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Current Issues in Comparative Education, v6 n2 p88-99 May 2004

This article presents West and East African nonformal education projects as a platform from which to view the interrelationship of participation and transformation in the educational experiences of community, NGO, and state participants. In the context of neo-liberal pressures, carried by an international free-market movement in the 1980s, a wave of administrative decentralization initiatives in education rippled across Africa. In the 1990s, a wave of democratization added itself to global decentralization pressures. As these cases demonstrate, the education decentralization process in nonformal education has resulted in varied and often unintended local interpretations, reactions, and ultimately inaction despite nationally and internationally accepted EFA reform directives. The implications of the findings argue for a rethinking of participatory development for nonformal education programs in decentralized systems. (Contains 1 note.)

Descriptors: Nonformal Education, Educational Change, Administrative Organization, Foreign Countries, Educational Experience, Nongovernmental Organizations, Democracy, Gender Differences

Teachers College, Columbia University. International and Transcultural Studies, P.O. Box 211, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. e-mail: info[at]; Web site:

Author: Clemons, Andrea; Vogt, Christina


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