TOWARD A NEW ETHIC
The effect of current economic, political, and cultural conditions on national and regional communities in different parts of the world suggests the need to conceive of a new strategy for international cooperation, capable of improving global security and the collective quality of human life. In this context, we must re-evaluate the role of international organizations of technical and financial cooperation, stressing their mediating and articulating role in search for a shared international agenda. Establishing a shared international agenda requires a participative, horizontal, and democratic relationship among the different nations and regional communities of the world, especially between rich and poor countries and regions. As all countries of the world are deeply interdependent, there is no longer space for hostile confrontations. A new ethic of international cooperation imposes itself: the ethic of solidarity, of collective participation, of horizontal political and economic relationships among the countries of the international community.
Traditionally, international development cooperation has been carried out by means of technical assistance and financial aid. The emphasis has been on assistance and help rather than on cooperation and collaboration. Such an assistance-based approach to international relations suggests that rich countries have the solutions for poor countries with problems. The international development experience reveals that in general the hierarchical and interventionist assistance-based approach has been inadequate to solve the problems of the affected countries. Consequently, many programs of international assistance have failed. Such failure is especially evident in many loans from foreign credit agencies. According to Reimers, sometimes international debt-financed educational reform helped to bring about its own demise.1 Assistance-based development has reinforced dependence, dependence has increased poverty, poverty has hindered global security and the collective quality of human life. Thus we must look for a more pragmatic kind of cooperation, defined in terms of a more productive association among the nations of the international community, based on mutually acknowledged values and interests.
Assistance-based international support is founded upon the premise that there are donor countries and recipient countries of international technical and financial aid. Traditionally, the so-called donor countries have established a number of goals for the recipient countries, such as, reducing poverty, defending human rights, promoting human development and cultural identity, supporting education and science, protecting the environment, etc. Unfortunately, the history of technical assistance and financial aid since World War II reveals that, in real terms, success has been limited and some results have been disturbing because of inadequate direction. For example, statistics reveal that traditionally little help effectively goes to poorer countries and populations. According to United Nations data, 40% of the relatively richer countries of the Third World receive double the help per capita than the 40% poorer countries.2 This orientation especially affects bilateral assistance. Data also reveal that assistance does not give priority to promoting human development and the quality of life. For example, the so-called donor countries commit only 7% of bilateral assistance to education, health, nutrition, water supply, and family planning.3 Multilateral organizations have historically assigned 16% to these prioritary areas of human development.4
Nevertheless, recent decisions adopted by inter-governamental organizations, such as the Organization of American States and the United Nations, and by international credit agencies, like the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, assign a new priority to social development. Gavirias call for a new focus on social development is widely shared by the international community.5 Based on the spirit of the 1994 Summit of the Americas, he revindicates renewed attention to social development as opposed to the traditional emphasis on economic growth. The same spirit inspired the decisions adopted at the 1995 World Summit on Social Development, held in Copenhagen under the auspices of the United Nations. Likewise, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has a history of growing support to the social sectors and the civil society of its Member States. IDB, which in 1994 approved over 5.200 million dollars in loans for development projects, has allocated 61% of this amount to the social sectors education, health, urban development, and security. According to Iglesias, this year, the Bank received a new mandate from its Member States to earmark 40% of the funds and 50% of the number of credits to the social sectors.6 In this context, IDBs Division of Social Projects and its Unit of Human Development, as well as the recently created Inter-American Institute for Social Development face program challenges of great proportions.
According to the 1994 UNDP report on human development, the distortions identified in the supply of bilateral services of technical cooperation are stimulated by both the providers of technical assistance and the receivers. Providing countries often want to link assistance to their commercial interests and look for internal and external political dividends rather than for real benefits for the receiving countries. Receiving countries prefer to negotiate projects with internal political impact rather than participating in cooperative activities for genuine human development and the quality of life. Sometimes, there is limited planning and negotiating capacity in poor countries. On the part of the providing nations, often no clear criteria exist for approving assistance and credit programs. Instead an open agenda often favors eventual strategic manipulation of allies from governmental or inter-governamental bureaucracies. Such distortions suggest the need to establish a new agenda of international cooperation, based on a substantial redefinition of goals and the adoption of qualitative criteria and values which are collectively shared. The policy orientations adopted at the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami represent a promising move in that direction. Without a redefinition of goals and without a new ethic of international cooperation committed to the defense of national interests and cultural identities and the promotion of equity among nations, mankind runs the risk of widening the gap between poor countries and rich countries. Any expansion of international inequity will cause a growing deterioration of global human security and quality of life, affecting developing countries as well as industrialized nations.
