Policy borrowing and teacher professionalism: Tensions in reforming systems in response to SDG4c in the Pacific Islands
Keywords:education policy, teachers, teacher professionalism, developing countries, sustantainable development goals, Pacific Islands, qualitative research
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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Copyright (c) 2022 Anna Hogan, Greg Thompson, Vinesh Chandra
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