A periphery extending into Europe? : a study of the politics of education within higher education reform in Georgia
DisciplineValtio-oppiPolitical ScienceKansainvälinen kehitystyö (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Development and International Cooperation
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The purpose of this study was to examine Georgian higher education reform as a political tool in the process of breaking down the imaginary mental, cultural, political and status related boundaries between Georgia and Europe. Furthermore, it seeks to understand how these different types of boundaries are formed and how they are perceived by Georgians. This study attempts to shed light to ways how Georgian educational authorities portray Georgia in relation to Europe in their Bologna Process reports and how is Georgia positioned in relation to the European core. The research material was the national Bologna Process progress reports produced by Georgian higher educational officials. In addition few articles produced by Georgian higher education experts and public surveys were used to further examine Georgians view on Europe and the higher education reform. The theoretical tools used were Johan Galtung‘s theory on structural imperialism and the Centre-Periphery model in it. The analysis was strengthened with more recent theory of model-appliers and model-providers by Katalin Miklóssy. As a methodological tool George Lakoff‘s frames were used to interpret the messages produced by the discourse. The study concludes that the imaginary boundaries in the spheres between Georgia and Europe are flexible and even moving or disappearing. The current situation is in flux, on one hand open for negotiation, however on the other hand closed because the EU holds an absolute authority for setting and interpreting the standards involved, as well as organizing monetary and administrative flows. This is the political dilemma facing the Georgians in their European deliberations. From the Georgian point of view, the stamp of Europeaness is seen either as a quest to be followed, or as a legitimate right which should be granted. The positive Europe frame visible in the national Bologna Process progress reports can be seen as a proof of Georgians eagerness and willingness to be associated with Europe on a more permanent basis. Through the limited resources frame Georgians are conveying the message that the hiccups in the reform progress are not due to the lack of effort or trying. This is also a message and plea to the Europe; with more financial support, more could be achieved. ...
Alternative titleStudy of the politics of education within higher education reform in Georgia
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