Document 72885

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© Unesco 1980
quarterly review of education
Vol. X
No. i
Physical education and the intellectual development of children
Antonina Khripkova
Towards an African philosophy of education
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
Viewpoints and controversies
Reflections o n the concept and practice of educational
planning Boris K. Kluchnikov
Elements for a dossier:
Mass media, education and culture
Communication and education Henri Dieuzeide
T h e two worlds of today's learners Donald P. Ely
Mass communication education: from conflict to co-operation
Ana Maria Sandi
M a s s media, education and the transmission of values
Rita Cruise O'Brien
Transnational advertising, the media and education in developing
countries Rafael Roncagliolo and Noreene Z. Janus
Mass media and cultural domination Luis Ramiro Beltrán S.
and Elizabeth Fox de Cardona
D o mass media reach the masses? T h e Indian experience
G. N. S. Raghavan
Trends and cases
The world literacy situation: 1970,1980 and 1990 E. A. Fisher
Use of the Bombara language in training young people: an experiment in
rural Mali Guy Belloncle
Book reviews
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Antonina Khripkova
Physical education
and the intellectual development
of children
M a n y researchers in Western Europe look upon physical education
as being solely concerned with the development of the child's innate
Vice-president of the
motor capacities and the provision of conditions enabling the child
USSR Academy of
Pedagogical Sciences;
to satisfy his spontaneous demand for movement. It is our view,
Director of the Institute however, that without special instruction and training, such habits
for Research into
and skills as walking, running, jumping, throwing, swimming, dancing
Child and Adolescent
Physiology. Author of
movements and vertical working postures will never develop sponHandbook on
taneously in children, to say nothing of the great art of controlling
Age-group Physiology/
one's movements in artistic gymnastics, figure skating and other
H u m a n Physiology—a
School Textbook/
Child Physiology,
Instruction and training m a y , however, be either beneficial or
A n a t o m y and
harmful to the child's organism. T o determine the right methods and
Teachers' Textbook/
proportions, the morphological and physiological bases of the develand Problems of the
opment of movements at different ages must be k n o w n .
Extended D a y at
At the age of 4 to 5 years, children are already capable of performing
such complex movements as running, jumping, skating and gymnastic
exercises. This is taken into account w h e n physical education is
organized in nursery schools, and not only with the aim of ensuring
the child's balanced development.
Research by Professor M . M . Koltsova of the Institute for Research
into Child and Adolescent Physiology, A c a d e m y of Pedagogical
Sciences (Laboratory of Physiology of the Higher Nervous Activity
of Children), has shown that the development of speech in children
is closely linked to movements, and in particular to special finger
exercises. Finger exercises prepare the ground as it were for subsequent speech formation. Furthermore, properly organized motor
activity during speech formation has a favourable effect on the
child's mental development, assisting such processes as thought,
attention and m e m o r y .
Antonina Khripkova
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . i3 1980
Antonina Khripkova
T o ascertain h o w movement training influences the maturation of
the motor area of the brain connected with speech, workers in
Professor Koltsova's laboratory conducted observations on children
in their earliest infancy, recording the biological currents of the
brain in 6-week-old babies. T h e y then trained the right hand of some
of them and the left hand of the others. T h e training consisted in
massaging the hand and in passive (i.e. performed by an adult)
bending and unbending of the fingers. O n e month and then two
months after the start of such training, the biological currents of the
brain were again recorded and a mathematical computation was m a d e
of the degree of stability in the occurrence of high-frequency waves,
which provides an indication of h o w mature the cortex is. T h e
findings showed that after a month of training, high-quality rhythms
were observed in the motor projection area and, after a mere two
months, in the future speech area, in the opposite hemisphere to the
hand that had been trained.
Similar research (monthly recording of biological currents of the
brain with subsequent mathematical analysis) was also conducted on
a group of children of the same age w h o had undergone no such
training. These observations showed thatfingertraining for two and
a half months speeds u p the process of maturation of the speech
areas, in the left hemisphere in the case of the right-handed and in
the right hemisphere in the case of the left-handed. These data are
further confirmation that the speech areas of the brain are formed
under the influence of impulses from the fingers.
Recommendations have been drawn u p on the development of
speech in children throughfingertraining. It is stated, inter alia, that
it is best to start the training with infants aged 6 to 7 months. T h e
baby's hand is stroked from thefingertipsto the wrist; then each
finger is taken in turn and bent and unbent. It is recommended that
from the age of 10 months the child should be givenfirstlarger bright
objects to handle and subsequently smaller ones. W h e n the baby is
a little bigger, games and toys requiring finger movements are of
great benefit to h i m .
W h a t is more, it has been proved that the structural formation of
the hand continues u p to the age of 15 or 16 years. Consequently, the
development of smallfingermovements is very important for learning
the skills of writing, drawing and playing musical instruments.
T h e h u m a n sciences have m a d e it possible to identify the characteristic periods of the receptivity of children to particular motor
actions and the stages of formation of various motor qualities. It is
Physical education and the intellectual development of children
quite clear that the response reaction of the child's organism to the
training load differs in different periods of growth and development,
and it has a considerable and long-term effect. T h e most substantial
changes in the motor function occur in early school age (8 to 12 years).
This has been further confirmed by the findings of morphologists.
It has been shown that the nervous structures of the child's motor
apparatus (spinal cord, conduction paths) mature very early. T h e
central structures of the motor analyser attain morphological maturity
at the age of 7 to 12 years. That age is marked by full development
of the sensory and motor ends of the muscular system. Development
and growth of the muscles themselves continues u p to the age of 25
to 30 years. This accounts for the fact that absolute muscular strength
also increases with age u p to 25 to 30 years.
It can n o w be stated with confidence that the main problems of a
person's physical education must be successfully solved as fully as
possible in thefirsteight years of schooling, otherwise w e 'miss the
boat', letting slip the most productive age periods for the development of a child's motor capacities. Research shows that schoolchildren aged from 7 to 11 years are comparatively lacking in muscular
strength. Exercises involving strength, and particularly static exercises, rapidly tire them. Children ofthat age are more suited to brief
exercises of a vigorous nature involving rapidly deployed strength.
Nevertheless young schoolchildren should gradually be accustomed
to holding static poses. Static exercises are particularly important for
the development and maintenance of correct posture.
It is c o m m o n knowledge that faulty posture hampers the functioning of the heart, lungs and the gastro-intestinal tract, with a
decrease in the vital capacity of the lungs, a lowering of the metabolism, the appearance of headaches and a greater proneness to
fatigue. A correct posture is most beneficial for the functioning of the
organs of m o v e m e n t and the internal organs, the net result of which
is increased working capacity.
T h e work of L . K . Semenova has shown that in children aged 6
to 7 years the sinews and ligaments of the spinal column and the
deep back muscles are little developed, and the blood supply to them
is deficient, so that monotonous static work (e.g. sitting at a desk for
any considerable length of time) m a y also be a cause of faulty posture.
O n this and other evidence, the institute firmly recommends that
lessons in thefirstand second classes of primary schools should be
cut to 35 minutes.
T h e most intensive period of growth of muscular strength in boys
Antonina Khripkova
occurs between 14 and 17 years of age, and in girls somewhat sooner.
T h e m a x i m u m increase in relative strength, i.e. strength per kilogram
of body weight, occurs about the age of 13 to 14, at which age the
relative muscular strength of girls is considerably below that of boys.
In activities involving adolescent girls and older girls together,
particular care should be taken to proportion the intensity and the
severity of the exercises.
As regards stamina, which is another motor quality, observations
point to low stamina in children aged from 7 to 11 years w h e n it comes
to active work. After the age of 11 to 12 years, boys and girls acquire
greater stamina. Research shows that good ways of developing stamina
are walking, jogging and skiing.
Around the age of 14, muscular stamina represents 50 to 70 per
cent, and at 16 years, about 80 per cent of the stamina of an adult.
A noteworthy fact is that there is no interdependence between the
ability to bear static loads and muscular strength. T h e level of
stamina also depends, for instance, on the degree of sexual maturity.
Boys and girls of greater biological maturity are also better able to
bear loads.
Adolescence is a most important period in which the resources of
physical education can be used to bring about a considerable
improvement in motor qualities. Nevertheless, the biological transformations of the organism associated with puberty call for a great
deal of attention on the part of the teacher w h e n it comes to planning
the physical workload. A s a result of their intensive development
between the ages of 7 and 11, schoolchildren adapt themselves very
readily to velocity loads and can achieve excellent results in running,
swimming, and so on, where speed of movement is the main consideration. In turn, young schoolchildren possess all the morphological
and functional prerequisites for the development of a quality like
suppleness. Owing to the great mobility of the spinal column and the
elasticity of the ligaments, there is a big increase in suppleness
between 7 and 10 years of age. This factor reaches its m a x i m u m
at 13 to 15 years. Between the ages of 7 and 10 years agility develops
very rapidly.
Despite the relative imperfection of movement-control mechanisms
in small children, they are able at the pre-school age to cope with the
basic elements of such complex activities as swimming, skating,
bicycling, and so on; but on the other hand children of pre-school age
and young schoolchildren find it considerably harder to assimilate
skills associated with precise hand movements and the accurate
Physical education and the intellectual development of children
reproduction of prescribed efforts. A comparatively high standard is
achieved in this respect during adolescence.
Around the age of 12 to 14 years, there is an improvement of
accuracy in throwing and aiming and of precision in jumping. At the
same time, some observations point to a decline in m o v e m e n t
co-ordination in adolescents.
All the same, there is every reason to believe that adolescence is a
time of great potential for improving the motor organs. This is borne
out by clear instances of the achievements of juveniles in such sports
as artistic and sporting gymnastics and figure-skating, as well as
ballet and dancing, where remarkably developed co-ordination of
movements is to be observed.
T h e organism is not completely formed even in 16- to 17-year-olds.
In the case of boys and girls not engaging in sport on a regular basis,
the workloads associated with m a x i m u m calls on strength and
stamina must therefore be suitably proportioned.
A very important matter for physical education is the problem
of biological age. It is more and more frequently shown that a
child's chronological age m a y in fact not coincide with his level of
biological development. Development of the motor system varies
very widely indeed in children of the same age. Hence the importance
of differentiating physical education, which must take account of
the functional potentialities of each person. At the same time, as
already noted, account must also be taken of capacities appropriate
to the particular age group. T h e child must be taught skills and
habits which he has not yet acquired but for the attainment of
which he already possesses the requisite morphological and physiological capacity. This is also as the psychologists would have it.
W e are convinced that the effectiveness of teaching is considerably
increased if it stresses the periods of the natural accelerated development of the various components and structures of the h u m a n
motor system—when there is evidence of sufficiently great reserve
potentialities for functional improvement without detriment to the
children's health. There is one constant rule to be observed here,
which is that teaching must be optimal, without m a x i m u m and
extreme workloads.
It must be acknowledged that w e do not as yet have any scientifically based recommendations about the best proportions to be
observed for m a n y kinds of physical workload for children of
various ages, and scientists are still m u c h indebted to sporting
Antonina Khripkova
Another no less important problem is the setting of standards for
the volume of motor activity at the various stages of a child's development. Workers in the laboratory of physical education for schoolchildren in our institute have c o m e to the conclusion that insufficient
movement in children's lives is one of the causes of impaired posture,
poor functioning of the feet, surplus weight (obesity), and a lowered
functional potential of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
T h e pre-school-age child is o n the m o v e , as w e k n o w , almost
constantly except w h e n actually sleeping. W h e n children go to
school, their motor activity is reduced by half. T h e independent
motor activity of pupils in thefirstthree grades accounts as it is
for only 20 to 30 per cent of the optimum amount of movement. O f
considerable importance at that age are organized forms of physical
education and sport. T h e 45-minute physical education lesson
represents at the most 40 per cent of the necessary daily volume of
movement; but there are only two physical education lessons a
Even in healthy, normally developing schoolchildren, so-called
spontaneous motor activity and physical education lessons in school
cannot provide the optimum daily amount of movement, and the
consequence of this is a curb on the development of the motor
In adolescents w h o do not go in for sport, the development of a
n u m b e r of motor functions slows d o w n around the age of 14 to
15 years. Restricted movement leads to extra weight and obesity,
particularly in girls. Here the role of the psychological aspects of
the sound organization of physical education and of the encouragement in girls of a desire for sporting activity is considerable.
Surveys of overweight children have, since 1972, been carried
out in our institute, under senior scientific worker I. A . Kornienko,
and effective ways have been sought of combating obesity, which
would help to normalize the children's metabolism, reduce surplus
fat and forestall possible complications.
T h e hypodynamia factor in the development of obesity is often
decisive (what w e have in mind isfirst-and second-degree exogenous
obesity). Obesity in turn psychologically makes for a loss of interest
in physical education, since overweight children begin to drop way
behind in the development of basic motor qualities (stamina and
speed) and are unable to cope with m a n y exercises in the physical
education programme. T h e y have difficulty in apparatus work,
rope-climbing, acrobatic exercises, high-jumping and sprinting.
Physical education and the intellectual development of children
There are specific requirements for instructing obese children.
It is recommended that they should be put into a preparatory medical
group for physical education, since their stamina, w h e n it comes
to the prolonged performance of a n u m b e r of exercises, is lower
than in children of normal weight. In lessons with this group,
provision is m a d e for an individual approach taking account of the
state of health and physicalfitnessof each child.
It is strongly recommended that such children should be given
additional lessons in out-of-school hours and individual h o m e assignments. Additional activities with overweight children can best start
with swimming. S w i m m i n g movements are marked by their considerable amplitude. Short muscular exertions alternating with frequent
intervals of rest m a k e it possible to cope with a considerable physical
workload for a fairly long time. S w i m m i n g requires less physical
strength than other cyclic types of movement. Furthermore, o n
our evidence, it is easier in the case of swimming to proportion the
physical workload according to the frequency of cardiac contractions,
since children with first- and second-degree obesity frequently
suffer from cardiac malfunctions.
It is recommended that 45-minute swimming lessons for such
children should be provided in out-of-school hours twice a week
throughout the academic year. Apart from swimming, activities
in general physical training sections are recommended.
It is important in the case of obese children to organize rational
feeding. A n d here w e have encountered the need for psychological
work, mainly with parents. W h a t has to be contended with here is
the force of habit and family traditions, which equate a stout child
with a healthy one. There is a certain amount of justification in
such traditions. If w e take the change in the fat content in the body
during the child's development, it can be seen that at about the
age of 5 or 6 months the relative quantity of fat increases sharply.
This 'obesity' is as a rule entirely physiological and reflects changes
in lipometabolism appropriate to the particular age. Accumulation
of fat at that age is essential to the child's further development, so
that a certain plumpness in the child is indeed a sign of health.
In the year-old child, however, the fat content and the thickness of
the subcutaneous layers of fat should be diminishing, and plumpness
at this point is an indication of metabolic disruption.
W h a t is more, most parents cannot resign themselves to the
natural slimming of the child and a period of forced feeding begins.
Sometimes the child 'gets the better o f his parents, even going
Antonina Khripkova
off his food. But in the vast majority of cases the child is unable
to withstand the 'iron' pressure, especially if he is predisposed to
obesity, so that, to the parents' joy, hefillsout again. T h e child
is in fact developing what will subsequently be classified as constitutionally exogenous obesity.
In the G e r m a n Democratic Republic, special courses are being
organized on a trial basis for parents of overweight pre-school-age
children and young schoolchildren. T h e course consists of three
lessons. At thefirst,the parents are told of the causes and dangers
of obesity; at the second they are taught sound dietary principles;
and at the third, where the children are present, they are shown
h o w to prepare dietary dishes. In our view, it is an experiment
worthy of attention.
Let us pause to consider the special features of morning gymnastics
for overweight children. All exercises should preferably be performed
lying or sitting on the floor.
Exercises of this kind help to develop suppleness and muscular
strength, especially in the abdominal muscles. A s special investigation has shown, abdominal strength in girls with incipient degrees
of obesity not only does not increase with age but in m a n y , particularly
those with second-degree obesity, even diminishes. In overweight
schoolgirls aged 8 to n years, the m e a n indicators of abdominal
muscular strength (ascertained by a test involving the raising and
lowering of straight legs from the lying position) were thus the same,
averaging six to eight lifts.
O n the problem of standardizing the motor activity of schoolchildren, it is noteworthy that the Declaration on Sport, published
in 1968 by the International Council of Sport and Physical Education,
recommends that between a third and a sixth of the total timetable
should be devoted to physical activity at school. For the Soviet
education system, with its ten-year period of complete secondary
education, these recommendations cannot be regarded as realistic
on account of the heavy academic workload and the pressure of the
curriculum. A s w e see it, rational ways of increasing the motor
activity of schoolchildren should be sought by making the most
effective use of the pupils' time out of class, particularly in such ways
as compulsory morning gymnastics, physical education breaks during
lessons, active open-air recreation during the main breaks, and training in sports clubs and sections. T h e institute has drawn up r e c o m m e n dations, based on physiological, health and educational considerations,
for the organization of such forms of physical education.
Physical education and the intellectual development of children
With morning gymnastics at h o m e , gymnastics before lessons at
school, active games during breaks and walks combined with active
games after lessons, children can satisfy u p to 60 per cent of their
daily requirement as regards movement. If the physical education
lesson and other timetabled physical education and health-giving
activities provide over half the optimum daily requirement in terms
of movement for schoolchildren, then out-of-class and out-of-school
forms of activity should m a k e good the motor activity deficiency.
Research by a corresponding m e m b e r of the A c a d e m y of Pedagogical Sciences, M . V . Antropova, has shown that eight to ten hours
of physical education and sport a week (two physical education
lessons, daily physical education and health-giving activities, and
training in sports sections) promote physical development, improve
the general physiological tone of the organism and its immunity,
and represent the m e a n optimum n o r m that is necessary to satisfy
a child's 'hunger' for movement.
M o d e r n research by psychologists has confirmed the inseparable
link between movement and the mind. It is understandable that
the founder of the Soviet system of physical education, P . F . Lesgaft,
should have included in his Handbook on Physical Education a
special section on the psychology of movement. T h e motor act
includes perceptive processes and processes of m e m o r y and prognosis,
control and correction. M o v e m e n t can be said to reflect the basic
features of an individual's personality. This inseparable link between
mind and movement recently served as a basis for the planning
of psychological tests for the study of various aspects of the
T h e findings of psychology m a k e it possible to devise physical
education curricula that are appropriate to the interests and requirements of children in each age group.
O n e question of current concern in the teaching of physical
exercises is h o w to get pupils to participate consciously in the
process. It is important that they should understand the aims and
objectives of the instruction. Furthermore, the purpose of each
activity should m e a n something to pupils individually. This can
only be achieved where the instructor bases his activities on the
needs of the pupils. A n exercise appropriate to those needs stimulates
interest and greater activity, which ultimately makes for a successful
covering of the curriculum. Hence the attention paid by specialists
to pupils' requirements.
In educational psychology a theory is being successfully elaborated
Antonina Khripkova
regarding the step-by-step formation of knowledge, skills and habits.
T h e central idea is the gradual transition of the motor habit or, to
put it more precisely, of the action learned, from the outer to the
inner or psychological plane. This means that the successful performance of any action, including movement, depends to a considerable extent on the preliminary basis of the activity. This enables
the pupils to programme their activities, to find the best w a y of
reaching an objective and to keep a constant check on m o v e m e n t
In dealing with the problem of the individual approach to pupils
in physical education, successful use is m a d e of psychological data
regarding the typological properties of the nervous system. It has
been established that pupils with a weak type of nervous system
m a k e significant mistakes in mastering movements if performance
assessment is conducted at the early stages of acquisition of a motor
skill. In this connection, principles are being worked out for the
selection of subject matter and methods according to the typological
features of pupils.
W e should point out, in conclusion, that physical training and
sport, though the main item, are not the sole factor influencing
the organism in the complex process of physical education. It is
also important not to forget the overall rational regimen of work
and rest, together with proper nutrition and adequate sleep.
But this is a matter for separate treatment.
K O L T S O V A M . M . Dvigatel'naja aktivnost' i rezvitie funkcii mozga rebenka [The Child's
Motor Activity and Brain Function Development]. M o s c o w , Fedagogika, 1973.
. Rebenok ucitsja govorit' [The Child Learns to Speak]. M o s c o w , Sovetskaja
Rossija, 1973.
K O R N I E N K O , I. A . (ed.). Skol'niki s izbytocnym vesom [Overweight Schoolchildren].
M o s c o w , Pedagogika, 1979.
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
Towards an African philosophy
of education
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
(Uganda). Teaches
Contemporary philosophies of education in Africa can be allied
philosophical doctrines, namely naturalism and idealism.
tQ t w o
political sociology at
Makerere University.
Author of several
publications on the
sociology of
Traditional African education is naturalistic in nature (in other
words based o n experience rather than books and schools) and
continues today side b y side with formal Western education. In
fact, for the majority of Africans it is still the most important form
of education, even where formal adult education, however defined,
is in existence.
There are s o m e people in Africa w h o find this form of education
and the kind of societies in which it results very attractive. In East
Africa the U g a n d a n poet Okot P'Bitek, especially in his n o w world
famous Song of Lawino,1 often talks as if he favours either a return
to the traditional ways of life or at least their preservation.
T h e Christian missionaries, too, at the beginning of their activities
in Africa saw as part of their role the protection of African naturalness,
but only in the restricted sense of protecting those African values
considered not repugnant to the European Christian sense of morality.
But Christian missionaries were also educational naturalists in seeing
their duty as that of preparing m e n to fulfil their natural mission,
namely reunion with G o d . In the pursuit of this, however, they
ran headlong into conflict with African 'paganism', as they called
it, and its associated socio-cultural values, so that in the end
Christianity stood in destructive opposition to African culture and
was therefore not different from other aspects of the Western impact
on Africa.
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . i3 1980
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
Finally, in the face of possible threats to African culture from
the impact of the rest of the world, especially the West, there has
emerged in recent years another form of naturalism. It is based o n
the idea that a single African country is powerless to protect its
culture from such a threat and that therefore there is an imperative
for African unity under one government. Such unity having been
achieved, Africa should go o n to isolate itself from the rest of the
world to ensure the purity of her cultural development. Samir
A m i n is very close to this position w h e n he argues that
Cultures are destroyed nowadays not by separation and isolation but by
participation. Throughout the Third World we are witnessing a fantastic
process of cultural destruction—the imposition of a model of consumption
which is European and capitalist in origin, but completely degenerate, and
reproduced in forms which are merely caricature. W e have also seen that any
country which has really tried to modernize itself, and to change its internal
social relationship, has been forced to withdraw from the rest of the world.2
Naturalism in Africa has thus cut two ways, the Christian missionaries' version aside. O n the one hand the conservative version of
it has tended to emphasize the tribal community as the context
within which the individual can achieve meaningful life. O n the
other a m o r e dynamic version of it has looked to pan-Africanism.
Both are suspicious of the nation-state and neither is in favour of
international values, which they disdain as 'subversive'. Espousing
the conservation of culture and its isolation from the mainstream
of world civilization as they d o , both are to m e unacceptable.
Idealism and African education
Idealism is relevant and important for the future of African education, indeed for the future of Africa generally, in both of its t w o
basic aspects. First, there is the sense in which the ideal is a model to
be approximated; a useful tool in a situation where the path to be
followed is either not self-evident on account of several possible
alternatives; or because m a n y diverse factors, some of them mutually
contradictory, need to be reconciled into a harmonious whole.
If w e look at Africa in a world context, there is the problem of
reconciling African culture and African traditional values with
Western science and technology, none of which can be used in a
'pure' form, but c o m e accompanied by other Western socio-cultural
Towards an African philosophy of education
values which m a y conflict with those of Africa. T o take but one
example, w h e n Christianity invaded Africa it was not merely a faith;
it was what one writer has called 'a complex Western package' of
Western 'civilizing' influences.3 T h e same m a y be true of the motor
car or veterinary medicine.
But there is also the problem of the context in which African sociocultural values should be fostered. Should it be at the international,
the pan-African, the national, the sub-national or the individual level?
Model-building is a good possible method of answering such
questions and, for Africa, Ali Mazrui has offered a reasonably
workable one. African development, he has argued, should m o v e in
the direction of indigenizing what is foreign, idealizing what is
indigenous, nationalizing what is sectional, and emphasizing what is
African.* H e once formulated this philosophy in relation to education
as follows:
Educational systems in less developed countries should dig deeper into the
past for local cultural discoveries and push faster into the future through the
sciences. The impact of the developed world on the humanities in African
universities, for example, should decrease. But the impact of the developed
world on the sciences in Africa should continue to be welcomed, though
more selectively.5
But idealism in its m o r e traditional definition is equally relevant. In
this context idealism has been defined as the doctrine that emphasizes
the mental or spiritual as against the merely material aspect of life.
Idealism comes to place emphasis on culture, art, morality and
religion, which brings us back to the important place of culture in
any scheme of African education, an importance that is derived from
the fact that 'culture is the chief instrument in the creation of a
people's identity. T h e assertion of a nation's personality corresponds,
in the cultural sphere, to independence and sovereignty in the
political sphere. A people wants to be itself'.6
But, n o w , just exactly h o w is the 'foreign to be indigenized', the
'indigenous idealized' and the 'sectional nationalized', and h o w is
that which is African to be emphasized and enriched?
Value selectors
Those questions raise two critical issues about the strategies for
achieving the ideals identified above. First, there is the problem of
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
critical selection. W h i c h African values, for example, should be
discarded outright? W h i c h should be selected for retention and promotion? W h a t Western sciences, technologies and values? Ultimately
the issue resolves itself into the question: W h o should do the selecting?
