Does Watching Help? The Impact of International Monitoring

In 2015, Education for All (EFA) concluded its 25-year cycle and the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) - Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges - was published with the final assessment of triumph and defeat in reaching the six EFA goals. Professor David Post from Pennsylvania State University was a member of the UNESCO Paris team working on the GMR. Professor Post visited CIE in July and presented his new research on the Global Monitoring Report to a group of CIE students, during which he discussed ideas from his very controversial paper that asked whether "Watching Helps?" searching for a theory of change related to educational monitoring. 

In his talk, Professor Post first considered the “soft power” of international monitoring, before asking whether this latter leads to educational policy reforms, state-action, and improved local governance. The evidence for educational improvement and progress towards EFA as a result of monitoring, he asserted, has never been properly evaluated and is less than clear.

David Post concluded his talk by discussing how monitoring effects change from the perspective of neo-realism—change in educational policy as a result of international pressure—or the persepctive of constructivism—gradual change of norms towards an adherence to EFA values. Both theories offered interesting insights about monitoring. This very stimulating presentation ended in a Q&A session focusing on norm-making and international vs. local values.

The full text of Professor Post's paper can be found here.