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Educational Recontextualization in Uganda: Seeking Flexibility and Variation in an Era of Transnational Isomorphisms


Within the field of comparative and international education (CIE), two important narratives have emerged in analyzing global and local influences on international education. One, advanced by world culture theorists, argues that Western supranational influences on national education systems has led to homogeneity—or isomorphism—in educational structures, policies, and practices around the world. The other, advanced by many in the educational policy borrowing and lending field, prioritizes local efforts to indigenize, or recontextualize, educational policies and practices rather than focus on external influences. In this study, consideration is given to both the global and the local narrative on education in Uganda.

This is achieved over two sections. Part I closely analyzes of the evolution of educational policy in Uganda, tracing prominent transnational isomorphisms—most notably the hegemony of colonial education—across multiple eras. In Part II, two case studies of educational NGOs in Uganda explore alternative approaches to the recontextualization of transferred educational ideas and programs. The case examining Educate! and its Educate! Experience program offers a glimpse into negotiated recontextualization, while the case examining the Kimanya-Ngeyo Foundation and its imported Preparation for Social Action program offers a picture of decentralized recontextualization. In the end, recommendations are made to the field of CIE regarding the responsible transfer and recontextualization of educational program and practices within an era of transnational isomorphisms.

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