Invariably the answer has been s o m e kind of élite; an educated élite
at that. T h u s Smith, having posed the critical questions,
Will a kind of international Western music, reaching every village by some
mass system, drown out the gamelans and talking drums? Will thefloodof
second-rate Western cultural artefacts and the dubious messages of our mass
media so clog the channels that local culture will have no chance? Even
within one country, will the historic subcultures be buried in a banal national
answers that the African communications élite might act correctly
and avert any such possible disaster. All that is of course possible,
he says,
but one of the reasons for thinking the disaster m a y not occur is the change
of attitude, compared with ten years ago, on the part of Asian and African
intellectual leaders. T h e change has been noteworthy in the case of communications specialists w h o run the machinery of publishing, broadcasting and
film-making. They have given n e w encouragement to folk-music, folkdrama, folk-dance, poetry reading in the national language and designed
motifs from local crafts.8
A n d w h e n Ali Mazrui talks of the need to dig deeper into the past for
local cultural discoveries, he is of course advocating critical selection
through research b y an educated élite; a viewpoint Okot P'Bitek seems
to share w h e n he writes
Y o u scholar seeking after truth
I see the top
of your bald head
Between mountains of books
Gleaming with sweat.
Can you explain
T h e African philosophy
O n which w e are reconstructing
Our new societies?9
But is the confidence placed in the educated élite as value selectors
justified? It would appear not, given the basic nature of this class
Towards an African philosophy of education
vis-à-vis African culture. In this respect a position which Présence
Africaine once took is entirely acceptable. It argued:
O n the whole, the situation o f . . . an élite which is culturally cut off from its
people and lives outside its own civilization promotes the ascendancy of
Westerners (whether Africanists, members of the university or politicians)
over the administration of our cultural affairs. Seen and written about
through the eyes of a foreign culture, our people can only be the objects—and
not the creative subjects—of their history.10
In other words the educated élite, far from interpreting African
culture properly, is likely to distort it.
Value promoters
T h e second critical issue has to do with the process of synthesis
itself; for to indigenize the foreign, and nationalize the sectional, for
example, calls for s o m e sort of synthesis. Take Africa and the West,
for example; h o w can Africa utilize Western technology and yet be
able to retain, promote and enrich her culture? O r take the ideal of
nationalizing the sectional. O n e example will suffice. O f all cultural
attributes, language is perhaps singly the most important. A people
cannot retain, promote or enrich its culture except through its
language. N o w in Africa with very few exceptions, such as Swahili in
East Africa, language is an attribute of a tribal culture. Is it ever
possible, one might ask, to integrate the tribe into the nation b y the
use of a 'national language', say English or French, without at the
same time neglecting subnational languages and, therefore, cultural
development and enrichment as well? Should Western sciences b e
indigenized by translation into local languages? Is it possible? Is it
an enriching of African culture w h e n an African novelist uses
English, French or Portuguese rather than his o w n mother tongue?
These are knotty questions, and categorical answers to t h e m are all
but non-existent. A t the m o m e n t most African countries tend to deal
with them pragmatically. O u r main concern here, however, is not
with the answers themselves, but with the strategies that are proposed
to achieve results once appropriate answers have been identified.
O n c e again confidence seems to be placed in s o m e agent as a means for
achieving ideals that have been identified. Invariably this agent is
s o m e kind of 'teacher', whether in the schools or in adult education.
Basically the emphasis on the teacher as the proper agent to bring
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
about the correct balance in social change carries with it an assumption of the efficacy of expertise and an emphasis on an institutional
approach to education. In Africa the emphasis on the teacher has
meant an emphasis on the school as the proper agent of change, so
that any kind of education that takes place outside the school is
regarded as no education at all. For adult education the parallel is to
be found in some kind of an extension worker operating from some
government department. Such assumptions are, on the whole,
Educating for critical consciousness
T h e concept of the school and its role in education is only beginning
to change even in the advanced countries of the West. For the most
part the school is viewed as the place where knowledge is transferred
from the expert to the ignorant. T h e general pattern is that of an
active teacher and a passive educand w h o must absorb, like a sponge,
whatever he is offered. A similar situation obtains between Africa as
a whole or an individual African country and the advanced Western
countries, the African political élite and the masses, the agricultural
experts and the rural farmers, and so on. T h e result is that knowledge
is indeed transferred (though in some cases even this is doubtful)
from the 'teacher' to the 'educand' but often without in any w a y
raising the independent capability of the latter.
In any case such experts, being products of an essentially Western
institution, are largely outside the way of life of the great majority of
the people they are attempting to educate, with the results w e have
already noted. Perhaps this is w h y A H Mazrui, in search of a more
appropriate agent of change that can reflect the African cultural
viewpoint, has proposed the military as such an agent. T h e illiterate
and semi-illiterate soldiers, he argues, are closer to the rural and
peasant way of life than are the educated élite; and w h e n in power are
better agents for what he calls 're-traditionalization'.11 A very questionable proposition. But even if workable, w e are still in the mainstream of the élite thesis of change, of one group of people doing
things to or for society. W h a t is the alternative? In our view this
alternative is to be found in what Paul Freiré has called 'education
for critical consciousness'.
Basically, the critically conscious m a n is the m a n w h o is aware of
the context of his existence and life, and of the purpose of his actions
Towards an African philosophy of education
and their probable or possible consequences. Such a m a n cannot c o m e
into being b y absorbing d o g m a from experts, whether teachers or
extension workers. H e can only c o m e into being in a situation of
genuine dialogue in which he is not dismissed as ignorant, but
accepted as capable of meaningful contributions. It is this m a n , as
part of the people, w h o is critical of the absorption of technology and
favours the promotion and enrichment of African culture.
T h e anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits pointed out almost two
decades ago that 'the people of Africa . . . have always been receptive
to innovations, and have had no difficulty in adjusting their preexisting habits to them'. Focusing o n Africa's recent experiences, he
There is little question that the impact of the recent acculturative experience
of the African has been greater than those of earlier ones, which entailed the
introduction of innovations on a smaller scale, and at a far more gentle pace.
Yet theflexibilitywhich marks the African approach to innovation, and
certain elements in African cultures themselves, made the more recent
experience far less difficult for them than it was for non-industrialised
peoples elsewhere.12
T h e picture Herskovits presented is one in which there is cultural
d y n a m i s m , i.e. change through mutual interaction, but without
'teachers' in the broad sense, and mostly unconscious. T h e largescale changes which are today called for and the speed with which
they must be accomplished m a y m a k e this 'laissez-faire' strategy
impossible. But there is n o need to go over to the other extreme by
imposing change from the outside and by 'experts'. W h a t is necessary
is that the people should develop critical consciousness and participate fully in their o w n development. F r o m the point of view of
cultural reinterpretation, development and enrichment,
It is important to associate the people with the interpretation of their cultural
life and not to leave its interpretation and animation exclusively in the hands
of the élite, which is culturally dependent on the West and can be more
easily manipulated and conditioned by the latter than an entire nation.13
But it must be a critically conscious nation. Otherwise instead of
cultural d y n a m i s m one might get cultural conservatism.
F r o m the point of view of technology, ' O n e cannot focus o n
technical capacitation except within the context of a total cultural
So w e are brought back to the need for meaningful dialogue
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
between the expert and his audience, the teacher and his educand.
It is the only educational strategy that can enable the great masses
of Africans to utilize Western technology effectively, especially for
economic development, while at the same time enriching their o w n
particular cultures. It emphasizes, quite correctly, the people rather
than the élite. It is people oriented, rather than school oriented; and
this is as it should be, for the great majority of Africans are likely to
continue to live their lives without any school experience for a long
time to come.
African education today
Judging from current official rhetoric on modernization and development, of all the problems faced b y African countries today those
relating to education not only occupy a central place but are also
extremely urgent. Education, by which is generally meant formal
education or schooling, is seen in Africa as the panacea for all pressing
economic and social problems. Often, however, it has proved either
ineffective or irrelevant to these problems. In some cases it has m a d e
them worse and has sometimes created n e w problems where none
existed before. Consequently there is today in Africa a general
dissatisfaction and disenchantment with education.
T h e single most important factor contributing to this state of
affairs is simply the strong link between schooling and paid employment that has always existed in Africa since the introduction of
Western-type education. T h e link was somewhat indirect at first,
w h e n Christian missionaries set u p c a m p and became the first
educators, for not only did they emphasize the saving of the soul,
but there were not in any case very m a n y jobs for the 'educated'
Christian converts to take. But the link was soon m a d e more direct
by the need of the colonial services for a corps of suitably trained
locally recruited minor officials and clerks. With the coming of
independence and the drive to Africanize the civil services, the link
was strengthened even further. So strongly indeed that in East Africa,
for example, the students' image of education could be aptly captured
in the phrases: 'suffering without bitterness', 'arriving', and 'falling
into things'.
T h e school system is seen as a pilgrimage to the promised land, a
pilgrimage of pain and suffering largely arising out of the need to
pass examinations at various stages of the system. These must be
Towards an African philosophy of education
borne without bitterness to the very end, for to reach the end of the
educational ladder is to at long last 'arrive' and to be able to 'fall into
things', i.e. secure a comfortable job. Education thus becomes a painful
secular pilgrimage towards a paradise of leisure.
It is an image the student shares with his parents, and it echoes
very deep-seated African primordial sentiments. T h e African has
always ensured his immortality through the production of m a n y sons
to inherit and prolong his family line. With the destruction of certain
basic aspects of African cultures and the introduction of education
as a means to individual prosperity this 'insurance policy' has undergone a significant transformation. N o w the concern is not for more
and more sons to ensure immortality after one is physically dead, but
better educated sons to provide for one's old age before death; hence
the sacrifice fathers go through to support as m a n y children as
possible (especially sons) in school. If some fall by the wayside by
failing to pass their examinations, others m a y yet reach the promised
land and ensure their parents comfort during old age.
A s long as expectation and reality coincided things m o v e d along
fairly reasonably well. But this happy state of affairs was not to last
very long. Soon after independence changed circumstances became
instantly reflected in an educational crisis from which m a n y African
countries today see no way of escape.
O n e of the most serious problems to hit the majority of African
countries almost immediately after independence was that of the
so-called 'school leavers'; i.e. those w h o drop out before completing
a prescribed programme of education or w h o , having completed the
programme, are unable tofindpaid employment. T h e Kenya Education
Commission, for example, reported that in 1964 there were roughly
67,000 out of a total of 110,000 children (i.e. roughly 60 per cent)
w h o completed primary schooling for w h o m there was 'no prospect
for further education or paid employment'. 1 5 Today, sixteen years
later, the problem is m u c h worse. In U g a n d a in 1972 there were
106,000 children w h o completed primary schooling. O f these only a
mere 13,000 (i.e. roughly 12.5 per cent) had any hope of further
education or paid employment; and here as elsewhere in Africa the
situation is worsening. Part of the reason is of course a population
that continues to gallop ahead of available social services, including
school places and employment. But an equally pertinent factor is
the expectation of the 'educated' children and their parents. Education
means a certificate to a comfortable job and to leisure. W h e n these
are unavailable, there is a crisis.
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
The crisis of relevance
While s o m e of the advanced countries of the West are hopeful of the
future because of the promises in their educated young people,
African countries are increasingly rinding the educated young a source
of frustration and a cause for worry. Yet only recently Africa, too,
viewed education and the young as the key to future success. W h a t
has gone wrong?
O n the surface at least the school-leavers' problem itself has led a
great m a n y African countries to lose confidence in Western-style
education as inherited from the colonial period. There are three basic
reasons for this. T h efirstof these was succinctly stated b y President
In the past there was a tendency for our young people, including even their
parents, to assume that having an education meant leaving the land and
taking wage employment. What is more, it was expected that anyone of
Standard VIII and above should work in an office. Unfortunately, too many
of our people still have this attitude.16
H e laid his hands squarely on the crisis of relevance in modern
African education w h e n he pointed out that for the United Republic
of Tanzania paid employment of all kinds would for a long time cater
for only a tiny proportion of able-bodied Tanzanians, educated and
uneducated. T h e question then arose: is an educational system which,
at great cost to the country, produces people w h o are unproductive in
society, relevant at all?
In response to this question, m a n y African countries are n o w
emphasizing practical subjects, especially agriculture, in their primaryschool curricula. S o m e others have even gone further and are beginning to experiment with an entirely n e w , m o r e rural community
oriented, type of primary schooling.17 But in the final analysis the
'back to the land' call to the educated youth and the creation of
'community project' schools can hardly solve the basic problem. A s
long as the opportunity exists for a tiny minority to undertake
'higher' education and as long as this is considered the only avenue
to top positions in government and society, those w h o are being
herded into the special community schools will continue to feel
themselves 'cheated' and, not without justification, think of theirs as a
poor alternative to higher education. A s long as the cities continue to
enjoy social amenities and facilities far advanced and far in excess of
the rural districts, those being told to go back to the land will interpret
Towards an African philosophy of education
this policy, quite rightly, as amounting to an attempt to debar them
from what should rightfully be theirs. Unless, therefore, there is
social re-structuring, with less emphasis on the school system, higher
education and the certificate, as well on the cities at the expense of
the countryside, the basic problem will continue. T o put it differently,
African countries ought to consider a shift in educational emphasis
from one placed in creating a non-productive or minimally productive
minority to the currently most productive segment of society, the
T h e second reason for disenchantment with formal education in
Africa today is that its products have largely failed to bring about the
impact for socio-economic change that was expected of them. Those
w h o , by all formal standards, are qualified and employed in the public
sector do not appear to have brought the full force of their training
to bear on the problems of development. Often this failure has been
blamed on their alleged lack of commitment to serve the nation or
community, and this is true. But a more fundamental reason might
well be the method of formal education, which has tended to be
dogmatic, formalistic, abstract and, above all, anxious to achieve
certain alleged international standards, in the process of which it
has failed to take account of concrete African realities. T h e result is
that the educated élite w h o are the technological, scientific, and
administrative leaders of society m a y be able to dialogue effectively
with their counterparts at the international level, but they do not
understand nor are they understood by the great masses of their o w n
societies. With them they have tended to carry forward the only
method of education with which they are familiar: preaching at rather
than dialoguing with. A n d to this the great masses have remained
successfully impervious.
Educational formalism, i.e. the meaningless learning of rules and
facts, m a y have been a consequence of development in educational
methodology per se, for it is only recently that such methodology is
being changed through n e w awareness, aspirations, and research in
those countries whose educational standards and directions have
always guided those of Africa. It is only in the last forty years or so
that w e find infant teachers in the United K i n g d o m moving over to a
teaching method in arithmetic that will 'foster a process of mental
growth engendered by close contact with the material world in which
the child will ultimately work'. 1 8 At the beginning such a method was
called 'revolutionary'. It is only as recently as 1970 that w e find Kenya,
for example, moving towards this kind of education in its primary
Dent Ocaya-Lakidi
schools.19 In m a n y other African countries the concept itself is yet to
become familiar; yet they continue to complain of an education system
that is irrelevant to the African environment.
But in the African situation those w h o complain so bitterly about
irrelevance are often the very ones w h o are capable of making
education more relevant, and yet do nothing. T h e reason for this
paradox is political, though it m a y operate subconsciously. It is
simply that a relevant education could be far too relevant for the
vested interests of the élite in power. A relevant education is one
that generates critical consciousness, a concept w e have already
defined above. But h o w m a n y of the ruling élite would be comfortable with a critically conscious peasantry, and h o w m a n y teachers
with a body of educands w h o are developing critical consciousness?
A n d , in thefinalanalysis, would the advanced countries be comfortable with a critically conscious Africa? Probably not. A n d this is
w h y there must be a radical change in the consciousness of the
West to provide the world context in which meaningful African
development, including educational development, can take place.
T h e third area of dissatisfaction with modern African education
is to be found in its inability to produce people w h o can provide
society with moral and cultural leadership. T h e child has become the
father of the m a n . Through formal education the young have acquired
economic power over those w h o are older, wiser and more k n o w ledgeable in African culture than themselves. Merely on the basis
of this and their knowledge of things Western (science, technology,
the art of writing, Western languages, etc.) they n o w presume to
lead society in all its aspects: political, social and cultural. T h e
advanced countries of the West too have acquired economic power
over Africa, and on the basis of this n e w attempt to interpret for
Africa its societies and cultures. If, therefore, modern education in
Africa has been antithetical to African cultures, the motive force
for this can be traced back to those whose power over Africa through
her élite is irresistible.
African education of today must look to the world of tomorrow.
It is a world that demands of Africa economic development. In
this the advanced technologies that have been developed in the
West are instrumental. But in using them Africa needs to be aware
of their potentialities for good and for evil. Above all, economic
development must not be bought at the high price of loss of African
cultures. But such cultures are in the final analysis the property
Towards an African philosophy of education
of the people, the majority of w h o m are peasants. Both economic
development and the reinterpretation and enrichment of these
cultures must be people-centred rather than elite-centred. Education
should shift its emphasis accordingly. But this is unlikely to happen
until the countries whose influence over the world scene is so great
as to b e irresistible, change their attitude over basic social values
and thereby allow to c o m e into existence a world context in which
Africa can m a k e her unique contributions.
i. Nairobi, East African Publishing House, 1966.
2. 'Exchange and Withdrawal: Formulae for Developing the Third World', a discussion
with Léon Boissier-Palun and Paul-Marc Henry, Unesco Features, N o . 707/708,1976, p. 14.
3. Asavia Wandira, Early Missionary Education in Uganda, p. 11, Kampala Department of
Education, Makerere University, 1972.
4. Cultural Engineering and Nation-Building in East Africa, p. xvi, Evanston, 111., Northwestern University Press, 1972.
5. Science and Culture in Social Contact: Some Recommendations, Private Draft, Department
of Political Science and Public Administration, Makerere University, Kampala, n.d.
6. Mircea Malitza, Unesco Features, N o . 707/708, 1976, p. 6.
7. Datus C . Smith, Jr., 'Development: T w o Resolutions', Dialogue, Vol. 2, N o . 2,1969, p. 81.
8. Smith, op. cit.
9. Song of Ocol, Nairobi, East African Publishing House, 1970.
10. Editorial, Présence Africaine, N o . 83, 1972.
11. ' T h e Role of Culture-Pattern in the African Acculturative Experience', Présence Africaine,
Vols. 6/7, N o s . 34/35, 1961, P- 10.
12. Herskovits, op. cit., p. 10-11.
13. Editorial, Présence Africaine, N o . 83, 1972.
14. Jacques Chonchol, preface to 'Extension or Communication', by Paul Freiré, in Freiré,
Education for Critical Consciousness, p. 88, L o n d o n , Sheed & W a r d , 1973.
15. James R . Sheffield (ed.), Education, Employment and Rural Development, p. ix, Nairobi,
East African Publishing House, 1967.
16. Julius K . Nyerere, Freedom and Socialism, p . 71, L o n d o n , Oxford University Press, 1968.
17. Richard Greenough, in Africa Prospect: Progress in Education, Paris, Unesco, 1966,
summarizes this for the Malagasy Republic, Uganda, too, has since started experimenting
with community-oriented practical primary schools.
18. E . Bridgeoake and I. D . Groves, Arithmetic In Action, p . 14, London, University of
London Press, 1939.
19. D . N . Sifuna, Revolution in Primary Education: The New Approach in Kenya, Nairobi,
East African Literature Bureau, 1975.
Viewpoints and controversies
Reflections on the concept
and practice
of educational planning
Boris K . Kluchnikov
Boris K .
Kluchnikov (USSR).
Director of the
Division of
Educational Policy and
Planning, Unesco.
Formerly Chief of
Department of
Institute of Oriental
Studies, Moscow, and
Chief of Laboratory of
Economics of
Education, Moscow
Pedagogical Institute.
Author of
Participation in the
Planning Process
and of articles on
educational planning
and reform.
In the past two decades almost all nations have introduced one or
another form of economic and social planning, including planning
of education. Countries having just gained their independence
began to perceive the considerable opportunities opened u p by
educational planning. Since that time educational planning has been
systematically practised in more than ioo countries of the world.
S o m e of the countries are n o w implementing their fifth or sixth
educational development plan. Unesco has a stock of some ninetyfive current educational plans, kindly supplied by the governments.
These documents as well as the deliberations of a dozen regional
conferences of ministers of education organized by Unesco provide
a solid basis for studying the concept and practice of educational
T h e regional conferences constituted a n e w method for promotion
of international and regional co-operation. T h e y became an important
forum for education ministers to examine educational policies and
plans periodically and to meet with ministers of economics and
finance. T h e regional conferences clearly evidence the progressive
development of educational planning. It was not and it is not smooth.
With triumphs came disappointments. T h e bright side was not
without a dark side. But on the whole it is justified to conclude that
in the highly dynamic development of education in the world during
the last two or three decades planning has played an outstanding
constructive role. T h e most recent regional conference, which
assembled ministers of education of Asia and Oceania in Colombo,
July 1978;, stated that 'educational planning is n o w well established
in the development of the machinery of most governments of the
region' and that cthe mechanisms for educational management
and administration are being progressively strengthened'.1 Similar
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . 1, 1980
Boris K. Kluchnikov
conclusions were drawn by ministers of education of African and
Arab States, w h o met respectively at Unesco conferences in Lagos,
Nigeria, in February 1976 and in A b u - D h a b i , United Arab Emirates,
in N o v e m b e r 1977.
W h e n comparing these conclusions with the opinions of m a n y ,
mostly academic, writers, one cannot avoid an unhappy feeling
that some basic misunderstandings and miscalculations are being
m a d e . T h e former Director of the International Institute of E d u cational Planning, Hans N . Weiler, writes that 'both confidence
and consensus have disappeared and given w a y to considerable
doubts as to the utility and adequacy of educational planning'.
'Given the prevailing state of educational planning,' concludes
Weiler, those researchers w h o define it as 'an exercise in optimism'
are essentially right.2 W h e n reading the articles of Weiler and
George Psacharopoulos, which have appeared in this same journal,
one m a y be left with doubts as to whether education is 'plannable'
in principle and if it is not a method to manipulate 'the Minister
of Education w h o has neither the time nor the skill to question and
understand the procedure [by which] the figures were arrived at'.3
Academic versus practical approach to educational planning
I propose to analyse the typical arguments of the academic critics
of educational planning. W e shall begin with the short history
of educational planning. Psacharopoulos opens his fairly ambitious
article b y claiming that educational planning started with the
discovery 'by Abramovits, Solow and others in the United States'
of the 'residual' in the 1950s, and that 'before 1955 or thereabouts
there was virtually no attempt to plan educational systems'.4 T h o u g h
it is of no particular importance whether it was Abramovits in 1955
or G . Strumilin in 1925, the fact is that the International Conference
on Educational Planning, organized by Unesco in August 1968 in
Paris (later the I C E P ) clearly indicated that thefirstsystematic
attempt at educational planning dates back to 1923 and the years
of the First Five-Year Plan in the U S S R . A number of Western
European countries launched educational plans of one sort or
another immediately after the Second World W a r . Typical cases are
the United Kingdom's Education Act of 1944 and the French National
Plan of 1953. Secondly, the above statement of Psachoropoulos
tends to equate educational planning with the economics of education
Reflections on the concept and practice of educational planning
or, at least, to reduce it to its m a n p o w e r approach and component.
However, before discussing this basic misunderstanding I permit
myself to disagree with another c o m m e n t of Weiler's concerning
historical roots and the origin of educational planning. H e contends
that 'educational planning was a 'more or less mechanical reaction
to an external d e m a n d that some form of planning would be a
prerequisite for receiving foreign assistance for educational development'. 5 N o doubt a majority of the developing countries was m u c h
impressed by the speed and efficiency with which educational
development was performed in more developed countries thanks
to planning, primarily in socialist countries. Nevertheless this does
not necessarily imply that educational planning was imported and
imposed by foreigners. In our view educational planning was born
on the local soil by national efforts, and is deeply rooted in the
national environment. Planning was taken as a natural process of
h u m a n activity and as a n e w element of the national system of
management. This fact explains the slow start and increasing diversity
of planning practices. Indeed the content, methodology and effectiveness of educational planning differ widely from country to
country, depending on their social, economic, political and cultural
goals. This diversity of educational planning conflicts with Weiler's
assertion that it has been imported for purposes of receiving aid
and that in most Third World countries implementation of plans
depends on outside resources. It is true that m a n y developing
countries suffer from a constraint of resources. However, luckily
they never depended on foreign aid for their educational development. Foreign resources at best amounted to some 5 - 7 per cent of
the expenditures on education. Quantitatively aid remains a marginal
factor in development and especially in education.
However, the criticism of Weiler and Psacharopoulos contains a
number of other fundamental misgivings. Weiler contends that
educational planning has a conservative bias, that it is mostly
preoccupied with economic growth and h u m a n capital development,
that it neglects implementation, that it is of a hirearchical and bureaucratic nature, and that in general educational planning has questionable assumptions ('an exercise in optimism'). These are fairly
typical academic criticisms.
Let us consider the above arguments. T h e reader will forgive us for
making frequent references to various educational plans and documents approved by ministers' conferences. In our view these documents represent the opinions of practitioners of educational planning.
Boris K. Kluchnikov
Conservative bias
Is it correct that educational planning has a tendency to reproduce
on an expanded scale the existing educational system? Is it fair to say
that instances where it brought major structural changes, redistribution of educational opportunities or qualitative reorientations,
have been extremely rare?6 W e can hardly agree with such a generalization. It is certainly an exaggeration that does not stand u p
under either empirical evidence or a theoretical test. O n the contrary,
educational planning, w h e n properly applied as a method for
achieving goals of educational policy, greatly contributed to systematic educational innovations. T h e replies to the Unesco questionnaire sent to ninety-five M e m b e r States in 1968 show that
already at that time fifty-one countries included qualitative aspects
in their plans. T h e practitioners normally challenge the tendency
to counterpose quantitative and qualitative aspects of educational
development, because the quantitative expansion of education itself
requires a whole range of measures designed to improve the quality
and relevance of its structures, contents and methods. T h e evaluations of national educational plans, in particular those of the
late 1960s and 1970s, clearly evidence their growing preoccupation
with quality improvement, innovations and reforms. T h e Third
Plan (1965-70) of Pakistan, e.g. envisaged 'at the secondary level,
that major emphases be put on qualitative improvement especially
in the sciences'. Also, international and regional conferences, o n
m a n y occasions, mentioned the openness of educational planning
to innovations and reforms, even 'in Asia with its deep rooted
respect for traditions'.7 Contrary to Weiler's assertion, educational
plans are increasingly emphasizing the qualitative aspects, and are
becoming more and more an effective means for educational innovations and reforms.
