonial perspectives in social science in a mainstream conference. In fact, next month, I am actually going to be speaking at the Nordic Sociological Association meeting in Finland precisely about these issues. So, there is interest in them. On the other hand, universities in some ways are getting more conventional and narrower as they are more tightly integrated into the neoliberal global economy, as say more university education is more commodified. Universities, like mine, here are getting to operate more and more like a profit-making corporation and becoming more and more obsessed with a position in global league tables.

And which according to conventional wisdom will determine their capacity to attract fee-paying overseas students and thus get lots and lots of money. And to appear well in the global league tables, you have to have published, people who publish in the most prestigious mainstream journals. Where are the most prestigious mainstream journals? In North America, Britain, and France.

And so there is now quite serious institutional pressure on researchers in countries like Australia to focus their publishing on Global North outlets, which means of course you have to publish within the conventions of knowledge using theories and methods that are familiar to the editors and reviewers for Global North journals, which means that, you know, southern theory, indigenous knowledge, alternative universalisms, all these formed Other knowledge formations – are nowhere.

They’re going to be squeezed out the more neoliberal commodification of these universities advances. So, look there is a struggle going on. It’s often an implicit struggle between democratic, what I see is as, democratic impulses in teaching and knowledge production and the forces of hierarchy, commodification, and convention on the other side.

And I don’t actually, you know, I find it very hard to predict what’s going to happen. It may be that there will be a growing split, a kind of shrinking narrow hierarchy obsessed body of eliet universities on the one hand, and the more democratic responses, but less well-resourced higher education system on the other. That’s one possible future.

Will Brehm:  41:55
Well, Raewyn Connell, thank you so much for joining FreshEd.

Raewyn Connell:  41:59
Glad to be here.

ويل بريهم: راوين كونيل، أهلًا بك في برنامج فريش إيد

راوين كونيل: أنا سعيد جدًا بوجودي معكم في البرنامج

ويل بريهم:في ورقة بحثية حديثة مقدمة إلى جامعة جوهانسبرج، حضرتك شاركت ببعض أفكارك عن موضوع إنهاء استعمار المعرفة. بالنسبة ليك، أن يتنهي استعمار المعرفة، هذا يعني في المقام الأول أن المعرفة مستعمرة. كيف ترى أن المعرفة  بتستعمَر؟

راوين كونيل: أوك، هذا الأمر له أبعاد كثيرة.هذه قضية حيوية جدًا في جنوب أفريقيا في الوقت الراهن نظرًا لحركة “ينبغي أن تسقط رودس” في جامعة كيب تاون، لكنها في الواقع أيضًا قضية مطروحة في الدول النامية، في مرحلة ما بعد الاستعمار، لعدة أجيال. وفي الواقع هي الآن قضية مهمة، بالتأكيد. وهذا بسبب ما حصل على مدار الـ 400 أو 500 سنة الماضية واللي شهدت قيام امبراطوريات عالمية، وكذلك ظهور اقتصاد عالمي بيتمركز في الدول الغنية الموجودة في شمال الكرة الأرضية بصورة خاصة.بالتوازي مع هذه الاقتصاديات المادية، هناك كمان اقتصاد المعرفة اللي فيه بيتم تداول وتبادل المعلومات والمفاهيم وطرق التفكير والمنهجيات وما إلى ذلك. وهذا اتشكل بقوة تأثرًا بنمو الإمبراطوريات الاقتصادية ثم عدم المساواةكما هو الحال فيالاقتصاد الليبرالي الجديد. ودا اللي هنشير إليه لما نتكلم عن استعمار المعرفة  أو التداخل بين الاستعمار وبناء المعرفة. عشان كدا احنا عندنا الآن في العالم ما يسمى باقتصاد المعرفة من خلال تكوين المعرفة المهيمنة واللي كان للعالم المستعمَر دور تاريخي هام للغاية فيها، لكنه مقدرش يتحكم فيها.

وبمقدار قدرة العاملين في المجال الفكري على مستوى العالم على المشاركة في بناء أجيال حديثة، كان عليهم أنهم يعملوا هذا بشكل أساسي بالشروط اللي وضعتها مؤسسات المعرفة في دول الشمال، بما يعكس وجهة نظرهم في العالم وخبراتهم التاريخية. علشان كدا، لما بنتكلم عن انهاء استعمار المعرفة، فاحنا بنتكلم عن الطرق المختلفة اللي بيتم من خلالها معالجة هذا التاريخ وهذا الكم الهائل من عدم المساواة ومواجهته وتغييره ببطء تدريجيُا.

ويل بريهم: إذًا، أنت بتقول إن هذه الإمبراطوريات والاقتصاديات الليبرالية الحديثة هي اللي بتشكل المعرفة المهيمنة اللي بتستعمر المعرفة حول العالم؟!

راوين كونيل: بالتأكيد. وهذا أمر مألوف للغاية في تاريخ العلوم. علشان كدا، إذا قرأت، كتاب داروين “رحلة البيجل”، على سبيل المثال، وهو أحد اشهر الوثائق العلمية المكتوبة على الإطلاق واللي فيه أبحر الشاب الصغير تشارلز داروين حول العالم بواسطة سفينته البحرية البريطانية وجمع العينات وسجل الملاحظات الجيولوجية. نظر إلى العصافير الشهيرة في جزر الجالاباجوس، وفحص الشعاب المرجانية. وبفضل هذه الخبرة إلى حد بعيد، على مدى فترة طويلة من التأمل والنضج، ظهرت البيولوجيا الحديثه ونظريات التطور الحديثة.

وانت كمان تقدر تحكي نفس القصة أو تقدر تشوف عناصرها في تاريخ كثير من المجالات العلمية الأخرى. علم الفلك، على سبيل المثال، أنت عارف أن نصف السماوات مرئي من نصف الكرة الجنوبي. فكانت المعرفة الجنوبية من نصف الكرة الجنوبي هامة للغاية في مجالات بعينها من علم الفلك. في العلوم الاجتماعية كمان، بكيفية ما، كان هذا هو الطريق الأول اللي من خلاله قدرت افهم هذه الأنواع من القضايا لأنني عالم اجتماع.

لما ننظر على تاريخ علم الاجتماع، سنجد أساطير كتيرة عن كيف أن كل شيء يخص الحداثة موجود لكن في أوروبا، ماركس وفيبر وما إلى ذلك. لكن في الحقيقة لو نظرنا على بداية علم الاجتماع، هنلاقي أنه كان يتعلق إلى حد بعيد بالمعرفة القادمة من العالم المستعمَر واللي أصبحت جزء من التقدم اللي حصل في القرن التاسع عشر، واللي أنا بسميها صورة أو نموذج الفرق العالمي بين علم الاجتماع البدائي، وعلم الاجتماع المتقدم؛ لكنها أصبحت بعد ذلك الإطار لكل علوم الاجتماع الحديث حتى وقت الحرب العالمية الأولى.

علشان كده، كان اللقاء بين المستعمرين الأوربيين والمجتمعات المُستعمرَة مكونًا حقيقيًا لتاريخ ما نسميهبشكل غير دقيق للعلم الغربي. في الواقع، هو كان دائمًا علم عالمي، على الرغم أنه في آخر 300 أو 400 سنة، كان مرتكز بشكل أساسي في الدول الغنية والقوية من شمال الكرة الأرضية.

ويل بريهم: أنت قلت قبل ذلك أن، في معظم الأحيان، اللي بيصنعوا المعرفة في دول الجنوب أو دول ما بعد الاستعمار، أو حتى في الدول الاستعمارية، بيستخدموا نفس الإطار والمفاهيم اللي طورها، بين قوسين، “العلماء الغربيين”. فهل ممكن تدينا مثال عن دا بيحصل ازاي؟

راوين كونيل: أها، بسيطة، أنت لو نظرت حواليك في أي دولة ودورت هتشوف دا كويس جدًا. مش كل صانعي المعرفة هما اللي بيعملوا دا، لكن هذا تكوين المعرفة الرسمية في النظام الجامعي. وهذا اللي بيُعترَف به كعِلم، وبيتم تمويله من قِبَل وكالات دعم البحوث الحكومية، ودا اللي بناه الصينيين وهما بيعيدوا هيكلة نظامهم الجامعي. أنا كمان لما أنظر حولي في جامعة سيدني هنا في أستراليا مثلًا بشوف أشخاص من كل مكان في العالم بيقوموا بأبحاث وبيشيدوا المعرفة من خلال إطار الأساليب والنظريات وما يمكن ملاحظته وكيف تتصرف كعالم. ودا بيتم استيراده بنسبة حوالي 97% من أوروبا وأمريكا الشمالية. وهذا تمامًا هو اللي حاصل في مؤسسات المعرفة الرسمية عالميًا. عشان كدا أنا بتكلم عن أوضاع الهيمنة العالمية في تكوين المعرفة العامة.

لو سمحتلي أتكلم مرة تاني عن تخصصي في علم الاجتماع، لما ننظر مجلة علم الاجتماع المحلية، واللي اسمها “مجلة علم الاجتماع”، سنجد أن المقال الرئيسي فيها مكتوب بواسطة شخص استرالي أو من نيوزيلندا أو من المنطقة. وهتلاقي فيه معلومات من أستراليا أو نيوزيلندا أو المنطقة، أما باقي الإطار النظري اللي المقال اتعمل من خلاله هيكون من بورديو، أو فوكو، أو جيدينز، وهما الرواد المعاصرين لعلم الاجتماع في الشمال أو من، زي ما انت عارف، ماركس، أو فيبر، أو دوركهايم – واللي هما الآباء المؤسسين الرسميين لعلم الاجتماع.

والأساليب اللي هيتم اتباعها هتكون مرة تاني، طبعًا مش في كل الحالات لكن في أغلبها، هي الأساليب المكتسبة من أشخاص درسوا في جامعات أمريكية أو أوروبية. فلو انت عايز تعمل مسح أو تحليل نوعي أو أيا كان اللي عايز تعمله، لازم تعمله وفقًا لنموذج المؤسسات الغربية أو النماذج الغربية لعلم الاجتماع واللي بيتم اعتبارها على انها علم الاجتماع الصحيح. وإذا اشتغلت بأي طريقة تانية، هيتم اعتبارك غير صحيح، وهيتم تقييمك بكيفية ما على انك مش عالم  اجتماع حقيقي أو أنك بتعمل حاجة غريبة عن ما هو متفق عليه. ودا مش بينطبق بس على علم الاجتماع لكن على أي مجال آخر، طبعًا هناك استثناءات إذا كان المجال في دراسات ما بعد الاستعمار، ودا ما بيحصلش كتير.

بدأت أجزاء من المعرفة المحلية بالزحف في أجزاء قليلة من الجامعة لكنها مهمشة جدًا جدًا. وفي بعض أبحاث الجامعة، على سبيل المثال، البحوث الطبية الحديثة متلاقيش فيها المعرفة المحلية على الإطلاق.

