Role of non-governmental organisations in basic education policy reform in Lusaka province of Zambia
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Through an exploration and analysis of the roles of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in education policy reform particularly at the Basic Education level in Zambia, this thesis argues that over the past few decades, NGOs have become increasingly visible. Indeed, since the 1990s, many NGOs supporting education have entered the arena of advocacy and policy dialogue with government; yet the success of internationally recognised goals - such as Education For All (EFA) – seem as remote as ever. To address the concern regarding the role of NGOs in education policy, qualitative methodological approaches were utilised. These included interviews, participant observation, focus group discussions and documentary analysis. This research finds that the participation of NGOs in Basic Education Policy Reform in Zambia needs to be “reformulated” to end problems concerning access, inequity and quality in education. Although NGOs are involved in policy through their roles as service providers and policy advocates, the majority depend on foreign donor funding which creates tensions between government strategies and donor priorities. Due to their dependence on international funding NGOs in Lusaka province appear to have made a limited contribution to educational developments. The government of Zambia, because of its indebtness, has accepted neo-liberal policies in education which are frequently tied to conditionalities in aid packages. Therefore, it has been found that NGOs have helped the neo-liberal agenda of donors rather than the needs of local communities and schools. The conclusion one must draw, is that if NGOs are to contribute to minimising educational problems, they need to support policies that are indigenous that put educational needs of all children, especially the marginalised and vulnerable, first.