Current Issue

2003 Issue
Vol. 1 No. 2 – Fall 2003


Conceptions of Political Participation among Recent Latin-American Newcomers to Canada: A Phenomenographic Examination
Long, N. In Focus Journal, Vol.1 (Fall 2003).

Although the integration of newcomers into receiving societies, including Canada, has tacitly recognized the full spectrum of participation and belonging, including its economic, social and political dimensions, research has paid little attention to factors influencing how immigrants assume the rights and responsibilities of a political character. In this research, the understanding of the concept of political participation held by newcomers of Latin American origin to Canada was mapped. The relevance of the work lies in the view that this prior knowledge plays a significant role in how newcomers adjust to political activity in the new society. The research employed a phenomenographic method and data was generated from 70 individuals from 30 families. The findings revealed that the participants attach considerable importance to political participation whether through conventional electoral politics or through which they interpret the concept of political participation. Among these filters are components related to emotional commitments, community involvement, social action, freedom of conscience, the power to make a difference and identification with Canada. The findings show that the filters serve in different ways to channel the preferred forms of political engagement.


Four Years Assessment of Educational Reform in Argentina 1996-2000 More and Better Education for All?
Massa, L. In Focus Journal, Vol.1 (Fall 2003).

In the past decade, after a century without significant changes, Argentina undertook a process of educational reform in the framework of neoliberal policies that imposed structural adjustment programs. The purpose of this paper was to examine the efficacy of this reform in improving the quality of academic attainment. The nature of this research dictated a case study using in-depth interviews, and a qualitative and quantitative methodology. Major findings of this study indicated that educational reform improved the quality of attainment at national scale, as a result of a growing trend in enrollment and graduation rates and a declining tendency in repetition and dropout rates. Students’ performance in mathematics and language arts standardized test improved only in the 12th year of the Polimodal or high school level. In contrast in the general basic education, EGB3 or junior high school level, no significant improvement occurred in the 9th year. Finally, those jurisdictions that were historically peripheral vis-à-vis to the national average of academic attainment did not improve their levels of achievement in mathematics and language tests. The study concludes that educational reform partially improved the quality of academic attainment but it did not reach all jurisdictions, and consequently all students.


Exploring the constraints affecting Non-Formal basic education programs: The Shepherd School program in Northern Ghana

Mfum-Mensah, O. In Focus Journal, Vol.1 (Fall 2003).

This paper is an investigation of the constraints of the Shepherd School Program, a non-formal basic education program implemented in seven pastoral communities in northern Ghana. The paper discusses the school, home/community, and sponsor/policy level constraints affecting the program. The paper argues that most of these constraints can be favorably addressed when comprehensive policies, which embrace such programs as holistic aspects of the school system, are implemented.


Confucianism and Educational Modernization in China

Zha, Q. In Focus Journal, Vol.1 (Fall 2003).

This essay is intended to examine the influence of Confucianism upon Chinese education in a modern context, through observation of experiences at two specific periods — the early Republican era (1902-1927) and the early socialist era (1950s). It is believed that China or, at least, its leadership (even at different periods with opposite ideologies) attempted coherently to harmonize the “high” values of modernity and the “lower” values of Confucian tradition by creating new men and women, and using education (especially higher education) as an instrument. Thus Confucian patterns of knowledge structure and organization persisted through numerous educational reforms at different historical periods.



Education in a Globalized World. The Connectivity of Economic Power, Technology, and Knowledge written by Nelly P. Stromquist.
Review by Kurt De Wit. In Focus Journal, Vol.1 (Fall 2003).



University of Pittsburgh; Jing Wang; Rebecca Clothey, ; Jenny Ishan, Columbia University; Martha Mantilla, University ofPittsburgh ; Nancy O’Gara, Stanford University; Brandyn . Payne, Vanderbilt University; Mika Yamahita, University of Pittsburgh;