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May 02 , 2009

Education and Social Transition in the Third World


Through a comparative analysis of educational theory and practice, this analytic overview illuminates the larger economic and political changes occurring in five peripheral countries – China, Cuba, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Nicaragua – commonly viewed as in transition to socialism. Current political patterns and leadership in these countries have emerged in the context of predominantly agricultural, industrially underdeveloped economies. Each state has played a major role in social transformation, relying on the educational system to train, educate, and socialize its future citizens. Discussing the similarities and differences among these states, the authors show the primacy of politics and the interaction of material and ideological goals in the process of social transition, and how shifting policies reflect and are reflected in educational change. This collection first examines critical analyses of education in capitalist societies, both industrialized and peripheral, and explores the utility of those perspectives in the political and educational conditions of the countries under study. Together these essays offer the first systematic explanation of how and why education in socialist countries undergoing rapid change differs from education in developing capitalist countries. Contributions to the study were made by Mary Ann Burris, Anton Johnston, and Carlos Alberto Torres.

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Originally published in 1990.

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