In sum, the transition toward the new millennium points to a new era in world politics and economics, which implies a new strategy of association and cooperation among the countries of the international community. According to such an associative strategy, instead of donor and receiving countries, all nations are partners, participants or allies in a global international effort of cooperation for sustained development based on solidarity. The concept of solidarity implies a correct share of contributions to and benefits from the overall international cooperative effort. This is the orientation adopted by the nations of the Inter-American System at the 1994 Organization of American States Special General Assembly on Development Cooperation, held in Mexico, and at the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami. According to these new international policy orientations, assistance should give way to cooperation; authoritarianism, to democracy; and political and cultural dependence, to sovereignty in international relations. Only in this way can we construct a world capable of promoting the collective quality of human life, based on a genuine respect for national identities and a commitment to international equity.
These observations are particularly relevant for organizational sociology, public administration, and educational management. National identity and international equity are values that should be fundamental to the conceptual and analytical developments of the social sciences in the North and the South, as well as in the East and the West. In this sense, the problems rooted in the phenomenon of dependence cannot be solved in a context of international isolation, since inevitably the particular and the universal converge, as do the national and the international. In fact, recent sociological interpretations within the context of Latin American thought reveal that organizations of poor countries cannot ignore the urgent need to redefine pragmatically their relations of international interdependence. This is due to the fact that organizations, as well as citizens of all countries, live in an increasingly global world, formed by interdependent nations and institutions. Consequently, although people and organizations all over the world are expected to develop local and national loyalties and identities, they need to assure themselves that the primary loyalty is directed toward the general well-being of the whole of mankind.7 This orientation implies a new ethical responsibility on the part of all countries, with the purpose of constructing an equitable international system. With this intellectual orientation, organizational theories and educational management paradigms conceived from the needs and goals of concrete societies can make transcendental contributions to the collective well-being of mankind.
It is important to understand the impact that todays unparalleled international transformations have on national sovereignty and international integration. Beyond the economic and technological changes at the outset of the new millennium, penetrating cultural and political changes are affecting international relations, national development, and human life. One of todays challenges is to defend and promote national sovereignty and cultural identities at a time when social systems and cultural symbols are rapidly exchanged and socialized throughout the world. In facing this challenge, international organizations must consider how technical cooperation can strengthen or weaken national efforts developed in a global perspective.
In this global context, Farrell8 makes a very relevant contribution in the specific field of education, revealing which characteristics and patterns of technical cooperation favor or hinder educational innovations and reforms in rich and poor countries. The Canadian scholar proves that there are no prescriptions for educational reform, nor any prescriptions for technical cooperation to support policy-making and reform implementation. Nevertheless, his critique of the international experience in this field has taught some important lessons. For example, today we know that technical cooperation requires a previous knowledge of local conditions under which cooperative action is developed. We also know that experiences are not automatically transferable, because what works in one place does not necessarily work in another. Along these lines, Farrell argues that, within Latin America, studies and experiences of a specific cultural community are not automatically generalizable to other communities. Enlarging his argument, he also claims that results of research carried out in North America are not automatically transferable to South America.9 Hall confirms this thesis in his anthropological studies, in which he reveals that children of different cultures learn in different ways.10 Thus we need to conceive specific pedagogical solutions to solve specific problems in specific cultures. For these reasons, it is disturbing that international agencies and agents simplify problems and solutions in their activities of technical and financial cooperation, based on a universalistic interpretation of the international state of the art in a field of knowledge. The inadequacy in this kind of procedure jeopardizes the effectiveness and relevance of the management of international cooperation.