Preoccupation with economic growth
Another criticism of educational planning concerns its scope and
subject. It is often argued that most approaches to planning educational development have been predicated on the notion of h u m a n
capital, which effectively excludes any considerations related to
other functions. Psacharopoulos says: 'For nearly twenty years the
sole [sic] objective of educational planning has been economic
Reflections on the concept and practice of educational planning
efficiency or h o w to increase national income.' 8 A serious analysis
of educational plans, I a m afraid, hardly leads to such a conclusion.
O n the contrary, as a general rule planning of education after the
Second World W a r was a separate exercise having no substantial
links with economic planning. Educators found it important to
emphasize that education was not only consumption, but that it
represented an investment. Naturally enough, economists played
an outstanding role in the first phases of educational planning;
they already had planning experience and they brought with them
a degree of precision, which m a n y educators had been demanding
for a long time. Nevertheless, economic development was normally
considered as only one of the objectives of education, the others
being social, cultural, political, or personality oriented, etc. T h e
I C E P , noting that early educational plans disregarded the employment aspect, warned against the fashionable ' h u m a n capital' theory
and its possible implications. It has since become increasingly
clear that a form of educational planning confined to the single
issue of labour d e m a n d would be incomplete.
As a matter of fact, this is the reason w h y the so-called integrated or global socio-economic approach to the planning of education in socialist countries was and still is so m u c h the centre of
attention of practitioners of educational planning. Planning of
technical and higher education in conjunction with estimated m a n power needs was the most attractive novel feature of the global
socio-economic approach practised in socialist countries. T h e international community has to a great extent overlooked the social and
cultural dimensions of educational planning, practised in socialist
countries. It was stated at the I C E P that 'in all socialist countries
of Europe, forecasts of employment . . . govern the planning of
education in its entirety'.9 This was a superficial consideration that
unfortunately is still widespread. O n the contrary, in these countries
the concept of h u m a n capital was never taken seriously, though the
role of qualified manpower was clearly recognized.
T h e predominance of social and purely educational goals in the
first national plans, and the often total lack of manpower considerations, is evidenced by practically all the regional conferences. For
instance, the Marrakesh conference stated that the development of
educational planning has been initially limited to the elementary
level, in some cases gradually broadened in scope. T h e Singapore
conference clearly stated that one of the principal objectives of
educational plans was equalization of educational opportunities.
Boris K. Kluchnikov
Educational plans of developing countries early evidenced a major
concern also for the building u p of national unity and the fostering
of a civic spirit. In addition to fulfilling manpower needs, the educational plans of Nepal are aiming at creating a sense of national
unity based on a c o m m o n culture by transforming the geopolitical
unity into a realistic feeling of national solidarity, as well as at
bringing about uniformity in the pedagogical traditions of the country
by integrating all the prevailing systems of education, old and n e w ,
into one national system.10 T h e Nepalese approach is fairly typical.
Nowadays the majority of educational plans incorporate also cultural
and non-formal educational activities. At the end of the 1960s the
process of branching educational planning began. In some countries
special plans for higher, technical and out-of-school education were
T h e implementation of plans is clearly the major shortcoming.
Does it m e a n that educational planning is not feasible? It is also a
considerable exaggeration to claim that educational plans or m a n y of
their aims never went beyond the paper stage. H a d this conclusion
been correct, countries would reject the idea of planning in principle.
Fortunately Prospects also published the article by N . F . Lamarra
and Inés Aguerrondo. In m y opinion they correctly analyse the recent
evolution of educational planning. Planning with all its shortcomings
and childhood sicknesses appears as a natural h u m a n activity. T h e y
analyse the concrete experience of some Latin American countries in
all objectivity, with its weaknesses and achievements. T h e advantage
of their approach is that they clearly recognize that 'any attempt to
channel and/or change reality—including educational reality—has
policy-making, administrative and planning aspects which are inextricably bound together'.11
Hierarchical and bureaucratic nature
T h e majority of analysts rightly complain about the minimal and
mostly limited involvement of lower levels in the planning process
and about its bureaucratic and non-participatory nature. O n the
whole this is correct, and it probably constitutes the basic weakness
of educational planning of m a n y countries. Recognition of this fact
has led m a n y countries to practise educational planning at local levels
with a view to ensuring the participation of teachers and their union,
and of parents, students and the community as a whole. Paradoxically
Reflections on the concept and practice of educational planning
the countries k n o w n as 'centrally planned economies' in reality are
taking the lead in considerably decentralizing planning, limiting it
to major targets, consulting lower levels at the stage of the formulation
of plans, making them fully responsible for implementation, and
providing for a great degree offlexibility,for rolling adjustments in
the process of implementation. T h e plan here is, however, a directive,
subject to implementation.
Rationale of educational planning
Finally, a few words about the fundamental criticism of educational
planning as being an exercise in optimism. This amounts to the
invalidation of educational planning in principle. There are variations
of this fundamental criticism, ranging from the view of planning as a
sin ( m a n can't and shouldn't plan his future) to questioning the
feasibility of educational planning, the most c o m m o n argument being
the unsuitability of market economies for planning. W e will limit
ourselves to a discussion of educational planning.
Let us start from some basic conceptual foundation-stones, such as
the relationships between society and education and the definition
and hierarchy of educational goals, policies, planning and administration. There is, after all, nothing more practical than a good theory.
T h e roots of the invalidation of planning are m u c h deeper than is
c o m m o n l y realized. T h e y originate in the 'equilibrium concept' of
social development. This school of thought, k n o w n as evolutionist,
tends to explain social change in general and educational development
in particular as an organic progression, as quantitative and qualitative
growth in line with social and cultural progress. Education must be
in a certain equilibrium with its environment, it must reproduce
existing social relations. Development in education is nothing more
than a smooth endogenous cumulative change. Change in education
cannot be artificially introduced. Recalling Rostow's stages of growth,
evolutionists argue that there are certain stages of growth through
which all school systems must pass; they cannot leapfrog a stage or a
major portion of a stage. T h e point is further developed by the
so-called educational anthropologists. According to them the laws of
natural history discovered b y Darwin extend to social life, including
education. Naturally they are bitterly sceptical with regard to the
educational innovations that nowadays are taking place in the developing countries. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the
Boris K. Kluchnikov
policy of democratization and modernization of education is for
them premature and rootless, exogenous and therefore doomed to
T h e evolutionists recognize planning at the best as a tool for
orderly reproduction of existing educational systems on a larger base
and as a tool for smooth adjustments of the most obvious imbalances.
T h e concept is particularly popular in societies that tend to preserve
and reproduce a social status quo. In these societies educational
planning is put in a rather fatalistic framework and is of marginal
use: linear expansion and occasionally incremental adjustments.
Naturally, attemps in this type of society to line u p educational
planning with educational policy or with its deviation into systematic
innovations, not to say profound major reforms, as a rule result in
complete failure. M a n y plans are a failure simply because they are
unrealistic. T h e y are unrealistic just because too often they faithfully
follow unrealistic or demagogic educational policies. This is recognized by m a n y conferences. Educational planning should not be
preconceived but instead reflect the aspirations of the population as
well as national and local realities.
In opposition to the view that education is in a 'moving equilibrium'
is the concept of conflict or basic contradiction between societies and
education, which emphasizes the inherent instabilities of the social
system, and conflicting relationship a m o n g its subsystems. A m o n g
the supporters of the 'conflict theory' there are two conflicting views
on education. According to one, education b y its very nature is a
major tool for eroding and destroying outdated traditional structures.
Another contends that education, or more precisely, school, is by its
very nature a conservative institution. This concept serves as a
foundation stone for societies undertaking major and comprehensive socio-economic transformations. Educational planning normally
should be a management tool for achieving policies, goals that are
often aimed at a major educational reform. T h e above observations
lead one to distinguish various approaches to educational planning:
e.g. one for planning for status quo, another for smooth incremental
adjustments and yet another for major educational change following
radical socio-economic transformations taking place in a given society.
T h e context, methodology and technique of educational planning
should in each of these cases vary. But in all cases planning is a
management process, a variable dependent on educational policy.
Widespread misunderstandings concerning the functions and
relationships between educational policy and planning are, as m e n -
Reflections on the concept and practice of educational planning
tioned earlier, one of the major reasons for criticisms of planning.
Educational policy, like policy in general, reflects a country's options
and ideally its cultural traditions, values and conceptions of the
future. It must be a unified structure of specific objectives, deduced
from overall societal goals. It is educational policy that should ensure
that educational objectives comply with the objectives of society.
Educational planning, being a fundamental component of the modern
educational process, should necessarily reflect educational policy. It
transcribes policy goals into scientifically justified targets and foresees
alternative ways and means for their implementation for short-,
m e d i u m - and long-term educational development.
Weakness or neglect of educational administration is another major
reason w h y the best plans and reforms sometimes remain a dead
letter or quietly degenerate. T h e disillusionment with educational
planning which these days is so m u c h propagated, seems to be a
result of misinterpretations of its rationale and possibilities. F r o m the
beginning there were too high hopes and expectations. T h e International Conference on Educational Planning has specifically warned
that educational planning is not a miracle drug to cure all ills of ailing
educational systems. It is not a standardized formula to be imposed
in all situations.
Challenges for the future
Careful analyses of confronting points of view on educational planning
lead the majority of competent people to conclude that there are no
sufficiently strong arguments for discarding educational planning.
W e have referred already to the statements of representative regional
conferences. T h e introduction in the 1950s and 1960s of educational
planning in the majority of the countries of the world was a major
prerequisite for establishing national systems of education and for
their unprecedented growth. T h e need for modern methods of
management is universal. There are no meaningful alternatives to
educational planning. Its usefulness is particularly obvious in
times w h e n the coherence of educational systems, the co-ordination
of multiplying educational activities, and the mobilization of all
potential learning resources in the framework of lifelong education,
is a pertinent item on the agenda of so m a n y countries. W i d e
and wise use of computers considerably increases the capacity of
educational planning.
Boris K. Kluchnikov
A s a matter of fact this attitude is reflected in Unesco's preoccupation with improvement of educational planning, which is one
of its major objectives. Educational planning as it exists n o w in m a n y
countries is indeed in a stage of infancy or adolescence. Without
pretending to elaborate n e w tasks of educational planning, I will
concentrate on a few fundamental aspects.
T h e n e w tasks are directly dependent on the emerging concept of
development, which recognizes a multiplicity of factors, puts emphasis
on social structures, on cultural values and ethical norms. It takes
into account the disintegration of the economies in the developing
countries, the predominance of the traditional sector, rapid urbanization, etc. In negative terms, it is a revolt against cultural assimilation, against imported and artificially implanted cultures and
educational institutions. T h e positive terms which the n e w concept
emphasizes are the endogenous character of development, cultural
authenticity, self-reliance and sovereignty of nation-states in their
educational policies. It is gathering m o m e n t u m . Unesco's programme
clearly states: As educational policies evolve, the notion of educational
planning must also adapt itself to n e w situations. T h e most promising
trend is a gradual improvement of educational planning, its receptivity and adjustment to changing needs.
Several dozen educational plans are available, in some cases the
entire series of national development plans. Educational plans are
often part of development plans. Analysing them, one comes to the
conclusion that on the whole the plans are becoming less uniform in
subject, content, methods and techniques. T h e y tend to take better
care of alternative strategies for achieving plan targets. This in turn
leads to considerable diversification of orientations, priorities, ways
and means, institutional structures, etc. A n international comparative
method is becoming of minor influence. Close ties with national and
local realities and self-reliance are considered preconditions for
successful planning.
Educational planning is indeed becoming multidisciplinary. Its
scope is broadening, its methodologies and techniques are becoming
m o r e sophisticated and closely linked to overall planning. A s
P . C o o m b s rightly stressed s o m e years ago, educational planning
moves d o w n w a r d and outward.
Horizontally it becomes part and parcel of integrated development
planning. Educational planners are often m e m b e r s of mixed planning
teams. T h e y tend to think of education as a subsystem. T h e branching
of educational planning is another major development. In higher and
Reflections on the concept and practice of educational planning
technical education, teacher training and literacy work, special
planning methods and techniques are applied.
T h e rapid changes in society, the need for anticipation, the
broadened concept of education and the outstanding tasks of mobilizing additional learning resources are probably the major challenges
to educational planning. Until recent years educational planners
were mostly concerned with the formal system. Non-formal educational activities were not supposed to be planned just because they
were non-formal. This attitude is gradually changing. It is thought
nowadays that the laissez-faire approaches to non-formal education
are not appropriate, particularly in view of the recognition of enorm o u s potentials of non-formal educational activities. It is of crucial
importance in rural areas, which are the dominant sector of developing
countries. T h e task of educational planners in the non-formalfieldis
to carefully promote and organize local initiatives and endogenous
efforts, the danger being to over-organize and over-plan.
T h e recent educational plans single out specific programmes of
educational development for rural areas and for informal urban
sectors, often in conjunction with community development schemes.
S o m e of the developing countries have demonstrated success in the
planning of various extension programmes; family planning, nutrition
and sanitation courses, apprenticeship schemes, various programmes
of child care, h o m e economics, training of medical specialists, etc.
(Colombia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the United Republic of
Tanzania). In fact m a n y educational plans, particularly in the developing countries, are realistic enough to recognize a prevailing multiplicity of educational patterns. T h e y attempt to embrace, in a
systematic fashion, all educational activities, formal, non-formal,
informal, with a view to establishing national educational systems.
Reflecting n e w educational policies, the recent generations of plans
are multidimensional to the extent that, while continuing to pay
attention to quantitative and qualitative aspects, to costs and some
economic and social considerations, they tend to take into account,
m u c h more than previously, ethical, political, cultural, sociological
and organizational aspects of education with due regard to national
traditions. T h e best of them seem to be less rigid; they emphasize
alternative strategies, the need for rolling adjustments in response
to change.
Vertically, the plans attempt to include all organic components:
national, regional, local, institutional as well as the preparation of
programmes and projects. T h e prospects for decentralization and
Boris K. Kluchnikov
democratization of procedures through participation are particularly
bright in the field of educational planning. Participatory planning
is the most promising n e w orientation. Participation in all stages of
educational planning b y teachers and their unions and by c o m munities, students, parents, is the best w a y to mobilize local initiatives
and channel them into a regular achievement of planned targets. T h e
participatory aspects of educational planning occupy a central place
in Unesco's programme. T h e latter is aimed at systematic collection,
analysis and dissemination of advanced experiences of various
O f particular importance is the interaction between educational
planning and research. This is a vast subject. However, some remarks
might be useful. Indeed one of the functions of planning is to serve
as a laboratory of n e w ideas. It cannot otherwise provide for scientifically justified decisions. T h e central danger for educational planning nowadays seems to be a dichotomy between research and
planning. This separation of education research from planning too
often leads to the inapplicability of its findings to practical problems.
Research is of particular importance for reforming educational
systems. N o w a d a y s , planning and administration of educational
reforms are often considered as a special branch of educational
Reviewing the arguments for and against planning, w e have
carefully analysed the experiences of countries with relatively rich
planning traditions. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, said
w h e n introducing the Fifth Five-Year Plan, 1974-79:
Sometimes it is said that there is no longer the same enthusiasm about planning as in thefifties.A n irrigation dam or powerhouse is more exciting while
it is being built than when it is completed and operating. Planning has
become an inseparable part of our life. M y father often said that planning is
the application of science to national problems.12
T h e profound changes occurring in society and in educational
systems, and the n e w circumstances for the financing of education
arising out of the reduction of resources, contribute both to increasing
the importance of educational planning in forthcoming decades and
to modifying its basis. It is becoming more and m o r e clear that
planning methods should be m a d e still m o r e relevant so as to m a k e
of them an effective instrument for the systematic application of
education policies, especially if funds are to become relatively
scarcer. This could m a k e it vital to secure the best possible utilization
Reflections on the concept and practice of educational planning
of available means, mobilize n e w resources and establish strict
priorities. Although not easy, it is vital to secure harmonization with
employment policies, and to secure the participation of young people,
the principal victims of unemployment in m a n y countries, and their
parents in the planning and management of the education system.
M a n y specialists are of the opinion that planning is the discipline of
the future. I share this prediction. M u c h of course should be done,
particularly in the field of relatively underdeveloped long-term
educational planning. Its development will go hand-in-hand with
socio-economic planning. T h e latter will in the future mostly be
preoccupied not only and not so m u c h with the exploitation of
nature, but with its regulation and preservation. T h e relation of m a n
to nature is becoming the central issue of planning in general and of
educational policies and planning in particular.
i. Final Report of the Fourth Regional Conference of Ministers of Education and Those Respo
sible for Economic Planning in Asia and Oceania, Colombo, 24 July-I August 1978, p . 64,
Recommendation 23, Paris, Unesco, October 1978.
2. Hans N . Weiler, 'Towards a Political Economy of Educational Planning', Prospects,
Vol. VIII, N o . 3, 1978, p . 247 and 266.
3. George Psacharopoulos, 'Educational Planning: Past and Present', Prospects, Vol. VIII,
N o . 2, 1978, p . 141.
4. Ibid, p. 135.
5. Weiler, op. cit., p. 248.
6. Ibid., p. 252.
7. Final Report of the Third Regional Conference of Ministers of Education and Those Respo
sible for Economic Planning in Asia, Singapore, 31 May-7 June 1971, p. 12.
8. Psacharopoulos, op. cit., p. 142.
9. International Conference on Educational Planning: A Survey of Basic Problems and Prosp
p. 46, Paris, Unesco, 1968.
10. Final Report of the Third Regional Conference of Ministers of Education and Those Respo
sible for Economic Planning in Asia, Singapore, 31 May-7 June 1971, p . 29, para. 136.
11. Norberto Fernández Lamarra and Inés Aguerrondo, 'Some Thoughts on Educational
Planning in Latin America', Prospects, Vol. VIII, N o . 3, 1978, p . 352.
12. Fifth Five-Year Plan, 1974-79, P- vi, Government of India Planning Commission.
Elements for a dossier
Mass media,
education and culture
Henri Dieuzeide
Communication and education
T h e rapid extension of the various forms of mass
communication (especially audio-visual c o m munication, together with the more general use
of informatics) seems to bring education a n e w
Communication was quick to develop its n e w
vectors (press, radio, television) in most
countries at a time w h e n education was emerging as an aspiration of all categories of the
population and the ideas of democratization of
education, life-long education, equality of opportunity, were becoming widespread. T h e two
phenomena inevitably came into relation with
each other: communication is seen as bringing
about an 'educational environment', wresting
from the school its monopoly of education,
getting the school to use modern forms of c o m munication for its o w n purposes. Finally, c o m munication by becoming a subject of education
m a y very well evolve in the direction of n e w
T h e ever increasing volume of information
with which the public is swamped and, above all,
the extension of the dissemination of information, especially by radio, then television, to
Henri Dieuzeide (France). Director of the Unesco
Division of Structures, Content, Methods and Techniques of Education. Former Director of the Department
of School Radio and Television in the French Ministry
of Education. Author of Les techniques audiovisuelles
dans l'enseignement.
n e w social or geographical categories have given
the impression that anyone at all could come
into direct contact with the very sources of
knowledge, that there would no longer exist
either social distances or professional secrets.
T h e young have been particularly appreciative of this opportunity of direct and effortless
access to an adult world previously closed to
them. In Europe a io-year-old spends on the
average twenty-four hours a week looking at
television, that is, as m u c h time as in school.
In the United States today a 16-year-old has
spent at least 15,000 hours of his life watching
This sudden extension of communication was
first of all analysed in terms of 'effects' or
'impact' and the direct influence of the ever increasing stimulation on individuals and groups,
and there was talk of the 'educational action of
the media' on cognitive development or behaviour, using mechanistic terms of psychology.
Today, with a more subtle analysis, the impact
of communication is considered only with the
most obvious aspect of a wider series of transformations due to gradual changes in the h u m a n
environment. Research shows that the influences of technology are in fact differentiated in
accordance with the psychological, intellectual,
social and cultural conditions of the individuals
exposed to them. F r o m this point of view,
interpretation of the non-formal educational
action of the media is undergoing the same
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . 1, 1980
Henri Dieuzeide
changes as thinking on education: emphasis is
laid on the role of interpersonal relations and the
influence of values c o m m o n to the group, on
long-term effects and on the fact that w e know
little about them as yet. Interest is moving from
the transmitter to the receiver. T h e question is
not so m u c h what the message does to the
individual or the group as what the individual or
the group does with the message.
T h e all-pervasive character of c o m m u n i cation is but the sign of the advent of a n e w
environment. Ideas such as the 'civilization of
visual media', the 'alternative school', the 'computerized society', the 'global village', indicate
awareness of the fact that the technological
environment is creating a permanent means of
presenting or proliferating information and gaining access to knowledge. There has been talk
of the emergence of a n e w m a n w h o m this n e w
environment could in varying degrees fashion
from day to day as regards his emotional
context and his habits of reasoning, his critical
attitudes and imagination, his technical skills
and his behaviour.
Is this n e w m a n conscious of being so? It has
to be acknowledged that young people are n o w
normally accustomed to handling a whole series
of miniature electronic devices that have become a part of everyday life, tape cassette
recorders or pocket calculators. W e adults have
been brought u p to make distinctions between
functions (television, computer, telephone) and
do not readily perceive the connections that electronic developments have n o w m a d e between
these formerly incompatible functions—the television screen becoming a computer terminal, a
notice-board, and a video play-deck as well as
conveying film images, the pocket calculator
becoming a clock and the radio making the
morning coffee.
Here ought w e not see h o w the child, caught
u p in a technological environment imposed on it
by the adult world, has n o w built his o w n
ecological niche? It is no longer in school, which
should be the place for reflection and the passing
on of knowledge, that he gets to know about the
basic concepts c o m m o n to our technological
universe—real time, for instance, which indicates autonomous transmission, or the controlling of a process while it is going on; memory, a
magnetic trace of data; program, which n o w
exists in all domestic automation and which
corresponds to an ordered sequence of acts.
Knowledge presented in this way, in abundance, and day by day has a 'mosaic' pattern
that no longerfitsinto the traditional intellectual
categories. Emphasis tends to be laid on the
heterogeneous and even chaotic nature of the
information presented, the priority given to the
dissemination of superficial or sensational information of ephemeral interest, increasing the
'noise' to the detriment of the actual message.
Emphasis is laid, too, on the fact that it is
imposed on the user, w h o has the feeling of
undergoing this environment rather than exploring or controlling it. In so far as the education of the individual is concerned, the incoherence is probably less important than the
constraint. Mass communication tends to reinforce c o m m o n symbolic systems, to eniich,
re-express and reinterpret them. In doing so, it
flattens out the individuality of groups and
builds u p stereotypes. It seems to bring about a
kind of intellectual standardization. There is
nothing, however, to justify us in thinking that
this tendency towards standardization, which is
a feature of most communication industries
today, is inexorable. Communication refers us
back to education: h o w can the consumers
of information (and also the communicators)
gradually be educated to use in a positive and
imaginative way these immense n e w resources
put every day at their disposal? Will education
be equal to the task of preparing people to take
on communication, while still preserving their
o w n personalities and creative abilities?
T h e question is one of urgency, since in
nearly all societies the school must share its
monopoly of education with the institutions
responsible for communication. This shared
Communication and education
responsibility is often claimed by the c o m m u n i cators themselves. It is sometimes established
by statute—for example, in the triad 'inform,
educate, entertain' frequently invoked by broadcasting organizations. This situation, and the
growing presence of communication in most
societies, raise the question of the reappraisal of
the functions of the school and perhaps even,
to some extent, those of the family. U p until
the beginning of this century, even in industrial
societies, the school was the first source of
knowledge and the educator was its patented
distributor through the spoken and printed
word. Knowledge of the world and mastery of
the skills enabling one to be integrated into it
were obtainable from the school alone. T h e role
of the family being to strengthen and supplement this function, gradually n e w sources of
information, cinema and radio, television and
soon telematics* have come to upset, contradict
and sometimes replace the traditional information sources of the school and the family
Today, in most societies, either covertly or
openly, the two systems are competing with one
another, not without creating contradictions
and even major difficulties for individual consciences, unconsciously subjected to this c o m p e tition, particularly in the case of the very
T o the educational institution, based on
values of order and method, curriculum, effort
and personal concentration, competition, there
is n o w opposed a system of mass c o m m u n i cation, geared to the topical, to the surprise
element exalting world disorder, to facility and
hedonistic values. Is there any way to reduce this
competition, implicit or explicit, the wastage of
resources and talent that it has entailed for
thirty or forty years in the rich countries? C a n it
be spared the countries that have only limited
T o find solutions is not easy: the sharing of
responsibility between education and c o m m u n i cation can take very different forms. S o m e
pragmatists hold that the communication media
should purvey contemporary knowledge, while
education should be responsible for passing on
the heritage accumulated by tradition. For the
technocrats, the school should concern itself
with the most effective social knowledge, the
promotion and dignity of the individual, the
economic efficiency of nations, while c o m m u n i cation should serve for recreation and entertainment, but also for exchanges and international understanding. For m a n y concerned to
preserve traditional values, the school should
provide a protective haven of silence, meditation, intellectual exercise and personal integration, in contrast to the proliferation and
hubbub of communication. Yet m a n y educationists would consider that the prime function of the educational institutions, henceforth,
should be to put in order the 'knowledge'
disseminated at random by the communication
networks; the education systems would put
forward systems of values and methods enabling the essentials to be picked out, helping
to identify the positive aspects, to relate the
main facts concerning material already acquired
elsewhere, in short, teaching h o w to understand
and h o w to learn.
