15: The Dialectics of Education and Development in Central America and the Latin Caribbean

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One characteristic of the relationship between education and development in Central America and the Latin Caribbean (CALC) is its dialectical nature. Although research on the region rarely speaks to this characteristic, it is clearly evident when looking across the cases presented in this volume. By dialectical nature, this chapter refers, first, to the reality that education helps to resolve or reduce tensions between the state and capitalism and, second, to the fact that the ways in which this tension is resolved repeatedly creates new opportunities for a range of international actors to insert themselves into education reform dynamics in the region. Involvement by these actors, together with counterparts from state agencies then proceeds – typically while ignoring or without input from teachers, students, and families – until a new crisis emerges, at which point the cycle repeats itself. The goal of this chapter is to make explicit that which is typically unacknowledged or insufficiently addressed in research on education in CALC – that is, the extent to which education is inextricably linked to and constrained by tensions and incentives produced as a result of the relationship between the state and the global capitalist economy.

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