Policy borrowing and teacher professionalism: Tensions in reforming systems in response to SDG4c in the Pacific Islands

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Abstract

This article examines attempts to professionalize the teaching workforce in the Pacific Islands (PI) in response to the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 4c – Increase the Supply of Qualified Teachers in Developing Countries. The experience of PI educators provides insight into the clash between global standard agendas, driven by targets and indicators, and distinct local realities or vernaculars. Questionnaire data from 82 teacher and principal participants in seven Pacific Island nations and six interviews with education bureaucrats and teacher union officials in Fiji suggest that the goal of enhancing teacher professionalism through credentialism can lead to paradoxical deprofessionalization and Indicator 4.c.1, limit the possibilities of teacher professionalization because of the narrowness of the indicator and the enactment of this in specific systems. The Pacific Islands is an under-researched context that highlights the problems with policy borrowing, particularly regarding the idea that developing countries can measure their way to professionalism. Indeed, more voice needs to be given to local practitioners to better understand their needs and aspirations and how the vernaculars of culture and place can enhance (not diminish) teacher professionalism.

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How to Cite
Hogan, A., Thompson, G., & Chandra, V. (2022). Policy borrowing and teacher professionalism: Tensions in reforming systems in response to SDG4c in the Pacific Islands. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 30, (96). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.30.7191
Section
Teachers and Educational Policy: Markets, Populism, and Im/Possibilities for Resistance
Author Biographies

Anna Hogan, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

Anna Hogan is senior research fellow in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at the Queensland University of Technology. Her research focuses on education privatisation and commercialisation. She currently works on a number of research projects, including investigating philanthropy in Australian public schooling, the privatisation of global school provision, and the intensification of teachers' work.

Greg Thompson, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

Greg Thompson is professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at the Queensland University of Technology. His research focuses on educational theory, education policy, and the philosophy/sociology of education assessment, accountability and measurement with a particular emphasis on large-scale testing. Recent books include The Global Education Race: Taking the Measure of PISA and International Testing (Brush Education) and Privatisation and Commercialisation in Public Education: How the Public Nature of Schooling is Changing (Routledge).

Vinesh Chandra, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

Vinesh Chandra is associate professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at the Queensland University of Technology. His teaching and research focus predominately on technology, STEM and global education. He has led several projects in the Indo-Pacific and Africa. For more than a decade, Associate Professor Chandra has led the SEE Project (http://theseeproject.org/), actively advancing the print and digital literacy agenda in rural and remote schools in developing countries. His book Share Engage Educate: SEEding Change for a Better World (Brill) highlights the work undertaken with his team in eight developing countries through the SEE Project.