So far, there does not seem to have been any
systematic thinking on policy with regard to
such a redistribution of functions between education and communication, the two systems
still tending in most countries to ignore one
another; any negotiation has been on minor
questions or in marginalfieldsthat do not call
the prerogatives into question (school television, children's cinema). This has been called
'the sharing out of the cheap cuts' (Pierre
It is obvious that any genuine effort of integration would necessitate both a reconversion
of all teaching staff to n e w tasks, and a real
* F r o m the French neologism, télématique, meaning i ismission of data over a distance.—Ed.
Henri Dieuzeide
awareness on the part of communicators of the
problems involved in education.
T h e need for this basic change should not
lead us to underestimate the attempts already
m a d e to enlist communication in the service of
education. Since the school is a 'communication
society', it is tending gradually in a selective,
deliberate way to submit most of the modern
forms of communication to its o w n purposes:
either using communication systems as they
stand, in order to provide the usual audiences of
these systems with information of educational
value (family education programmes, functional
literacy teaching, health and hygiene etc.), or
utilizing the same communication systems to introduce n e w components into formal educational
activities (radio, television, school films), or
relaying the functions of a traditional system by
transferring the educational tasks to a c o m munication system (in particular teaching of
remote or handicapped pupils by radio and
television), or even on occasion, reorganizing
the structure, methods and processes of education (as, for instance, in self-teaching ventures
and teaching laboratories based particularly on
the use of informatics).
Owing to the number of different media
(films, records, audio-visual montages, radio,
television, video tapes, video records, portable
television sets, computers, microprocessors),
owing to the number of types and levels of education involved (literacy teaching, adult education, rural development, pre-primary, primary
and secondary education, technical and vocational education, higher and post-graduate
education), owing to the differences in the
extent to which the media are used (continuously, regularly, partially, occasionally) and
owing to the situations in which they are used
(in a group, with or without a teacher, for h o m e
study), there are several thousand combinations
in the use of communication technologies that
have been developed with varying success.
Experience today shows that the major educational campaigns by the media have often been
too optimistic, the educators having underestimated the difficulties, the complications and the
unwieldiness of production and facilities. W h e r e
the information environment was poorest, it has
taken more readily to educational c o m m u n i cation—e.g. radio in rural areas. Today renewed
interest is to be noted on the part of educators
in the use of less cumbersome technical means
of stocking and distributing—local radio transmitter, video cassettes, lightweight or portable
video tape recorders—which can be handled
more easily and better adapted to local needs.
However, the absence of any coherent cultural
policy and the rigidity of educational strategies
in most countries reduce the possibilities of
massive, systematic applications of the media to
major educational tasks.
W h a t does seem possible, on the other hand,
and is desired by most societies, in view of the
increasing importance of communication, is the
n e w responsibility of teaching everyone the
proper use of communication, the more so
since the family, in the majority of cases, has
shown itself to be ill prepared to face u p to its
irruption. W h a t is required here is a more
critical education that can point to the dangers
of pseudo-knowledge from audio-visual sources
and the illusion of the power of information. It
is a question of freeing the individual from the
fascination exercised by technology, making him
less receptive and more exacting, more aware. It
n o w seems to be recognized that any improvement in the standards of the press and of radio
and television programmes is dependent on this
trainingof individual and collective discernment.
There are already m a n y forms of education
for the appropriate consumption of c o m m u n i cation. S o m e are essentially concerned with the
individual consumption of information as a
product, others with the encouragement of the
creative use of communication seen mainly as a
social process. In the context of better consumption of the product, the last few years have
brought about a development in the use of
newspapers in schools as texts for study, the
Communication and education
teaching of the rudiments of visual c o m m u n i cation and the screen arts, showing h o w to
appreciate and judge messages, to read the
author's intentions, to distinguish the real and
the imaginary, to organize and select. In some
cases it is the content of the audio-visual
culture itself (films, television), that is used as
a reference for teaching purposes. Sometimes,
even, communication provides the basis for a
school exercise: production of filmed synopsis
or cartoon montages. This amounts to an introduction to communication as a process.
Communication is no longer the monopoly
of communicators. Inaugurated in earlier times
with the school newspaper and printing shop,
this 'participatory' approach is n o w leading
m a n y schools, clubs or youth movements to
have pupils handle portable television or 8 - m m
movie cameras and even to dialogue with minicomputers.
In this way, educators are taking their place
at the heart of the popular Utopia of a convivial
society in which everyone can be at the same
time a producer and a consumer of information,
as part of a group.
This proliferation of initiatives has not yet
found its way into coherent educational strategies, and m u c h remains to be done in this
field. S o m e maintain that communication technologies and their use should be a n e w subject
of study, even if this means increasing compartmentalization. Others maintain that it is within
each subject in general education as it n o w
exists that the pupil must gradually learn to
master the media, despite the possible danger
of forcing into the school a culture that it
m a y be unable to assimilate. But for the time
being, neither the audio-visual media nor data
processing are sufficiently well established within
educational institutions to become an everyday
concern there. This makes it clear that the time
has come for a more systematic exchange of
information, experiences and ideas, within the
international community, in afieldwhere the
causes are as difficult to control as the effects
are decisive. It has become obvious that neither
policies nor methods of education, initial or
in-service training of teachers nor educational
research, can henceforth ignore the n e w set of
problems arising from the confrontation between education and communication. A n d the
poorer countries even less than the others,
inasmuch as their very poverty leaves them
directly exposed to the corrosive effects of this
information explosion that is going to shake the
end of the century.
Donald P. Ely
The two worlds of today's learners
O n e of the major anthropological discoveries of
the last decade was the Tasaday tribe in the
hills of Mindanao in the Philippines. T h e
interest generated by that discovery was based
on the isolation of the tribe from society. T o
find a group of people w h o had lived in isolation
for an estimated 2,000 years was so unusual that
care was taken to preserve the separation of the
tribe from the remainder of society lest some
contamination destroy the uniqueness of their
Isolation is an ever-decreasing phenomenon
in our world. T h e pervasiveness of c o m m u n i cation and transportation technologies virtually
ensures movement of people and ideas. It is
rare that a person is i m m u n e from daily messages by radio and, to a lesser extent, newspapers
and television. W h e r e the more glamorous
m e d i u m of television is not available, pressures
by the public and visions of modernity by their
leaders hasten to bring electronic images to the
people. T h e demand for television is often great
enough to give it political priority over running
water and sewage disposal systems.
T h e Tasadays are unique because they were
removed from the mainstream of society. This
Donald P. Ely (United States). Professor of Education
at Syracuse University. Director, ERIC Clearinghouse
on Information Resources. Co-author of Teaching and
Media: A Systematic Approach and Media Personnel
in Education: A Competency Approach.
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . i, 1980
example highlights the contrast between a group
of about 100 people and the rest of the world,
which is totally immersed in the technological age. Global communication systems provide information and entertainment to national
and international audiences. Today, even rural
people in remote areas press the transistor radio
to their ear and become part of a world beyond
their o w n village.
The pervasive influence
of mass media
T h e ubiquitous nature of communication media
in nearly every nation has brought about a
significant increase in the amount of information
available and a significant decrease in the time
for a message to m o v e from a source to thousands of receivers. A d d to the usual broadcast
media those in print, film and recordings and
w e begin to sense the extent to which every
person in every part of the world has access to
audio and visual stimuli.
It is with thoughts of a media-saturated
society that M c L u h a n comments on the w a y
in which media are reshaping and restructuring
patterns of social interdependence in almost
every aspect of life except education:
There is a world of difference between the modern
h o m e environment of integrated electric information
and the classroom. Today's television child is attuned
The two worlds of today's learners
to up-to-the-minute 'adult' news—inflation, rioting,
war, taxes, crime, bathing beauties—and is bewildered
w h e n he enters the nineteenth-century environment
that still characterizes the educational establishment
where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects and
The separation
of schools from society
T h e paradox is that in the midst of a global
communications revolution, schools can remain aloof, rigid and unchanging. In societies
that have embraced n e w communication technologies, the tendency is for those technologies
to permeate every sector of that society. H o w ever, schools have remained walled off from the
society of which they are an integral part. This
separateness can be observed not only in advanced technical societies but also in developing
nations, which have 'succeeded in multiplying indefinitely existing monopolistic forms of
conventional education, based on the historic,
rigid models of the West, thus heading rapidly toward economic disaster and social bankruptcy'.2
Schools will increase their irrelevance as long
as they remain separate from the society from
which they derive support. Adults w h o missed
earlier opportunities for advanced schooling or
w h o want to gain new competencies are seeking
alternative means to achieve their educational
goals. M a n y of the n e w approaches of open
learning3 and distance education use c o m m u n i cation technologies as major elements of instruction. Younger learners, however, do not
have choices when they pursue their education.
Dieuzeide states the basic problem w h e n he
says that 'education remains the only major
h u m a n activity in which technology m a y not
increase man's potential. Voices rise to denounce
the strange and pernicious paradox whereby the
educational institution is required to change the
world without any concession that it must
itself be transformed'.4
For the pastfiftyyears visionary educators
have attempted to bring the schools into the
mainstream of society by introducing a variety
of media into the classroom. A s each n e w
m e d i u m was introduced and tried by brave
innovators, it was usually treated as an experiment whereby the m e d i u m substituted for
other stimuli. It was usually additive; that is,
almost no changes in the basic instructional
process were m a d e nor was the role of teacher
substantially changed. Those n e w media that
were adopted, such as the overhead projector
and audiotape recorders, did not bring about
any major changes in classroom procedures.
Enthusiasm about new teaching methods a m o n g
school administrators or among the learners
themselves has had very little effect on the
ultimate users—the teachers.
The classroom ritual
Historically, classroom teaching has been highly
ritualized, and any major change is perceived as
an invasion of sacred territory. H o b a n points
out that 'Ritualization in teaching is flexible
enough to permit idiosyncrasies of personal
style, arrangement of the daily schedule, police
methods, pacing, etc., but major characteristics of ritual tend to be invariant'.5 T w o invariants to which H o b a n refers are teacher
control of the teaching-testing-grading-rewardpunishment processes and face-to-face interaction with students. A n y substantial reduction
of the teacher's dominant status or major change
in the interpersonal teacher-learner c o m m u n i cation is likely to elicit some teacher hostility
and resistance. Such resistance is likely to
continue as long as the teacher perceives any
m e d i u m as a replacement of teacher performance or as requiring a change from accepted
norms of teacher behaviour.
Donald P. Ely
A problem of change
M o s t theories of innovation hold that individuals w h o will be responsible for installing and
maintaining any innovation must be a part of
the trial and adoption process. A n innovation
that originates outside the system or proceeds
from the top d o w n in a hierarchical structure is
unlikely to succeed. T h e problem, therefore, is
not one of h o w to bring media into education
settings but h o w to bring about educational
change. A n innovation, such as the use of c o m munication technology in education, should be
as compatible as possible with the cultural
values of teachers w h o use it. Innovation should
not be presented so as to threaten the teacher's
self-esteem or to jeopardize a teacher's position
in relation to professional peers.6 Faure et al.
point to the key role of teachers:
T h e essential problem for such countries is to combat
routine, arouse public interest and, above all, to have
their teachers co-operate in their undertaking. This
latter condition is indispensable, not only in order to
tranquillize susceptibilities among certain sections of
the population, but in particular because the use of
new technologies in education requires them to be
integrated into the educational system.7
T h e acceptance and use of communication
media in teaching are probably easy innovations
w h e n compared to m o r e fundamental changes
that must be brought about if w e are to harness
the ever increasing influence of media o n
children w h e n they are outside the schools.
The influence of television
T h e most dramatic influence o n children is
brought about b y exposure to television. A u t h orities in thefieldof television research8 regard
television as an agent of socialization and acculturation equal to family and peer influence.
Forbes points out that
in times past the elders of each society communicated
to the next generation through legends and myths
their picture of how the world functions—who holds
power, w h o are the aggressors, who are the victims,
what are the appropriate patterns of social interaction,
where one might expect danger, and where one might
be able to trust and feel secure. N o w T V brings to
all children its own myths and legends, its o w n picture
of how the world functions.9
In areas where television is inaccessible, radio
performs m a n y of the same influential functions. Advertising in m a n y formats and local
cinemas introduce people, ideas, products and
actions that would otherwise never b e k n o w n
by young people. These experiences are brought
to schools, where they are usually considered to
be irrelevant, and teachers generally continue to
do what they have done in the past. Postman
describes the irony of the n e w student facing
the traditional educational system. H e says
that schools are dealing with a different type
of student n o w , one molded b y 'the electronic media, with the emphasis o n visual
imagery,immediacy,non-linearity,andfragmentation'.10 Today's learners do not fit into the
traditional classroom with its emphasis on 'sequence, social order, hierarchy, continuity, and
deferred pleasure'. It is this type of young
person with n e w ideas and attitudes w h o helps
to bring about the failure of s o m e of the most
intelligent and dedicated teachers.
N e w roles for teachers
If s o m e headway is to b e m a d e in creating
a rapprochement between experiences gained
outside the classroom and learning within
the school environment, teachers will have to
learn h o w to use the media to enrich learning
and to ease the transition from school to
contemporary society. T h e introduction of c o m munication media into the teaching-learning
process is not necessarily the key to bringing the
media into the mainstream of education. It is in
teacher recognition of the influence that radio,
television, recordings, cinema, billboards and
The two worlds of today's learners
advertising media have o n the students w h o
c o m e to their classrooms. It is in teacher understanding of the media content and context. It
is in day-to-day teaching efforts and long-range
curriculum planning that teachers can incorporate ideas, examples and personalities from
outside the classroom into concerns inside the
learning environment. M e d i a should b e c o m e an
integral part of the instructional plan. T h e y
should be used as motivational tools that arouse
and sustain interest but do not compromise
substantive efforts.
people and hence need to be understood, interpreted and used. Schools often limit teaching
to the traditional skills of reading and writing
with s o m e time spent in observation. Such a
limited approach is not sufficient for students
w h o live in a m u c h m o r e sophisticated world
that requires a type of literacy beyond basic
primary school knowledge and skills.
T h e suggestion of bringing the classroom and
the world closer together is not n e w . C o m e n i u s ,
Pestalozzi, Froebel and D e w e y were advocates
of such an approach. Contemporary interpretations of their philosophies would undoubtedly
call for a closer relationship between media influences and classroom learning. While teachers
m a y endorse such an approach in principle, it is
difficult to implement, and for s o m e , the very
idea appears to be a compromise because p o p u lar entertainment media are being introduced in
an academic atmosphere. S o m e teachers m a y
feel that essential knowledge and skills are not
being learned if communications media enter
the classroom.
Since the early 1970s there has been a growing
interest in visual literacy a m o n g s o m e educators
in North America. Whether visual literacy,
media literacy, or visual communication is the
best label, the concept needs to b e considered
an essential element of today's curriculum
everywhere in the world. A s educators consider
a broader definition of literacy, it should include
the study of symbols, message carriers, n o n verbal language, communication channels and
effects on h u m a n behaviour. T h e National C o n ference o n Visual Literacy,11 an organization in
North America, suggests the essence of a
A n e w literacy for a n e w time
In addressing this concern, one must r e m e m b e r
that the issue is not to adopt one approach and
completely eliminate the other; it is h o w to
define a literate person in today's world. T h e
nature and level of literacy m a y differ from
village to village and from rural to urban areas.
Literacy, as it is used here, goes beyond the
normal interpretation—the ability to read and
write. A literate person today is one w h o is
able to understand, interpret and use myriad
stimuli that are present in a given environment.
Written and spoken language, music, sounds,
still and moving pictures, natural objects and
actions are s o m e of the stimuli that affect
The visual literacy movement
W h e n a person has developed a set of visual abilities
through seeing and sensory experiences, and when
they are able to discriminate and interpret visual
actions, objects, patterns and symbols in the environment, then they are becoming visually literate.
It is through the creative use of these abilities that a
visually literate person is able to comprehend and
communicate. A n appreciation of the visual skills of
others will lead to greater enjoyment of visual
Programs in visual literacy have been established
in m a n y primary and secondary schools in
North America. 1 3 Australian educators are planning and experimenting with 'mental imagery' 14
and 'media studies':
'Media studies' refers to mass media communication,
e.g. film, television, newspapers and radio, and the
way they affect us. It is the exploration of communication through our senses and the development of
Donald P. Ely
our perceptions and skills in communicating by utilising media tools. The primary concern of media
studies is with concepts, not media tools.15
A major training programme for adults in North
America is Television Awareness Training. T h e
goal for individuals w h o follow this approximately twenty-hour course is 'to become more
aware of h o w w e use T V , what the teaching
messages are and h o w w e can m a k e changes that
seem appropriate'.16 T h e curriculum approaches
the study of television from the viewpoint of
h u m a n values. Another example is the fivesession inservice course for teachers, 'Visual
Learning', which has been prepared by the
N e w York State Education Department. 17
Interest in visual symbols is not new. Adelbert
A m e s , Rudolf Arnheim, Ernst Cassirer, Charles
Morris and others have explored the relationships of signs and symbols to h u m a n c o m m u n i cation. Those efforts continue today in the work
of Marshall M c L u h a n , M . D . Vernon, and
Jerome Bruner. Recently visual communicators
from India, Iran, Japan and the United States
worked as a team at the East-West Center to
develop a n e w visual language to convey c o m plex concepts about interdependence of nations
and peoples, with emphasis on the energy
crisis.18 They reviewed existing international
symbols and visual languages, revising and
refining 70 of more than 700 images.
Entertainment versus education
Historically, visual communication has been
primarily identified with entertainment and
teachers have been reluctant to use examples
from entertainment in the classroom. Education
and entertainment are actually poles apart. A
test of entertainment is immediate pleasure.
W h a t is seen or heard m a y not be remembered.
A person usually recognizes entertainment i m mediately, while the test of education m a y come
soon or m a n y years in the future. Education is
memorable; entertainment is written in the
sand.19 Pleasure usually comes from entertainment but education m a y be pleasurable, painful
or painless. Teachers should strive to make
learning pleasurable but need not avoid the pain
that often comes from disciplined thinking.
T h e most important questions are not 'Is it
difficult?' or 'Is it easy?' but 'Is it clear?' and
'Is it relevant?'. ' T h e enjoyment of an educational experience comes mostly from its clarity and design in exposition and the relevancy of
the ideas expressed to the life of the reader,
viewer, or listener.'20 It is not necessary to m a k e
learning fun, but it is important to make the
teaching-learning process real, lively and challenging. Like life itself, education can be both
sweet and sour.
Developing the relationship
Educators need to look anew at the experiences
which today's child brings to school. In c o m parison with learners of a decade ago, today's
student is certainly more visually oriented and
more aware of the world beyond the h o m e .
There is probably a higher level of expectation
that the school will build on the experiences and
skills already gained prior to formal schooling.
Teachers need to be ready to meet that expectation.
Teachersfirstneed to understand the multimedia, electronic world that is so strongly
influencing children outside the classroom. That
means looking at, listening to and experiencing
some of the same events as young people are
using. They need to try to understand what is
attractive about these sensory stimuli and
perhaps determine h o w to use them to further
school objectives.
Teachers need to know what sights and
sounds students prefer, what programmes they
seek out, what films they see, what activities
have a high priority in their lives. Seels has
developed a 'Visual Preference Survey' to be
used in association with other questioning tech-
The two worlds of today's learners
niques to determine what learners prefer to see
and do outside the school.21
Once teachers understand the dynamics of
our multimedia world and possess information
about the media sophistication of their students,
the central problem of transfer must be addressed. H o w can a teacher transfer the k n o w ledge and attitudes gained outside the classroom
to the school setting? T h e n , in turn, h o w can the
learner transfer newly acquired skills back into
the world? T h e problem of transfer in this case is
not a problem of learning but one of motivation.
Keller describes several types of motivational
problems in classroom settings:
In order to have motivated students, their curiosity
m u s t b e aroused a n d sustained; the instruction m u s t
perceived to b e relevant to personal values or
instrumental to accomplishing desired goals; they
m u s t have personal conviction that they will b e
able to succeed; a n d the consequence of the learning
experience m u s t b e consistent with the personal
incentives of the learner.22
Attempting to relate out-of-school learning to
in-school goals must go beyond entertainment
and show. Teaching does not have to be dull
and uninspired, however. Teachers should learn
h o w to relate the knowledge, skills and attitudes
gained in the multimedia world to problems and
issues considered in the classroom. Content and
quality of learning need not be compromised but,
rather, enhanced as learners perceive the relationships between the two worlds they inhabit.
i. Marshall M c L u h a n and Quentin Flore, The Medium is
the Massage, p . 18, N e w York, Bantam Books, 1967.
2 . Henri Dieuzeide, 'Educational Technology for D e veloping Countries', in David A . Olson (ed.), Media
and Symbols: The Forms of Expression, Communication,
and Education, 73rd Yearbook of the National Society
for the Study of Education, Part I. Chicago, University
of Chicago Press, 1974.
See N o r m a n MacKenzie, Richmond Postgate and
John S c u p h a m , Open Learning, Paris, Unesco, 1975.
Dieuzeide, op. cit., p . 431.
Charles F . H o b a n , ' M a n , Ritual, the Establishment
and Instructional Technology', Educational Technology, Vol. VIII, N o . 2 0 , 1968, p . 6 .
Gerald Zultman and Robert D u n c a n , Strategies for
Planned Change, p . 88, N e w York, Wiley-Interscience,
Edgar Faure, Filipe Herrara, Abdul-Razzak K a d doura, Henri Lopes, Arthur V . Petrovsky, Majid
R a h n e m a , Frederick Champion W a r d , Learning to Be,
p . xxxv, Paris, Unesco, 1972.
See George Gerbner and L . Gross, 'Living with
Television : The Violence Profile', Journal of Communication, Vol. 25, N o . 2 , p . 173-99; A . D . Liefer,
N . J. GordonandS.B. Graves,'Children's Television:
More Than Mere Entertainment', Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 44, p . 213-45; G . Comstock,
S. Chaffer, N . Katzman, M . M c C o m b s , and D . R o berts, Television and Human Behavior, N e w York,
Columbia University Press, 1978.
N o r m a Forbes, 'Entertainment Television in Rural
Alaska: H o w Will It Affect the School?' presented at
the Annual Meeting of the American Educational
Research Association, April 1979.
Neil Postman, 'Order in the Classroom', Atlantic
Monthly, September 1979.
Roger B . Fransecky and John L . Debes, Visual
Literacy: A Way to Learn, A Way to Teach, Washington, D . C . , Association for Educational C o m m u n i cation and Technology, 1972.
Gillian Sellar, Project Primedia, p . 2 , Perth, Western
Australia Education Department, 1979.
Roger B . Fransecky and R o y Ferguson, ' N e w W a y s
of Seeing: T h e Milford Visual Communications
Project', Audiovisual Instruction, Vol. 18, April, M a y ,
June/July, 1973.
Just Imagine . . . Learning Through Mental Imagery, A
Guide for Teachers, and Pictures of Ideas: Learning
Through Visual Analogies, Salisbury, South Australia,
Visual Education Curriculum Project.
Sellar, o p . cit., p . 1.
B e n Logan (ed.), Television Awareness Training, p . 6 ,
N e w York, Media Action Research Center, 1977.
Visual Learning, Bureau of Educational C o m m u n i cations, N e w York State Education Department,
Albany, N . Y .
' N e w W a y s to V i e w World Problems', East-West
Perspectives, Vol. 1, N o . 1, p . 15-22, s u m m e r 1979.
Edgar Dale, 'Education or Entertainment?', Can You
Give the Public What It Wants?, N e w York, Cowles
Education Corp., 1967.
Dale, op. cit., p . 36.
Barbara Seels, ' H o w to Develop Y o u r Visual M a turity', Audiovisual Instruction, Vol. 24, N o . 7 , 1979,
P- 33-5John M . Keller, 'Motivation and Instructional Design:
A Theoretical Perspectives', Journal of Instructional
Development, Vol. 2 , N o . 4 , s u m m e r 1979, p . 3 2 .
Ana Maria Sandi
Mass communication education:
from conflict to co-operation
M a s s communication:
a challenge
Twentieth-century educators have been challenged by afierceand irresistible competition:
their pupils are overwhelmed by the information
transmitted by mass media. W h e n compared to
television programmes, films, comics, coloured
pictures in magazines and science-fiction pocket
books, the lessons or the math and grammar
exercises seem dull and constraining.
Nowadays, parents and teachers are trying
hard to break the magic of images and sounds
and to send their children back to homework.
There are families w h o avoid buying a television set in order to maintain their 'cultural
purity'. T h e selective attitude that operates in
relation to printed matter is readily abandoned
as soon as the television programme is involved.
T h e power of mass communication and the
fact that it m a y play either a positive or a
negative role in individual and social development have caused m a n y people to view its n e w
dimensions with both mistrust and apprehension.
T h e obsolescence of the printed word was
announced, regretfully, with the outset of the
Ana Maria Sandi (Romania). Senior Researcher,
International Center of Methodology for Future and
Development Studies, University of Bucharest.
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . i3 1980
video culture; however, world book production
has almost doubled in the past ten years.
O n the other hand, specialists in information
have established that a twenty-minute television
news programme corresponds roughly to three
columns of newspaper text. Going even further
in the demonstration of audio-visual inefficiency,
it m a y be added that the television programme
was in fact based o n printed texts such as
agency news, notes, summaries, written syntheses. However, any such discussion overlooks
the astonishing properties of the moving images,
the impact that images from far-off, unknown
places m a y have.
T h e mass-communication phenomenon is
here, developing in all its complexity and variety
of forms, and future forecasts indicate an even
greater expansion, largely due to n e w technological advances.
In the 1990s the specialists are expecting a
large-scale expansion of video-cassette systems,
which are going to invade the world market as
the record player did some time ago.
Cable and interregional television and c o m munication satellites are also booming. At present over eighty communication satellites are
in orbit; they ensure the retransmission both of
phone calls and of television programmes, thus
making it possible for a large part of the world
population to be directly involved in major
events at the very m o m e n t of their occurrence.
A typical satellite programme m a y be beamed
Mass communication education: from conflict to co-operation
around the globe in nine-tenths of a second.
T h e developed countries are said to be
undergoing a transition towards the postindustrial phase of development, towards the
informational society and the informational
economy, based on an infinitely renewable resource: information.
In this type of society, according to Lars
Ingelstam, the citizen must be able to deal with
information in order to survive.1
O n the other hand, m a n y developing countries
are simultaneously developing their industry
and their information and communication capabilities, in an attempt to have an equal share in
the information process of the modern world.2
Disparities are striking between rural and
urban areas: the rural population is submitted
to urban-oriented communications and information.
T h e problem is therefore related not only to
the actual channels and effective methods of
communication, but also to the content of the
material to be communicated and to the irrelevance of the latter for the masses receiving it.
T h e misuse of mass media for commercial
purposes, for obtaining large profits by broadcasting advertisements, is unfortunately characteristic of a large part of the information network.
Finally, disparities are further increased by
such problems as accessibility and the possibility
to interpret, understand and utilize the information received. A m o n g the factors hampering
the development of the press as an effective m o d e
of communication in the developing countries,
U . A h a m e d enumerates 'the high rate of illiteracy, the number of languages spoken, the lack
of printing presses, the high cost of imported
newsprint, the poor telecommunications facilities for transmission of news and the slow and
poor rural communication between the few
cities and towns and the larger rural areas.3
T h e social, cultural and economic development of a country depends to a great extent
upon its way of responding to and utilizing mass
Soedjatmoko defines the learning capacity of
a nation as the 'collective capacity to generate,
to ingest, to reach out for and to utilize a vast
amount of n e w and relevant information'.4
Information and knowledge
Education is one of thefieldsthat could fully
make use of the increased possibilities of information and knowledge.
T h e conflicts between the education system
and mass communication are often dealt with;
their complementarity and co-operation possibilities are mentioned far less often. A n d this is
a time w h e n television has been called, with
reason, the children's 'early window' to the
Promising attempts exist: an interesting prog r a m m e called 'Success in Reading', which has
been tried in some schools, consists in a system
of teaching reading and writing by using newspapers and magazines instead of the classical
first-grade handbook. 6 Children attracted by the
use of interesting things they will deal with the
rest of their lives are prompted to obtain better
results in learning.
T h e general picture seems, however, to reflect antagonistic relations and interests rather
than co-operative tendencies.
T h e contrast has been theorized about by
educators, and thus the mass media have
emerged in an unfavourable light. O n the one
hand, in organized, formalized school education,
knowledge forming a coherent, ordered system
is to be found. O n the other there is mass
communication, transmitting simple, disconnected, scattered information. At one extreme
is the utmost economy, optimization in the
sense of the m i n i m u m of signs used for a
m a x i m u m of message; at the other extreme is
redundancy, superposition, wastage. At one end
is science with its paraphernalia; at the other,
amateurism and superficiality.
Nevertheless, if w e were to analyse the sources
Ana Maria Sandi
of the knowledge used by our children, the
balance would be strongly unfavourable to the
The quantity of information
It is a well k n o w n fact that the information that
incessantly surrounds us also acts upon us.
Scientists such as H . von Foerster insist upon
the enriching character of the 'noise' w h e n it is
introduced in self-organizing systems characterized by a sufficiently high degree of redundancy and reliability.7
But our main interest in the education process
is knowledge. T h e essential difference between
information and knowledge is the fact that the
latter is endowed with meaning. T h e fact that
either 'it is raining' or 'the weather is fine'
provides information. It m a y eventually be
measured. In this case, if the two situations are
equally probable, w e have what specialists call
a'bit'of information.
Specialists in information theory are especially
interested in the quantitative aspect of information. Starting from the idea that the essence
of information is to m a k e a choice, the measure
chosen for the quantity of information is
conceived so that the more the possibilities of
choice, the larger the quantity of information
provided. If n possibilities exist the quantity of
information, /, should be an increasing function
of n. T h e chosen function, owing to reasons
connected with its properties, was the logarithm: J = log n.
A more refined measure allows for analysis of
the cases in which the possibilities are not
equally probable. In this case, the lower the
probability of an event, the more surprised w e
are w h e n it actually occurs.
Learning processes m a y seem atfirstsight
to be governed by a decrease of entropy. In the
case of a question permitting more than one
possible answer, the entropy is initially maxim u m (the answers being equally probable). In
the process of learning, the incorrect answers
are eliminated, while the probability of the
correct ones is increased and consequently the
entropy decreases.
T h e dialectics seem to be more intricate,
including both stages of increase and decrease
of entropy. Unlearning implies an increase of
entropy, and any anti-entropic evolution in a
system implies an entropie evolution in the
frame of a larger system.
However, the information transmitted by mass
media is neither pure, isolated from a certain
context, nor value-free, as considered in quantitative studies. A n d educators are interested
exactly in the meaning and value of the information.
Let us remember the childhood game in
which a chain of children whisper the same
word from ear to ear; to the players' delight, the
final version is often completely different from
what had been initially transmitted. T h e problem is that very often things distinctly and
plainly expressed at emission are wrongly understood at reception.
T h e measure of the quantity of information is
of no help in such situations.
Influenced by the dominant logical positivist
school, w e are used to defining sense (and therefore meaning) by making reference to a system
of rules defining correctness. T h e knowledge
provided by the education system is stored in
the logical blocks of theories and disciplines;
it has a meaning determined by its place in the
system of inferences (deductive in the ideal case
of the theoretical sciences or inductive in the
empirical sciences). But the logical criterion,
which is so exclusivist and an enemy of any
exogenous considerations and which also overlooks the contributions of psychology and sociology, is strongly challenged nowadays.
W e are in a period of ample reconsideration
Mass communication education: from conflict to co-operation
of the psycho-social component of knowledge.
T h e sense (the meaning) is given b y the
context, and the context also helps the process
of strengthening accumulated knowledge and
m e m o r y recall.
This is also one of the theses of the learning
report to the Club of R o m e . 8
In an attempt at designing a hierarchy,
G . Bateson enumerates:
The stimulus is an elementary signal, either internal
or external.
The context of the stimulus is a metamessage
classifying the elementary stimulus.
The context of the stimulus context is a metamessage, classifying the metamessage a.s.o.9
T h e context m a y be considered ca collective
term for all those events which tell the organism
a m o n g what set of alternatives he must make his
next choice'.
In this respect, mass media are a fantastic
source of a large variety of contexts, which
logical and systematic learning sweeps aside as
Formal education transmits schematized, arranged, ordered knowledge, while the large
mass media sources provide knowledge as it is
elaborated, taken out from the production process even before the latter is completed.
Knowledge is provided within the framework
of real problems, not in the narrow one of
It is true that the systematic presentation
m o d e in school has the advantage of being
economical. However, this should be viewed
cautiously, and a margin should be left for
the diffused communication provided by mass
O n the other hand, the information transmitted
by the mass media is not value-free; it emerges
filtered and interpreted through value systems,
offering a specific image of reality. In fact, the
transmission of information implies a selective
judgement reflecting a specific scale of values.
This is also true for all distortions reflected by
over- or underemphasizing news, the presentation of isolated or incomplete statements,
omissions, creating unfounded fears, etc.
T h e fact that in a children's magazine there
is an image alongside the following problem:
h o w m a n y possibilities are there for a little girl
and two boys to sit together in a car, given
that only the boys can drive?' is certainly the
reflection of a specific value system.
Learning m a y proceed within the framework
of a value system, by a process of detection of
error and correction leading to the improvement
of answers. This is single-loop learning; in its
framework the values and the norms that lay
at the core of the whole process are not questioned.
In double-loop learning,10 the value system
itself is challenged. Within its framework
weights are modified, n e w priorities or even
entirely n e w values emerge.
Value-laden and contextual information transmitted by mass media continually offers the
potential for both types of learning.
T h e activation of this potential requires an
active attitude from the learner. S o m e authors
consider that information is not received, but
Everyone is familiar with a situation in which
a radio is on, but w e fail to hear what is transmitted, since our attention is concentrated o n
some other activity. Moreover, the messages
transmitted are not always clear and specific,
but vague and ambiguous. A n active attitude of
inquiry and reflexive inquiry aimed at attaining
the specification and the clarification of information as well as its completion and simplification is necessary.
Ana Maria Sandi
Knowledge does not accumulate in a desert;
it is inserted in mental schemata belonging to
a general thinking framework created in time
o n the basis of the contextual structure and of
past experience.
Specialists in artificial intelligence lately have
been paying particular attention to these k n o w ledge structures. M . Minsky calls them frames:
a structure of data used for representing a stereotype
situation, for instance a type of room or a child's
birthday party. T o each frame, indications of various
nature are attached: some of them regarding the way
of utilizing the frame, others on what w e could
expect further, others on what should be done in case
the previsions are not confirmed.12
O n the philosophical plane these structures
represent a Weltanschauung, the images w e
m a y have about reality.
K . Boulding makes distinctions a m o n g three
possible situations on confrontation with a
message: (a) ignoring the message (unaffected
images); (b) modification of images by a routine
procedure; and (c) revolutionary change of the
images (the message reaches the support
Similarly, in learning, information m a y produce simple modifications of the probabilities
to choose the answers from a given set of
answers and/or it m a y have a more complex
effect, generating restructuring at the level of
the general thinking framework, translated b y
modifications of the set of answers itself (for
instance by the creative addition of n e w possible answers). T h e restructuring capacity is
specific to living organisms, the autopoietic
systems that in a given physical space do not
lose their physical identity (and do not, therefore, modify their organization) as a consequence of the permanent renewal of matter
and of the restructurings that occur through
learning and development.
A s against these systems, in another type
of dynamic system, the allopoietic ones, the
organizations are maintained the same as long
as the product of their functioning, differing
from themselves, does not change. 14
In this process, a central place is undoubtedly played b y motivation, but the role played
by learning to learn m a y also be added.
This presupposes learning about the previous
contexts of learning, learning to restructure,
learning h o w and w h e n to apply single-loop
or double-loop learning.
Learning to learn implies reflecting on previous contexts of learning in which you learned
or failed to learn, trying to identify the situations and the modalities favourable to learning.
This second-order learning, or deuterolearning as Bateson calls it,15 leads to saving
the time and effort implied by the usual firstorder learning.
Learning processes
between school and mass media
T h e two criteria for achieving learning advocated b y the learning report to the Club of
R o m e are participation and anticipation. Let
us see h o w they are satisfied by formal education
(school) and the mass media.
M a s s communication is generally blamed for
the creation of a passive attitude of reception
and simple additive accumulation of knowledge.
Unfortunately, m a n y of the classical pedagogical forms are also non-participative (without roles, based on reception, absence from
choice and decisions).
A s regards the roles, the mass media are a
real guide, a permanent introduction, to the
world of adult actors, generating models, aspirations and endeavours.
T h e unidirectional relationship of the unique
transmitter and listener audiences, tends to be
changed, owing to innovations in tele-dataprocessing that offer the possibility of dialogue
and interaction.
Cable television allows for direct and i m mediate capturing of the audience response.
Mass communication education: from conflict to co-operation
T h e communication satellites enable the organization of meetings such as teleconferences in
which famous scientists at great distances m a y
be interviewed or involved in discussions.
As regards anticipation, it is obvious that
the mass media are more imaginative, capable
of future prospections, based on scenarios that
capture the interest of children and youth.
T h e y m a y present the latest discoveries and
suppositions, while the curriculum and the
schoolbooks are strikingly poor, as far as anticipation is concerned.
School education m a y , however, contribute
to a better understanding of the information
transmitted by the mass media and to the
formation of the capacity for critical judgement
by continuous debates and discussions.
Educational television and radio programmes
and scientific programmes, are among the first
that m a y be coupled into the educational
process. It is recommended that pupils read
certain books in addition to classwork—why
not also that they watch certain television
programmes and films? T h e latter m a y represent a bibliography as useful as the books.
In Romania, a successful television prog r a m m e that has been maintained for m a n y years
is a scientific programme: the tele-encyclopaedia.
It is watched by pupils, parents and teachers
alike. In school, however, there is hardly any
reference to the extremely interesting issues
presented in this programme.
A very successful serial all over the world
was conceived by a scientist, J. Bronowski.
Science presented in a personal, captivating
vision aroused prolonged and controversial
debates but generally not in school. Discussions in class of articles, programmes or
films m a y contribute to establishing connections, interpreting the things that were read or
seen, getting full awareness of the value system
and of the proposed vision of the world. At
the same time, the teacher could stimulate
interest for the programmes and journals in
an educative context.
T h e interest in watching the scientificeducative programmes is enhanced if they are
presented under the form of competitions in
front of audiences. These should not be competitions of memorization but rather of deduction,
imagination, creative thinking. T h e simple
questions must be completed with the c o m mentaries of specialists and experts in different
Another modality is a television programme
such as the one called ' D o Y o u H a v e Another
Question?' in which a group of specialists
answers questions regarding a specific problem;
the questions are put directly through on the
phone, which is placed in the studio from
which the programme is broadcast.
Another scientific television serial, 'Connections', conceived in a very lively manner by
the British journalist James Burke, is watched
with great interest not so m u c h for the information displayed as for the fact that it helps
establish connections and understand the way
in which science and society have advanced in
close correlation over the years. This is a good
example of a modern, well-achieved programme
making people think, involving them and thus
breaking the pattern of passive reception.
Under the conditions of the information
revolution, the young should become 'media
literate', learning to learn useful things.16
A process of learning to utilize c o m m u n i cation is contrasted with the tendency to be
Flexible curricula are already including c o m munication courses. In the first grade of a
school there are already three types of courses:
sciences (mathematics, languages), arts (music,
drawing, manual work) and library. T h u s quite
small children become familiar with the great
variety of information and knowledge they m a y
derive from books and journals other than
schoolbooks. T h e obvious attraction of the
illustrated storybook facilitates and hastens the
pupils' contact with the n e w environment,
creating from the beginning the aptitude to
Ana Maria Sandi
work and become informed in an independent
Education in watching, in reading (including
fast reading) m a y be achieved by utilizing
both formal and non-formal means. T h e training of children in utilizing mass media c o m munication has proved to be particularly efficient w h e n the pupils are effectively involved
in the process of editing a magazine, producing
a radio or television programme or shooting a
documentary film. A m p l e evidence in this respect has been provided by the results obtained
by school cineclubs or the audiences drawn by
youth programmes edited and presented by
T w o conclusions m a y be formulated: in the
first place, all authors, script-writers, cartoonists, producers of advertisements and editors
should assume the responsibility of being
educators. Awareness of participation in the
learning processes of society should determine
the exigency towards the released information
and the modalities used, ensuring also an
efficient feedback from the public.
A way (which does not fall into the category
of technical performance) to enhance the role
of public opinion in the control of mass c o m munication and of the information process is
to ensure its presence in the management of the
institutions involved in this process. In Romania
public opinion is represented in the collective
management bodies of news agencies, papers,
journals, television and radio, publishing houses
and networks of film presentation.
Secondly, all teachers and the other persons
involved in the educative system should cultivate the high standards of those w h o receive
the information transmitted by mass media.
T h e y should feel like real authors and scriptwriters for the pupils and the adults, directors
in permanent education.
A s H . de Jouvenel remarks, 'the develop-
ment of everybody's capacity to think, understand, criticize, undertake is more important
than the transmission of information and k n o w ledge'.17
1. Lars Ingelstam, Feudalism or Democracy? Communications at the Crossroads, paper presented at the World
Future Studies Federation (WFSF) meeting in Cairo,
16-19 September 1978.
2. The Fifth Conference of the Heads of States of the
Non-Aligned Countries in Sri Lanka in 1976 stated
that a new international order in thefieldof mass
communication is as vital as the new international
economic order.
3. Uvais Ahamed, Communication, Cultural Identity in
Our Interdependent World, paper presented at the
W F S F conference, Cairo, September 1978.
4. Soedjatmoko, The Future and the Learning Capacity of
Nations. The Role of Communications, paper presented
at the Annual Meeting of the International Institute
of CommunicationSj Dubrovnik, September 1978.
5. R . M . Lieben, J. M . Neale, E . S. Davidson, The
Early Window: Effects of Television on Children and
Youth, N e w York, Pergamon Press, 1973.
6. Newsweek, 24 September 1979.
7. H . von Foerster, ' O n Self-organizing Systems and
Their Environments', in Yovitz and Cameron, Selforganizing Systems, London, Pergamon Press, i960.
8. J. Botkin, M . Elmandjra, M . Malitza, No Limits to
Learning. How to Bridge the Human Gap, Pergamon
Press, 1979.
9. Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, N e w
York, Bailan tine Books, 1972.
10. The terms of single loop and double loop learning are
used for organizational learning in C . Argyris and
D . Schön, Organisational Learning: a Theory of Action
Perspective, Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley, 1978.
11. Valeriu Ceausu, Cunoasterea psihologicä, si conditio
incertidutinii [Psychological Knowledge and the U n certainty Condition], Bucharest, Militara, 1978.
12. P. Winston (ed.), The Psychology of Computer Vision,
N e w York, McGraw-Hill, 1975.
13. K . Boulding, The Image, A n n Arbor, Mich., University of Michigan Press, 1956.
14. H . Maturana, 'Strategies cognitives', in L'unité de
l'homme, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1974.
15. Bateson, op. cit.
16. Jim Dator, Identity, Culture and Communication Future, paper presented at the W F S F conference, Cairo,
September 1978.
17. H . de Jouvenel, Quelle question pour demain?, paper
presented at the Unesco seminar on the perspectives
of educational development, Paris, 1978.
Rita Cruise O'Brien
Mass media, education
and the transmission of values
T h e rise in the number of radio and television
stations in the Third World has been staggering
in the past two decades. M a n y of the television
programmes shown by these new broadcasting
systems are foreign. Therefore, one principal
question might begin: W h a t is the power of the
media in the transmission of foreign values to
school-age children? A n d our second question:
Are these values in conflict with those that are
fostered in the systems of education? T h e
questions are simple, but the answers are
necessarily complex.
Through the transfer of media systems
and world-wide sale of programmes are w e
really becoming a Global Village, as Marshall
M c L u h a n suggested some years ago? O r , in
consideration of the importance of the power of
commercialism in television, are w e becoming a
Corporate Village, as some writers on the media
would have it? Looking at the transnational
ownership structures of the media and considering the absorptive capacity of newly established
media systems for foreign material, a simple
Rita Cruise O'Brien ( United States). Mainly interested
in French-speaking Africa, and recently in problems of
mass communication in developing countries. Teacher in
the Development Planning Unit at the University
College, London. Among her publications are: White
Society in Black Africa: the French of Senegal,- T h e
Political E c o n o m y of Underdevelopment: D e p e n dence in Senegal.
answer might be affirmative and raise the
concern of educators and parents throughout
the world.
Programmes, values and impact
W e have a basic problem trying to get underneath some of the ephemeral tendencies of the
global media. While it m a y be startling to turn
on Kojak in places as culturally diverse as
India, Jordan or Brazil, w e really have n o
comparative studies to guide us as to the effects
of such programmes and the values they contain
on people of diverse cultures and social backgrounds within those cultures. A n d without
such studies w e cannot judge the transfer of
values to any group in the population. W e don't
know, for example, what is the potential conflict
of values contained in programmes of foreign
origin compared with those of local origin. In
television particularly it is tempting to argue
that the conflict is not so great because of the
imitative nature of m a n y programmes m a d e in
the Third World, which follow the skilful
technical formats in terms of sequence, timing
and characterization that were developed particularly in American media. Sometimes programmes on national cultural history are even directly derivative of the formula of the American
Western, a formula that is popular and will
be understood and appreciated by audiences.
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . I, 1980
Rita Cruise O'Brien
Directors k n o w that and proceed accordingly.
Whenever one tries to argue that television
reaches a very small minority of the largely urban affluent population in developing countries,
the image of television serials in the shanty
towns of Latin America (and elsewhere) returns
to trouble one's knowledge of the real statistics.
Broadly speaking, however, the impact of the
values of television programmes on middle-class
children w h o have an opportunity also to read
comic books and magazines and buy records
from similar foreign sources would only serve
to reinforce a set of influences with which those
of television would not seriously conflict.
T h e impact of television and therefore its
capacity to change the values of impressionable
young people could, in the absence of surveys
in different cultures and different groups, be
partially enlightened by the results of surveys in
Western countries. Early work focused on the
impact of violence on television on the attitudes
of children.1 M o r e recently, surveys on the
adult population seek to examine its important
impact in social and political terms. 2 W e have
derived two important lessons from this work.
First, the direct impact of television is minimal
unless the values it contains are reinforced by
other forms of learning in the society—socialization in the family, the peer group and at
school. It can be safely assumed that if the
values implicit in television programmes are
seriously at odds with other cultural and social
influences, it m a yfirstbe regarded as an u n usual spectacle. Take, for example, the different
impact of American serials on Latin America's
urban youth, w h o are influenced by the dominant culture of North America in so m a n y
other ways, and compare it with the impact of
Mission Impossible on a Sudanese audience, for
which this imported cultural artefact must be
m u c h more exotic. In the programme context
itself, Latin American television contains a high
proportion of American material and locally
m a d e programmes thatfitinto a similar cultural
m o d e . In the Sudan, by contrast, the rapid pace
of an American serial might be followed by a
long programme of Arabic poetry with the
performer sitting in front of the camera. T h e
impact of each must be different. T h u s , while it
it possible to dissect the values implicit and explicit in such programmes, their effective transfer will be different in cultural terms, and also
according to the age, education and life-style of
the viewer, as well as the regular television diet.
Second, television as an influential m e d i u m
is directly related to the frequency of viewing.
In high-density television cultures in North
America and Western Europe, w e do have
studies that indicate that some children (usually
of low-income groups) spend more hours watching television than going to school and that
school performance is low. 3 Apart from Latin
America, where there is a greater number of
broadcast hours on television than anywhere
else in the Third World, this kind of highdensity viewing would not be possible. Most
television stations in developing countries broadcast only a few hours in the evening, which
cannot begin to replicate the potential effects of
continued viewing among children in rich
countries. This, combined with cultural differences, must necessarily minimize its effectiveness. W e cannot ignore, however, the impact on
material values fostered by commercialism in
the media and its potential effects on life-style
and buying patterns. This particular feature
m a y be considered under the rubric of taste
transfer. There are two forms of influence: the
first is the commercial itself, which is selling a
given product, the second is the influence of
clothing, material objects, and the general lifestyle in the programmes themselves. Most
American programmes reflect a very high standard of living largely beyond the capacity of
the potential viewing audiences, especially in
the Third World. O n e must carefully differentiate between this form of materialism, however,
and its effect on a more coherent, deeply held
value system. T h e danger is obvious: it encourages people to emulate standards that m a y be
Mass media, education and the transmission of values
beyond their capacity to fulfil, thus generating
personal frustration. But in social terms the
revolution of rising expectations m a y only partially be attributed to material values derived
from television or radio. M a n y other forms of
influence contribute to it.
Structures and global
television flows
W e have dealt thus far with personal impact. It
is perhaps important to underline some of the
structural factors that have contributed to
foreign media influence in the Third World.
T h e largest international market for worldwide
sale of television programmes was developed by
United States exporters.4 O n domestic network
programming and content advertising agencies
are pre-eminent. Sufficient profits are m a d e on
the domestic market so that programmes are sold
internationally at 'what the market will bear'.
Based on the number of receivers in each
country, programmes are sold very cheaply to
developing countries at a fraction of the cost of
making local equivalents. In the early years of
the establishment of television stations in m a n y
Third World countries, in the 1960s, few of
them had a sufficient stock of programmes to
fill even the few hours of broadcast time they
had. T h e problem was resolved by importing
programmes of any kind. This situation was
further exacerbated by the demand for more and
more hours of programme time from those w h o
had television receivers (the more affluent and
articulate members of the urban population).
Thus, further imports were the obvious answer.
In the early 1970s, several countries in
Africa and the Middle East adopted policies of
reducing foreign imports by establishing a percentage ceiling, largely owing to a consciousness
of cultural imperialism. T h e Arab States, in
particular, objected to sex and violence, which
they felt were at odds with the values of Muslim
society. Pressed to produce programmes as
rapidly as possible, overworked production
staffs tried with great difficulty to comply with
quantitative norms established often for political reasons. O n e means of defraying the cost of
local productions was to invite advertising even
in m a n y state-run broadcasting systems, the
executives being only too happy to see a sufficient rise in the number of receivers in order
to attract advertising agencies.
Television is a complicated, costly and s o m e what brittle m e d i u m for adaptation to different forms of cultural expression. T h e growing
rise in cost was further complicated in the
early 1970s by the m o v e to colour equipment
and the phasing out of black-and-white production and transmission equipment b y the
larger transnational firms. T h e promise of m a n y
broadcasting stations was high: their charters
raised m a n y high-minded aims about national,
developmental and cultural goals. Performance
has been m u c h more disappointing.5 O n e is
tempted to ask, with all the will to the contrary,
will television in the Third World become just
like television elsewhere?
Whither radio?
Radio remains a m u c h more powerful mass
instrument of information, entertainment, education. It is m u c h less influenced by foreign
material, apart from music, than is television.
T h e reason is simple: radio programmes are
m u c h easier and cheaper to make. T h e y have
for a long time been well within the professional
capacity of local staff, and m a n y programmes in
the Third World are in vernacular languages.
This, combined with the ubiquity of the cheap
transistor receiver, means that it reaches a m u c h
larger audience and, above all, those of limited
income and far from major cities. So obvious,
yet in statistical terms the estimation of its
importance per capita of the population eludes
even the most assiduous quantifiers at national
and international level.
