Post*-PISA/MDGs/EFA Prospects for ‘Education for Development’

In recent years there have been very significant shifts in the forms and purposes in the advice and assistance from countries and organisations in the Global North and West about how to improve education systems of low income countries around the world. For a long time, it has seemed that the OECD’s PISA programme has been the most prominent, and the best recognised, example of advice from International Organisations to the education systems of the world about how to make their education systems more effective. This has occurred to the point where it has become the dominant game in town, and taken on an almost eponymous character.

However, that has started to change more recently, especially with the emergence of SDG4. To a degree such change is based on recognition of the shortcomings of the MDGs, particularly the SDGs’ focus on social and environmental aspects of sustainable development.

Against this background, my paper will aim to compare the intentions, imaginaries, modalities, mechanisms, outputs and outcomes of these changes. The focus throughout will be on the overarching question: who benefits, who loses, and with what consequences for whom?

*The term ‘post’, rather than ‘after’, is used deliberately to imply a relational rather than a merely temporal connection.