Two young school girls in uniform on their way home after class. Kigali, Rwanda. Credit: Sarine Arslanian

This review seeks to explore education policies and issues in the Global South with a focus upon the continents of Africa and Asia and upon formal education in the form of primary and secondary education.

This review is structured in three parts.

  • Part A seeks to present a detailed historical overview of key international stakeholders that contribute to education policy and practice in developing countries. It then presents a descriptive overview of the key policies and goals.
  • Part B discusses various themes and issues pervading the landscape of education in developing countries particularly relating to the research themes of SHLC.
  • Part C hones in on those themes pervading urban contexts in relation to education and developing countries whilst also considering the way in which migration and displacement, whilst not confined to the urban, intersect with education and the urban.

A review of education policies, themes and issues in developing countries is inevitably bound up with the role of education in international development. This field is complexly fascinating, comprising numerous disciplines (sociology, education, politics, critical studies, gender, health, cultural studies etc.), lexicons, theoretical perspectives and critiques, drawing upon both the quantitative and qualitative research traditions. Amidst this complexity, however, one headline conclusion is clear in relation to education in developing countries: whilst patterns and trends are shaped by global structures, policy and discourses, it is local contexts and cultures that shape what plays out in practice. Nonetheless, there remain commonalities across countries, the latter of which is the core focus of this review and is woven throughout the discussion that follows.