Education Policy Analysis Archives (2014-02-01)

How do you analyze the influence of international actors and ideas in the making of national education policies? A proposed framework and its application to a case from El Salvador

  • D. Brent Edwards Jr.

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 0


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This article focuses on a range of different academic perspectives related to how international actors and ideas affect national processes of education policy production. Specifically, four distinct perspectives from the literature on education policy are presented, and it is suggested that these perspectives can be combined to serve as an analytic framework for understanding this issue – that is, how international actors and ideas impact the formation of education policies at the national level. The four perspectives presented are: (a) policy attraction, (b) policy negotiation, (c) policy imposition, and (d) policy hybridization. The second purpose of this article is to define the underlying phenomenon to which each of the perspectives pertains. Such a term is necessary because, while various perspectives exist on the influence of international actors and ideas, there is not a common language to discuss this phenomenon, nor a clear understanding of its conceptual limits. The term suggested and delineated here is international processes of education policy formation. The third purpose of the present article is to apply the framework presented to the formation of an education policy – Plan 2021 – in El Salvador during 2003–2005. Through this case, three mechanisms are identified which help to explain the dynamics of national education policy formation, namely: percolation, reverberation, and structural legitimation.