Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the West has invested billions of dollars to help post communist countries make the transition to democratic governance and free markets. One aspect of this effort is international assistance in the development of civic education programs. This dissertation seeks to understand the dynamics of the Estonian civic education policy landscape within its global context. Using qualitative research methods, special attention is paid to the flow of civic education materials, ideas or practices, as they make their way from international influences to classroom practice. Why arent international materials being adopted more readily in the classroom? The absence is over determined: there are so many contributing factors, that even the removal of several of them might not be sufficient for such influence to begin to appear. The international effort led by the American and European governments to persuade Estonia to adopt a day of Holocaust commemoration in schools epitomizes the difficulty in trying to influence education policy, particularly in the face of strong public opposition. Foreign groups did not have the level of cultural, linguistic or historical understanding necessary to engage people in Estonia effectively about the Holocaust. These gaps in understanding also afflicted cooperation between foreign specialists and government, NGO, and university officials in Estonia. Foreign partners were able to influence the shape of civil society organizations and the projects that were launchedï¼› yet their lack of sensitivity to the acute economic pressures facing individuals in transition economies prevented them from structuring assistance in ways that both facilitated domestic cooperation or policy change, and ensured that the most appropriate and meritorious candidates were chosen to participate in projects. Domestic participants exercised the prerogative to redirect assistance in accordance with their own interests or concerns, and this often detracted from successful policy implementation. Research also revealed that the most significant factor affecting teachers practice of civic education is an overstuffed curriculum and a system of national exams in civics: teachers feel that there are few opportunities available for incorporating outside materials or active methods.
|Title||Civic education policy and practice in post-Soviet Estonia, from global influences to classroom practice|
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