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Abstract

The literature on basic education emphasizes the need to improve enrollment and access to girls’ education in poorer countries. In Jamaica, the problem is not merely access to basic education but rather the quality of education outcomes, particularly for boys. Setting my research findings within the context of globalization and basic education, this paper explores the underachievement of boys within the contexts of international education policies at the domestic/national scale in Jamaica. Using a combination of participants’ responses drawn from semi-structured interviews conducted with teachers across two rural high schools in Jamaica, an analysis of secondary sources and (to a lesser extent) participant observations, we put forward a few claims regarding the process of ‘localizing’ ‘international’ education. It appears that global discourses in education (education for all) place demands on the local context – privilege girls, and the problem of lack of access to education and the overall the quality of experience. And therefore, the Jamaican state can ‘evade’ or palliatively address the ongoing problem of boys’ underachievement. The paper also highlights the effects of neoliberal restructuring in education as well as the inconsistencies between domestic/national and international education policies.

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