ويل بريهم: خلينا نتكلم عن بعض المعرفة المحلية أو الطرق الأخرى لاجراء البحوث باستخدام أساليب ونظريات مختلفة عن اللي موجودة في الشمال أو الغرب، وخصوصًا في أوروبا. فهل ممكن أنك توصفلنا بعض من هذه الأساليب البديلة في التنظير أو في استخدام طرق مختلفة عن بورديو ودوركهايم؟

راوين كونيل: طبعًا، وأول حاجة ممكن تقولها هي فكرة أن بناء البحوث أو اجرائها هي متضمنه حديثًا في تشكيل المعرفة المهيمنة. على سبيل المثال، الناس في المجتمعات الأصلية في استراليا، واللي بيتم اعتبارهم على أنهم حاملين للمعرفة، مش بيشوفوا نفسهم عادة كباحثين. لكنهم بيشوفوا نفسهم كحاملين للمعرفة والحكمة والعلم. وفي الواقع بتحتوي معرفتهم على قدر كبير من المعرفة والمعلومات التجريبية والبيانات عن دولتهم، وعن علاقاتهم الاجتماعية، وعن شعبهم. ودا بيكون جزء من معارفهم، لكنه مش منظم في شكل مشروع بحثي حيث تنشر النتائج في مجلات يتم مراجعتها، وما إلى ذلك، وهكذا. عشان كدا لازم نفهم دايمًا أن تكوينات المعرفة هي عمليات وبناءات اجتماعية لها أساس مؤسسي وأن الجامعة الحديثة، مع استثناءات خاصة لكن بشكل عام هذا حقيقة، بيتم تنظيمها مؤسسيًا حول نظام المعرفة بحسب التوجه البحثي اللي بيهيمن عليه الشمال. احنا بنفكر وفقًا لما نسميه “العلم الغربي”.

احنا بنبحث في الممارسات المعرفية المختلفة وأحيانًا في قاعدة مؤسسية مختلفة، إذا اعتقدنا أنها تمثل نوع آخر من تشكيل المعرفة زي المعارف أو العلوم الإسلامية. وهنا احنا بنبحث في تاريخ مؤسسي مختلف لأن كل هذه الأعداد من العلماء المسلمين تشكلوا تاريخيُا في مؤسسات مختلفة عن النموذج الغربي للجامعة، على الرغم أنه كانت هناك محاولات، بالتأكيد، في المئة سنة الأخيرة، لتوليف هذا الأمر في العالم الإسلامي مش في العالم المسيحي.

وفي بعض التعدديات المؤسسية، في هذا النوع من السياق، لو كنت بتبحث في مجتمعات الشعوب الأصلية زي في أمريكا الجنوبية أو استراليا أو جزر المحيط الهادي، هتلاقي نفسك بتبحث في مجموعات مكنش ليها تاريخيُا مؤسسات معرفية كبيرة مثل النموذج الإسلامي أو النموذج الغربي. وهناك بتكون القاعدة المؤسسية للمعرفة أشبه بالمراسيم، أوالتصنيفات العمرية، أو الفئات، أو المجتمعات كشكل مختلف.

ودا هيخلي من الصعب بعض الشيء الخروج من هذه السياقات المجتمعية، وهذا نوع من المعرفة المجردة ممكن نسميها المعرفة الأصيلة أو المحلية للسياقات المجتمعية. كمان نقدر ناخد من هذا إطار ونبدأ في النشر في المجلات الرئيسية في أوروبا أو أمريكا الشمالية. هذا النموذج يبدو أنه لا يصلح أو على الأقل من الصعب للغاية العمل بيه.

ودا مش غير وارد بشكل كامل. في ناس حاولوا يعملوا هذا الأمر، مثلًا، اختيار بعض النظريات من عالم مسلم مثل ابن خلدون من المغرب، شمال غرب أفريقيا، من مئات السنين، كعالم اجتماع كلاسيكي ومحاولة تحليل المشاكل المعاصرة باستخدام المصطلحات اللي كان بيعمل بيها. وفيه البعض عمل كدا بس مش بشكل كبير سواء في البحوث الإسلامية أو التوجه البحثي السائد.

ويل بريهم: اعتقد انه أمر شيق، زي ما انت عارف، أن أحيانًا كتير بنحاول وبنقارن العلوم الغربية مع ما نسميه “العلماء المحليين”، فإذا كانت نفس الشكل، يمكن للشكل دا من المعرفة المحلية يتم اعتباره معرفة غربية، لكن حقيقي هذا معناه أن المعرفة يمكن أن تتشكل وأن اقتصاد المعرفة يمكن أن يعمل بكل أنواع الطرق المختلفة.

راوين كونيل: ولازم لا نفاجأ أبدا، لأن دا كمان حقيقة في دول الشمال. زي ما انت عارف، هذا النظام الرسمي من المعرفة موجود في نظام التعليم على المستوى المتقدم والمنظم في الجامعات والمؤسسات البحثية وما إلى ذلك. لكن كمان هناك أشكال أخرى من المعرفة في مجتمعات دول الشمال. ففي أشكال من المعرفة المحلية وطرق من التفكير وطرق معرفة وأساليب فهم العالم الطبيعي اللي نجدها في المجتمعات الريفية في أوروبا أو شمال أمريكا واللي مش بتتوافق بأي شكل مع مؤسسات المعرفة الرئيسية. علشان كدا احنا لا نتكلم عن الغرب في مقابل باقي دول العالم، على الرغم من وجود علاقات قوية، ولما بتكلم عن اقتصاد المعرفة، أنا مش مجرد بستخدم استعارة، لكن بالفعل هناك تدفقات وتداولات مستمرة للمعرفة كاقتصاد حقيقي. والنموذج الرئيسي لهذا الأمر، واللي تمت الإشار إليه على وجه الخصوص تم بواسطة فيلسوف أفريقي أنا معجب بيه جدُا اسمه بولين هاونتندجي، هو المعرفة.

والمعرفة كاقتصاد عالمي بيتطابق مع الاقتصاد المادي في أن معظم العالم بيعمل كمصدر للمواد الخام للمعرفة اللي بيتم شحنها لدول الشمال، زي بالظبط الوضع في الاقتصاد المادي، زي ما انت عارف أن باقي دول العالم هي مصدر انتاج المعادن والزيوت والمنتجات الزراعية والمحاصيل وما إلى ذلك، واللي بيتم شحنها إلى دول الشمال لاستمرار الحياة هناك.

عشان كدا فيه تدفق للمعلومات عادة ما يكون في شكل مادة خام، إلا أنه في بعض الأحيان بتكون المعلومات دي مُعالجة. ودا شكل من أشكال التنافس اللي بيمتد الآن إلى مدى قدرة منتجي المعرفة في العالم على التحكم في تطوير المعرفة ومعالجتها.

مثلًا، في مجال الإيدز: الباحثون في مجال الطب الحيوي بيهيمنوا على أبحاث الإيدز مع وجود قوي للعلوم الاجتماعية كمان. في الواقع هناك تنافس حاصل في جنوب أفريقيا مثلًا، واللي بيتحمل العبء الأكبر من الإصابة بمرض نقص المناعة في العالم في الوقت الحالي. ولأن نموذج بحوث الطب الحيوي لدول الشمال هو المهيمن، فمجال الايدز دلوقت بيحتوي على تجارب مقننة ومتنوعة تُجرى على أنواع مختلفة من أدوية فيروس نقص المناعة. النموذج القديم لهذه النوعية من الأبحاث كان مكلف جدًا. علشان كدا كانت قوى التمويل الوحيدة إما الحكومات في دول الشمال، زي مركز التحكم في الأمراض في الولايات المتحدة، أو شركات الأدوية في دول الشمال برضو، وكانت رغبتهم بسط السيطرةعلى هذا المجال، طالما بيتم الدفع ليهم. لكن هذه المجموعة من البيانات بالتأكيد بتعتمد على بعض العاملين في مجال المعرفة في جنوب أفريقيا، واللي كانوا بيدّعوا كتير إن خبرتهم ومجهودهم هو أمر أساسي. كان لازم يحظوا بقدر كبير من الأهمية والسيطرة والمسئولية والاعتراف بيهم، وهذا ما حصلوا عليه زمان. عشان كدا دخلوا في نوع من النزاع بخصوص عدم المساواة في انتاج المعرفة  اللي حاصل دلوقت في مجال البحوث الطبية الحيوية. ودا مش مجرد تحدي بين منتجي المعرفة من السكان الأصليين وبين محبي الحكمة، لكن هذا يأتي ضمن إطار البحوث في مجال الطب الحيوي على نطاق واسع وله بعد عالمي بيشترك فيه عدد كبير من اللاعبين ويشمل أشكال كتير من الخبرة في انتاج أشكال المعرفة السائدة.

ويل بريهم: هذا الكلام شبه النموذج اللي استخدمته قبل كدا الخاص بألبرت أينشتاين وعمله في المستعمرات البرتغالية.  

راوين كونيل: بالضبط، ألبرت نفسه لم يذهب هناك. في الواقع هذه قصة جميلة.

أنا مندهش، أحنا مش بنفكر في الفيزياء النووية أو النظرية النسبية أو علم الكونيات وما إلى ذلك على أنها أكثر العلوم الشمالية المجردة والنقية.

في الواقع، ألبرت اللي طور النسخة الأولى من النظرية النسبية، لما كان بيشتغل في سويسرا وبعدها سافر لألمانيا، لما كان بيشتغل على النسبية العامة، نشر أبحاثه الشهيرة في النسبية العامة في منتصف الحرب العالمية الأولى.

ولأن العلم له طابع عالمي أكثر من كونه قومي أو محلي، فهذه الأبحاث تمت قراءتها بواسطة علماء من بريطانيا. ولما ألمانيا انهزمت في الحرب العالمية الأولى، فقدت كل مستعمراتها، فقدت كل شيء. كان العلماء البريطانيون هما اللي اكتشفوا طريقة لاختبار نظرية ألبرت واللي تنبأت بانحراف الضوء عن الجاذبية، وهذا الأمر كان مستحيل في علم الكونيات بحسب نيوتن.

لكن أينشتاين مش بس تنبأ بانحراف الضوء، لكنه كمان اكتشف مقداره المحتمل رياضيًا. وكان العلماء البريطانيين هما اللي فكروا وتنبأوا بقدوم خسوف الشمس، واللي يمكن ملاحظته من جنوب المحيط الأطلسي. عشان كدا أنشأوا مراصد؛ واحد منهم على إحدى الجزر اللي كانت بتحكمها البرتغال على ساحل افريقيا، والتاني على الجانب الآخر من جنوب المحيط الأطلسي في البرازيل، ودي كانت أكبر مستعمرة برتغالية. وبالفعل سجلوا ملاحظاتهم، وألتقطوا الصورة المهمة جدًا لخسوف الشمس، وكمان، بشكل مدهش، التقطوا صور للنجوم القريبة من السطح واللي انطفأ ضوئها بالقرب من سطح الشمس بالظبط زي ما تنبأ أينشتاين. التجربة كانت سبب شهرة أينشتاين عالميًا، وكانت بمثابة معرفة قادمة من عالم الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار. ومن غير هذا الاتصال، زي مانت عارف، ما كانش هيتم اختبار النظرية النسبية بهذه الطريقة.