It is possible to draw a number of additional conclusions from Farrells studies and from similar evaluations. One problem confronting national and international specialiststs concerns the institutional demands and the administrative exigencies of both national and international agencies of technical cooperation and financial aid. Practices of national and international organizations rarely harmonize with the slow, complex process of educational reform and social change. Frequently, national and international organizations are not prepared to perform one of the most transcendental educational tasks: developing the capacity to innovate while also diffusing innovations. According to Garcia, innovation is often just a desperate attempt to modernize, based on a cultural transplant and on the importation of models which often hinder the generation of native solutions.11 In order to change this situation, national and international organizations must be prepared for the pursuit of substantive transformations in education and society. National and international specialists often behave as if educational change were an essentially technical subject instead of a political one.12 Such experts are often under severe institutional imperatives to deal with large educational investments which may be unrelated to real development needs. Finally, technical cooperation activities are often decided upon by technically unprepared agencies and committees, and services are administered from distant bureaucratic offices with limited local participation.
Despite these and other difficulties, it is possible to highlight successful experiences of international cooperation in the field of education and educational management. For example, the international movement toward universalizing basic education in the decade of the 1990s stems from a favorable international atmosphere created through the mediation of the international organizations (UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Baank) which organized the World Conference on Education for All, held in 1990 in Jomtien. Other long-term projects in Latin America include the professional and institutional exchange networks, such as REDUC and REPLAD, urged on by UNESCO in collaboration with other international organizations and academic institutions of the Hemisphere. Likewise, the Regional Programs of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Development implemented by the OAS in the last 25 years have pioneered horizontal cooperation, which has consolidated large networks of national institutions and professionals in different fields. A multinational orientation and horizontal strategy, deprived of traditional forms of assistance-based interventionism, are central characteristics of the referred Regional Programs. Within a specific nation, the innovating experience of the New School program in Colombia is a prime example of successful cooperation between international and national educational institutions. According to some analysts,13 the success of the Colombian program is due, primarily, to a decisive national effort. As for international support, Colombian managers and specialists have been able to establish a national policy agenda, negotiating and implementing it according to the interests and needs of the country. Likewise, in todays educational reform processes of Argentina and Paraguay there is also fruitful international cooperation arried out in light of the policy and technical criteria of the respective national governments.
In the specific field of educational administration, promising national and international efforts to construct and reconstruct theoretical and praxeological perspectives now face the challenge of cross-cultural cooperation for scientific and technological development in education. Many of these efforts are carried out in national universities, and in local research and teacher training centers of the Hemisphere. Other efforts are being developed through the technical programs of international organizations, such as the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) and its International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP); the Organization of American States (OAS) and its Regional Program of Educational Development (PREDE); the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI); and the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLASCO).
Likewise, non-governmental organizations in the field of education and the social sciences are developing more international activities. In this context, valuable efforts are carried out by professional and scientific international associations dedicated to educational management, such as: International Intervisitation Programme in Educational Administration (IPP), Commonwealth Council for Education Administration (CCEA), European Forum for Educational Administration, Inter-American Society for Educational Administration (ISEA), Caribbean Society for Educational Administration (CARSEA), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), and many other international non-governmental institutions.
Finally, in many countries, it is possible to highlight the increasing academic activities developed by national associations of educational administration and university management, such as, for example, the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) and the American Educational Research Association in the United States of America; the Brazilian National Association of Professionals in Educational Administration (ANPAE) and the Brazilian National Association of Research and Graduate Education (ANPEd); the Canadian Association of Educational Administration, among many other similar institutions. The specific field of university administration has wittnessed a growing number of national councils of universities, and of regional and international associations of university presidents. The research projects, scientific conferences, professional publications, and the training activities of these and other non-governmental organizations present valuable forums for a constructive cross-cultural debate.
