IMF Related Devastation of Teacher Education in Jamaica.

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Found in Social and Economic Studies Vol 41 No 2 June 1992 Pp 153-181.

IMF related devastation of Teacher Education in Jamaica is one of the few studies that has documented the impact of IMF programmes seeking to bring about macroeconomic reforms in a small developing country and their impact of the teacher education sector, or any particular level of education. This paper describes the IMF Programmes in Jamaica in the decade 1977 to 1987. It also documents the objectives and target of teacher education plans and policies of the Ministry of Education between 1957 and 1980 and the agencies that supported these plans. Contrary to the general stereotype of non-performance by governments, practically all of the teacher education objectives and targets were achieved, even if not with original time-frame. The underlying premise was that qualified teachers in sufficient quantity were vital to student performance and the improvement of the education system.

The paper documents the retrenchment measures implemented by the Ministry of Education between 1979 and 1987 in order to operate within reduced subventions allocated by the Ministry of Finance. The effects were pervasive on all areas of operation of the Ministry of Education but the effects on teacher education sector was worse by far. Enrolment, capacity, output, expenditure in constant dollars were all reduced substantially.

The IMF could claim that its programmes did not target education specifically. The Ministry of Finance could claim that it reduced subventions to the Ministry of Education but did not specify the areas to be cut. The Ministry of Education could defend the cuts made on a case by case basis and deny that it deliberately targeted teacher education. While there is circular deniability disclaiming any conspiracy the fact prior to the IMF programmes teacher education was in progressive developmental mode that was changed to a retrenchment and regressive mode. The results included false economies, great acrimony between the teachers association and Ministry and the mark reduction in access to upward mobility to margin groups that gain such opportunities through teacher education. While there may have been no conspiracy the IMF, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry were complicit in the devastation of teacher education Jamaica by the end of the 1980s.

The outcomes of the IMF Program of the 1980s on Teacher Education and the non-conspiratorial complicity of the IMF, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education are explained by employing the Theory of Place.