عشان كدا، هذا مثال صارخ للبعد العالمي لما يتم تسميته تقليديًا بالحكمة والعلوم. لكن كتير من مجالات المعرفة اعتمدت بالتأكيد على تدفق المعلومات وبيتبعها شكل معين من الخبره، اللي أحيانًا تكون عملية وأحيانًا أخرى تكون عمل معرفي في دول الجنوب.

اللي احنا فعلًا بصدده هو اقتصاد عالمي للمعرفة، فيه الثروة والقوة مرتكزة في دول الشمال، حيث لاتزال مؤسسات الشمال العالمي دي بتعتمد على تدفق المعلومات من باقي أنحاء العالم بدرجة مذهلة. فكر فيعلم المناخ مثلًا، فكر في كل هذه النماذج المناخية، في الأمور المحورية في الجدال السياسي عن التغير المناخي في العشر أو الخمستاشر سنة اللي فاتت، في رأيك جات منين البيانات؟ قدر كبير منها جاء من دول الجنوب.

ويل بريهم: هل انت شايف أي تيارات مضادة بخصوص تدفق المعرفة؟

راوين كونيل: نعم، دايمًا هناك نزاع حول هذه العمليات. كان دايمًا فيه درجة من الاعتمادية بواسطة الشمال. ودا مش مجرد هيمنة أحادية من الشمال، أو سيناريو تبعية من الجنوب. عشان كدا العلوم الشمالية، أو لو عايز تقول، العلوم اللي بيسيطر عليها الشمال واللي بتتعمل في الجنوب، دايمًا بتعتمد على ممارسات ومعارف ومؤسسات وما إلى ذلك في الجنوب العالمي، علشان كدا هناك نوع من الاعتمادية. كان فيه الكتير من الاستيلاء أو الاستيلاء الجزئي والتغيرات اللي فرضها ما يسمى بالتفكير الغربي، أو المفاهيم أو النظريات أو الأساليب الغربية على الدول اللي كانت تحت التأثير الاستعماري أو شبه الاستعماري. انت عارف أن فيه تاريخ كامل لهذا الأمر في الهند والصين، واللي مكانوش مستعمَرين بشكل مباشر أو شبه مستعمَرين لمدة 50 أو 60 سنة، لكن هناك جيلين كاملين من المفكرين لجأوا لتعديل أنظمة المعرفة الأوربية للاستخدام الصيني، وهو أمر مازال مستمر.

وكان فيه- ودي حاجة كانت محور مناقشتي في كتاب النظرية الجنوبية: عمل نظري مستمر في عالم الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار. عشان كدا تكوين المعرفة السائد عنده تقسيم للعمل، واللي فيه بيتم تطوير النظرية والأسلوب في دول الشمال، وبيتم تجميع البيانات من كل مكان في العالم. ودا بيعمل في الحقيقة تجاهل لانتاج المفاهيم والمنهجيات والتحليلات من قبل مفكري العالم المُستعمَر. ولما تدور على دا، واللي بطبيعة الحال مش بتهتم بيه الأبحاث التقليدية في العلوم الاجتماعية، لكن لما تدور عليه هتلاقي هناك أدب غني جدًا في التحليل الاجتماعي من العالم المستعمَر وبعد كدا من عالم ما بعد الاستعمار. عشان كدا هناك تراث غني بالتحليل الثقافي والنقاش في الهند والعالم العربي والعالم الإسلامي بشكل عام. هذا النقاش والتحليل الفكري المذهل، والمنطق الاجتماعي في إيران على سبيل المثال تأثر بالإسلام الشيعي.

وزي مانت عارف، إن أفريقيا في فترة الاستعمار وما بعد الاستعمار وأمريكا اللاتينية، هما مصادر غنية لهذه الأفكار والنظريات والمناقشات عن المجتمع واللي تم تهميشها تاريخيًا من علم الاجتماع الغربي السائد، لكنها موجودة من البداية لتعلن اعتراضها على الوضع الراهن.

عشان كدا هناك دايمًا نزاع بخصوص هذا الأمر، وتزايد النزاع في الوقت الحاضر. أنا أعتقد أنه بالتأكيد في العلوم الاجتماعية عندنا نوع من الحراك اللي بيحصل في علم الاجتماع متزامن مع وقت انهاء استعمار المعرفة في دول الحنوب.

ويل بريهم: هسأل سؤال يبدو أنه غبي شوية، هتلاقي فين الأفكار اللي انت كنت بتتكلم عنها بخصوص النظرية الجنوبية في الهند أو إيران مثلًا؟  يعني؛ هل الأفكار دي موثقة في مجلات بحثية دولية؟ أو هي موجودة في أماكن تانية؟

راوين كونيل: تمام، زي ما بقول دايمًا لتلاميذي مفيش سؤال غبي لكن أحيانًا بتكون الإجابات هي اللي غبية.

ممكن نلاقي بعض هذه الأفكار في مجلات أكاديمية،  لكن مش كتير. ليه؟ لأن المجلات الأكاديمية بتتميز، زي ما انت عارف، انها بتميل للشكل المؤسسي للمعرفة المهيمنة. فإذا بصيت على مجلات العلوم الاجتماعية اللي اتنشرت في الهند أو الصين أو استراليا أو شمال أفريقيا- كمان مرة لأني عالم اجتماعي، فانا عارف كويس المجال دا- هتلاقي بالظبط البناء اللي انا اقترحته قبل كدا، واللي هو النظرية الشمالية مقابل البيانات الجنوبية.

لكن كمان ممكن تقدر تلاقي بعض النزاع حوالين دا، فهتلاقي بعض الكتابات فعلا من مفكرين محليين خرجوا خارج هذا الإطار. لما أنا رحت أبحث على هذا النوع من البيانات، بحثت على نطاق واسع جدًا جدًا في الحقيقة. بحثت خارج المصادر الأكاديمية التقليدية.

زرت محلات الكتب المستعملة وبحثت في المكتبات. بحثت في أنواع الأدب اللي عادةً مش بتكون موجودة في قوائم المراجع المتعارف عليها في المقالات السائدة بخصوص علم الاجتماع. عشان كدا، على سبيل المثال، هناك بعض التحليلات الاجتماعية الشيقة عملها شاب زي “علي شريعتي” في إيران على شكل خطب دينية.

فيها كمية كبيرة من التحليلات الاجتماعية في كتب يمكن اعتبارها جدلية من النحية السياسية.

عندي مثالين لهذا الموضوع من خلال أشخاص مشهورين جدًا في مجالاتهم لكنهم مش معروفين على نطاق واسع في دول الشمال. الأول هو أمبيدكار واللي كان الروح المحركة وراء كتابة الدستور الهندي بعد الاستقلال، هو في الحقيقة شخصية هامة جدًا. نشر تحليل للنظام الطبقي، واللي كان بالمناسبة بينتقد غاندي لأن امبيدكار كان بيعتقد أنه مش جاد في مناهضة النظام الطبقي والاستبعاد الاجتماعي للطبقة الدنيا. وأنا أعتقد أن هذه الوثيقة مهمة من وجهة نظر التحليل الاجتماعي لدراسات التقسيم الطبقي في الواقع. كتابات أمبيدكار اللي أنا بفكر فيها اتكتبت في التلاتينيات. لما تروح لقارة تانية لأفريقيا الجنوبية، ومرة تانية بالرجوع للتاريخ لوقت الحرب العالمية الأولى، هنلاقي كتاب رائع اسمه “الحياة الأصلية في جنوب أفريقيا” كتبه سول بلاتج واتنشر سنة 1916. صول بلاتيج كان أصغر سنًا، وكان معاصر لدوركهايم وويبر. هذا الكتاب مش قصة حقل أفريقي أو أثنوجرافيا وصفية لمجتمع عرقي. لكنه في الواقع تحليل مؤسس على بحث ميداني عن تأثير القوانين اللي أقرتها حكومة جنوب افريقيا المتحدة قبل سنوات قليلة من تسميتها “قانون أراضي السكان الأصليين” واللي كان بيخصص أساسًا أراضي السكان الأصليين للمزارعين والتجار البيض.

دا كان استيلاء على الأراضي بطريقة واسعة وإجبار لأسر السود على ترك أراضي أجدادهم لخلق اقتصاد رأسمالي زراعي مزدهر في جنوب أفريقيا. بلاتج كان سكرتير المنظمة وبعدين أصبح السكرتير العام للكونجرس الأفريقي الوطني، اللي هو الحكومة الحالية لجنوب أفريقيا. وكان بيتجول بالدراجة في كل حته في البلد لأنه مكنش بيمتلك عربية، كان بيعمل بحث ميداني وبيجمع القصص من الأسر اللي تم اجبارها على مغادرة أراضيها، وكان بيدونها في كتابه في ضوء الأوضاع السياسية. هذا الكتاب اتنشر في إنجلترا في محاولة للتأثير على الحكومة البريطانية عشان تلغي القانون دا، لكن للأسف المحاولة لم تنجح.

هذا الكتاب هو بمثابة تحفة رائعة من التحليل والبحث الاجتماعي. أنا اعتقد أنه من كلاسيكيات علم الاجتماع العالمي، اللي انت عمرك ما سمعت عنه في علم الاجتماع السائد، أو التاريخ السائد لعلم الاجتماع لأنه مكتوب في قالب أدبي مختلف في الجزء المستعمَر من العالم بواسطة رجل أسود محدش سمع عنه في علم الاجتماع السائد.

دول مجرد مثالين من مئات الأمثلة اللي ممكن أذكرها. وأنا اعتقد أن اللي بيقدمه حاليًا علم الاجتماع السائد هو فقير جدًا لأنه مش بيوصل لهذه الثروة الهائلة من التحليلات والنظريات والمفاهيم الفكرية الموجودة في العالم المستعمَر وما بعد المستعمَر.

ويل بريهم: من المثير للاهتمام ان حضرتك أظهرت أن هذا موجود تاريخيًا. وكمان في الوقت الحالي، في الكتير من الأعمال الثرية اللي بيتم انتاجها. عشان كدا هل عندك أمل في أن الجامعات اللي بتنتج المعرفة المهيمنة واللي بتعتمد على العلم الغربي انها تتغير وتبدأ تدمج بعض من هذه النظريات الجنوبية، أو المعرفة المحلية، كل الأمثلة المتنوعة اللي حضرتك ذكرتها النهارده؟

راوين كونيل: الموقف مش ثابت، أحيانًا لما بتكون هناك مناقشات بخصوص واحدة من هذه القضايا، بحس أن المؤسسات العلمية المهيمنة ممكن تعمل دا وبالفعل بيبدأوا يهتموا. وأن المؤسسات المختلطة اللي بتجمع بين الشكل الجامعي مع المعرفة المحلية أو مع النظرية الجنوبية أوشكت على الوجود. فمثلًا تم تأسيس مجموعة من الجامعات المحلية في بوليفيا. وكتير من هذه الأنواع من العمل بيحصل في الإكوادور، وكمان في  أوتياروا في نيوزيلاندا.

