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Education & International Development - EDU00005H

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Eleanor Brown
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module engages with the complex issues related to education and development. We consider development from a number of different perspectives, including how education contributes to economic growth and modernization, the importance of capability development and education as an indicator of development, and postdevelopment and postcolonial critiques to development and alternatives emerging from indigenous worldviews. We look at a range of issues in education and development including global goals for quality education, girls’ education and gender and development, violence in education, and inequalities in education.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

The aim of this module is to understand the role of education in the national development of countries. A further aim is to understand how key theories allow for the analysis of the relationship between education and development. The course explores a range of theories and analyses different aspects of education in a variety of contexts. The meaning and nature of development are critically examined and students learn to look at education and development issues through different theoretical lenses. There are opportunities to consider the work of international organisations, including the United Nations, as well as non-governmental organisations, and initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All. The weekly meetings take the form of small, seminar style classes, with lecturer input and participatory activities, encouraging a questioning approach to complex issues with reference to practical case studies and theoretical perspectives.


Module learning outcomes

Building on work done in Stage 1 What is Education?, this module asks students to consider how education might contribute to a country's development and critically analyse what we mean by that. Students will recognise that the patterns of schooling, with which they have been familiar, are culturally situated. The different political, economic and social context of different countries results in different patterns of schooling, and students consider how education both impacts on a country's development and how levels of development have implications for the way that schooling takes place. Many of the illustrative examples focus on low and middle income countries, where schooling faces a number of different challenges and constraints from those that students may be aware of from a UK perspective.

After completing the module, students will:

  • be familiar with a variety of approaches to development, such as economics, development studies, postcolonial theory - which have contributed to an analysis of education in developing countries.

  • be able to engage with discussion about what we mean by developed and developing countries and how education might be interpreted differently in different contexts.

  • challenge some of taken-for-granted assumptions about education and development and consider a range of perspectives on how education might contribute to development in the 21st century.

  • understand a range of theories specifically analysing the role of education in developing countries.


Students will develop their skills of communication, searching for sources, and analysing issues and ideas. Specifically, students will engage in short presentations to the whole group, supplement their assigned readings with ones they have found, and critically examine issues and ideas relating to education and development. Moreover, students will keep a weekly learning journal in which they will develop their critical reflection skills. As an additional skill, students will develop their IT skills by interacting fully with the VLE (Yorkshare).


Module content

Week 2 – What is International Development?

  • What is International Development?
  • Historical Influences part 1 – colonialism
  • Historical Influences part 2 – Structural Adjustment and Debt

Week 3 – Policies in Development and Global Goals 

  • Part 1 - The Millenium Development Goals - MDGs  
  • Part 2 - The Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs

Week 4 – Education as Human Capital 

  • Human Capital Theory 
  • Rate of return calculations

Week 5 – Girl’s education, Gender and Development.

  • Girl’s Education
  • Gender, Development and Feminist theory

Week 6 – Human Development Theory, Capabilities and Indices.

  • The Capability Approach
  • Human Development Theory and the Human Development Index
  • Global Inequalities

Week 7 – Modernization Theory and its Critiques.

  • Modernization Theory
  • Post Development Theory
  • Schooling the World

Week 8 – Postcolonial Critiques and Alternatives to Development

  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Buen Vivir and other Alternatives to Development

Week 9 – Key Issues in Education and Development

  • Violence in Education
  • Issues in Education and Development

Week 10 – Review of Theoretical Perspectives and Ideas for the Assignment

  • Theoretical Perspectives
  • Assignment Preparation

Education and International Development Module EDU00005H -  Week by Week



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

This module has both formative and summative assessments and students are expected to participate actively throughout the module, both in class discussions and through the blog entries after the weekly class meetings.

Attendance is compulsory for the seminars. In preparation for each seminar, students are expected to have completed the assigned readings and supplemented those readings with others that have been searched for by the student. Students should be fully prepared to discuss the readings at each seminar. Participation in discussion forums on the VLE is also required.

Formative assessment:

  1. Students will contribute to an online discussion forum, reflecting on issues raised throughout the module.


  1. There will be opportunities to submit learning blogs for feedback.


  1. A group presentation in which students present an aspect of education and an issue relevant to a particular country context, with a focus on a country or countries considered to be ?developing?. Expectations for this short presentation will be given during the first class.


  1. A 500 word formative essay to be submitted in week 8 and will be marked and returned in week 9 ? the idea is that this will form an abstract for the summative assignment, allowing students to get some relevant feedback for their final essay.

Summative Assessment

At the start of the module, students will receive a comprehensive overview of the expectations for the final assessment. Activities during each class will help students prepare for the final assessment. Through participation in class, contribution to the online discussion forum, submission of blog entries, group presentations and the 500 word essay student will receive feedback from the lecturer that is directly related to the final assessment. The 5000 word essay is due in week 1 of the Spring term.

A 3,000 word essay is the required submission. Essays should display relevant knowledge of aspects of education in one or more developing countries and also some critical understanding of relevant theoretical perspectives. There should be three key components to the essay. These are (1) a theory by which the issue is analysed (e.g. human capital theory, postcolonial theory etc.) (2) a focus on a country or countries with a demonstration of background knowledge of the context from on line research, and (3) an education related topic (universal primary education, child labour, girls' education etc.). Students negotiate an essay topic that relates to one or more key themes in the module and there is a broad choice and flexibility to allow them to select an issue of interest to them. There will be an opportunity to brainstorm titles for essays as a group.



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback on assignment report sheet and face-to- face feedback in supervisions. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

McGrath, Simon, and Gu, Qing (eds.) (2016) Routledge handbook of international education and development. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Skinner, Amy, Baillie Smith, Matt, Brown, Eleanor and Troll, Tobias. (eds.) (2016) Education, learning and the transformation of development. (Rethinking Development). New York and London: Routledge.

Dasen Pierre R. Akkari Abdeljalil (eds.) (2008) Educational Theories and Practices from the Majority World. London and New York: Sage

McGrath, Simon (2018) Education and Development. London and New York: Routledge

The following are only available as hard copies, but the relevant chapters have been scanned and are available in the weekly reading lists. If you can access a hard copy they contain a number of other useful chapters noted as additional reading:

Harber, Clive (2014) Education and international development: theory, practice and issues. Oxford, United Kingdom: Symposium Books.

Unterhalter, Elaine and McCowan, Tristan (eds.) (2015) Education and international development: an introduction. London: Bloomsbury.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.