Rita Cruise O'Brien
Radio has been used very effectively for educational campaigns. 6 Radio m a y be used to
explain rather than promote debate on the
parameters of national development policy.
Radio is an effective way of reaching illiterate
groups in the population. It has been used
successfully for school broadcasting in different
contexts. Yet two cardinal problems arise: the
relationship between radio programming and
school curriculum has often been very formalistic. First of all, while great strides have been
m a d e and exceptional examples m a y be cited,7
there remains m u c h to be done by both educators and broadcasters to share the experiences
of other developing countries in formal and
non-formal educational programming and to
rely less on the traditional models of school
broadcasting developed in rich countries. I
sometimes wonder if knowledge and evaluation
of these systems is not more effectively shared
on the international circuit of specialists rather
than getting to those on the spot w h o must
develop and enlarge this important area.8 Secondly, although radio is so important, it has in
recent years been starved for professional and
financial reasons by television. For young professionals it has had a less exciting and glamorous image in comparison to jobs in television,
and despite its renewed vocation and importance
in the rich countries, the reverse is true in
m u c h of the Third World. Partly for reasons of
prestige and partly because of the sheer cost involved in making programmes for n e w television
stations, radio is constrained by its more attractive sister m e d i u m . This particular problem
is one for planners and professionals, w h o might
consider more seriously the lesser opportunity
cost of increased investment in radio: in practical terms it is sometimes necessary to resist
political pressures for the expansion of television for prestige reasons, perhaps most evident
in the least developed countries, which need
most to try to marshall all available resources for
Professionalism under scrutiny
Optimism about the contribution of the media to
education and development, which was pervasive in the 1960s, has n o w given way to consideration of the inequality of access to information
and communication, which reinforces other
growing inequalities in developing countries.9
Optimism has also been tempered by the transfer of values herein discussed. T h e process of
re-evaluation is based on a consideration of the
effects of transnational ownership in the media
and programme flows and on the transfers of
models of professionalism in broadcasting. Each
of these trends has created a hiatus between
national broadcasting and the experimental use
of the media in formal and non-formal education, literacy or development campaigns and
'narrowcast' systems and appropriate technology. T h u s , while 'small is beautiful' perhaps
and is relevant to appropriate circumstances,
big media became dominant in institutional
terms, using considerable resources yet raising
questions about its cultural or developmental
All questions of this kind are based on an
underlying, perhaps prejudicial assumption that
the maintenance of cultural identity (or identities) in developing countries is a means of
containing transnational influence and of promoting economic and social policies more relevant to the needs of those countries. T h e
transnational influences carried through the
mass media operate at two distinct levels: first,
the direct influence on consumption patterns
and life-styles of foreign programmes and advertising: second, the influence on standards
and norms of training, professionalism, models
of organization and media production, which
causes various occupations to identify with their
metropolitan counterparts, and ultimately draws
the media away from the cultural base and
resources of a poor country.
For an electrical engineer trained in a metropolitan university and with close professional
Mass media, education and the transmission of values
contacts with his counterparts throughout the
world (through professional meetings, journals
and, above all, a positive attitude towards the
most sophisticated technology that is most i m portant to his 'transnational community'), the
system he would most like to have installed in
his country reflects not necessarily local needs
but reference to outside standards and norms.
Engineers in broadcasting are as impressed as
other members of the scientific and technical
élite in developing countries with the ingenuity
and sophistication of very expensive 'gadgets'.
In addition, a source of their claim to authority
as an occupation or profession m a y be based
precisely on the sophistication of the equipment
with which they work, and on which they have
become dependent because of certain objectives
of training or socialization in the wider sense.
Considerations of this kind engender the choice
of complex system design and costly equipment
while placing a heavy burden on the local service, which m a y have originally been intended
to achieve low-cost national coverage. Such a
problem is indicative of the fact that the reorientation of cognitive categories achieved in the
process of socialization m a y be at odds with the
realities of local economic capacity.
of the battle against cultural imperialism, the
quality and relevance of local production remains heavily constrained by the organization,
technology and professional assumptions that
go into its production. In m a n y instances the
percentage improvement in local production is
just a reflection of a form of 'cultural import
substitution' or imitating the formula of the
imported programme locally. A critical attempt
to confront the tendencies of the 'Global Villager' begins at h o m e with a m u c h more serious
reconsideration of the aims of broadcasting, its
integration with other sectors in planning, m a n agement and programming terms, a critical
evaluation of finance and n e w expenditure in
this traditionally high-technology sector. T h e
form of sterile materialism contained in the
consumer values circulated by television programmes and commercials is a genuine 'culture
of poverty' compared to the richness and variety
of values contained in local cultures in developing countries.
It is, on the whole, m u c h easier to focus on
the external features of dependence and cultural
imperialism, about which there has been m u c h
discussion in recent years, particularly by politicians and government ministers from the
Third World. These pronouncements have
served to call attention to some of the apparent
characteristics of dependence—television prog r a m m e imports, dependence on a few Western
agencies for the circulation of news and information. M o r e subtle processes that are essentially structural and technological, however, are
hardly questioned. Such processes are, of course,
less apparent, but no less penetrating. Thus
while the percentage of locally produced programmes in proportion to imported television
series is improving in m a n y countries, thus
satisfying at least the ephemeral characteristics
Having m a d e some progress towards answering
the first question set out in the introduction
about the transmission of values through the
media, I n o w tread somewhat more hesitantly
into the professional territory of most of the
readers of this journal in trying to relate these
tendencies to the educational process. First, in
most of the Third World the school will remain
for several decades to c o m e a m u c h more
powerful instrument of socialization and therefore transmission of values than the media.
Although some emphases m a y conflict, it can
be fairly safely assumed that the school environment will remain paramount.
Second, even in the high television viewing
cultures that I described, there are and will
remain serious limitations on changes in values
being promoted solely by the media. Measuring
Schools and screens:
texts and alienation
Rita Cruise O'Brien
its effects in diverse cultures and a m o n g different social groups is something w e can anticipate
in social analysis in the years to come.
In this last section, however, I wish to draw
attention to the cultural values contained in a
particular textbook published in 1975 a n d n o w
fairly widely used for teaching French to African
school children at the primary level. T h e
authors of the text claim in the note for teachers
that they have 'adapted it to African needs'.
T h e analysis of its content is necessarily limited
since it is abstracted from the educational
context in which the book is used, mediated
naturally by the curriculum, teaching methods
and teachers' interpretations.10 Yet the values
it contains are very dramatically outlined, m a k ing implicit assumptions about the superiority
and inferiority of cultures, the promotion of
Western values, particularly consumerism, and
above all raising concern in the mind of a
sceptical observer about the vehicle of language
teaching and alienation.
T h e preface tells the children that they will
be presented with the daily life of French
people (cooking, school, song, etc.) and urges
that they m a k e a comparison of this with what
happens in their o w n countries. They are told:
'Reflect carefully on the differences, which will
show that which is characteristic of your culture
and those of the French.' Another rubric
covered by the text is languages, in which the
child is urged to reflect on the use of French
and African languages. T h e next phrase refers
to the importance of the use of a dictionary, a
clear oversight by authors w h o must be aware
that there was until very recently no transcription for vernacular languages in francophone
Africa. It is precisely the primacy given to
French in the language policies of these countries
that has until n o w precluded this possibility.
Dictionaries of African languages would not
be available to school children.
T h e layout of the book is skilful, while
inexpensive, but there is a striking difference in
the use of illustrative material. All the grammar
lessons are illustrated with block drawings of
instances of African life, wherein the boy or girl
visibly grows in situational use of French,
emphasizing in part the difficulties of studying
in Africa. Each section of the book has an
excerpt of an African story, including Sembene
O u s m a n e , Cámara Laye and other well-known
authors. T h e illustrations for these stories are exceptionally dreary and stylized. Contrasted with
each of these stilted representations of'authenticity', the information about France or French
culture is presented through cartoons, well reproduced photographs and attractive line drawings.
T h e content conveys an even stronger m e a n ing. Articles on the circulation and world translations of Tintín and Asterix (most well-known
French strip cartoons), the competition between
them for international popularity encourages a
positive identification with French—centered
youth culture. A small culturally-specific quote
from the very upper middle-class education of
Simone de Beauvoir, taken from thefirstvolume
of her autobiography, is followed by a few lines
of dialogue from Zazie dans le métro (Raymond
Queneau), a highly sophisticated Parisian play
on words. It would be hard to k n o w h o w most
African teachers would put this into context. It
is followed by a quote of exceptional misery
from The Black Docker, by Sembene, entitled
' T h e Illiterate W o m a n ' . T h e cultural contrast
is so remarkable, the difference in life-styles and
use of language so marked that the effect on a
child must be very peculiar.
A section on music and instruments is highly
culturally specific, with the traditional African
d r u m presented in stark contrast to the range of
classical instruments and forms of music in
European society. Nowhere is a cora (an African
string instrument of considerable sophistication)
or afluteapparent. A n d some space is devoted
to a Greek singer of enormous popularity in
Europe with reviews of her performances from
French dailies. M o r e a reflection of current
urban European tastes exported to francophone
African cities for those young people w h o can
Mass media, education and the transmission of values
afford her records (at £6-8 per album in West
Africa) than of traditional French culture.
A section on shops and markets uses an
African w o m a n to describe the 'decline' of use
of the traditional market, and even of small
shopkeepers, in favour of supermarkets: 'Larger
surface areas sell products cheaper than elsewhere . . .' While true in Europe, the opposite
is the case in Africa, where supermarkets are a
luxury of the urban middle class. T h e traditional
market for economic and cultural reasons is
still used by the large majority. T h e section on
housing portrays a distinct historical evolution
from thatched hut to large apartment block as a
natural feature of modern development. T h e
accompanying grammar lesson is presented
with a four-sequence line drawing in which a
young African builds a cement house and in the
last drawing of the sequence closes himself
inside by building himself into it (the stupidity
of Africans, their incapacity to deal with modern
life—despite h o w desirable?)
T h e geographical and artistic reality of the
provinces of France are contrasted with the
romantic 'placelessness' of African locations;
travel to Timbuktu, a place that presumably
has a school that might even use this book is
presented by the historic unreality of a nineteenth-century French explorer (René Caillié).
A n d in thefinalsequence, the children are told of
Tibet by the recent travels of a Parisian writer,
whose interpretation of this exotic place is done
with typical Western urban sophistication.
Looking at this startling material, its 'adaptation' and its obvious cultivation of values, one
is tempted to pose a dramatic suggestion. W h e n
African children repeated to the tapping of a
ruler in French colonial schools. 'Nos ancêtres,
les Gaulois', the clarity and absurdity of that
p h e n o m e n o m must naturally have generated a
m u c h more strident reaction of national and
cultural pride. T h e dialectic has become more
fuzzy n o w , and the result a m u c h more penetrating form of cultural alienation. H o w m a n y
other textbooks still contain such material?
B y drawing attention to the difficulties of interpreting the transmission of value through the
media and outlining some of the structural and
professional influences that underline external
media influences in the local context in developing countries, suggestions for changes go
m u c h further than limiting foreign exports.
Measuring its impact in relation to the cultural
or social differences found throughout the Third
World m a y serve as a catalyst, by drawing
attention to some of the political and planning
changes that are necessary. But the manner in
which individual young people are able to
observe with an open and questioning spirit
messages and influences from the media and
other cultures depends directly on the integrity
of the educational system in promoting genuine
motivation and self-fulfilment and a pride in
local culture and values.
1. H . L . Himmelweit et al., Television and the Child: An
Empirical Study of the Effects of Television on the
Young. London, Oxford University Press, 1958.
2. G . Gerbner and L . Gross, 'Living with Television:
The Violence Profile', Journal of Communication,
Vol. 26, N o . 2, Spring 1976.
3. P . J. Arenas, Learning from Non-Educational Television,
Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Graduate
School of Education, 1971.
4. K . Nordenstreng and T . Varis, 'Television Traffic—a
O n e - W a y Street?' Unesco Reports and Papers on
Mass Communication, N o . 70, 1974.
5. E . Katz and G . Wedell (eds.), Broadcasting in the
Third World, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University
Press, 1977.
6. The Tanzania ' M a n is Health' campaign and rural
educational radio in Senegal stand out.
7. D . T . Jamison and E . McAnany (eds.), Radio for
Education and Development, 2 Vols.,Washington,D.C,
The World Bank, 1978.
8. See, for example, the recent report for Unesco, Division of Methods, Materials, Structures, Techniques,
R . Postgate et al., Low-Cost Communication Systems
for Education and Development Purposes in Third World
Countries, April, 1979.
9. See several articles in W . Schramm and D . Lerner,
Communication and Change: The Last Ten Years and
the Next, Honolulu, University Press of Hawaii, 1976.
10. I shall not cite the specific text in question, for I do
not wish to single it out for criticism but to raise
questions contained in it that may appear in other texts
of the kind.
Rafael Roncagliolo
and Noreene Z . Janus
Transnational advertising,
the media and education
in the developing countries
It has become c o m m o n practice to look upon
the relationship between education and the
mass media as being a question that is confined
to determining ways and means of using the
media to extend the scope of formal education.
Discussions o n the subject have accordingly
centred on the planning and cost-effectiveness
problems involved in using the mass media to
transmit educational messages. A vast amount
of research has been conducted into such
variables as audience profiles (age, sex, geographical location, etc.), the media themselves
(type, and the range and duration of broadcasts, etc.) and the operational aspects of teaching (use of the m e d i u m alone, with teachers, or
with written supporting materials, etc.).
Even in instances where such research, and
the experiments that usually go with it, m a y be
instrumental in significantly raising standards
of education and training, the fact is that re-
lations between mass communication and formal education range over problems of far
greater complexity and importance than those
involved in the mere use of certain media slots
or time for educational purposes.
A s Ivan Illich has said, 'the relationship
of schooling to education is like that of the
church to religion'.1 Like the church, the
school is merely the institution that by general
consensus is formally responsible for education.
T h e school can hardly be said to be one of
the media capable of being used for educational
purposes. Moreover, the school as an institution displays anachronistic features and shortcomings that stem from what Paolo Freiré calls
'banking educational'2, a vertical, passive process whereby teachers deposit knowledge in
the student without any give-and-take relationship being established.
RafaelRoncagliolo (Peru). Researcher at the Centro de
Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo (DESCO)
in Lima
and at the Instituto Latinoamericano de Estudios Transnacionales (ILET),
which has its headquarters in
Mexico City. Has taught in several Peruvian universities and has zuritten on education and communication.
Noreene Z. Janus (United States). Specialist in
communications problems. Currently research coordinator at the Instituto Latinoamericano de Estudios
Transnacionales (ILET). Author of several studies on
women and mass media and on transnational structures
of mass communications.
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . I, 1980
T h e criticisms which Illich and Freiré have
levelled against the school system—and which
also partly apply to the mass media—are widespread in Latin American thinking and can
be regarded as one of the starting-points or
premisses of this article, although this is not
the place to deal with them at length.
T h e parallel school
T h e crisis of the school as an institution is
certainly not entirely due to the intrinsic limi-
Transnational advertising, the media and education
in the developing countries
tations of present-day schools, nor can it be
solved by bringing the mass media into the
school system. W h a t has happened, in fact, is
that the media—which share some of the features of schools but also evolve forms of c o m munication of their own—have come to display
a high degree of socializing efficiency and have
partly supplanted the functional hegemony of
the school. This is due, a m o n g other things,
to the extent of the penetration by the mass
media into private life,3 to the illusion of freed o m they produce (for it is possible to change
newspapers or television stations), the variety
of programmes they offer, their entertainment
rather than pedagogical function, and their
permanent character—since their influence
extends throughout life instead of being confined to the period of schooling.
In view of these and other factors, there is
no doubt that the whole mass of messages
delivered by the media represents an effective
form of instruction. It is indeed so effective
that it is easily capable of undoing the results
that m a y be achieved through a few hours'
educational broadcasting on radio or television.
It is for that reason that the mass media are
n o w regarded as being literally a 'parallel
school',4 and for the same reason that a factor
of greater importance than the educational use
of the media is their educational nature—in
other words the educational impact achieved
by their transmissions every day. It is this
aspect which it is absolutely essential to take
into consideration in establishing national education systems and policies.5
T h e universal existence of such a parallel
school would not be a source of concern to
educators if the contents of the two schools,
and above all the results obtained, were similar
or convergent. However, such concern exists,
and it derives from the fact that, in most
countries, and particularly in the developing
countries, the mass media are introducing a
model of education of values, behaviour patterns and personal and collective aspirations
that bears little relation to the goals explicitly
laid d o w n for national education systems. A s
a result, a 'Cain and Abel' relationship6 grows
u p between school and the mass media. In
the hostility between them, there is always a
danger of the mass media emerging as the
victor and thus of educational policies being
effectively and systematically sabotaged.
Whenever societies and countries are faced
with these two 'parallel schools' and the growing antagonism between them, the response
they m a k e is fraught with contradiction. O n the
one hand, no one nowadays questions the need to
draw u p educational policies, or the right to
do so. In mass communication, on the other
hand, resistance is still opposed to any attempt
to spell out explicit communication policies.
Nevertheless, in practice every country has
a national communication policy of some kind,
but whereas education policy is formulated
by society as a whole and there are authorities
and officials w h o have to report on its application and results, communication policy is a
private matter that is decided on and applied
exclusively by those w h o exercise a monopoly
over the media, i.e. the ruling classes and
transnational forces that have become deeply
involved in the communication systems of
the developing countries, especially in Latin
America. 7
These privately controlled communication
policies are frankly incompatible with educational policies. T h e declared humanist goals
of education are national development and the
affirmation of national sovereignty and culture.
Privately controlled communication, o n the
other hand, is interested more in the sale of
goods than in h u m a n beings. It sets out to
boost compulsive consumption, without any
regard for the rational needs of development,
and it disseminates a transnational culture that
threatens and undermines all native cultural
traditions. In the n a m e of the 'global village'
postulated by M c L u h a n , present-day c o m m e r cial communication aims at creating a 'global
Rafael Roncagliolo and Noreene Z. Janus
supermarket'. This approach is diametrically
opposed to the principles and objectives o n
which national education systems and policies
are founded.
as the dominant cultural speech-form
T h e mass media themselves cannot be blamed
for this outcome. T h e media do not function
independently of a social context and do not
have the freedom of action to decide for themselves what their content will be. In point of
fact, the mass media everywhere reflect differences that have always existed and still do
to-day. Indeed, the struggle against the existing state of affairs is largely being waged by
alternative media—in the form of journalistic
ventures which, with surprisingly limited resources and at some sacrifice, sprout up in one
place or another and set out to restore the true
cultural, educational and consciousness-raising
functions of mass communication. T h e fact
that, in the conditions of monopoly capitalism,
the mass media have fallen into private hands
has caused them to be enlisted in the service
of alien causes that run counter to true mass
T h e origins of this phenomenon can be traced
back to the middle years of the last century,
w h e n the alliance between the press and advertising was established.8
F r o m that time onwards, the mass media
became increasingly commercially oriented.
Actual communication and news itself have
n o w become commodities governed by the
laws of supply and demand and by the maxim u m utility factor, which determines the guidelines for communication policies at the corporate and national levels. Furthermore, the
media have been turned into producers of
potential audiences and markets that are sold
as commodities to advertisers w h e n they conclude publicity contracts. A s the media are
drawn into this mercenary process and ally
themselves with advertising, they become increasingly divorced from the objectives of
T h e subordination of the media to advertising
is immediately apparent from the media content.
In Latin America, for instance, the leading
daily newspapers contain more advertising than
news features. T h e space bought for advertising
purposes accounts for between 50 and 70 per
cent of the total space.9
However, the growing presence of advertising in the mass media plainly cannot be
reduced to a problem of apportionment of
space, which is only a symptom or indicator.
Underlying the problem is the control which
the financial power of the advertising agencies
and their clients wield over the media. A s
Alex Schmid points out, since as m u c h as
80 per cent of newspaper income is obtained
from advertising rather than from sales, advertising agencies and advertisers are in a position
to make or break newspapers. T h e history of
the press in Latin America is rich in examples
that go to illustrate pressures and power of
this kind. T h e situation is even more serious
in the case of commercial radio and television,
since they are totally financed by advertising.
As far as advertising is concerned, the media
are nothing more than vending machines, which
are good w h e n they attract large numbers of
readers with sufficient purchasing power and
bad w h e n their news content interferes with
the status quo in which business and sales
expand. T h e leading private newspapers are
therefore as free as the main advertisers and
their advertising agencies allow them to be 10
and the universally accepted principle of the
freedom of expression eventually becomes, in
practice, a mere appendage of the freedom to
do business, in other words the freedom to be
used exclusively for the purposes of the major
economic interests.
T h e fact that advertising has succeeded in
subjugating so powerful an instrument as the
Transnational advertising, the media and education
in the developing countries
media, and in enlisting the so-called 'Fourth
Estate' to work for it, is due to the pull exerted
by advertising in the conditions of monopoly
capitalism. W e are completely immersed in
advertising; advertisements invade every sphere
of life and are a fundamental part of everyday
culture. Advertising has succeeded in penetrating people's lives to such an extent that, even
if they do not buy the product advertised or do
not pay attention to a particular advertisement, the overall impact cannot be escaped.
Advertising has taken on a dimension of its
o w n that marks it out completely from the
commercial publicity of the last century in
which its origins lie. Present-day advertisements bear no relation to the standard which
Émile de Girardin suggested be set a hundred
and thirty-five years ago, w h e n he said: 'Advertisements should be concise, straightforward
and frank, should never be of a covert nature,
and should not be ashamed of driving h o m e
their point.'11
Nowadays, there is no semblance of frankness, concision or objectivity in advertising. It
has evolved its o w n language and its o w n
linguistic and iconographie codes. It has no
effect unless the messages it generates reflect
imaginary psychological values and are incorporated in complex symbologies of the social
statuses at which the products are directed,
regardless of their actual utilitarian value. Since
advertising has become an essential link in
the workings of the economy, the problems it
generates extend far beyond the ethical criticisms that have quite rightly been levelled
against it. Advertising has become so overwhelming a feature of contemporary capitalism
that it has been regarded as being the 'dominant
cultural speech-form', the economically based
cultural effusion superseding manifestations of
the past whose sources lay in mysticism, philosophy or science.12
Advertising and education
T h e strength which our system of economic
organization has conferred on advertising is
so great that the interests it represents and
the styles it has developed are succeeding in
influencing the actual formal education system
to a marked degree. Advertising is even penetrating into schools and, with the support of
the mass media, is capable of successfully
renovating styles of schooling.
A good example of the penetration of advertising interests into schools is provided by the
education programmes on nutrition sponsored
by the leading food manufacturers in the United
States for classroom use. In 1978, one C o n gressional subcommittee stated that these programmes were nothing more than 'product
promotions', in other words, they consisted of
advertising directed at children w h o , as a result,
were turned into captive audiences for such
messages. T h e chairman of the subcommittee
gave a warning that 'there is a distinct danger
that classrooms will become the n e w frontier
of advertising'.13
At the same time, however, advertising has
managed to introduce n e w forms and styles
of education, and well-known examples of these
are Sesame Street and The Electric Company in
the United States. Sesame Street has been
translated into several languages and is broadcast in more than seventy countries. Joan G a n z
Cooney, the president of the Children's Television Workshop and producer of the prog r a m m e , has explained that it was designed
after the manner of advertising 'spots', with
the specific aim of using the attention-holding
devices developed by advertisers. According to
Kenneth O'Bryan, the child psychologist, these
devices are so powerful that they m a k e a
thirty-second commercial advertisement the
most effective teaching tool ever invented for
instilling into children's minds any relatively
simple idea, including the idea that a particular
product is desirable. It has also been pointed
Rafael Roncagliolo and Noreene Z. Janus
out that television advertising is especially effective among children w h o are still too young
to understand the sales purpose of advertisements. 14 Other research has confirmed that
children become loyal to specific product brands
from a very early age.15 All this points to the
existence of an advertising culture in the socialization of children alongside school, and sometimes prior to school. Against this background,
programmes like Sesame Street condition children, among other things, to be receptive to the
hundreds of thousands of commercials to which
they are exposed throughout their lives.16 W e
have reached the stage where, instead of educational policies and instruments being designed
to help children develop 'cognitivefilters'to
protect them from the distortions of advertising, the reverse is the case and the way is
being opened up for the penetration of advertising culture as an acceptable and desirable
form of education.
The situation
in the developing countries
These complex relationships between advertising and education are even more alarming
in the developing countries, in which, as a
result of the low school attendance rates, the
educational role of the media and advertising
is even more overwhelming. Suffice it to say
that for a very large proportion of the population of Latin America, radio is virtually the
only m e d i u m and at the same time the only
school to which it has access. N o t only are
the media in those countries under the control
of advertising, but that advertising is becoming
increasingly transnationalized. This pattern
started to emerge in the 1960s, w h e n the advertising markets in developed countries, and particularly in the United States, were relatively
saturated and were showing signs of sluggishness. T h e widespread transnationalization
of economies that took place over that period
was accompanied by the incipient mass penetration of transnational advertising agencies
into the countries of the Third World. 17
A s a result of the presence of advertising,
the developed countries have to contend with
problems of national sovereignty and the survival of national cultures. Transnational advertising18 has succeeded in gaining control over
national communication systems. In Mexico,
out of the 270 commercials which the popular
X E W radio station broadcast daily in 1971,
84 per cent advertised transnational products.
Furthermore, out of the 647 commercials broadcast daily by thefiveMexican television channels, 77 per cent were also for transnational
In regional terms, some thirty transnational
companies, most of them from North America,
control almost two-thirds of the advertising
revenue for the Latin American press.20 Close
on 60 per cent of the advertising in the w o m e n ' s
magazines circulating in the region is transnational,21 and the same can be said of every
one of the media. All the evidence suggests
that the private control of the mass media in
the developing countries works to the direct
advantage of the transnational corporations,
not only in terms of growth in sales22 but also
of the penetration of a transnational ideology
which lays claim to being a contemporary
universal culture.
