The politics of competencies: policy trajectory study of the re-contextualisation of 2009-2011 competency-based curricular reform of Mexican primary education

Tromp, Rosanne Elisabeth (2016) The politics of competencies: policy trajectory study of the re-contextualisation of 2009-2011 competency-based curricular reform of Mexican primary education. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In this thesis I study the politics of the re-contextualisation of the Mexican 2009-2011
competency-based curricular reform to primary education, aiming to understand the
processes of “complex contestation, resistances and refractions at play between policy
text production and practice” (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010, p. 84). Increasingly, education
policy ideas such as competency-based education emanate from the global field. It is
less clear how and why these are re-contextualised in local conditions, and ultimately
connected to either trends towards homogenisation or heterogenisation of education
practices. I argue that the re-contextualisation of education policy needs to be studied
at countries’ (sub)national scales to understand how curricular approaches that draw on
global discourses and imaginaries are re-contextualised differently.
Drawing on the post-structuralist work of Ball (cf. 1994, 2012), Buenfil-Burgos (cf. 2000)
and Rizvi & Lingard (cf. 2010), I apply a policy trajectory study to trace the processes of
interpretation and enactment of the idea of competencies by different actors both
‘vertically’ (at international, national, state and school scales) and ‘horizontally’ (in the
states of Michoacan and Durango). This allows for an understanding of the curricular
reform as being given meaning and enacted within multiple and contested discourses
that are informed by different social imaginaries, as it was struggled over at different
scales and in different contexts. The analysis focused on the idea of competencies as a
floating signifier and suggests that its meaning was fixed, first, within different
competency discourses to produce heterogeneous curricular texts. Second, key
interpreters, such as teachers’ unions, played a significant role by representing the
meaning of competencies differently at different scales and contexts. And, third,
meanings of competencies changed through its enactment within the different material
and political contexts of teachers’ classrooms. The research suggests that these
processes produced heterogeneous competency practices.
I contribute to the study of the re-contextualisation of education policies that draw on
global education imaginaries by expanding the methodological tools of a policy
trajectory study and applying it in Latin America. The findings have implications for
understanding the politics of the re-contextualisation of education policies as an active
struggle to define the meaning of floating signifiers by key interpreters, and by allowing
a better understanding of the role of political and material contexts in producing
unique meanings, practices and outcomes at the (sub)national scales.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Users 9280 not found.
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 09:30
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019 08:20


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