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Confrontation between the theoretical recommendations and the political discussion by the UNESCO regarding the education issue in the developing countries

Quentin DAVID student laureate

°1977 Belgium
Licence in Economic Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, 2001

Confrontation entre les recommandations théoriques et le discours politique de l’UNESCO en matière d’enseignement dans les pays en voie de développement

In his work Mr. Quentin DAVID tackles a very important problem for developing countries: the education issue. In this context, he confronts the UNESCO’s political recommendations with the most recent formalised economic research and reaches some normative conclusions.
The goal of any educational policy must be the development, as it is specified in the concept of « human development », proposed by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). The merit of this concept lies in the widening of the notion and the specification of the objective, incorporating such essential elements as the illiteracy rate and the life expectancy.
The author selects four themes: the level of education, the public aimed at, the contents and the methods. He concentrates his attention, however, on the first two themes, the other two not really being discussed in the theoretical works.
For developing countries, the interest of the problem discussed is clear. It is linked to the importance of education in the development process and in the self-realisation of man.
The method selected for the work, and which is aimed at analysing the relevance of UNESCO’s political recommendations by using available theoretical tools, cannot but please rigorous minds. It enables the author to make some conclusions in the field of economic policies. As to the levels of education, these should be developed in a successive way (primary, secondary and higher education levels) and, as for the public aimed at, the stress is put on women.
However, seen from the latter viewpoint, a precision is required: As suggested by the title, the thesis deals with a confrontation between a political discussion and theoretical research. But this confrontation must not lead to a subordination of political recommendations to “models”, which remain necessarily limited and depend on the tools used. For instance, the relevance of the different levels of education for the development of a country, cannot be exclusively assessed by the criterion of the yield of the capital invested in them.

report by Prof. Dr. Michel Norro, Institute for Development Studies, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium