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Ambrozy, Maria Teresa (2022) Interrogating Education Policymaking in the Rwandan Developmental State: The Politics of Changing the Language of Instruction and the Higher Education Merger. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis explores the extent to which Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)-led policymaking and policy-implementation in the education sector can be accurately portrayed as successful within a wider Developmental State model. By analysing the perspectives of Rwandan elites towards policymaking and policy-implementation of two educational policies, namely the shift in the Medium of Instruction and the Higher Education Merger, this thesis examines the overall effectiveness of the developmental project in Rwanda. Drawing on forty-five interviews and other field-based data over a five-year period, the thesis explores narratives around political intentions and their consequences concerning the two focal policies, which are situated in the broader political environment in Rwanda. This thesis examines the extent to which educational policies, particularly decisions, priorities and results, reflect the imperatives of the developmental RPF leadership or those of the wider population. In doing so, it draws conclusions about the nature of the Developmental State model and highlights a number of implications for understanding state-society relations in Rwanda. Overall, this thesis identifies significant tensions within the Rwandan state around the ideals and realities of Rwandan development. Ultimately, it is argued that the Developmental State model prolonged the time in which developmental goals were realised, unnecessarily complicating efforts to address education policy challenges and undermining the effectiveness and societal reach of developmental interventions in the education sector. Empirically, the research contributes to current debates about the nature and impact of the Developmental State in Rwanda. As such, it offers an alternative perspective that goes beyond generalised notions of authoritarianism, development and their interplays.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Phil Clark
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 08:42

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