The cross-cultural perspective on education and educational management is also reflected in studies carried out in North American and European universities, which address the phenomenon of international interdependence in sociology and education.14 For example, in the specific field of educational administration in the United States, the cross-cultural phenomenon was highlighted by Lynch15 in his state-of-the-art address delivered in New York, at the 1982 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. This concern is stressed in subsequent theoretical developments in North America, as for example, the recent book edited by Capper16 on Educational Administration in a Pluralistic Society. Capper and her collaborators adopt a multicultural management approach based on the concepts of identity and equity and is concerned with the needs and demands of non-dominant groups discriminated againts because of class, race, gender, cultural origin, and nationality. In his last book, Culbertson17 highlights the importance of technical cooperation in the field of educational management and analyzes the contributions made by professionals and non-governmental institutions of educational administration, with special reference to the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). Promising research and training developments are also underway in Australia, Great Britain and Canada. The Australian experience follows Bates pioneering work on a critical practice of educational administration.18 In Great Britain, innovating research and training efforts in educational administration keep pace with the work of the new sociologists and critical thinkers in the field of education.19 The Canadian upsurge results in part from the pioneering critical work of Greenfield,20 and from the challenges faced by Canadian scholars involved in the developing countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The studies on comparative educational administration stem from general development theories coupled with comparative anthropological research and organizational studies across cultures. Deblois liberating approach stands out as an important source of more specific studies concerning development and administration.21 In this context, there is a vast bibliography on comparative studies of educational administration which reveals the multicultural potentiality of the experiences carried out in different parts of the world.22
These contributions have important implications for cross-cultural research, training, and technical cooperation in the field of educational administration. The cross-cultural perspective implies a renewed effort to evaluate and redefine research and training. Since culture provides the context in which education is practiced, cultural identity is fundamental to assessing the applicability of organizational and administrative theories as well as research and training methodologies adopted in education. The second fundamental value of educational practice is social equity as a guiding criterion of educational management for all. This orientation implies a reconceptualization of international technical cooperation in education. According to this orientation, technical cooperation is based on the premise that educational systems and their schools and universities should meet, at the national level, the demands and needs of the local community, and educational management should be relevant to students, faculty, and administrative personnel. In the international context, it is necessary to conceive a strategy of educational cooperation capable of promoting a creative intersection of the values of cultural identity and international equity. Such a strategy implies, in turn, a correct articulation of the concepts of national sovereignty and international integration.
To face this challenge, international organizations and national coordinating agencies of technical cooperation must substantially change their internal organizational and administrative behaviors. An effective and responsive international cooperative action also requires a redefinition of objectives and the establishment of clear criteria for negotiating and managing international cooperation services. Finally, it is necessary to overcome the difficulties inherent in power relations among those involved in the traditional technical cooperation process. Horizontalness is the central feature of the new model of technical cooperation required by the new international reality. The concept of horizontalness is based on the premise that all countries and communities have problems and solutions, which means that all countries and communities, as well as all individuals, can learn from each other. Farrells emphasis on learning rather than on teaching23 and McGinns insistence that educational systems should be conceived as learning systems24 reflect a broad consensus among vanguard educational specilists throughout the Americas. More than giving or receiving, it is necessary to share and to cooperate based on mutually acceptable values and interests. Collective action is, thus, a fundamental requirement. Only collective action and democratic participation of all countries of the Americas will allow for a model of inter-American cooperation that promotes, simultaneously, national identities and international equity. The result will be increased global security and an improved collective quality of human life.
A selective bibliography examines the pathways toward a new ethic of international cooperation. In the context of the Inter-American System, Gaviria25 argues that inter-governmental organizations, such as the Organization of American States, should be primarily promoters of international cooperation rather than providers of direct services of technical assistance. In the specific field of educational management in the Americas, Wiggins call for a transactional approach26 to technical cooperation, as opposed to the traditional assistance-intervention framework, highlights an acknowledged concern in a number of vanguard committed intellectual circles throughout the world. In his analysis of the role of scientific institutions and professional associations in the field of educational management, Culbertson27 defends the construction of bridges of collaboration and exchange of knowledge and experiences as a way to ease genuine inter-institutional and international cooperative action in higher education. Farrell28 proposes a model of horizontal intellectual cooperation, being more concerned about ideas and the construction and exchange of knowledge than about the transfer of financial resources or pat formulas.
