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La Educación
Número: (117) I
Año: 1994


The above episode represents one of those “tricky” elements often encountered in attempts to establish education projects in the Third World. The process is often complicated by a wide variety of factors comprising political, cultural and institutional elements. Project establishment, as Heyneman (1983) observes, is therefore “far more difficult” than it often appears. In the above Third Education Project, the establishment process has been rendered difficult through the type of behavior manifested by participating institutions in the decision-making process. Each of the twelve institutions mentioned in Table 2 was a significant actor, guided by its own autonomous, internal value system.

Even so, explanations for delay in project establishment, as contained in the above scenario, are limited. They need to be complemented by explanations derived from other data sources. Government files, in particular those which may be made available for academic research purposes and which were used in this study, tell only one side of the story. Reasons for delay may also be found in select confidential records such as “back-room” reports, confidential memoranda, and minutes of decision meetings. Such data sources may shed further light upon the decision-making process where project establishment is concerned. Data from such “forbidden” sources are, however, difficult to obtain. They are usually concealed for “good” reasons.

Thus, apart from institutional behavior, other reasons for delay in project establishment may be found. Some of these are: individual personalities of key players such as Ministers of Government, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Executive Officers and Project Managers; kick-backs or under-the-table settlements being either not big enough or not made to the “right” institution; ethnic group politics governing the way in which favors or kick-backs are granted; general dislike for foreign technical assistance; macro-dialogue problems which may slow down the process of implementation; and ignorance on the part of local authorities of how to proceed with project establishment.