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Publication - Dr Angeline Mbogo Barrett

    Social Justice, Capabilities and the Quality of Education in Low Income Countries


    Tikly, L & Barrett, A, 2009, ‘Social Justice, Capabilities and the Quality of Education in Low Income Countries’. EdQual, Bristol


    The paper sets out a theoretical approach for understanding the quality of education in low income
    countries from a social justice perspective. The paper outlines and critiques the two dominant
    approaches that currently frame the debate about education quality, namely, the human capital
    and human rights approaches. Drawing principally on the ideas of Nancy Fraser and Amartya Sen
    the paper then sets out an alternative approach based on a theory of social justice and of
    capabilities. The paper develops an overall understanding of how education quality can be
    understood in relation to the extent to which it fosters key capabilities that individuals, communities
    and society in general have reason to value. It then analyses three aspects of social justice in more
    detail and seeks to relate these to EdQual and related research and debates. Here the focus is on
    an understanding of the distribution of inputs that facilitate the development of key capabilities; the
    extent to which the needs and rights of different groups are recognised in education; and, how
    decisions about education quality are governed and the nature of participation in debates at the
    local, national and global levels. It is argued that a social justice framework can provide an
    alternative rationale for a policy emphasis on quality that encompasses but goes beyond that
    provided by human capital and rights approaches; that through emphasising the importance of
    context and through providing a normative basis for thinking about quality in relation to
    development, it provides a useful starting point for reconceptualising education quality and how it
    can be evaluated; and, that it draws attention to the central importance of public dialogue and
    debate at the local, national and global levels about the nature of a quality education and what
    quality frameworks might look like at these levels.

    Full details in the University publications repository