The Need for Context-specificity in Global Educational Policy Transfer by Non-state Actors
The Case of "Teach for All" to "Teach for India"
Keywords:Teach for All, Teach for India, Education, Context
The revitalised role of non-state actors such as non-profit organisations and education reform movements in educational provision and delivery has contributed to the global circulation of uninformed transnational adaptation of ideas and practices around educational change. In adapting models in one place for emulation in another place, educational non-profits often lose sight of the local realities, thereby decontextualizing cultural differences and normalizing the language of generalization. Such is the case of the Teach for India (TFI), a non-governmental organization (NGO) working in marginalized districts of India to provide quality education to disadvantaged children through its alternative teacher credentialing program. TFI’s theory of change and intervention approach revolves around the model of Teach for All (TFA), an international movement whose model and belief of equitable educational access and opportunity continues to spread on a global scale through transnational actors. Through an extensive literature review, this article analyses critically and discusses how the TFAll’s Model is operationalised in India, through TFI that was established in 2009 to promote the universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in India. While examining the underlying assumptions that inform the de-contextualisation of the globalised and philanthropy backed reform model, it analyses the key features of the intervention approach and presents the critiques and limitations. Beyond contextualisation, the paper makes a case for the need for non-state actors to take into account significant sociocultural and political differences in voluntary transfer of reform ideas. While acknowledging the significance of policy mobilities in bringing entrepreneurial solutions to educational problems across continents, the article recommends that such transfer must be driven by perceived necessity within local contexts.
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