Large Scale Reforms in Ecuador

How is Ecuador moving away from Neoliberal educational solutions in its large scale reforms? (Tuesday - session 2)

Ecuador's large scale reforms include the removal of barriers that impede school access, changes to the legal framework of education, the focus on including citizens in higher education and to the wholes system in radical ways. They have increased the investment into school infrastructure and equipment and have invested greatly in programs for drop-outs, special needs programs, and for specific groups among others. The wide range of reforms, include measures to encourage the re-valorization of the teaching career and they have increased the wages for teachers, the establishment of a National University of Education, and a national selection system for teachers. The benefits have been that net enrollment in primary education has increased from 91.2% to 95.4% from 2006 to 2011 and in secondary from 47.9% to 62.1%. The researchers suggest that reforms show that a system can gain significantly regardless of where it starts from. One of the challenges is to ensure permanent economic resources for this change.

Some of the ruptures are intended to re-conceptualise education as a right of individuals and communities. They are aimed at a profound change in the structure of national education and at redefining the didactic triangle. Those that contribute to revalorization of the teaching profession are not yet clear in the evidence but time will have to tell, as this is a longer term change.

The country now has a very clear position that it wants to work with countries that have clear positions on more intensive technical assistance and in the areas of transfer of technology, knowledge innovation and what they explain as 'intensive technical assistance' which has far wider transformational objectives to break with the past which involves to some degree changing everything at the same time. It is also a system and system capacity and organisation re-design effort.

The paper that describes these reforms in more detail can be found online if you wish to find out more.

The question is how much of this change is driven from within. It had no plan before 2006 and developed a plan with very simple goals, and it was then passed through a popular vote which provided a very strong social basis to work on this problem. Afterwards, the popular consensus was then led by a radical group of educational thinkers and leaders, but they have been able to gain recognition in the short term and support for the government's plans has been very high. Another question is as to whether the more difficult quality issues will be resolved in the longer term.

Where does the extra money come from ? Ecuador was able to re-negotiate its petrol contracts and has been able to access loans from China to enable it to make new investments.

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