Admittedly, this purported universal culture
is the natural outcome of the market-oriented
style of thinking rather than the product of a
deliberately subversive strategy towards native
cultures. Standardization of production demands standardization of consumption and
cultures. Global marketing techniques are a
reflection of the need to create a universal
consumer community that drinks, eats, smokes
and uses the same products. Global marketing
accordingly creates global advertising, as expressed in the image of one brand of perfume,
the population of Latin America being presented with the same picture of a blond
Transnational advertising, the media and education
in the developing countries
American w o m a n strolling d o w n Fifth Avenue
in N e w York as is used for viewers in the
United States. T h e message is the same in
every case: 'Consumption is the key to happiness and the global corporation has the products
that make life worth living.'23 T h u s , the image
of the perfume in any developing country has
the effect of associating it in viewers' minds
with its relevance to the universal consumer
society already mentioned, even though such
relevance is only imaginary and is unattainable,
and even though it implies standing aloof from
one's o w n country. T h e educational impact of
the imposition of such a culture on people
cannot be underestimated, since it is diametrically opposed to the objectives of any national
education policy. Such basic ideas underlying
the development of national education systems
in the underprivileged countries as the assertion
of national culture and sovereignty, the linking
of education with the development process, and
the affirmation of democratic awareness, are all
directly undermined by the values, ideas and
behaviour patterns disseminated and inculcated
by such transnational advertising.
There is abundant evidence to show h o w the
inroads m a d e by transnational advertising sap
people's sense of national identity and esteem
for their o w n culture. Eduardo Santoro, for
example, analysed the representative content of
programmes and commercials on Venezuelan
television and then put a questionnaire on them
to a broad sample of schoolchildren, in which
he asked them what had taken place, where and
for what reason, and w h o the 'goodies' and
'baddies' were. T h e following stereotypes repeatedly emerged from the children's replies:
T h e 'goodies' are from the United States, while
the 'baddies' are from other countries, chiefly
from Germany and then from China.
T h e 'goodies' are whites w h o are rich and are
usually policemen, detectives or soldiers.
T h e 'baddies' are black and poor, and they
work chiefly as labourers or peasants, or in
Santoro's conclusion is that 'the hero is a rich,
elegant white American, w h o goes about the
world dispensing peace and justice'.24
In terms of national development, whatever
the political leanings of the regimes in power
in the developing countries, there is general
agreement as to the need to encourage collective
and private savings and to gear production to
the social needs of each country. T h e fact is
that transnational advertising runs directly
counter to those aims. It need only be observed
that the products most widely advertised,
in developing and developed countries alike,
are perfumes and cosmetics, cereals and processed foods, soap, beer, mineral waters and
Similarly, consumer culture, individual
rivalry, the unification of the international
consumer community at the expense of the
eradication of national realities, in short the
whole set of values which adversiting promotes,
have in practice, an anti-democratic content.
Values such as these are the very antithesis of a
sense of c o m m o n purpose, participation, criticism, tolerance and indeed of all the qualities
that go to make u p the democratic ideal. Furthermore, the brainwashing and psychological
compulsion characteristic of advertising m o tivation techniques are the reflection of an
authoritarian outlook which is opposed to
the democratization of communication and
Countless other examples could be cited of
the contradiction between educational goals
and the consequences of surrendering control
to transnational advertising. However, the instances already mentioned are sufficient to bear
out and illustrate the existence of such contradictions and the need to resolve them if
the undermining of education systems and
policies in the developing countries is to be
Rafael Roncagliolo and Noreene Z. Janus
H o w can w e contend
with advertising?
T h e purpose of this article is not to outline a
programme of action for coping with the educational—or rather the anti-educational—impact of the mass media and present-day advertising. However, the seriousness of the problems
involved, their proven ability to wreak havoc
with educational programmes, and the enorm o u s amounts spent on advertising are all such
as to call for urgent action, both nationally and
internationally. Individual countries are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to switch
existing inexplicit communication policies, in
which control of the mass media is in private
hands, to explicit policies, in which the views of
all sectors of society are elicited and rational
and social use can be m a d e of the power of the
mass communication. It is with this in mind
that a variety of forms of grassroots participation
in media management has been tried out in
Latin America—particularly in Mexico, Chile
and Peru—which could serve as a precedent for
embarking on a more systematic effort to
democratize mass communication. T h e authorities responsible for educational and cultural
policies in every country would necessarily be
expected to play an important part in drawing u p such policies and in setting standards
aimed at protecting the public from the antieducational effects of advertising. T h e state
should likewise give financial support to the
media in systems that are not under government
control—for which there are precedents in a
number of European countries—so as to ensure
that advertisers do not take them over c o m pletely.
At the international level, Unesco's action in
setting u p two special commissions in recent
years has been of the utmost significance. T h e
first of these was the Faure Commission on the
problems of education, while the other is
the MacBride Commission on communication
issues. With the findings of these two c o m -
missions, the international community will be
well equipped to participate in a special conference, convened under the auspices of Unesco,
with a view to analysing the existing conflicts
between education and advertising and to seeking an answer to them and to the serious
prejudice being caused to national cultures by
the growing invasion of transnational advertising. This idea has been put forward on other
occasions25 and appears to be an excellent way of
channelling and responding to the concerns that
are n o w so widely felt by educators and parents
and by all those w h o are committed to the task
of culture and education*.
1. Ivan Mich, Alternativas, p. 113, Mexico City, Editorial
Joaquin Mortiz, 1977.
2. Paolo Freiré, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, N e w York,
Herder & Herder, 1970.
3. There exists a considerable amount of research d e m onstrating the considerable time given up to the media.
In Europe alone, for instance, more than half the total
number of children watch television every day; in the
United States, children in the 4 - to 8-year age-group
watch it on average for two and a half hours a day and
those in the 10- to 16-year age-group for four hours a
day. See George Comstock, et al., Television and
Human Behaviour, p. 178, N e w York, Columbia University Press, 1978.
4. Louis Porcher, L'école parallèle, Paris, Librairie
Larousse, 1974.
5. This subject of the mass media and the role they play
in the field of education is discussed at length in
Fernando Reyes Matta, Communicación masiva: la
escuela paralela, Mexico City, I L E T . (In press.)
6. M a x Ferrero, 'L'école et la télévision: les sœurs ennemies?', Éducation 2000 (Paris), N o . 7, September 1977.
7. O f the thirty-one in the world with private commercial
television networks, sixteen, more than half, are in
Latin America. This is the result of imitating and
importing the communication system of the United
States. See Elihu Katz and George Wedell, Broadcasting in the Third World, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard
University Press, 1977.
8. Bernard Cathelat, Publicité et société, p. 33-7, Paris,
Petite Bibliothèque Payot, 1976.
This is, of course, the authors' opinion and does
not c o m m i t U n e s c o . — E d .
Transnational advertising, the media and education
in the developing countries
9. However, studies in which this type of measurement is
included show significant variations. In Costa Rica,
four newspapers were analysed and were found to
consist, on average, of 42 per cent of advertisements,
while thefigurefor one of them was as high as 66 per
cent(JoséM. Fonseca, Communication Policies in Costa
Rica, Paris, Unesco, 1976). In Peru, in 1968, 'a m o r phological analysis of newspapers with the largest
circulationfigures. . . showed that the seven leading
newspapers included no less than 35.5 per cent of
advertisements and that the newspaper devoting most
space to advertising included as m u c h as 58.4 per cent'
(Pontificia Universidad Católica de Peru, Investigación
de los medios de comunicación colectiva, Lima, 1961).
Even higherfiguresare quoted in Alex Schmid, The
North American Penetration of the Latin American
Knowledge Sector—Some Aspects of Communication and
Information Dependence, a document presented to the
Seventh Conference of the International Peace R e search Association, Oaxtepec, Mexico, 1978 (mimeo.),
p. 13 and 14. O n this question, see also Noreene Janus
and Rafael Roncagliolo, 'Adversiting, Mass Media
and Dependency', Development Dialogue (Uppsala,
Sweden), N o . 1, 1979.
Schmid, op. cit.
Quoted in Cathelat, op. cit., p . 36.
Adversiting Age, 6 February 1978, p. 2 .
Federal Trade Commission Staff Report on TV Advertising to Children, Federal Trade Commission,
Washington, D . C . , 1978.
15. Scott W a r d , Daniel B . W a c k m a n and Ellen Wartella,
How Children Learn to Buy, p . 189, Beverly Hills,
Sage Publications, 1977.
16. A r m a n d Mattelart, 'El imperialismo en busca de la
contrarevolución cultural, Plaza Sésamo; Prologo a la
telerepresion del año 2,ooo", Comunicación y Cultura,
p. 146-223 (Santiago de Chile), N o . 1, July 1973.
17. Janus and Roncagliolo, op. cit.
18. T h e term 'transnational advertising' as used here
refers to advertising contracted out by corporations
that are owned or controlled by foreign interests, for
the purpose of promoting their o w n products. With
regard to the transnational concept in the c o m m u n i cationfield,see Juan Somavia, ' L a estructura transnacional de poder y la información internacional', in
Fernando Reyes Matta (ed.), La Información en el
Nuevo Orden Internacional, Mexico City, I L E T , 1977.
19. Quoted in Victor Bernai Sahagún, Anatomía de la
publicidad en Mexico, p . 117, Mexico City, Editorial
Nuestro Tiempo, 1974.
20. Schmid, op. cit. See also Magdalena Brockmann, La
publicidad y la prensa: análisis cuantitativo de una
semana en los diarios latinoamericanos, Mexico City,
ILET, 1979.
21. Adriana Santa Cruz and Viviana Brazo, Compropolitan:
el orden transnacional y su modelo informativo femenino,
Mexico City, I L E T , 1979. (October 1979, in press.)
22. A sample of television viewers in Indonesia, w h o were
asked which advertisements they remembered from
the previous week's broadcasts, mentioned only
transnational brands in their replies. Alfian, ' S o m e
observations on television in Indonesia', in Jim
Richstad (ed.), New Perspectives in International Communication, p . 58-9, Honolulu, East-West Centre,
23. Richard Barnett and Ronald E . Müller, Global Reach,
P- 33) N e w York, Simon and Schuster, 1974.
24. Eduardo Santoro, La televisión venezolana y la formación de estereo-tipos en el niño, p . 279, Caracas, Ediciones de la Biblioteca, 1975.
25. Juan Somavia, How to Go about Basic Needs: the International Perspective, address to the Plenary Session at
the International Development Conference, Washington, D . C . , 8 February 1978 (mimeo); Janus and
Roncagliolo, op. cit.
Luis Ramiro Beltrán S.
and Elizabeth Fox de Cardona
Mass media and cultural
Nineteen years after hisfirstvisit to the N e w
York headquarters of the United Nations, the
Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, was back
at the General Assembly and asked: ' W h y should
some people go barefooted so that others m a y
ride in expensive cars?' H e said it is a moral
obligation of the developed countries, which in
his view profit from underdevelopment, to help
substantially and readily the poor countries,
lest there shall be no peace in the world. Thus
he proposed to discuss and determine for the
next development decade a strategy that should
include a contribution of no less than $300 billion
in donations and soft-term credits from developed to developing countries.
The old international economic order
W h y a request of such magnitude? W h a t had
happened to the 'development mystique' of
Luis Ramiro Beltrán S. (Bolivia) and Elizabeth Fox
de Cardona (United States). Specialists of communication in developing countries, particularly Latin
America, they work in the Latin American office of the
Canadian International Development Research Center,
in Bogotá. Have both written widely on problems of
communication and development. This article is a
shorter version of a paper presented to the Symposium
on the Role of International Broadcasting sponsored by
Radio Nederland at Hilversum, the Netherlands,
October 1979.
Prospects, Vol. X, N o . I, 1980
the previous twenty years? H a d foreign aid to
development been useless? T h e end of the
period wishfully labeled by the United Nations
as the Second Development Decade is n o w close
on the horizon. A n d the sad reality is that, just
as it was at the end of the First Development
Decade, not m u c h development is in sight
except in those countries that all the while were
already quite developed. T h e great disparities
traditionally prevailing between these countries
and those in the Third World have not disappeared, and in several aspects they rather tend
to increase. Not unrelatedly, inequalities within
each so-called developing country between the
élites and the masses have also either remained
stationary or become more acute.
T h e hopes entertained by visionaries such as
Lester Pearson and Jan Tinbergen have not
materialized so far. T h e mighty ones show no
inclination to yield. W i s d o m and generosity are
scarce virtues as usual. Thus planet earth, for
all the developmental rhetoric that permeates the
last quarter of the century, appears as unkind a
h o m e as ever for most of its inhabitants.
S o m e 800 million h u m a n beings survive
under conditions of extreme poverty that deprive them of decent standards of food, housing,
health and schooling, while minorities indulge
in irrational overspending. Malnutrition and
subemployment affect almost two thirds of the
population in m a n y 'developing' countries while
industrial nations concur in wasteful use of
Mass media and cultural domination
resources, environmental degradation and the
arms race. A baby born in an industrial country
comes to the world with a life expectancy of
72 years while one in a non-industrial country
can count only on 44 years (World Bank, 1978).
A n d income comparisons produce, to say the
least, astonishment.
T h e early catastrophic predictions of the
Club of R o m e m a y not have become full realities, but neither have several corrective efforts
attained encouraging results so far. T h e 1976
and 1977 Conferences on International Economic Co-operation and the series of U N C T A D
meetings failed to produce tangible results that
would at least alleviate the consequences of the
unfair economic treatment that the industrialized nations give the non-industrialized ones.
T h e North-South dialogue is stagnant, if it ever
truly began. Science and technology remain the
privilege of the few and mighty.
Neocolonial conditions of exploitation still
prevail in international economic relations. T h e
distribution of labour between nations has not
been substantially altered by decolonization.
T h e terms of trade exchange between metropolitan and peripheral countries have shown no
correction of the characteristic imbalance. Most
countries of the Third World are still cond e m n e d to the role of primitive providers of
raw materials, which they have to sell cheap,
and consumers of manufactured goods, for
which they have to pay dear. For instance,
about 80 per cent of Latin American exports
are primary goods whereas about 60 per cent of
the imports are manufactured products (Perry,
1977). T h e resulting deficit fouls up development plans, hits national economies hard and
consistently increases the chronic foreign debt
of the less developed countries, which often
has to be served at high interest rates and
short repayment schedules. For instance, in a
period intermediate between the two Development Decades (1965 to 1967), Latin America's
yearly average loss due to such imbalance was
$1,300 million (Unión Panamericana, 1969).
A n d in a single year, according to the United
Nations, the loss was ten times greater than the
credits received in the same period from the
United States and from international organizations (Castro, 1969).
Increasingly, most developed countries impose high tariffs to protect their markets from
imports from the Third World while bringing
d o w n theirfinancialaid to them. S o m e metropolitan centers would seem to be moving from
indifference or compassion to reluctance or
hostility about the wants and claims of the so
called developing world.
A s stressed by the United Nations Economic
Commission for Latin America in its most
recent gathering, in April 1979 in Bolivia, the
effects of recession and inflation in the United
States and other Western industrial countries
are affecting the economies of this region to a
point making uncertain the immediate future.
A n d likewise, in its 1978 report the World Bank
concluded that progress over the past twentyfive years in accelerating growth, modernizing
economies and raising the standards of living
has not been sufficiently fast and broad-based
to significantly reduce poverty.
In summary, external economic dependence
still accounts for m u c h of underdevelopment.
In 1979 justice appeared no less a mirage than
in 1969 or 1959. A n d , if nothing else, the Third
World countries have learned that in struggling
to build a better future they can no longer rely
upon the development model devised by the
industrial powers. Thus 'another development'
begins n o w to be autonomously envisioned.
a new international economic order
Discontent with the old international economic
order so far prevalent can be traced back to the
decade of 1950. However, the public and official
expression of intent to change it did not occur
until 1973. In that year, in their summit at
Luis Ramiro Beltrán S . and Elizabeth Fox de Cardona
Algiers, the heads of states of the countries in
the non-Aligned movement produced a first
formal statement of the need for a N e w International Economic Order ( N I E O ) . In 1974 they
took the notion to the sixth extraordinary session
of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
There, in spite of reservations from the United
States of America and other countries, this
United Nations body approved by majority vote
a declaration fostering the establishment of a
N e w International Economic Order (Resolution
N o . 3201) and a program of action addressed to
pursuing the attainment of such goal (Resolution N o . 3202).
Other similar statements adopted included
the Cocoyoc Declaration (Mexico City, 1974)
and the 1975 Dakar Declaration and Action
Programme of Developing Countries on R a w
T h e Third World statements seeking to define
the nature of the N e w International Economic
Order included this set of basic concepts:
T h e sovereignty and equality of states.
T h e full and effective participation of all states
in international decision making.
T h e right of all states to adopt appropriate
economic, political and cultural systems.
T h e full permanent sovereignty over national
T h e right to regulate the activities of foreign
entities (such as transnational corporations) in
concurrence with national goals and priorities.
T h e right to formulate a model of autonomous
development geared toward the basic needs
of the population.
T h e right to pursue progressive social transformation that enables the full participation
of the population in the development process.
T h e statements on the N I E O claim that (a) the
prevailing international economic order is incompatible with the Third World ambition of
total emancipation and contrary to its interests;
(b) the theory that development will trickle
d o w n from the industrial to the non industrial
nations is neither valid nor fair; and (c) devel-
opment in the Third World countries should
not be an imitation of Western models but a
product of their sovereign decisions.
Along with sovereignty, interdependence is a
basic concept within the N I E O ideal. This is
reflected in the following definition of N I E O
by Dutch communication researcher Cees
Hamelink (1978, p. 9): c A n organization of
international economic relations in which states,
which develop their economic systems in an
autonomous way and with complete sovereign
control of resources, fully and effectively participate as independent members of the international community.'
Together with attempts at definition, some
concerted actions have taken place to promote
the N I E O . For instance, at its Nairobi 1976
meeting, the I V U N C T A D attempted to elaborate conceptually and operationally the basic
features of the proposed n e w order. A m o n g
other initiatives, it started the design for an
international code of technological transfer.
Another example is given by the attempts of
countries in the Group of 77 to explain to developed countries that N I E O can be deemed
convenient to them as well. A leader in a
developed nation with this conviction is Jan
Pronk, former Dutch Minister for Development.
After clarifying that the N e w International
Economic Order could only be detrimental to
the developed countries in terms of short-term
economic considerations, Pronk (1978, p. 2)
perceptively noted that:
If left to the charity and goodwill of the traditionally
powerful industrialized countries, a N I E O will not be
brought about. Requests on this basis have traditionally received a negative answer. O n e m a y deplore it,
but powerful nations will only co-operate in the
building of a n e w order if they view it as being in
their interest to do so. T o a certain extent this n o w
seems to be the case. T h e oil crisis, the growing
awareness of overall scarcities, the international
recession, characterized b y inflation, unemployment
and monetary instability, the growing unity of the
Third World, the unstable political and military
situation in various parts of the world (e.g. the Middle
Mass media and cultural domination
East and southern Africa) and the proliferation of
nuclear knowledge together have shifted some of the
power of the traditionally rich countries to the Third
World. It is therefore in the interest of the rich
countries to solve world problems in close harmony
with the Third World.
and of autonomous and independent economic and
social development. This role arises not only from the
advertising of imported goods but also from the
actual content of the programs which brainwash the
population into accepting and wanting the w a y of life
of the affluent societies.
It is to be hoped that such realistic voices will
be heard. However, changing the structure of
international economic relations in the direction
of balance—the aim of the N I E O proposal—may
not by itself be sufficient to help emancipate the
developing countries from the external domination that keeps them underdeveloped. Thus
they must also seek structural changes in other
equally important relations with developed
A Third World cultural leader, Rex Nettleford
(Ï9795 P- I 2 6 ) , pointed out the alien origin of
such noxious communication influence:
Cultural domination:
the other side of underdevelopment
'It is an established fact that the activities of
imperialism are not confined solely to the
economic and politicalfieldsbut also cover the
cultural and social fields, thus imposing an
alien ideological domination over the peoples of
the developing world.' This statement signaled
the public and formal realization of such relationship by the Heads of States of the M o v e ment of the Non-Aligned Countries at their
fourth meeting held in Algiers in 1973. It took
them only a short additional step to identify
the mass communication media as the chief
agents of such cultural domination, since they
are 'the legacy of the colonial past and have
hampered free, direct and fast communication
between them' {Development Dialogue, 1976).
T h e president of the Caribbean Development
Bank, William D e m a s (1975, p. 4), described
the situation as follows:
W e find that in m a n y Third World countries, particularily in the Caribbean and Latin America, the
electronic mass media, especially television, play a
role which is destructive of national cultural identity
Jamaica and the Caribbean, therefore, are the victims
of the effects of cultural domination and dependence
fostered by most of the prevailing information
patterns said to be c m u c h more penetrating than those
of purely economic domination and dependence'.
These statements are representative of the critical stand taken by all kinds of leaders most
everywhere in the Third World. In fact, comparable opinions are abundant all over Latin
America, as well as in the underdeveloped
countries of Asia and Africa. In m a n y of them,
researchers have found evidence clearly supporting such contentions, as has been reported
by, among other analysts, the United States
scholar Schiller (1971, 1973, 1976e, 1977 an^1979) and the Belgian critic A r m a n d Mattelart
(1973a, 1973e, 1976e, 1977 and 1978). ( A
recent reader on this subject, covering various
media and several regions of the world, is that
edited by Nordenstreng and Schiller (1979).
Beltrán and Cardona (1977) reviewed a large
number of pertinent studies documenting the
domination of Latin American mass c o m m u n i cations by United States transnational interests.
American researcher John Lent (1972 and 1979)
is a main analyst of alien communication influences on Caribbean media. Other Caribbean
studies are those of Cuthbert (1976 and
1978), Hosein (1976), Nascimento (1973), White
(1976), and Brown (1976).) A few of those
indicators will be reviewed subsequently to
illustrate briefly the situation, emphasizing Latin
America and broadcasting (radio and television)
wherever the available data permit.
Luis Ramiro Beltrán S. and Elizabeth Fox de Cardona
M a s s communication as a key tool
for cultural domination
T h e developing countries comprise almost two
thirds of the world's population. As a rule, mass
media distribution is, however, strongly skewed
in favor of the developed countries that constitute the minority portion of this population.
O n e half of the total daily newspapers in the
world are published in the developing countries,
their circulation being one sixth of that of the
developed countries, which use 90 per cent of
all newsprint in the world. Whereas in these
countries there is one copy of a daily newspaper
for every three inhabitants, in the underdeveloped regions of the world there is one copy
for every thirty inhabitants.
In the United States and in other developed
countries there are more radio receivers available than inhabitants; in Africa, instead, there
is one for each eighteen inhabitants.
There is one television receiver for every two
persons in North America and one for every
four persons in Europe and Russia; by contrast,
there is one for forty in Asia and the Arab
States. (International Commission for the Study
of Communication Problems, Unesco, 1978.)
N e w s , especially as reflected in their use by
daily newspapers, is an area in which research
has frequently found evidence of another type of
imbalance disfavoring the developing countries.
T o begin with, as was pointed out by the
co-ordinator of the Ministers of Information of
the Non-Aligned Countries, Tunisia's Moustafa
M a s m o u d i (1978),fiveagencies produce 80 per
cent of all international news that gets printed.
T h e y — U P I , A P , Agence France Press, Reuters
and Tass—devote less than a third ofthat total
output to the developing world, which, as has
been stressed already, accounts for two thirds
of mankind.
In Latin America news trame in all directions—towards the world, from the world and
within itself—is controlled at least 60 per cent
by U P I and A P . Certain significant events are
not reported at all or get little coverage, whereas
other, usually trivial, bizarre or scandalous ones,
are played up. (A precursor study of these
problems was conducted in Venezuela by Diaz
Rangel (1967) and an early analysis of main
Latin American dailies revealing foreign domination in news was contributed by C I E S P A L
(1967). In recent years, the Mexico-based Latin
American Institute for Transnational Studies
(ILET) had developed a dynamic leadership in
this area of inquiry. See pertinent writings by
Juan Somavia (1976 and 1977), an<i Fernando
Reyes Matta (1974, 1976, and 1977), among
other I L E T members.)
Deliberate distorsion of news is effected
through several procedures and becomes particularly severe and noticeable whenever the
transnational news agencies are referring to
events expressing a will for social transformation
in the region. (Several scholars have documented
the negative behavior of their country's international and national mass communication systems about major social revolutionary movements in Latin America such as those of Bolivia,
Cuba and Chile. These are some of those
writers: Knudson (1973); Hester (1971 and
1977); Kipp (1967); Lewis (i960); Francis
(1967); Houghton (1965); Bethel (1966); Barnes
(1964); Bernstein and Gordon (1967); Kunzle
(1978); Pollock and Pollock (1972); and Fagen
'Wire information', noted a Venezuelan newspaperman, 'depends on the United States as our
economies depend upon it. A P and U P I have
the decisive weight in opinion formation in the
average Latin American country about the most
important world events.' (Diaz Rangel, 1967,
p . 43-4.)
A s for American magazines, an American
researcher concluded that their coverage of
Latin American reality was superficial, negative
and stereotyped. (Whitaker, 1969.) M a n y United
States magazines are translated into Spanish and
Portuguese and somewhat adapted to Latin
America and, along with comic books,floodthe
Mass media and cultural domination
region, stemming mostly from subsidiaries or
partners of United Statesfirmsin Venezuela and
Mexico. Researchers Dorfman and Mattelart
(1973) noted that comics such as those of
Donald D u c k m a y not be innocuous, inasmuch
as they express consistently the ideology of
capitalist society. M a n y Latin American researchers, mostly in Argentina, Brazil and Chile,
have expressed similar concerns about all kinds
of United States inspired popular magazines
circulating in their region. (For instance, Feinsilber and Traversa (1972), Goldmann (1967),
Habert (1974), Michèle Mattelart (i97o),Piccini
(1970) and Steimberg (1972).)
no exception to imbalance
T h e influence of the main developed countries
on broadcasting is slightly different, but it has
no less serious implications for the developing
countries, especially those of Latin America,
where radio and television are eminently private
and commercial.