In the Inter-American System, the concept of horizontal cooperation is rooted in the Resolution of Maracay, adopted in 1968 by the Ministers of Education of the Americas, and which originated the Regional Programs of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Development of the OAS. The concept of horizontalness is complemented by the one of multinationality, which characterizes the multinational projects of education, science and culture that the OAS has been implementing since early 1970s. In the late 1970s, the concept of horizontal cooperation was reinforced and expanded on a worldwide basis within the United Nations System. In the decade of the 1990s, some American countries have created new programs of horizontal cooperation, adopted through a more bilateral orientation in light of their own external policy agendas, but administered in cooperation with international organizations. The Argentine Fund of Horizontal Cooperation (FOAR), established in 1992 through an Agreement between the Argentine government and the OAS, is a successful program which adopts this orientation. Brazil and Mexico are fostering similar programs of horizontal cooperation.
The evaluation of national and international experiences of technical and financial cooperation reveals that it is time to guide international cooperation with renewed realism and rationality. This orientation suggests that in different fields of knowledge there is a world of opportunities for all countries of the international community. In the field of education, this orientation suggests that it is difficult to change the educational system of a country by means of international cooperation. Anyway, this is not the purpose of international organizations in the filed of technical cooperation. Their major purpose is to act as a competent mediators in the creation and cross-cultural exchange of knowledge, innovations, and experiences. Likewise, international cooperation can also support specific local educational innovations and experiences in different countries and cultures. In this context, international organizations can contribute to the effective development of small-scale local and national capacities to innovate. It can also foster the diffusion and exchange of educational innovations beyond national frontiers.
Nevertheless, international cooperation cannot substitute for national action. The political responsibility for transforming education and society lies in the countries themselves, their governments, their institutions, and their people. It remains for the countries and their institutions to define their political priorities and, on this basis, to negotiate international cooperation. In order to achieve their objectives, national institutions as well as international organizations must clearly define their forms of operation and management, develop a deep social sensitivity, and construct a solid base of knowledge about the reality in which they act. The success so far achieved in this matter, although insufficient, testifies to a world of cooperative possibilities among national institutions and international organizations. In the specific field of education in Latin America, the effectiveness and relevance of the services provided through technical cooperation depend, to a great extent, on the capacity for institutional renewal and on shared efforts of national and international agencies committed to education, to sustained human development, and to the promotion of the collective quality of human life.
1. Fernando Reimers, The Impact of Economic Stabilization and Adjustment on Education in Latin America, Comparative Education Review, vol. 35, no. 2, 1991, pp. 319-353.
2. United Nations Development Program, Report on Human Development, 1994, New York, UNDP, 1994, p. 82.
3. United Nations Development Program, Report on Human Development, 1994, p. 83.
4. United Nations Development Program, Report on Human Development, 1994, p. 83.
5. César Gaviria Trujillo, Innaugural Address of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States delivered at the Opening Session of the XXVII Ordinary Meeting of the Inter-American Council for Education, Science and Culture (CIECC), held in Buenos Aires, in February 1995.
6. Enrique Iglesias, Fortalecer la Sociedad Civil, Dirigencia, Buenos Aires, year 14, nº 149, march 1995, p. 67.
7. Denis Goulet, The Quest for Wisdom in a Technological Age, Paper delivered at the Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1985, mimeo, p. 13.
8. Joseph P. Farrell, Educational Cooperation in the Americas, in Jeffrey M. Puryear and José Joaquín Brunner, eds., Education, Equity and Economic Competitiveness in the Americas, Wahington, DC, Organization of American States, Regional Program for Educational Development, INTERAMER 37, Education Series, 1994, pp.67-101.
9. Joseph P. Farrell, Op. Cit., 1994, p. 81.
10. E. T. Hall, Unstated Features of the Cultural Context of Learning, in A. Thomas and E. Ploman, Learning and Development in a Global Perspective, Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Press, 1985, pp. 157-176.
11. Walter E. Garcia, ed., Inovação Educacional no Brasil: Problemas e Perspectivas, São Paulo, Cortez Editora/Autores Associados, 1989, p. 10.
12. Noel F. McGinn, Ernesto Schiefelbein and Don Warwick, Educational Planning as a Political Process: Two Cases from Latin America, Comparative Education Review, vol. 23, nº 2, pp. 218-239.