من حين لآخر بيكون عندنا مناقشة أو مناظرة أو جلسة عامة بخصوص انهاء استعمار المعرفة أو عن توجهات ما بعد الاستعمار في العلوم الاجتماعية في مؤتمر رئيسي. في الواقع أنا رايح الشهر الجاي كمتكلم في لقاء رابطة بلدان الشمال الأوروبي لعلم الاجتماع في فنلندا على وجه التحديد بخصوص هذه القضايا. عشان كدا فيه اهتمام بهذه النوعية من القضايا. لكن على الجانب الآخر، الجامعات أصبحت في بعض النواحي تقليدية أكتر وأفاقها أضيق بسبب دمجها بشكل محكم في الاقتصاد العالمي الليبرالي الجديد، فأصبح التعليم الجامعي كسلعة. هذه الجامعات مثل الجامعة اللي بأعمل فيها بتعمل أكتر وأكتر كشركة لجني الأرباح وأصبحت مهووسة أكتر وأكتر بمكانها في قوائم الاتحادات العالمية. واللي بحسب حكمتها التقليدية هتحدد قدرتها على جذب الطلاب الأجانب اللي بيدفعوا رسوم أعلى، وبالطريقة دي هيكسبوا فلوس أكتر وأكتر. وعشان تظهر في مكانة كويسة في قوائم الاتحادات العالمية للجامعات، لازم تنشر لأشخاص بينشروا في المجلات الرئيسية المرموقة. وفين هذه المجلات الرئيسية المرموقة؟ في أمريكا الشمالية وبريطانيا وفرنسا.

هناك ضغط مؤسسي كبير على الباحثين في الدول مثل أستراليا علشان يركزوا منشوراتهم في منافذ الشمال العالمي، وهذا معناه بالتأكيد إنك لازم تنشر وفقًا لمواثيق المعرفة باستخدام النظريات المألوفة للمحررين والمراجعين لمجلات الشمال العالمي. ودا معناه بالتالي إن النظرية الجنوبية والمعرفة المحلية والشمولية البديلة، كل هذه الأشكال من المعرفة، ملهاش مكان.

هيتم استبعادها من السلع الليبرالية الجديدة للجامعات المتقدمة. عشان كدا هتلاقي نوع من الصراع المستمر. غالبًا هيكون صراع ضمني بين الدوافع الديموقراطية في التعليم وإنتاج المعرفة، وبين قوى النظام الهرمي والسلع والاتفاقيات.

في الواقع أنا بشوف أنه من الصعب جدًا التنبؤ باللي هيحصل. ربما هيكون هناك تقسيم متزايد، فمن جهة هيحصل نوع من تقلص النظام الهرمي الضيق لجامعات النخبة، وعلى الجانب الأخر هتكون هناك استجابات ديموقراطية، لكن نظام التعليم العالي هيكون أقل في موارده. هذا مستقبل محتمل.

 ويل بريهم: احنا بنشكر حضرتك جدًا على انضمامك لينا في برنامج فريش ايد.

راوين كونيل:أنا سعيد أني أكون معكم.

ويل بريهم: إلى اللقاء!!



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Will Brehm:  2:12
Raewyn Connell, bienvenue à Fresh Ed.

Raewyn Connell:  2:15
Je suis heureux d’être ici.

Will Brehm:  2:17
Dans un article récent pour l’Université de Johannesburg, vous avez partagé certaines de vos réflexions sur la décolonisation des connaissances. Pour que vous puissiez décoloniser le savoir, il faut d’abord qu’il soit colonisé. Alors comment voyez-vous la colonisation du savoir ?

Raewyn Connell:  2:40
Eh bien, cela a un nombre de dimensions.

C’est une question très sensible en Afrique du Sud en ce moment parce qu’il y a un mouvement Rhodes Must Fall à l’université du Cap, mais c’est aussi une question qui concerne le monde majoritaire, le monde postcolonial, depuis des générations, en fait. Et c’est un problème, maintenant, bien sûr, en raison de ce qui s’est passé au cours des quatre ou 500 dernières années, avec la création d’empires mondiaux, puis d’une économie mondiale dont le centre se trouve dans les pays riches du Nord. Et en parallèle à ces économies matérielles, si vous voulez, il y a une économie de la connaissance dans laquelle les informations, les concepts, les modes de pensée, les méthodologies, etc. circulent et s’échangent, et qui a été très fortement façonnée par la croissance des empires, et ensuite par l’inégalité comme c’est le cas de l’économie néolibérale. Et c’est à cela que nous faisons référence lorsque nous parlons de la colonisation de la connaissance ou de l’interconnexion, si vous voulez, entre le colonialisme et la mise en place de la connaissance. Nous avons donc maintenant dans le monde une économie de la connaissance de la formation dominante du savoir dans laquelle le monde colonisé a été très important historiquement, mais n’a pas contrôlé ce qui se passe.

Et dans la mesure où les travailleurs intellectuels de la périphérie mondiale ont pu prendre part aux dernières générations, ils ont dû fondamentalement le faire dans les termes qui sont fixés par les institutions de la connaissance du Grand Nord, reflétant leur point de vue sur le monde et leurs expériences historiques. Ainsi, lorsque nous parlons de la décolonisation du savoir, nous parlons des différentes façons dont cette histoire et cette structure massive d’inégalités actuelles sont abordées et contestées et lentement, à petits pas, graduellement modifiées.

Will Brehm:  5:10
Donc, vous dites que les économies de l’empire et du néolibéralisme façonnent ce savoir dominant qui colonise le savoir dans le monde entier.

Raewyn Connell:  5:23
Absolument. Et c’est un point tout à fait familier en fait, dans l’histoire des sciences. Ainsi, si vous lisez, vous connaissez, le Voyage du Beagle de Darwin, par exemple, l’un des documents scientifiques les plus célèbres jamais écrits où le jeune Charles Darwin a fait le tour du monde avec son navire de reconnaissance de la marine britannique et a recueilli des spécimens et fait des observations géologiques. Il a regardé les fameux pinsons des îles Galapagos, a observé les récifs coralliens, et de cette expérience, au cours d’une longue période de réflexion et de maturation, mais dans une mesure très importante, est née la biologie moderne, les théories modernes de l’évolution.

Et vous pouvez conter ce genre d’histoire ou vous pouvez voir des éléments de ce genre d’histoire dans l’histoire de nombreux autres domaines scientifiques, aussi. L’astronomie, par exemple, vous savez, la moitié des cieux, si vous voulez, sont visibles depuis l’hémisphère sud. Les connaissances de l’hémisphère sud ont été très importantes dans certains domaines de l’astronomie. Dans les sciences sociales aussi, et c’est en quelque sorte la première façon dont j’ai compris ce genre de questions parce que je suis sociologue. Quand on regarde l’histoire de la sociologie, on nous donne divers mythes sur la façon dont il s’agissait de la modernisation en Europe, de Weber, de Marx, etc. Mais en fait, si vous regardez les tout premiers jours de la sociologie, il s’agissait très majoritairement des connaissances du monde colonisé qui ont été intégrées dans un récit du progrès au 19e siècle et de ce que j’appelle l’image ou un modèle de la différence globale entre les primitifs et les avancés, mais qui est ensuite devenu le cadre de toute la sociologie moderne jusqu’à l’époque de la première guerre mondiale environ.

Ainsi, la rencontre entre les colonisateurs européens et les sociétés colonisées a été réellement formatrice pour l’histoire de ce que nous appelons à tort la science occidentale. En fait, elle a toujours été une science mondiale, même si au cours des deux derniers siècles, elle a été essentiellement centrée sur les États riches et puissants du Nord.

Will Brehm:  7:56
Et vous avez dit que souvent, les personnes qui créent des connaissances dans le Sud global ou dans les États postcoloniaux, ou même dans les États coloniaux, utilisent le même cadre et les mêmes concepts que ceux développés par les scientifiques occidentaux ou, vous savez ce qu’on appelle, entre guillemets, “les scientifiques occidentaux”. Pouvez-vous nous donner un exemple de ce qui se passe ?

Raewyn Connell:  8:22
Oh, eh bien, si vous souhaitez, vous savez, vous pouvez vous mettre dans n’importe quel pays de la périphérie et regarder autour de vous, et vous le verrez.

Tous les créateurs de connaissances ne font pas cela, mais c’est, si vous voulez, la formation officielle des connaissances dans le système universitaire. C’est ce qui est reconnu comme une science, c’est ce qui est financé par les agences gouvernementales de financement de la recherche, c’est ce que les Chinois ont mis en place en restructurant le système universitaire, vous savez. Je regarde autour de moi l’Université de Sydney, ici en Australie. Et, vous savez, dans toutes les directions, je vois des gens qui font de la recherche, qui développent des connaissances, dans le cadre de méthodes et de théories et de ce qui est observable et de la façon dont vous vous comportez en tant que scientifique, c’est-à-dire, vous savez, quelque chose comme 97% importé d’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord. Et c’est tout à fait typique des institutions officielles du savoir dans le monde. C’est pourquoi je parle de la situation d’hégémonie mondiale dans la formation du savoir.

Donc, je veux dire à nouveau, si je peux mentionner ma propre discipline de sociologie, vous regardez la revue de sociologie locale, elle est intitulée Journal of Sociology et vous savez, l’article typique y est rédigé par un Australien ou quelqu’un de Nouvelle-Zélande de la région. Et il y aura des données d’Australie ou de Nouvelle-Zélande ou de la région que l’article typique dans le journal, mais le reste du cadre théorique dans lequel se fait sera Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, les maîtres modernes du Nord global ou, vous savez, Marx, Weber, Durkheim – ce sont les pères fondateurs officiels de la discipline.

Et les méthodes qu’ils appliqueront seront à nouveau, en général pas dans tous les cas, mais dans la plupart des cas, les méthodes seront celles qui ont été acquises auprès de personnes ayant étudié dans des universités américaines ou européennes, qui veulent faire des enquêtes ou des analyses qualitatives ou quoi que ce soit d’autre provenant d’institutions du Nord ou suivant des modèles du Nord considérés comme une véritable sociologie scientifique. Et si vous opérez d’une autre manière, vous êtes considéré comme, vous savez, pas un vrai, vous risquez d’être considéré comme un sociologue pas correct ou faisant quelque chose de bizarre ou d’étranger aux activités réelles de la discipline, Et cela n’est bien sûr pas propre à la sociologie ; c’est vrai dans toutes les disciplines, à l’exception peut-être d’une discipline d’études postcoloniales où cela existe, ce qui n’est pas très souvent le cas.

Et les petits bouts de l’université où des morceaux de savoir indigène commencent à s’insinuer mais qui sont très, très marginalisés et dans certaines parties du travail de l’université, par exemple la recherche biomédicale, vous ne les trouvez pas du tout.

