Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Education and Social Transition in the Third World

Education and Social Transition in the Third World

Martin Carnoy
Joel Samoff
Mary Ann Burris
Anton Johnston
Carlos Alberto Torres
Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 424
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Education and Social Transition in the Third World
    Book Description:

    Through a comparative analysis of educational theory and practice, this analytic overview illuminates the larger economic and political changes occurring in five peripheral countries--China, Cuba, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Nicaragua--commonly viewed as in transition to socialism. Current political patterns and leadership in these countries have emerged in the context of predominantly agricultural, industrially underdeveloped economies. Each state has played a major role in social transformation, relying on the educational system to train, educate, and socialize its future citizens. Discussing the similarities and differences among these states, the authors show the primacy of politics and the interaction of material and ideological goals in the process of social transition, and how shifting policies reflect and are reflected in educational change. This collection first examines critical analyses of education in capitalist societies, both industrialized and peripheral, and explores the utility of those perspectives in the political and educational conditions of the countries under study. Together these essays offer the first systematic explanation of how and why education in socialist countries undergoing rapid change differs from education in developing capitalist countries. Contributions to the study were made by Mary Ann Burris, Anton Johnston, and Carlos Alberto Torres.

    Originally published in 1990.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6069-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Martin Carnoy and Joel Samoff
  5. Part I: Education and Transition:: Theory and Method

    • CHAPTER 1 The Search for Method
      (pp. 3-14)

      This is a study of education in five developing countries undergoing profound social, political, and economic change. Four have had revolutions. All have rejected capitalism as the basis of production relations in their economies, and all are attempting to construct the foundations of a new social system on a national scale.

      Much has already been written about the social transformation process occurring in many Third World states, but that process is still not widely understood. Where understandings have emerged, they are usually clouded by ideological controversy. The more important goal of coming to terms with the nature of the transformation...

    • CHAPTER 2 The State and Social Transformation
      (pp. 15-62)
      Martin Carnoy

      The state is the principal arena where the transition from a capitalist to a postcapitalist society is shaped and implemented. It is the dominant institution where the currents of civil society are crystallized and transformed during this social transition. The transformation of a capitalist society is therefore largely a political process, carried out through a state which is itself in the process of transformation.

      A fundamental difference exists between the growth of capitalism and that of alternatives to capitalism—namely, that capitalist structures could mature within a precapitalist society but anticapitalist structures have not matured within a capitalist state. Banking...

    • CHAPTER 3 Education and the Transition State
      (pp. 63-96)
      Martin Carnoy

      Education is a fundamental instrument of change in revolutionary societies. Simultaneously, the way it expands in the postrevolutionary period reflects political conflicts in the transition from conditioned capitalism to some vision of socialist social organization. Educational reform in this period also represents both the dominant, often changing “revolutionary” definition of knowledge and a sense of how the revolution intends to re-create individuals and reintegrate them into the state and the people-nation.

      It is logical that the form and content of education should be a fundamental issue of discussion during the formation of the transitional state. This is much more so...

  6. Part II: The Case Studies

    • CHAPTER 4 Introduction to the Case Studies
      (pp. 99-104)

      Our selection of the five cases to study is based on two principal considerations. First, we chose countries to represent a wide spectrum of social transformations and areas of the Third World. Second, we naturally chose those cases with which we are most familiar. These considerations resulted in the selection of China, Cuba, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Tanzania.

      Through the research process, we found that much work remains to be done on analyzing the educational experience of the Soviet Union. It also would have been interesting to have incorporated case studies from Albania, Zimbabwe, and Vietnam, which represent other kinds of...

    • CHAPTER 5 Struggle, Criticism, Transformation: Education in the People’s Republic of China
      (pp. 105-152)
      Mary Ann Burris

      China’s leaders assert that modernization policies begun in the late 1970s will continue to determine the direction of the society far into the next century. These policies have reordered not only education, but the economy and ideology as well. The traditional fear of “confusion” (luan), exacerbated by the political upheavals that have disrupted the lives of the Chinese people since 1949, make stability perhaps China’s most sought-after innovation. Yet today’s swiftly changing China is anything but stable. When current slogans claim that education “holds the key” to success in the Four Modernizations (science and technology, agriculture, defense, and industry), we...

    • CHAPTER 6 Educational Reform and Social Transformation in Cuba, 1959–1989
      (pp. 153-208)
      Martin Carnoy

      In 1959, Cuba began a process of revolutionary change that transformed virtually all its institutions. Educational expansion and reform played a vital role in this transformation. The Cuban revolution made education a synonym for incorporation into the revolutionary process. It also has relied on the educational system to develop the skills needed for economic growth and industrialization. Today, Cuba has the highest level of education in Latin America. All children, even those from the humblest families, get at least ten years of high quality schooling. There are enough well-trained teachers for Cuba to export them to Nicaragua and Angola. This...

    • CHAPTER 7 “Modernizing” a Socialist Vision: Education in Tanzania
      (pp. 209-274)
      Joel Samoff

      Tanzania seems to offer a success story of educational reform. In a brief period, a very poor country has introduced institutional changes that reach nearly all its citizens. Primary education is essentially universal. Initial instruction uses a language and draws on experiences and materials that are familiar to everyone. Tanzania and Africa feature prominently in the curriculum at all levels. A national board sets and marks examinations. Tanzania’s adult literacy is now among the highest in Africa. Although affluence clearly enhances the likelihood of academic success, poverty does not preclude it.

      These accomplishments in turn provide the foundations for other...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Mozambican State and Education
      (pp. 275-314)
      Anton Johnston

      This chapter analyses the developments, changes, and tensions in the Mozambican education system since Independence in 1975.¹ The principal phases of these developments are closely associated with the phases of conflicts in and around the state: the armed takeover of state power from the Portuguese by the Mozambican Liberation Front, frelimo; the transformation of the Front into a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party (the Frelimo party); and its struggle to lead the society through the transition to socialism. Two concerns are central here. First, the social and economic legacy of the past, left the revolutionary forces in control of an exploited and...

    • CHAPTER 9 Education and Social Transformation in Nicaragua, 1979–1989
      (pp. 315-358)
      Martin Carnoy and Carlos Alberto Torres

      The Sandinista-led revolution that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in July 1979 made educational expansion and reform top priorities in its overall attempt to transform Nicaraguan society. The educational effort faced extraordinary difficulties. It had to make up years of educational neglect by the Somozas and shortages of teachers and materials. A counterrevolutionary guerrilla war killed hundreds of teachers, forced youth to serve in the military instead of pursuing their studies, and effectively closed much of the countryside to educational activities. Even so, the revolution succeeded in bringing many more children and adults into school, lowered the illiteracy rate, and has...

  7. Part III: Conclusions

    • CHAPTER 10 Education and Social Transformation: Theory and Practice
      (pp. 361-380)
      Martin Carnoy and Joel Samoff

      We began by asking whether education in societies undergoing rapid social transformation plays a role different from that in conditioned capitalist societies, and if so, why. We suggest that it does, for two specific reasons. First, in the transition, there is a fundamental shift in the primary social dynamic, from the previously capitalist economy to the transition polity—from the economic to the political. Second, the transition state, which is the product of that social dynamic, is necessarily oriented toward the development of labor, in contrast to capitalist states’ emphasis on capital.

      These are the general characteristics that provide the...

  8. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 381-402)
  9. Index
    (pp. 403-410)