Public lecture IS Academie Education and International Development

Public Lecture 29 November 2012 Between Austerity and SecurityOn November 29, 2012, the IS Academie Education and International Development organised a public lecture titled ‘Between Austerity and Security: Development Co-operation and Education Systems in Low Income Countries’ at De Balie. Dr. Mario Novelli (Centre for International Education, University of Sussex) presented on the effects of the global financial crisis and the new security agenda on international development assistance to education, see abstract below. Ronald Wormgoor (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Lia van Nieuwenhuijzen (Save the Children) were discussants.

As ‘kick-off’ of the evening, a preview of the film ‘Ramiro – a teacher’s journey’ on education in Bolivia (by Mieke Lopes Cardozo and Rikjan Scholten) was presented.

Between Austerity and Security – Development Co-operation and Education Systems in Low Income Countries

Dr. Mario Novelli, Centre for International Education (CIE), University of Sussex, UK

Through insights from the education sector, this presentation provided some initial reflections on the way the global financial crisis and the new security agenda are effecting the rationale, volume, purpose and direction of international development assistance from key OECD donors. Central to the presentation is the argument that crisis and austerity in the West is conditioning the way international development assistance is being understood and utilized and that this becomes intertwined  with a second ‘conditioning’ factor which is the increased concern on ‘security’ by the major international donors, since 9/11 and the onset of the ‘war on terror’. Pressures to justify sending money abroad whilst things are difficult at home, and pressure to ensure that aid projects are contributing to both ‘our’ own security and prosperity are in danger of undermining attempts since the end of the Cold war to make aid more transparent, democratic, accountable and sustainable. The discourses and practices of development agencies funding education have shifted from a focus on education as a human right aimed at the most marginal towards a focused targeting of aid to achieve economic and geopolitical objectives: soft power diplomacy, winning hearts and minds, opening up education sectors to market prerogatives in developing countries and utilizing educational assistance as a mode of cultural influence. All of this is shifting both the geography and content of aid to education. Parallels to the last decades of the Cold War will be drawn to explore the way conditionalities and priorities relating to Western economic and geopolitical interests undermined both the ideals and the outcomes of international development cooperation, and further damaged the credibility of international development assistance as a mode of international solidarity and reinforced its image as a tool of Western domination and control.

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For a video of the lecture and for the IS Academie production ‘Ramiro – A teacher’s journey’, please visit the IS Academie EID video page.

For more information on this event, please contact one of the organisers: Mariëlle Le Mat (research assistant) or Mieke Lopes Cardozo (project coordinator)