Will Brehm:  11:56
Parlons de certaines connaissances indigènes ou de ces autres façons de mener des recherches en utilisant des méthodologies et des théories différentes de celles que l’on trouve dans le Grand Nord ou à l’Ouest, en particulier en Europe. Pouvez-vous donc décrire certaines de ces manières alternatives de théoriser ou d’utiliser des méthodes différentes de celles de Bourdieu ou de Durkheim ?

Raewyn Connell:  12:24
Oui, eh bien, la première chose que vous diriez est que l’idée même de concevoir ou de mener des recherches est, si vous voulez, ancrée actuellement dans la formation dominante du savoir. Ainsi, par exemple, les membres des communautés indigènes d’Australie, qui sont considérés comme des porteurs de connaissances, ne se considèrent généralement pas comme des chercheurs. Ils se considéreraient comme des porteurs de connaissances, de sagesse, de savoir-faire. Le savoir comprendra en fait une grande partie de connaissances empiriques, d’informations empiriques, de données sur leur pays, sur leurs relations sociales, sur leur peuple qui feront partie de leur savoir, mais il n’est pas organisé sous la forme d’une entreprise de recherche où vous publiez des résultats dans des revues évaluées par des pairs, etc. Nous devons donc toujours comprendre que les formations de connaissances sont des processus sociaux, des constructions sociales, qui avaient une base institutionnelle et que l’université moderne est, à quelques exceptions intéressantes près, mais c’est en grande partie vrai, organisée institutionnellement autour du système de connaissances orienté vers la recherche et dominé par le Nord. C’est pourquoi nous pensons à la “science occidentale”, entre guillemets.

Nous nous intéressons donc à différentes pratiques de connaissance, parfois à différentes bases institutionnelles, si nous pensons, par exemple, qu’il existe un autre type de formation de la connaissance, à savoir le savoir islamique, la science islamique. Nous nous intéressons à une histoire institutionnelle différente parce que, historiquement, les savants islamiques ont été organisés en différents types d’institutions selon le modèle de l’université européenne, bien qu’il y ait maintenant une tentative, bien sûr, ces cent dernières années environ, de synthétiser cela dans le monde islamique, et non dans le monde chrétien.

Et dans certains pluralismes institutionnels, dans ce genre de contexte, si vous observez les communautés indigènes, disons en Amérique du Sud, ou en Australie, ou dans les îles du Pacifique, vous observez des groupes qui n’ont pas historiquement eu de grandes institutions de la connaissance comme le modèle islamique ou européen. Et là, la base institutionnelle de la connaissance est susceptible d’être les cérémonies, les classements par âge, les cohortes, les communautés sous une forme différente.

Il sera donc assez difficile de sortir de ces contextes, une sorte de connaissance abstraite. Étiquettez-le comme connaissance indigène et, disons, d’accord, nous pouvons prendre cela comme cadre et commencer à publier dans des revues européennes ou nord-américaines grand public. Ce modèle ne semble pas fonctionner, ou du moins il est très difficile à faire fonctionner.

Il n’est pas totalement hors de question. Il y a des gens qui ont essayé de le faire, par exemple, en reprenant certaines théories du savant islamique Ibn Khaldoun du Maghreb et de l’Afrique du Nord-Ouest il y a quelques centaines d’années, comme une sorte de théoricien social classique et en essayant de faire une analyse des problèmes contemporains dans le genre de termes qu’il élaborait. Il existe des personnes qui font cela, mais elles ne sont pas très présentes, ni dans le monde de l’érudition islamique ni dans le courant dominant de la recherche.

Will Brehm:  16:48
Je pense qu’il est intéressant que, vous savez, nous essayons souvent de mettre en contraste la science occidentale avec cette citation – entre guillemets, les scientifiques indigènes, si c’est le même genre de, vous savez, corps, ce corps de connaissance qui peut être, vous savez, dans un sens, pris comme la connaissance occidentale, mais vraiment, vous dites qu’il y a toutes sortes de façons différentes dont la connaissance est formée, et les économies de la connaissance fonctionnent.

Raewyn Connell:  17:17
Et cela ne devrait pas nous inquiéter, car c’est également vrai dans le Grand Nord. Vous savez, il existe ce système de connaissances formel dans le système éducatif, organisé au niveau de l’élite dans les universités, les instituts de recherche, etc. Mais il existe aussi d’autres formations de la connaissance dans la société pour le Grand Nord. Il y a des formations de connaissances locales, des façons de penser, des façons de savoir, des façons de comprendre le monde naturel que vous trouvez, par exemple, dans les communautés rurales en Europe ou en Amérique du Nord qui ne correspondent pas de manière simple aux institutions de connaissances traditionnelles. Ce n’est donc pas du tout l’Occident par rapport au reste, bien qu’il y ait des relations de pouvoir, et il y a, quand je parle d’une économie de la connaissance, ce n’est pas exactement une métaphore, je veux dire, il y a en fait des flux et des échanges en cours. Et le schéma principal de cela, qui a été souligné en particulier par le philosophe ouest-africain que j’admire beaucoup et qui s’appelle Paulin Hountondji.

Le modèle dominant de l’économie mondiale est que la connaissance est à peu près la même que dans l’économie matérielle. C’est-à-dire que la majorité du monde sert de source de matières premières, tout comme dans l’économie matérielle, vous savez qu’il existe une production de minéraux, de pétrole, de produits agricoles, de cultures et ainsi de suite, qui est expédiée vers le Grand Nord pour y assurer le mode de vie.

Il existe donc un flux de données généralement assez brutes, parfois plus traitées. Et c’est une forme de contestation qui porte maintenant sur la mesure dans laquelle les producteurs de connaissances de la périphérie mondiale sont capables de contrôler le développement et le traitement des connaissances.

Par exemple, dans le domaine du sida : La recherche sur le sida est désormais dominée par les chercheurs biomédicaux, avec une forte présence des sciences sociales également. En effet, le modèle dominant de la recherche biomédicale du Nord, le SIDA, implique maintenant des essais multivariés très contrôlés et très importants de différentes formes de traitement médicamenteux de l’infection par le VIH. Et l’ancien modèle était que ce type de recherche était très coûteux. Les deux seules puissances de financement à cette échelle sont les gouvernements du Nord, comme le Center for Disease Control aux États-Unis, ou les entreprises pharmaceutiques également du Nord, et elles veulent donc, si vous payez pour cela, le contrôler. Mais ce recueil de données repose absolument sur certains travailleurs du savoir en Afrique australe, qui affirment de plus en plus que leur expertise et leur travail sont essentiels à ce lieu, ce processus. Ils devraient avoir beaucoup, plus de contrôle, de responsabilité et de reconnaissance dans ce domaine, ce qui leur a été accordé par le passé. Ils ont donc une sorte de contestation des inégalités de la production de connaissances qui se produisent dans cette région, si vous voulez, au cœur de la recherche biomédicale. Et ce n’est pas exactement une confrontation entre les connaissances indigènes et les partisans de la sagesse.

Cela s’inscrit dans le cadre général de la recherche biomédicale, mais c’est reconnaître la dimension mondiale de celle-ci, et les multiples acteurs et formes d’expertise sont impliqués dans la production de formes de connaissances courantes.

Will Brehm:  22:08
Il semble assez similaire à l’exemple que vous avez utilisé précédemment sur Albert Einstein et son travail dans les colonies portugaises.

Raewyn Connell:  22:17
Oui, eh bien, Albert lui-même n’y est pas allé. C’est une belle histoire, en fait.

Je me demande, nous ne considérons pas la physique nucléaire ou la théorie de la relativité, la cosmologie et tout le reste comme les choses les plus nordiques, les plus abstraites et les plus pures de la science.

Et en effet, Albert qui a développé la première version de la théorie de la relativité, lorsqu’il travaillait en Suisse, puis est allé en Allemagne, lorsqu’il travaillait sur la relativité générale, a publié ses célèbres articles sur la relativité générale au milieu de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Et étant donné que la science est un peu plus internationale que la politique nationale, c’est ce que lisent les scientifiques en Grande-Bretagne. Et quand l’Allemagne, vous savez, a été vaincue pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, a perdu toutes ses colonies, a tout perdu. Ce sont les scientifiques britanniques qui ont trouvé le moyen de tester la théorie d’Albert, qui prédisait la déviation de la lumière sur la gravité, ce qui était impossible dans la cosmologie newtonienne.

Mais Einstein ne s’est pas contenté de le prédire, il a aussi calculé à quel point cela serait probablement mathématiquement possible. Et ce sont les scientifiques britanniques qui se sont alors dit, aha, l’éclipse solaire à venir, que l’on peut observer depuis l’Atlantique Sud. Ils ont donc mis en place des observatoires, voulant une île contrôlée par les Portugais au large des côtes africaines, et l’autre de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique Sud, au Brésil, qui est la plus grande ancienne colonie portugaise, ont fait leurs observations, ont pris cette très célèbre photo du soleil en train de s’éclipser, et, voilà, l’étoile, les images des étoiles proches de la surface dont la lumière passait près de la surface du soleil a été déviée à peu près autant que la théorie d’Einstein l’avait prédit. C’est cette expérience qui a rendu Einstein célèbre dans le monde entier, et c’est la connaissance qui est venue du monde colonisé et postcolonial. Et sans ce lien, vous savez, la théorie de la relativité ne serait pas testée de cette manière.

C’est donc un exemple assez frappant, si vous voulez, de la dimension mondiale de ce que l’on appelle conventionnellement la sagesse et la science. Mais tant de domaines de la connaissance ont absolument dépendu des flux de données et, derrière eux, une certaine forme d’expertise, parfois pratique, parfois de travail de connaissance dans le Grand Sud.

Ce que nous envisageons réellement, c’est une économie internationale de la connaissance, où la richesse et l’autorité sont centrées dans le Grand Nord, où ces institutions du Grand Nord dépendent encore, dans une mesure assez frappante, des flux de données en provenance du reste du monde. Pensez à la science du climat, pensez à tous ces modèles climatiques, les choses ont été tellement au centre du débat politique sur le changement climatique au cours des 10 à 15 dernières années, vous savez, d’où pensez-vous que les données proviennent, une grande partie vient du Sud.

Will Brehm:  26:01
Voyez-vous donc des contradictions dans le flux de connaissances ?

Raewyn Connell:  26:06
Oui, écoutez, il y a toujours eu une contestation de ces processus. Il y a toujours eu un degré de dépendance du Nord. Il ne s’agit pas d’un simple scénario de domination du Nord, de subordination du Sud. Donc la science du Nord, si vous voulez, la science contrôlée par le Nord et opérant dans le Sud, a toujours dépendu des pratiques, des connaissances, des institutions, etc. du Grand Sud, donc il y a une sorte de dépendance. Il y a eu beaucoup d’appropriations, d’appropriations partielles et de changements de ce qu’on appelle la pensée occidentale, les concepts, les séries et les méthodes occidentales dans les pays qui étaient sous influence coloniale ou semi-coloniale. Vous savez, il existe toute une histoire de cela en Inde, il existe toute une histoire de cela en Chine, qui n’a pas été directement colonisée ou quasi-colonisée pendant 50 ou 60 ans, et où toute une paire de générations d’intellectuels, vous savez, s’occupent d’adapter les systèmes de connaissance européens à l’usage des Chinois, ce qui se fait toujours.

