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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Success and Failure in Educational Reforms: Contrasting Cases from Belize and Jamaica

Publication Date: 
December 2012

For Cuban (1992), fundamental reforms are those which permanently transform, alter, or completely overhaul the educational process, and are not mere renovations. Many changes have to take place for these reforms to materialize. Fullan (1993) describes educational change as “an overlapping series of dynamically complex phenomena” (p. 21) that are uncontrollable in many respects. Change is not something that can be forced or mandated, he argues. It is non-linear and loaded with uncertainty and excitement, but it also brings with it inevitable problems which we need to learn from; and it involves every person who must see himself as a change agent. The forces that affect educational reform are numerous and unpredictable. They include, for example, the fact that key leaders may leave in the midst of implementation, or funding from international aid agencies may cease. Government policy could also change in the midst of the reform’s implementation. In fact, the effectiveness of the implementation stage of the change process is critical for the success of educational reform; and yet it is at this stage that many of the problems are encountered.

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