Governing education policy in a globalising world : the sphere of authority of the Pakistani State
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This thesis explores the degree of independent action possible by national governments in deciding their education policies – in other words, what may be termed their sphere of authority (SoA) – in the context of globalisation; whereby Pakistan, perhaps more than many nation states, is subject to a variety of geopolitical and economic pressures. This issue is explored through a study of the recent education policy review process in Pakistan that resulted in a White Paper: ‘Education in Pakistan’ in 2007. In exploring the SoA of the government of Pakistan in deciding its education policy priorities, key areas of enquiry include the tensions between national and global interests and their attempted discursive management by the government of Pakistan. The research uses Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as its main methodological resource and looks at two kinds of textual data: interviews with key policy actors and selected policy texts. The methodology of CDA draws attention to the fact that texts are embedded within linguistic, discursive and structural contexts, and that these contexts provide resources that are mobilized by different actors. The textual data resources were analysed to see how language shapes the construction of the White Paper; what discourses are being drawn upon and contested in the articulation of the White Paper and thus what broad power structures shape the White Paper and illustrate the SoA of the government of Pakistan. The findings suggest that the policy review process as illustrated by the White Paper reveals various tensions caused by differences between global and national education policy interests. These tensions are visible in the style and genre of policy; the pursuit of global policy prescriptions; trends to privatization of provision; and disputes over the issue of language and about the ideological principles that should inform educational provision. The research suggests that inclusive and ‘soft’ governance discourse along with a process of consultation were used by the government in an attempt to manage these tensions. The expertise with which the government designed the consultation process and deployed discursive resources sought to establish and maintain its SoA.