Et il a existé – et c’est un point sur lequel je centre ma discussion dans le livre “Southern Theory” – des travaux théoriques qui se poursuivent dans le monde colonisé et postcolonial. Ainsi, bien que la formation des connaissances traditionnelles soit divisée en deux, la théorie et la méthode étant élaborées dans le Nord , la collecte de données se fait à la périphérie du monde. En fait, cela revient à ignorer la production de concepts, de méthodologies et d’analyses par les intellectuels du monde colonisé. Et quand vous allez la chercher, ce que, bien sûr, la plupart des recherches conventionnelles en sciences sociales ne font pas, mais quand vous allez la chercher, il y a une littérature vraiment riche d’analyses sociales du monde colonisé et ensuite du monde postcolonial. Il existe donc une importante tradition d’analyse et de débat culturels en Inde, dans le monde arabe et, plus généralement, dans le monde islamique. Ces débats et analyses intellectuels fascinants, le raisonnement sociologique en Iran, par exemple, sont influencés par l’Islam chiite.

Et, vous savez, dans l’Afrique colonisée et postcoloniale, en Amérique latine, je veux dire que c’est une source riche de ces idées, théories et débats sur la société qui a été historiquement marginalisée des sciences sociales dominantes, mais qui sont là, et au tout début pour contester la situation actuelle.

Alors oui, écoutez, il existe toujours une controverse à ce sujet. Il y a probablement plus de contestation maintenant. Je pense qu’il y a certainement un mouvement en cours dans les sciences sociales au moment de la décolonisation, du genre de la perspective du Sud. Ce n’est pas encore devenu une forme de pensée dominante dans les sciences sociales. Mais elle est certainement très présente en ce moment.

Will Brehm:  30:17
Cela peut sembler une question stupide, mais où trouveriez-vous les idées dont vous parliez en termes de théorie du Sud, par exemple en Inde ou en Iran ? Par exemple, ces idées se trouvent-elles dans des revues de recherche nationales ? Ou apparaissent-elles dans d’autres endroits ?

Raewyn Connell:  30:40
Eh bien, comme je le dis à mes élèves, aucune question n’est stupide. Mais parfois, les réponses le sont.

Vous pouvez en trouver dans les revues académiques, mais pas beaucoup. Pourquoi ? Parce que les revues académiques sont caractéristiques, vous savez, des formes institutionnelles de la formation dominante du savoir et de la tendance à, vous savez, si vous regardez, encore une fois, parce que je suis un spécialiste des sciences sociales, je connais mieux ce domaine, si vous regardez la revue de sciences sociales publiée en Inde ou en Chine ou en Australie ou en Afrique du Sud, vous trouverez généralement cette structure que j’ai suggérée auparavant qui est la théorie du Nord, les données du Sud.

Mais vous pouvez aussi trouver des controverses à ce sujet, vous pouvez trouver des écrits, vous trouverez en fait des écrits sur des intellectuels locaux qui sont sortis de ce cadre. Quand j’ai cherché ce genre de matériel, j’ai cherché très, vous savez, très largement en effet. Je suis allé bien au-delà des sources universitaires conventionnelles.

J’ai fréquenté des librairies de seconde main. J’ai parcouru les bibliothèques. J’ai cherché des genres qui n’apparaîtraient pas, vous savez, normalement dans la bibliographie d’un article de revue de sciences sociales. Ainsi, par exemple, une analyse sociale vraiment très intéressante d’un type comme Ali Shariati en Iran se présente sous la forme d’un sermon.

Il existe une quantité considérable d’analyses sociales dans des livres qui pourraient être considérés comme politiquement controversés.

Permettez-moi de vous citer deux exemples de personnes très célèbres dans leur propre région, mais peu connues dans le Nord. L’un d’eux est Ambedkar, qui a été l’âme dirigeante de la rédaction de la constitution indienne après l’indépendance, un personnage très important. Il a publié une analyse du système de castes, qui était d’ailleurs très critique à l’égard de Gandhi, dont Ambedkar pensait qu’il ne voulait pas vraiment contester le système de castes et l’exclusion sociale de la caste inférieure. Et je pense que c’est un document très intéressant du point de vue de l’analyse sociale des études de stratification en fait. Allez sur un autre continent, l’Afrique australe, et revenons encore une fois à l’histoire – les écrits d’Ambedkar auxquels je pense ont été écrits dans les années 1930 – remontez jusqu’à l’époque de la Première Guerre mondiale, il existe un livre remarquable intitulé Native Life in South Africa écrit par Sol Plaatje et publié en 1916. Sol Plaatje était plus jeune, contemporain de Durkheim et de Weber. Ce livre n’est pas l’histoire d’une ferme africaine ou l’ethnographie d’une communauté indigène. Il s’agit en fait d’une analyse basée sur une recherche sur le terrain de l’impact des lois adoptées par le gouvernement de l’Union sud-africaine quelques années auparavant, appelées Natives Land Act, qui consistait essentiellement à s’approprier des terres indigènes pour les agriculteurs commerciaux blancs.

Ainsi, il s’agit d’un coup d’État massif qui force les familles noires de leurs terres ancestrales à créer une économie capitaliste agricole prospère en Afrique du Sud. Plaatje a été le secrétaire de l’organisation et est devenu plus tard le Congrès national africain, c’est-à-dire l’actuel gouvernement d’Afrique du Sud. Il a parcouru le pays à bicyclette, car il ne possédait pas de voiture, et a effectué un travail de terrain, recueillant les récits des familles qui ont été forcées de quitter leurs terres et les a consignés dans son livre, ainsi qu’un compte-rendu des processus politiques impliqués. Le livre a été publié en Angleterre pour tenter d’influencer le gouvernement britannique afin qu’il passe outre à cette législation, ce qui n’a manifestement pas été le cas.

C’est une magnifique analyse sociale et une recherche sociale. C’est vraiment, je pense, le classique de la sociologie mondiale. Vous n’en entendez jamais parler dans la sociologie dominante, dans l’histoire de la sociologie dominante, vous savez, parce qu’elle est écrite dans un genre différent dans une partie colonisée du monde par un Noir, dont personne dans le courant dominant n’a jamais entendu parler.

Ce ne sont là que deux exemples que je pourrais citer par centaines et il me semble que ce qui existe actuellement en tant que science sociale dominante est terriblement pauvre, parce qu’elle n’a pas accès à cette énorme richesse d’analyses, de théories, de concepts et de données qui existe dans le monde colonisé et postcolonial.

Will Brehm:  37:00
Et il est intéressant que vous ayez montré qu’elle existe historiquement. Et aussi dans le moment présent, il y a beaucoup de travail qui se fait. Alors, avez-vous l’espoir que les universités qui produisent le savoir dominant, c’est-à-dire, entre guillemets, la science occidentale ? Espérez-vous que ces institutions vont changer pour commencer à intégrer davantage cette théorie du Sud ou les connaissances indigènes, tous les différents exemples dont vous avez parlé aujourd’hui ?

Raewyn Connell:  37:36
Je dois dire que je souffle le chaud et le froid sur ce sujet. Parfois, vous savez, lorsqu’une discussion sur certaines de ces questions a lieu, je pense, oui, les institutions traditionnelles peuvent le faire et commencent à y prêter attention et, vous savez, des institutions hybrides qui combinent, disons, la forme universitaire avec le savoir indigène ou avec la théorie du Sud sont en train de voir le jour. Ainsi, par exemple, un groupe d’universités indigènes a récemment été fondé en Bolivie. Et je sais qu’il y a d’autres travaux de ce type en Équateur et qu’il y a des travaux similaires en Aotearoa/Nouvelle Zélande.

Ainsi, de temps à autre, nous organisons un panel, un débat ou une session plénière sur la décolonisation des connaissances, les perspectives postcoloniales en sciences sociales dans le cadre d’une conférence générale. En réalité, le mois prochain, je vais justement parler de ces questions lors de la réunion de l’Association sociologique nordique en Finlande. Elles suscitent donc de l’intérêt. D’un autre côté, les universités deviennent d’une certaine manière plus conventionnelles et plus étroites à mesure qu’elles s’intègrent plus étroitement dans l’économie mondiale néolibérale, comme le montre le fait que l’enseignement universitaire est plus marchand. Les universités, comme la mienne, fonctionnent de plus en plus comme une entreprise à but lucratif et sont de plus en plus obsédées par leur place dans les classements mondiaux.

Et qui, selon les idées reçues, déterminera leur capacité à attirer des étudiants étrangers payants et donc à obtenir beaucoup, beaucoup d’argent. Et pour bien figurer dans les classements mondiaux, il faut avoir publié, des gens qui publient dans les revues les plus prestigieuses. Où se trouvent les plus prestigieuses revues grand public ? En Amérique du Nord, en Grande-Bretagne et en France.

Les chercheurs de pays comme l’Australie sont donc soumis à une pression institutionnelle assez forte pour qu’ils concentrent leurs publications sur les revues du Nord, ce qui signifie bien sûr que vous devez publier dans le cadre des conventions de la connaissance en utilisant les théories et les méthodes qui sont familières aux rédacteurs et aux évaluateurs des revues du Nord, ce qui signifie que, vous savez, la théorie du Sud, les connaissances indigènes, les universalismes alternatifs, toutes ces formations de la connaissance – Autres formations de la connaissance – ne sont nulle part.

Au fur et à mesure des avancées de la marchandisation néolibérale de ces universités, elles seront écartées. Alors, regardez, il y a une lutte en cours. Il s’agit souvent d’une lutte implicite entre les impulsions démocratiques, ce que je considère comme tel, dans l’enseignement et la production de connaissances, et les forces de la hiérarchie, de la marchandisation et des conventions de l’autre côté.

Et en réalité, vous savez, j’ai beaucoup de mal à prédire ce qui va se passer. Il se peut qu’il y ait une scission croissante, une sorte de rétrécissement du corps obsédé par la hiérarchie étroite des universités élitistes d’une part, et des réponses plus démocratiques, mais un système d’enseignement supérieur moins bien doté en ressources d’autre part. C’est un avenir possible.

Will Brehm:  41:55
Eh bien, Raewyn Connell, merci beaucoup d’avoir rejoint FreshEd.

Raewyn Connell:  41:59
Je suis heureux d’être ici.

Translation sponsored by NORRAG.

After her interview, Will Brehm wanted to ask Raewyn an additional question. In this online exclusive, we re-print their email exchange in full below the fold.