13. Ernesto Schiefelbein, In Search of the School of the 21st Century: Is Colombias Escuela Nueva the Right Pathfinder? Santiago, Chile, UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1991. For an evaluation of the Colombian educational reform experience, see also G. Psacharopolous, C. Rojas y E. Velez, Achievement Evaluation of Colombias Escuela Nueva: Is Multigrade the Answer? Comparative Education Review, Vol. 37, no. 3, 1993, pp. 263-276; Joseph P. Farrell, Op. Cit., 1994.
14. See, for example, André Gunder Frank, The Sociology of Development and the Underdevelopment of Sociology, in J. D. Cockcraft, A. G. Frank, and L. D. Johnson, eds, Dependency and Underdevelopment: Latin Americas Political Economy, Garden City, NJ, Doubleday and Company Inc., Anchor Books, 1966.
15. Patrick D. Lynch, Dependency Theory and Educational Administration, New York, American Educational Research Association, State of the Art Address, Division A, 1982.
16. Colleen Capper, ed., Educational Administration in a Pluralistic Society, Albany, NY, The State University of New York Press, 1994.
17. Jack A. Culbertson, Building Bridges: UCEAs First Two Decades, Unversity Park, Pennsylvania, University Council for Educational Administration, 1995, pp. 177-207.
18. Richard J. Bates, Towards a Critical Practice of Educational Administration, Studies in Educational Administration, CCEA, nº 27, september 1982, pp. 1-15.
19. See, for example, Lynn Davies, Toward a Gender-Inclusive Theory of Educational Administration for the Third World, in David Marshall and Earle Newton, eds., The Professional Preparation and Development of Educational Administrators: The Caribbean, North Bay, Ontario, Nipissing University College, 1986, pp. 177-191.
20. Thomas B. Greenfield, Theory About Organizations: A New Perspective and its Implications for Schools, in Meredidd Hughes, ed., Administering Education: International Challenge, London, Athlone, 1975, pp. 71-99; Thomas B. Greenfield, Organization Theory as Ideology, Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 9, nº 2, 1979, pp. 97-102; Thomas B. Greenfield, Research in Educational Administration in the United States and Canada: An Overview and Critique, Educational Administration, vol. 8, nº 1, 1980, pp. 207-245; Thomas B. Greenfield,... (Capper, 1994)
21. Claude Deblois, An Emerging Model of Organization, Ph. D. Dissertation for the University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1976. See also Claude Deblois, Challenge to Administrative Theory, Canadian Administrator, vol. 18, nº 8, 1978.
22. See, for example, David G. Marshall, Educational Administration in Developing Areas: A Role for Canadian Scholars, Comparative and International Education Review, vol. 13, nº 1, 1984, pp. 19-37; David G. Marshall and Earle Newton, The Professional Preparation of School Administrators in Developing Countries: Some Critical Issues for Decision-Making, Edmonton, The University Alberta, Faculty of Education, CIED Occasional Paper nº 3, 1983; E. Mark Hanson, Decentralization and Regionalization in Educational Administration: Comparisons of Venezuela, Colombia and Spain, Comparative Education, vol. 25, nº 1, 1989, pp.41-55; M. Hughes, ed., Administering Education: International Challenge, London, The Athlone Press, 1975; Robin H. Farquhar and I. E. Houssego, eds., Canadian and Comparative Educational Administration, Vancouver, The University of British Columbia, 1980.
23. Joseph P. Farrell, Op. Cit., 1994.
24. Noel F. McGinn, Un Proyecto de Investigación y Acción para la Descentralización de Sistemas Educacionales en América Latina y el Caribe, La Educación, Washington, DC, year 31, no. 101, 1987, p. 180.
25. See César Gaviria Trujillo, Innaugural Address of the XXVth Ordinary Period of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), held in Haiti, june 5-9, 1995.
26. Thomas Wiggins, Emmergent Shifts in Administrative Training Models in the Americas, Paper Delivered at the First Inter-American Conference on Educational Administration, Brasilia, Brasil, december 1979.
27. Jack A. Culbertson, Building Bridges: UCEAs First Two Decades, University Park, Pennsylvania, University Council for Educational Administration, 1995.
28. Joseph P. Farrell, Op. Cit., 1994.