Adjusting inequality: Education and structural adjustment policies in Tanzania

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Abstract

International economic forces increasingly affect policy at multiple levels and in multiple domains. The interplay of three levels-international, national, and local are underresearched in the social and educational policy fields, which includes educational policy studies. In this article, Frances Vavrus employs ethnography to investigate how these interactions play out in a Chagga community in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. She examines how the lives of secondary students in Tanzanian schools are affected by structural adjustment policies, adopted by Tanzania at the advice of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in three domains: access to schooling, opportunities for employment, and the risk of HIV/AIDS infection. She makes a convincing case for the importance of understanding the local setting in the development of international and national policy, and for investigating the impact policy change in noneducational sectors has on educational realities. Vavrus's research also provides a glimpse into the multiple local consequences of the policy of user fees for school access that were implemented over the last fifteen years in Tanzania and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. She concludes with a call for the research community to consider the benefits of ethnography in the development and evaluation of policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-201
Number of pages28
JournalHarvard Educational Review
Volume75
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

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