On July 29, Will wrote:

Dear Raewyn,

I hope you are doing well. I finally finished editing your show, which will air on Monday. The rough cut is attached here for your listening pleasure. Let me know what you think. I’ll be sure to send you the links to the show once it’s up. I’ll also link to your website in the blog post that will accompany the show.
While listening to the show again, I thought of a question I wish I had asked you. I’ll ask it here, but please don’t feel the need to respond!
I was schooled in the USA from pre-K to masters degree. I then did my PhD at the University of Hong Kong. That school was built by British colonialists. My dissertation research looked at private tutoring in Cambodia. I went to that country, collected my empirical data and then flew back to Hong Kong (or Melbourne, where I also lived) to analyze and write up my findings, using some old guy’s social theory (Henri Lefebvre). In other words, I embody all that you talked about in terms of the dominate way knowledge is produced and flows. I’m stereotypical. So, what advice would you have for someone like me who completely understands the points you make but has a particular history that is hard to escape? How can I resist re-producing the mainstream knowledge?
Thanks again for talking. I had a wonderful time — and learned a lot!
Have a great weekend!
On July 30, Raewyn responded:

Thanks Will, I’ve had a listen, and you’ve made it sound very good!

Sorry I didn’t have some more colourful detail for you.  I think that when I’m lecturing on these topics, I rely a good deal on visuals for the concrete detail and the laughs.  So with audio, I need to find another way to do this.  Any advice you have will be welcome.

Thinking about your question, that was true for me too.  I was brought up in a completely Anglocentric school system, that didn’t even use the arrival of millions of postwar migrants to diversify. I did two university degrees in much the same way.  My PhD, for instance, combined Australian data (collected by me) with theory from an old white guy in Europe (Jean Piaget).

It’s taken me a long time to work some way out of that.  The best advice I can give, really, is to go looking.  I wrote the book “Southern Theory” to encourage people to do that, by telling the stories of some intellectuals and some of their ideas around the global South.

So, for instance, if you are concerned about commodification and neoliberalism, go looking for what intellectuals in India, Mexico, Brasil and Egypt have been saying about it.  Or if you are interested in the short story as a genre, go looking for African short story writers.  Or if you are thinking about environment, find out what Indian feminists or African fishers have been saying about it.

It will take a while, because the knowledge economy (especially databases on the Internet) is not set up for that.  You may need to ask for advice as well as search online – ask colleagues and other people in the region what you should read.  I found some wonderful texts just by haunting bookshops.

In time that will lead you, at a second level, to thinking about the broader, underlying issues that are preoccupying thinkers in the South, or in particular parts of the South.  These issues may be quite different from the issues you began with, and the Northern-origin frameworks you are familiar with.

A current example is the discourse about “trans”.  In the USA, very much influenced by post-structuralism and queer theory, writers about transgender issues have been talking for the last two decades about fluid identities, contesting binary norms, individual rights to self-expression, etc.  And because that’s what’s said in the USA, that’s what circulates globally.  But when I have talked to transsexual women and transgender people in global-South contexts, those are not the issues that mainly concern them.  What concerns them mostly is poverty, violence, housing, family conflict, hostile police – basically, issues of personal and social survival in the local gender order.  It’s a different story.

Best wishes, Raewyn

Human capital theory connects education to the labor market. It posits that more education makes workers more productive, which increases earnings. A more educated and productive workforce subsequently increases the gross domestic product of a nation. This theory has been prevalent since the 1950s and continues to play a central role in minds of both policy makers and parents. You go to school because you will get a better job in the future. The government invests in education because it will have a return on investment in larger GDPs.

My guest today says human capital theory is dead.

Hugh Lauder is Professor of Education and Political Economy at the University of Bath. He specialises in the relationship of education to the economy and has for over 10 years worked on national skill strategies and more recently on the global skill strategies of multinational companies.

Citation: Lauder, Hugh, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 29, podcast audio, July 21, 2016. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/hughlauder/

Will Brehm  0:15
Hugh Lauder, welcome to FreshEd.

Hugh Lauder  0:24
Pleased to be here.

Will Brehm  1:08
Human capital theory is such a common place theory in many respects, because when people think about education, they think of it as for human capital development. What is human capital?

Hugh Lauder  1:54
Okay, so I need to take you back a little to the beginning of the theory. The theory was the first sophisticated account of the relationship between education and the economy, and it said that basically people who were better educated would be more productive. And in being more productive, they would then earn a higher income. So that brought education into the picture because what it required was for higher numbers of people to be educated in order they could become more productive so economies could grow, and their income would also accordingly grow. So that’s the basic idea behind it. And it’s an idea, of course, which has permeated through society. It first began really in Chicago in the 1950s at the university there in the Economics department. And then policymakers took it on board and policymakers thought, “Wow, we’ve got a win-win here. Because what’s happening is that if we increase the opportunities for education, so our economies will grow, so people will gain a greater income.” And at the same time, there’s a kind of connection with social justice. So that, for example, as long as people are prepared to work hard and are motivated in terms of education, then they will get their just rewards. And they’ll get their just rewards because employers will always choose the most talented; those that are likely to be most productive. So underlying what seems like an economic theory is actually also a theory of meritocracy. So that’s the economists, that’s the policymakers. And on top of that, of course, now we have parents and students who are going, “Okay, if I want a good job, then I’ve got to get a good education.” So that’s basically the idea behind human capital theory.

Will Brehm  4:01
And it’s led to some interesting notions in education like this rate of return. Can you talk a little bit about what this notion is?

Hugh Lauder  4:11
Yes, sure. So how do economists know, and policymakers know that this claim that education will lead to increased productivity, which will lead to increased income? Well, not how do they know it, but how do they make that assumption? They make that assumption by saying, “Let’s have a look at the rates of return for different kinds of education and skill in the economy.” And in the past – not now, but in the past – what they seem to have found is that the better educated you are, the greater your rate of return in terms of your income.

Will Brehm  4:52
So more schooling means higher income in the future.

Hugh Lauder  4:55
That was the idea, yes.

Will Brehm  4:58
So it’s like it’s predicting the future in many ways; that’s what they’re trying to do.

Hugh Lauder  5:02
For sure it is.  Yes, they really thought that they had a theory which would actually explain and predict the future. And in fact, it has been a theory which has been around, as I said earlier, since the 1950s. And so in terms of social science theories, it’s one of the longest living. But it’s now coming to an end.

Will Brehm  5:27
Before we go into those critiques about the end of human capital theory, can you talk a little bit about what sort of impact it had since the 1950s on education, on education policy, on education development?

Hugh Lauder  5:44
I think the impact has come about in a number of ways. First of all, one of the immediate forms of impact was in development. So the World Bank took on the notion of human capital theory and has argued consistently, since the 80s, that human capital embodied in educated workers would raise the income of countries and of individuals in developing countries. So that was one clear example of the consequence of that particular theory. But, at the same time, it’s also been the case that in developed countries, it’s been seen that if you can increase your higher education system, then you’ll also get a win-win. You get the win-win because people will earn more money as workers and countries will have higher levels of gross domestic product. So these have been the two major consequences of the theory. But it’s also had an extra twist. And that was the notion of the knowledge economy. And the knowledge economy, which sort of started to develop as an idea in the late 80s, also seem to reinforce the idea that we now needed more educated workers. And the more educated workers there would be, so they would become more productive. And this was known as skill bias theory because at the heart of this form of human capital theory was the idea that technology would drive the demand for higher educated workers. So the skill would be biased in favor of the technology and the demand for higher skills.

Will Brehm  7:34
And it would be education that would provide those skills to operate that technology that is driving the economy?

Hugh Lauder  7:44
Precisely that. Yes. Now in more recent times, economists have become a little more sophisticated in one sense and they’ve started to look at particular kinds of skill for which there’s a higher return. But at the same time they’ve been kind of “atomizing” education into particular kinds of skill. So employers have gone in the other direction, and very often look at potential employees holistically. They want to know about their all-around capability in character, rather than also the specific skills.

Will Brehm  8:21
The work that I’ve done in in Cambodia, I’m just amazed by the prevalence of the idea of human capital being the main purpose of education. It is always meant to build and develop human capital because it will increase incomes, and also increase GDPs of the nation. And the conversations that we have are always about this idea of projecting into the future: what sort of economy Cambodia is going to have in 2030, for instance, and what skills are needed? And it just seems like it’s a fool’s errand of trying to predict the skills that are needed in the economy in 2030 for a country like Cambodia that’s rapidly changing; for a global economy that’s rapidly changing.

Hugh Lauder  9:14
Yes, I think this is a very good point. Let me just step back for a moment and say that in developing countries, there are certain sorts of skill that are clearly required for their development. And these forms of skill are to do with the state and state workers. They’re to do with various forms of craft work, so electricians, builders of various sorts, carpenters, that kind of thing. You need those kinds of skill. But the idea that you can predict in 2030 what’s going to happen is more problematic. And it’s more problematic, because just at the time when these developing countries are emerging into the global economy, so many of the techniques which are adopted in the global economy will hit them hard. So, for example, computer algorithms – what Phil Brown, my coauthor, and I  have called “digital Taylorism” – that is moving up the skill chain very quickly, and robots. So, for example, if you look at China right now, there are less people in manufacturing in China now than there were in 2000. So in other words, many of the techniques which have been used in the knowledge economy – and actually it’s not the knowledge economy, its knowledge capitalism, because capitalism is always trying to reduce the cost of labor, including skilled labor – many of those techniques that have been developed in the developed countries are now being applied to developing countries. So that makes it kind of problematic as well.

Will Brehm  10:57
Let’s shift to your specific critiques of human capital theory. What do you find so problematic about the theory itself, maybe not the method that’s employed by the theory?

Hugh Lauder  11:11
Okay, let’s have a look at the theory itself. We start with education, and that’s meant to lead to greater productivity, which is then meant to lead to greater income for the individual and the GDP of the country. Well, when we look at that set of connections, we find that they are all problematic. They’re all problematic for this reason: That first of all, education. There’s now considerable split amongst economists as to what we mean by education. Is it something as I suggested earlier, which is a form of all-round development of an individual? Or is it about particular skills? And that debate has really not taken off yet, but it will. So the education itself in terms of human capital – ‘what is the capital’ is a problem. Then when you look at productivity, what we see overall is that there are more and more educated people in the world, more and more educated people in particular countries like the UK or USA, and yet productivity is either flatlining or is very uneven. So the link between education and productivity is now become wholly problematic. Then when you look at the relationship between productivity and income, it becomes even more problematic because what you see is that instead of workers getting rewarded for their productivity, since around 1978 to 1980 in the United States and the United Kingdom, what you see is that increasingly, the wealthy are creaming off the productivity of other workers. So there are problems with all these different accounts of the relationship between education, productivity and income.

Will Brehm  13:10
So this would be the Piketty’s argument of the rise of the 1%.

Hugh Lauder  13:16
The rise of the 1% certainly has been, in part, because they’ve creamed off the productivity of other workers, but we need to look more closely at the relationship between productivity and income than what Piketty was talking about. Because as far as I can see, and read him, he does assume that most of the rest of the income that people get is a reflection of their productivity. In other words, he becomes quite orthodox once he’s had to look at the 1% in terms of his account of wage determination, and I don’t think that’s right. You only have to look at feminist critiques of human capital theory – and I’m thinking in particular now of the work of Antonia Kupfer in Dresden – and you see that there are a whole range of jobs for which it’s very difficult to determine productivity. It’s not only super managers, as Piketty would say, but it’s care workers. How do we measure their productivity? Why is it that women who can be very skilled at care work get such low wages? There’s a whole range of different questions that can be asked about this relationship between productivity and income. And the idea that productivity simply determines income is taken as a truism in orthodox economics. But I don’t think we can take it as such anymore.

Will Brehm  14:48
So let’s turn to the way in which human capital theory has been studied empirically. What sort of critiques do you see in the way in which it’s been studied?

Hugh Lauder  14:59
Well the way it’s been studied empirically – I’ll give you a clear example since you raised the idea of 30 years as a future timeline for prediction. There’s work by two leading economists, Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann, and Hanushek and Woessmann have published a series of papers for the World Bank, the OECD, where they look at the quality of PISA data (this is international test data for different countries). And on that basis, they then predict that in the future if countries can raise their education standards and their educational achievement so this will increase GDP in 20 or 30 years by X amount. And that has become kind of a standard way of analyzing the returns to education in terms of human capital theory. But I don’t need to tell you this, you will know it and so will all your listeners, that that kind of assumption simply doesn’t take into account the real world. We know, for example – and this is often an example I use – that when you compare Korea in the 1950s and Ireland in the 1950s, what you see as two countries with large numbers of relatively unemployed graduates. Both countries then began to take off, but if you look at the path of Korea where much of the takeoff was state led, and is still highly state influenced, what you see is a totally different kind of success story to the story of Ireland, which of course collapsed in 2008. So different trajectories for countries based on different ways of developing them produce different results. So what Hanushek and Woessmann don’t really do is take into account strategy, institutions, all the things that actually make a difference to whether countries and individuals in them do well or not.

Will Brehm  17:16
One of the critiques you you put forward is that human capital theory or the scholars who are using human capital theory often employ methodological individualism. And we hear this quite a bit also in other education research, and I just would like to ask, what does that actually mean?

Hugh Lauder  17:37
Sure. Basically, the assumption of methodological individualism (which is an ugly term, I know), the basic assumption is that the only thing that exists in society are individuals, and therefore it is to the individuals that we look to explain educational outcomes, to explain income, to explain the key features of social life and economic life.

Will Brehm  18:06
And so it neglects things like history, and perhaps the privilege that one could get from his or her parents rather than just their individual unique ability to learn.

Hugh Lauder  18:22
Yes, absolutely, that’s correct. So it neglects history. It neglects the structures which govern our societies such as class, patriarchy, racism. They don’t enter the story at all. And at the same time it neglects institutions, specifically institutions of education, for example; institutions that steer an economy. All that is simply discounted in this kind of explanation, which focuses on individuals.

Will Brehm  18:58
So if we were to talk about alternatives to human capital theory, how would you describe the link between education, productivity and income?

Hugh Lauder  19:08
Okay, well, first of all, these are now very, very complex connections. They’re not at all simple in the way that the original theory assumed. So we need to think about this very, very differently indeed. Let me just come back to the issue of structures and institutions. When you look at, for example, skill bias theory, it says that we understand that in the 20th century, technology was skill biased – that actually what happened was that as technology developed, so the demand for skills increased. But when you look at the history, it can be read completely differently. And it can be read like this, it can be read: Well, actually, the basis of 20th century industry was Fordism, the idea that people could put a nut on a bolt on a production line and out would roll many cars, many televisions. All the consumer goods that we now take for granted. These people were not up-skilled, they were de-skilled, because originally the people that made the cars were craftspeople. So that’s where you have what they call “skill replacing”, where the technology replaces the skill, doesn’t enhance or demand an increased skill. So then you say, “Well, where did the skill bias, the skill enhancement and demand for it, come from?” And actually, it came from the large numbers of white-collar workers you needed to run a large corporation like it. So these are the people that did the marketing, these are the people that did the accounts, these are the people that did all the other finance work and the planning.

But in order to understand how those corporations grew, you also then have to go to a much wider political economy. You have to go to a political economy which talks about the structures of the labor market – and here we’re looking at trade unions as well as employers. And back in the 50s, for example, and the 60s, trade unions were very strong, and they could increase their wages so that their workers could then buy the cars that were rolling off these production lines. Now, you’ll see for a moment there that the story I’m telling is a very much more complicated story than the one that skill bias theorists assume. Now, they assume that because in the past, we have had skill bias theories, so we will in the future. But the political economy around skill and skill development has now changed dramatically, and we need to understand it in terms of globalization, not in terms of Keynesianism and the idea that you could get some kind of agreement between trade unions, employers and the state, because now trade unions are much weaker, for example. They’ve been weakened through neoliberalism.

So you need to tell a completely different story. And you tell a story now about globalization and the demand for skilled workers can occur anywhere; it doesn’t have to be in any particular country. Multinational companies can simply say, “Okay, these skilled workers we want, they’re cheaper in Shanghai than they are in London. We’ll shift the demand to Shanghai.”  So you can see that we’re living in a very, very different kind of world in which the sorts of prediction that human capital theorists made, or assumed they could make, simply no longer exist in that particular way. So we need a different kind of theory. But – and here’s the big but – the world we’re about to enter is going to be even more radically different from the one I’ve just described.

Will Brehm  23:16
How so?

Hugh Lauder  23:16
Well, robots.  People make a lot of robots. And I used to be very skeptical about this. But I’ve just been talking to very senior infocom officials in multinational companies, and they tell me they’re scared of the consequences. And if they’re telling me that, then I’m really beginning to sit up and look at the other studies which suggests that robots can take many of the jobs that skilled workers used to take. We are moving, I think, into an era in which jobs and income will become increasingly uncertain for many, including many graduates. And that requires us to rethink the entire relationship between education and the labor market, because the labor market is so radically changing.

Will Brehm  24:12
Right. It’s fragmented and global, and you see further changes in the future.

Hugh Lauder  24:17
Absolutely. And they’re going to cause policymakers huge problems, which I think they’re reluctant to really start thinking about and confronting.

Will Brehm  24:28
Before we we turn to, “What then of education?”, you use this term, “the global auction for jobs”. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Hugh Lauder  24:38
Yes. So this is a book that Phil Brown, and I wrote with David Ashton back in 2011, which has kind of taken off a bit, and it’s taken off because up until then, the assumption was that technology would always lead to an increase in demand for skilled workers, and particularly for graduate workers. The research we did was on the skill strategies of multinational companies. And they told us a very, very different story. And I’ll give you an example of that, and it goes like this: The first interview that we did was with a human resources, very senior executive for a German engineering company in Germany. So the interview was in Germany; multinational company, though. And I said to him, because I have still had the human capital thinking cap on, as it were. I said to him, “Do you have a shortage of engineers?” And he said, “No”. And I said, “Do you get them from Germany?” And he goes, “No”. So I said, “Do you get them from England?” And he goes, “No”. And I said, “Do you get them from America?” And he said, “No”. Now you can see how my mindset was. I was thinking, Germany, Britain, America, right?

Will Brehm  25:58
Right, the place where engineers you thought were being produced.

Hugh Lauder  26:01
Exactly. And I said, frustrated, “Okay, where do you get them from?”  He says, “We get them from China, we get them from India, we get them from Russia, especially if they’re computer engineers and mathematicians. And we get them from Bulgaria, because in the Soviet bloc, this was designated as the leading place for computer analysis and development.” And in that moment, our eyes opened to a whole new world that this guy in two sentences had given us. And that meant that we had to then get on airplanes, and go and interview executives of multinational companies from around the world to see what was going on. And two things were going on: First of all, because they are in such an intense competition, they’re always seeking to drive down costs, and brainpower they want to make as cheap as possible. So “cut price brainpower” we call it. Now you get that because you can get engineers, for example, in China and in India, for a fraction of the price you can get them in the West. So what you see then is the offshoring of jobs, or the movement of jobs, from particular countries like the United States and the United Kingdom to East Asia.

But at the same time, we picked up something else that was going on. And that was this notion of digital Taylorism, the idea that you can take skilled work that graduates used to do and you can break it down into discrete tasks, standardize it, routinize it and then put it into algorithms that you can ship across the world so that work can be done anywhere. So these are the two key features of the global auction. Now, there is one exception to this and that is at the same time as we’re producing all these graduates, highly skilled workers from around the world so then in comes a particular ideology which suggests that it’s only the very few of those graduates who are really talented. And so now on every bookshelf of every HR executive office that we went to, was this War for Talent book. And this is about how you recruit the most talented in competition with your other corporates. So this is the one exception: there are a few people who are now designated as talented. Now, there’s a major debate as to what’s really going on there and whether these people really are talented, or whether it’s just executives or corporations wanting to see a kind of great reflection of themselves in the younger new recruits coming into their company. Because, of course, these people designated as talented earn much more money than everyone else. So that’s the global auction in a nutshell. And that began to open up two debates related. The first was, “No, we don’t live in a knowledge economy. No, if you’re a graduate, you’re not going to enter a world where you’ll be highly rewarded necessarily, where you’ll have status, creativity and autonomy. Quite the opposite might happen, that you’ll be entering routinized work.” And alongside that, and following from that, is the idea that actually knowledge work itself is now being stratified. So that you’ll get an elite which is the talented, you might get another group beneath them that do their bidding, and then you’ll get these routinized workers. So that was why the book cause something of a stir, because we were arguing, for the first time I think, that the idea of the knowledge economy and of human capital and skill bias theory really didn’t work in the way that had been assumed.

Will Brehm  30:01
So what then of education? How do we make sense of education in this this world that you are painting for us here?

Hugh Lauder  30:09
Okay, this is, I think, a really important question. Because if you were to just think that we’re talking about today and tomorrow, then there could be a critique which comes in, especially from the right wing, which is: “Oh well, we’re just educating too many people to too high a level.”  And in itself, that is problematic, because what else are graduates going to do when in countries like the United States and Britain, we no longer have the forms of industrialization where people could do high skilled, high paid work that, for example, still obtains in parts of Germany. So that’s one problem, but there’s a much bigger problem on the horizon. And I kind of signaled it when I talked about the robots. Because if so many of the skilled jobs that we have are going to be done by robots, then what’s going to happen to graduates? What’s going to happen to those who are educated? And I think the answer to that is something like this: We are going to have to give people a basic wage, a universal basic wage. Because the insecurities in the labor market will be so great that many will simply not survive unless they get a universal basic wage. Now, that universal basic wage will enable people to do a number of different things. It will enable them to retrain, to re-skill, for which they will need learning accounts so that they can draw on an account to upscale where they see a need. It will enable them to innovate and to develop different ways of interacting with this world. And the universal basic income will expand the labor market from beyond the confines of a market to work which is seen as important and contributing to society. And of course, care workers would be a clear example of that. So, that’s the labor market part of it in a nutshell. Then what about education? Well, if we’re thinking about that world, and you reflect on that for a moment, the uncertainties of that world, then clearly we need people to be as best educated as we possibly can make them. We need people who are reflective, alert, resilient in order to be able to make the best of the opportunities they have. So education becomes more important in these terms than in the past.

Will Brehm  32:41
Well Hugh Lauder, thank you very much for joining FreshEd.

Hugh Lauder  32:44
It was a delight. I hope it was of some value to you.

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