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Title:Community self-determination in South Sudan: A return to the subaltern
Author(s):Kang, Tarnjeet Kaur
Director of Research:Dhillon, Pradeep
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dhillon, Pradeep
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bowen, Merle; Moodie, Ellen; Jok, Jok M.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):South Sudan
Subaltern Studies
responsive methodologies
neoliberal decentralization
educational policy
international development
Abstract:I argue that community self-determination in South Sudan’s education system has been greatly under-estimated, and should be placed at the center of analysis that guides research, policy and programming. To explore this argument, I use the following research question to guide my research: How does community self-determination manifest in South Sudan, and how is it situated within the country’s education and governance system? This is further explored with the following sub-questions: 1) How is the term community defined and conceptualized in South Sudan?; 2) How are educational needs, roles and responsibilities perceived at different levels of governance?; 3) How are South Sudanese institutions, founded and staffed by citizens of the country, situated within the education system?; 4) What is the impact of international NGOs and donors on the education system at large, and community self-determination specifically? To contextualize the study, I analyze the literature available - from academic publications and the National Archive of South Sudan - to trace the history of education in South Sudan, from the pre-colonial period to the present. I seek out examples of community self-determination where possible, and read against the grain to re-interpret what has once been labeled deviant, as self-determination as instead. The third chapter presents the argument for using Subaltern Studies as the theoretical framework for this study. I outline the limitations of prevalent frameworks, primarily the use of rigid binaries to understand citizens and communities, as well as the assumption that communities lack consciousness. Qualitative methods guided this study, specifically two interview protocols and field observations. In the first interview protocol, community members, intermediaries and members of the national government were recruited to answer questions regarding how community is defined, the roles of different stakeholders across time, and the distribution of responsibility for providing educational services. The second interview protocol targeted organizations that were founded and staff by South Sudanese citizens, and asked participants about how their organizations had come to be, their strategies for success, as well the challenges that they face. Observations were conducted in select sites, to document the National Curriculum Workshop, the state and national ministries of education, as well as the cartography of towns. Data collection occurred in five out of ten states in South Sudan. The primary data collected was complemented by media reports, archival documents, policy and legislative documents, NGO reports and third-party publications that constituted the public discourse on the topic. Grounded theory was used to frame data analysis, as there was insufficient existing literature on the topic to inform codes/themes. The findings of this study are organized into three areas: 1) the tension between articulated needs of citizens and the programs, policies and legislation being implemented; 2) examples of community self-determination and strategies of success and resilience; 3) documenting and analyzing the presence of neoliberal decentralization. The dissertation concludes by proposing a Community Self-Determination Framework, as a tool for praxis, which can be used by policy makers, program designers and researchers who work closely with communities.
Issue Date:2018-04-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Tarnjeet Kaur Kang
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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