Television is being increasingly found by
research to be a decisive tool for developed
countries to exert cultural domination over the
developing ones. Nordenstreng and Varis (1974)
conducted a study covering m a n y countries of
the world through which they found that
television was indeed, as suspected before their
verification, a 'one-way street' running from a
few developed countries to m a n y of the underdeveloped ones. These researchers demonstrated
that national programme structures were dominated in most countries by transnational producers and that the international flow of television programme materials was essentially
controlled by huge United States sales, of
which one third corresponded to Latin America.
In his book about the impact of United States
television in this part of the world, American
researcher Allan Wells (1972, p. 194) acknowledged that:
The dominance of North American over other influences on the developing countries is most apparent
in the case of television, particularily in Latin
America, the internationally recognized sphere of
influence of the United States.
This dominance comes to the region through
several avenues. Canned materials are more
evident than equipment sales, which—as has
been noted by Cruise O'Brien (1974) and other
analysts—carries, along with training, the ideology of the country of origin. This has a strong
multiplier effect b y which locally produced
materials are often hardly distinguishable from
their foreign models.
S o m e researchers, especially in Venezuela,
Brazil and Peru, have studied television content,
especially in tems of 'adventure' programmes
(soap operas, crime and spy stories and other
comparable serials), most of which are imported
essentially from the United States. (SeePasquali
(1967 and 1972); Colomina de Rivera (1973);
Mattelart (19736); Pérez Barreto (1973); Rincón
(1968); Santoro (1975); Tapia Delgado (1973);
and, inter alia, Marqués de M e l ó (1971).) In
addition to finding grounds for the familiar
preoccupation with violence induction, these
researchers were able to identify in such m a terials the fostering of stereotypes of the set of
values of the United States consumer society
proposed as the natural and necessary course of
mankind. Three main factors were identified
in the messages—conservatism, materialism
and conformism—while two types of noxious
effects on the audience were deemed possible: exciting/energizing and narcotic/analgesic
(Beltrán, 1978).
Radio is the most pervasive and ubiquitous
of the mass media all over the world, but the
basic imbalance of availability favoring the
developed nations also is true of this m e d i u m .
T o start with, the developed countries control
90 per cent of the frequencies in the spectrum.
S o m e 75 per cent of all radio transmitters are
concentrated in North America and Europe,
Luis Ramiro Beltrán S . and Elizabeth Fox de Cardona
which also have about 75 per cent of all radio
receivers. T h e United States alone has more
radio transmitters than those in all the developing countries. There are n o w a billion receivers, or—in principle—about one to every
four inhabitants of the planet, but their distribution not only strongly favors the developed
nations, but the urban élites in the developing
countries themselves.
W h e n compared with the rest of the mass
media, radio has a wider penetration among
the lower strata of the masses and in some
rural areas of the Third World countries.
However, in spite of their unusual potential for
servicing development, 'radio messages still do
not reach large portions of mankind in isolated
areas and m a n y of these messages w h e n they
reach mass audiences convey alien content and
false images'. (International Commission for the
Study of Communication Problems, Unesco,
1978, p . 34-)
Both terms of this statement apply quite
accurately to the Latin American situation.
First, even radio fails to reach about one half
of the total population of this region, which
n o w clearly exceeds the 300 million figure.
Second, the great majority of stations are indeed
concentrated in urban areas and do not reach
beyond them. Third, although radio demands
far more production of local programs than
television, m u c h of its content is still dominated
by foreign influence, interests and paradigms.
United States music is often predominant over
national and other through the power of the
transnational record industry. Patterned after
traditional United States models, soap-opera is
a staple of radio fare. Development-oriented
materials and cultural-educational programs are
scarce, whereas entertainment and sports dominate scheduling in competition only with advertisements.
In 1962, with a 7.5 per cent of the world's
population, Latin America was k n o w n to have
some 1,700 radio stations already, 22 per cent
of the world's total, but only 9 per cent of the
total radio kilowatt power of the world. A c cording to Pasquali (1975), the trend has been
confirmed. Around the middle of the 1970-80
decade, the region was estimated to have some
4,500 radio stations, with more than 80 per cent
of them operating equipment below 5 kilowatts
of power. Caracas, a city with about 3 million
inhabitants, had eighteen stations, which transmitted a daily average of 8,500 commercial
advertisements. Radio services have grown very
rapidly. T h e number of receivers per 1,000 inhabitants increased from 52 in 1950 to 208
in 1975Thus, what seems to take place through radio
is 'an enormous daily transfer of tastes, ideologies, ways of life, language, behaviour patterns,
problems and expectations to peoples of another
cultural historical and cultural origin without
the knowledge or ability to put up an effective
resistance' (Pasquali, 1975, p. 64-5).
Unlike most of the rest of the world—developing and developed—Latin America is a
region where radio broadcasting is fundamentally private and commercial: at least in 90 per
cent of the cases, according to Kaplun (1973).
For instance, Colombia—a country populated
by 25 million people—has today some 400 radio
stations of which only one is state-owned. A s
such, their chief source of revenue is advertising,
a significant proportion of which comes from
transnational firms, whose content preferences
influence programming.
Venezuelan researcher Antonio Pasquali
(1975, p. 67), assessed the consequences of such
a situation in these terms:
Latin America is the supreme living illustration of the
fact that the system of handing over broadcasting to
private enterprise is, without any doubt, the one that
produces the worst results in cultural and social
terms. In almost half a century, in fact, privately
operated Latin American radio broadcasting has not
succeeded in serving all the inhabitants of the
countries in which it operates; it has become the
overt instrument of compulsive, commonplace transculturation; it produces hackneyed programs of poor
Mass media and cultural domination
quality because it has small economic resources; it
disregards the real issues of public interest to the
people it serves.
A pioneer step in Latin America:
communication policies
Empirical verification substantiates the grievances of the Third World countries about the
international communication situation. It remains only to note that, concomitantly, the
situation of mass communication at national
levels achieves deplorable characteristics in
Latin America. Internal domination in matters
of communication is coincident with external
domination in this area. T h u s the struggle for
reforming the international and the national
communication structures is not really one
between developed countries in general and
underdeveloped countries in general. It is a
struggle between persons and institutions in
each country of either type, w h o either wish to
keep the communication system as is or aim at
changing it. A n d this is not unrelated to the
confrontation between those w h o in the underdeveloped countries favor the status q u o and
those w h o wish to change the overall structure
of society and attain a democratically balanced
state of genuine development.
T h e Latin Americans were precursors in the
struggle for reforming communication and
reaching the highest level of official and international sanction: that of an intergovernmental
conference on communication policies. In preparation for it, two meetings of experts were
held: one on general policies, in Bogotá,
Colombia, in 1974 and the other on news
exchange in Quito, Ecuador, in 1975. Both
gatherings condemned the prevailing circumstances of mass communication operations in
the region and recommended the adoption of
several changes in it, a m o n g them the creation
of autonomous regional news services (public,
private and mixed) and the formulation of
policies relative to the behavior of private and
commercial mass media institutions, native and
foreign. This was proposed to be done through
national communication policy councils incorporating representatives of all social sectors
concerned with the problem. Neither state
monopoly of media ownership nor censorship
of any kind was advocated.
Nevertheless, the experts' recommendations
were readily taken as threats to the 'free
flow' of news by media owners and managers
grouped in two large organizations: the InterAmerican Press Association (IAPA) and the
Inter-American Association of Broadcasters.
Both attacked as totalitarian the experts consulted by Unesco and their recommendations.
T h e y organized a massive transnational c a m paign to boycott the intergovernmental conference, which was regarded as an undemocratic
threat to freedom of information. A s reported
by Capriles (1977) more than 700 articles were
published against the pro-policy movement by
dailies in Latin American between February
and August of 1976. According to Salinas (1978,
p . 22), the campaign was actually successful in
several respects: the site of the conference was
changed several times, the meeting was held
m u c h later than was first decided and the
document produced by the experts in Bogotá
was prevented from inclusion in the agenda of
the conference.
In spite of the enormous pressures so exerted
against the conference and the violent attacks
conducted against Unesco, the historic meeting
took place in the capital of Costa Rica and
worked essentially under the leadership of the
Venezuelan Minister of Information, Guido
Grooscors (see Grooscors, 1978), strongly
backed u p by President Carlos Andrés Pérez,
w h o shortly before had told a general assembly
of I A P A :
In the democratic regime, which accepts and fosters
freedom of the press, liberty of information faces
dangers, and grave ones, if information is in the
service of certain interests. This endangers the very
Luis Ramiro Beltrán S. and Elizabeth Fox de Cardona
freedom that it defends, or that it pretends to defend,
breaks the rules of the democratic g a m e and threatens
the legitimacy of the institutions on which is founded
(Pérez, I975, p . 7-8).
a N e w International
Information Order
Overcoming the burning atmosphere created
around it by the media, the conference approved
a set of thirty resolutions containing initiatives
to alleviate or solve the problems of communication determined by internal and external
domination. A s seen in Unesco's report of it
(Unesco, 1976), the conference advocated a
balanced circulation of information between
nations, recommended the creation of national
and regional news agencies, proposed the establishment of national communication policy councils and recommended the establishment of
alternative and supplementary communication
media, including those of state property addressed at providing mass education for development.
' T h e evident injustice which characterizes the
present international structure of c o m m u n i cation has forced the need for a n e w international information order as integral and
complementary to the N E I O . O n e cannot hope
to modify the economic order without modifying the information order.' ( I L E T , 1979.)
W h a t is the N I I O ? W h a t is this n e w order, so
integral and complementary to the N E I O ?
T h e non-aligned countries have played a key
part in denouncing the failure of the present
communication system and in the design of
instruments that could begin to lead towards a
n e w international order of communications.
W h a t elements, however, might constitute this
intended order?
T h e non-aligned movement has already produced a number of modest but tangible results
in the area of communication. In January 1975,
the Third World pool of n e w agencies of the
countries was created. T h e Yugoslav news
agency Tanjug and eleven other news agencies
from the movement began to transmit news
with a view to strengthening the information
flow towards the developed world and intensify
the news exchange among the members themselves. A similar step was taken in thefieldof
radio and television. At thefirstConference of
Broadcasting Organizations of Non-Aligned
Countries, in Sarajevo, October 1977, an action
programme of four lines of activity of the organizations was adopted, including the encouragement of co-operation in the exchange of radio
and television programmes.
International news coverage of the conference
provided in itself a demonstration of h o w those
w h o claim to defend press freedom and objective journalism can manipulate information to
suit their biases and interests. A study by Raquel
Salinas (1977) 0I" coverage by the Associated
Press shows in detail h o w information was
handled—quantitatively and qualitatively—by
this agency to play up the I A P A position and
disfavor the proposals of the Latin American
governmental representatives, especially those
of Venezuela, the leader.
Application of the m a n y recommendations
approved has been slow and will remain a
difficult task to be fully accomplished. T h e Costa
Rica Conference cannot be taken as a full war
w o n by the democratic progressive forces in
Latin America. But it was indeed a successful
fundamental battle that gives them hope and
encouragement. A s such it also constituted
inspiration for a similar conference in Asia and
a major step towards the construction of a worldwide ' N e w International Information Order',
which was also formally proposed in 1976.
These activities, and similar actions in Latin
America and other areas in the world such as
the imminent establishment of a Latin American
news feature service, A L A S E I , are significant
first steps.
However, a N e w International Information
Order is far more complex than improvements
Mass media and cultural domination
of the imbalance of the flow of information. A s
denned by a Venezuelan researcher, a N e w
International Information Order is:
T h e replacement of the principal parameters that
have traditionally governed the circulation of information and the content of the mass media by a n e w
structure based on negotiation and directed toward a
free and balanced international exchange and circulation of information. (Capriles, 1979, p. 2.)
Martelanc (1978) proposes that some elements
of this n e w order could be these:
T h e establishment of more equitable two-way
or multi-way communication in place of the
existing imbalance.
T h e modification of the present prevailing
principles and values that subject the mainstream of information to the laws of a market
economy and the imposition of the political
values of the stronger countries.
T h e modification in the international flow of
information based on the full sovereignty of
states, and a due concern for their realities,
needs and aspirations.
T h e mobilization of the mass media towards
national development objectives, and the processes of economic and cultural decolonization and emancipation of all countries.
T h e strengthening of national communication
capacities on the basis of the most appropriate
A s yet, no international consensus has been
reached on a blueprint for the N e w International Information Order. In fact, the m a n date of the International Commission for the
Study of Communication Problems, set u p by
the Director-General of Unesco, in pursuance
of Resolution 100 adopted by the General
Conference at its nineteenth session in 1977,
was precisely:
T o study the current situation in thefieldof
communication and information and to identify problems which called for fresh action at
the national level and a concerted overall approach at the international level.
T o pay particular attention to problems relating
to the free and balanced flow of information
in the world, as well as the specific needs of
developing countries.
T o analyse communication problems, in different aspects, within the prospective of the
establishment of a N e w International Economic Order and of the measures to be taken
to foster the institution of a ' N e w World
Information Order'.
T h e Declaration on Fundamental Principles
concerning the Contribution of the Mass Media
to StrengtheningPeace and International Understanding, to the Promotion of H u m a n Rights
and to Countering Racialism, Apartheid and
Incitement to W a r , is certainly another of the
most important initiatives adopted, after two
years of strife and intense world-wide discussion, by an international forum in the direction of a n e w international information order.
Indeed, in the preamble appears the phrase
'conscious of the aspirations of the developing
countries for the establishment of a new, more
just and more effective world information and
communication order'. (Unesco Declaration,
After years of bitter opposition and denunciation, the position of the developed countries
towards the possibility of a N e w International
Information Order has been modified from an
initial across-the-board rejection of the concept
on the basis of the idea that it went against the
principles of free flow of information and freed o m of expression. T h e approval by the m a jority of the developed countries of the Unesco
Declaration referred to above, in particular
Article I X , which states 'it is for the international community to contribute to the creation of the conditions for a freeflowand wider
and more balanced dissemination of information', marks this change in position. (Unesco
Declaration, 1978.)
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G . N . S. Raghavan
Do mass media reach the masses?
The Indian experience
In any country, education for citizenship, or
social education, goes on well beyond the stage
of formal schooling. T h e process continues in a
variety of ways: through the mass media,
through participation in the political system
and through religious, neighborhood and vocational associations.
In a developing country, where social education must have a development orientation,
both formal schooling and the reach of the mass
media are limited. T h e modes of social education mentioned above have therefore to be
supplemented by organized non-formal education: by wide networks of agricultural, health
and other extension services, and by the traditional media that have served for centuries as
carriers of a community's cultural values from
one generation to the next.
This article attempts a critical survey of the
process of formal and non-formal efforts in
India to educate citizens in their rights and
duties, and to mobilize them for economic development and the attainment of equality of
opportunity. S o m e aspects—both positive and
negative—of the Indian experience are likely
to be of interest to other developing countries,
even though they differ from India in size and in
their political and social structure.
Limited reach
and role of mass media
Like the economy, which is a mix of private and
public ownership, the modern mass media in
India are partly in the public and partly in the
private domain. Newspapers and feature films
are in the private sector; on the other hand,
radio and television are operated exclusively by
the central government. T h e Films Division of
the Central Government has a virtual monopoly
on documentaries and newsreels.
Communication planning is undoubtedly difficult, but is inescapable for rapid progress, in a
country of continental dimensions and diversity—religious, linguistic and ethnic—whose
population of about 650 million (548 million at
the 1971 census) is spread over 575,936 villages
and 2,643 urban centres, which include nine
cities with a population of more than a million
G. N. S. Raghavan (India). Professor of Development
Communication in the Indian Institute of Mass
Com- each.
munication, New Delhi. After eleven years in newspaper
T h e need for decentralized, two-way c o m journalism, worked for the Ministry of Information and
munication in support of development—as disBroadcasting in the Press Information Bureau and
tinct from mere publicity for the government's
Publications Division and as Director of Field Publicity.
achievements and intentions—was recognized
Author of Introducing India.
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . I, 1980
D o mass media reach the masses? The Indian experience
very early. T h e document on the First Five
Year Plan (December 1952) said:
It is only in terms of local programmes that local
leadership and enthusiasm can play their part. T h e
Plan has to be carried into every h o m e in the language
and symbols of the people and expressed in terms of
their c o m m o n needs and problems with the assistance
of creative writers and artists, which has to be
specially enlisted. If obstacles are encountered, and
things go wrong anywhere, it would be helpful in
every sense if information is imparted candidly and
the people are acquainted with the steps being taken
to set things right.
T h e 1969 document on the Fourth Plan acknowledged the problem of a serious information imbalance within the country:
In the spread of information facilities, the imbalance
in favour of urban concentrations and prosperous
areas continues. There is need for a deliberate
attempt to inform the people in the rural areas,
and in particular those in backward regions, about
the specific schemes in agriculture, forestry, road
construction, marketing, the supply of credit and
other inputs, so that the benefits of these prog r a m m e s are more widely spread.
Unlike the Minister of Railways, w h o receives
policy advice from a Railway Board consisting
of railway officials with long experience of
construction, traffic, finance and other aspects
of work of the railways, or the Minister of
External Affairs, w h o is advised by permanent
officials w h o are experienced diplomats, the
successive Ministers of Information and Broadcasting since independence have followed the
system of relying for policy advice on generalist
administrators rather than communication professionals. Liable as the generalist officers of the
Indian Administrative Service are to frequent
transfer from one central ministry to another,
or from the centre to the states, their rate of
turnover in the Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting has been even higher than that of
the ministers, w h o are subject to the vicissitudes
of political fortune.
A s for the communication professionals, they
tend to ask in each successive Five Year Plan
for expansion of the activities and staff of the
particular organization they run. There has
been, as a result, an indiscriminate and incremental growth of each communication m e dium, and not a truly planned development
based on studies of relative cost-effectiveness of
the different media vis à vis different sections of
the population.
Hence, to cite two examples of the waste of
scarce resources, there is the misplaced e m p h a sis on print material and the persistence of
mobile film vans to screen documentaries of
little local relevance in rural areas, notwithstanding the escalation of petroleum prices
since 1973.
There has been no experimentation with
small-gauge, portable, low-cost film and video
technology for local production and dissemination of locally relevant and useful messages
or to promote participatory in place of one-way,
top-down communication.
In the absence of communication planning
worthy of the n a m e , the modern mass media
have developed mainly as purveyors of information and entertainment for the urban population and the rural well-to-do; their role as
vehicles of non-formal education for improving
the material conditions and quality of life of the
rural masses has been marginal.
This could not perhaps have been avoided in
the case of newspapers, since they are published
by diverse interest groups in the private sector,
ranging from big business houses to the C o m munist parties. Daily newspapers increased
in numbers and circulation from 330 and
2.5 million respectively in 1954 to 875 and
9.3 million in 1976. But the consumption of
newspapers has remained overwhelmingly urban, for the reason that literacy and purchasing
power are concentrated in the cities and towns.
Newspapers can address themselves only to
their largely urban clientele. Radio and television, which are not constrained by the literacy
G. N. S. Raghavan
barrier, are publicly owned and their growth
has been funded in the n a m e of social education.
However, these media have also developed as
providers of information and entertainment primarily to the 20 per cent of the population w h o
live in cities and towns.
It is the urban dwellers w h o o w n 80 per cent
of the estimated 25 million radio receivers in the
country (the last precise figure of licenced
receiving sets, as at the end of December 1977,
was 20,091,450). T h e actual access of rural
people to radio is far behind radio's technical
reach: the signals from All India Radio's eightyfour broadcasting centres n o w cover 80 per cent
of the area and 90 per cent of the population.
T h e spectacle of the farmer carrying a transistor
set to his field—what has been called the transistor revolution—is confined to areas like Punjab
and Haryana, where there has been a Green
Revolution. Elsewhere, radio listening in rural
areas is negligible.
There are about 576,000 villages in India and
almost as m a n y schools, but rural community
listening sets number less than 50,000—more
than half of them might be out of commission
at a given time—and radio sets in schools n u m bered 30,766 at the end of 1977. This being the
case, the educational and rural broadcasts have
m a d e a token rather than substantial contribution to non-formal education. Most of the
school sets are located in secondary schools in
cities and towns, whereas primary schools in
rural areas need help the most. T h e effort to
popularize n e w high-yielding varieties of seeds
through rural broadcasts has had some success,
as for example in the well-irrigated Tanjore
district of South India, where, in the 1960s,
farmers took to what they called 'radio rice'.
But the total number of rural listening-cumdiscussion groups organized so far is less than
45,000, and only a small percentage of them are
Before turning from radio to television, it will
be useful to consider the state of the use of short
films (documentaries and newsreels) for social
education, since it shares some c o m m o n problems with television.
T h e 9,000 cinema houses in the country are
required, under a law, to show one or two short
educational films along with each screening of
a feature film. T h e documentaries and newsreels supplied by the Films Division to this
commercial theatrical circuit are m a d e mostly
in urban locations. T h e same short films are
used by audio-visual vans of the central and
state governments for free-screening in villages,
though few of them have relevance in rural
areas. A documentary on family planning, for
instance, shows a father of six children standing
while the kids pester him for school fees and
pocket money. W h e n such afilmis screened in
a village, the audience is likely to regard the
father not as the harassed head of an unduly
large family but as a rather lucky urbanité,
draped in several yards of white clothing, w h o
can afford cigarettes in contrast to the beedi or
cheroot of the rural poor.
Again, afilmm a d e in one part of rural India
cannot evoke audience identification in another
region. I once met a group of extension workers
engaged in fertilizer promotion in the state of
Andhra Pradesh. I asked them whether they had
audio-visual vans for screening films on fertilizer use to villagers with little or no access to
cinema houses. But, they said, the films were
m a d e in locations in Maharashtra and therefore
did not click with Andhra Pradesh audiences.
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are not widely
separated parts of the Indian Union but are
adjacent states.
Problems of language
T h e language of the commentaries in the
documentaries is often not followed by villagers,
because the short films are dubbed in the
correct literary form of the major languages of
India as spoken by the urban educated. Villagers, on the other hand, use the locally preva-
D o mass media reach the masses? The Indian experience
lent dialectal variant of an Indian language.
Take for example Hindi, which is the most
widely spoken language of India. It is not one
language except in its literary usage. Spoken
Hindi is m a n y dialects and languages, such
as Garhwali, Haryanvi, Rajasthani and Braj
In some areas where qualified personnel
are not locally available for recruitment, the
language barrier affects also the person-toperson communication of extension workers in
thefield.O n a visit to Rajasthan as m e m b e r of a
study team on family planning communication,
I found that a large percentage of the female
extension workers (known as Auxiliary Nurse
Midwives) were drawn from the far-away Kerala
State. These young w o m e n knew Hindi but not
the distinctive local variant, which is Rajasthani.
They could make themselves understood, but
could not follow what the local w o m e n said. In
family planning, as in other spheres of development communication, it is necessary to relax
educational standards to the extent necessary
to ensure the recruitment of local personnel
for work at the grassroots level. T h e lag in
formal education can be m a d e good through
intensive functional training. A beginning has
been made in strictly local recruitment in the
scheme of Community Health Workers, which
was launched in 1977.
T h e higher costs of programme production and
receiver sets required that, even more than in
the case of radio, television should be organized
as a medium of social education for social
consumption on a wide scale. This has not been
the case.
T h efirsttelevision centre was established in
Delhi in 1959. Though the next centre did not
come up till 1972, the die had been cast in 1969,
when the government entered into an agreement
with the National Aeronautics and Space A d -
ministration of the United States for a Satellite
Instructional Television Experiment (SITE).
After 1972, terrestrial television centres came
up in rapid succession in six cities: Amritsar,
Bombay, Calcutta, Lucknow, Madras and Srinagar. N e w centres are to be opened during the
Sixth Plan (1978-83) in three more cities:
Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Trivandrum.
There were 676,618 licenced television receivers in the country at the end of 1977. Most
of them are in the four metropolitan cities of
Delhi, B o m b a y , Calcutta and Madras. There is
no question of private ownership of television
in rural areas except by a few wealthy families.
T h e other n o n - S I T E city-based stations also
put out some programmes on improved agriculture and other aspects of rural development.
But they account for a small percentage of total
transmission time, the bulk of which is applied
to entertainment, news and discussions of current affairs. T h e most popular television programmes are the screening of feature films.
M a n y among the middle class and the rich w h o
o w n sets have undertaken the investment as a
wholesale purchase of movie entertainment; it is
cheaper in the long run to see films on television, and it obviates the discomfort of queuing
for tickets.
There are 921 television sets in schools,
538 of them in Delhi and 272 in and around
Bombay. Educational television thus augments
the already high level of information and education in the urban areas, instead of benefiting
those whose need for non-formal education is
It will be evident from this survey of the four
modern mass media that, except for S I T E , they
have been in no position to reach the rural
masses directly. T h e social education messages
carried by them can travel only indirectly to the
weaker sections of the population, w h o constitute the majority, through extension workers
and opinion leaders such as the village teacher,
chairman of the Panchayat (village council),
organizers of industrial trade unions and unions
G. N. S. Raghavan
of agricultural workers, teachers at adult education centres and other social workers.
T h e modern mass media can play their
largely indirect role in social education more
effectively if they disseminate information of
relevance to the poor more systematically and
thereby increase the two-step flow of information. M a n y information officials and extension
workers are recruited from an urban middle class
background, and have inadequate knowledge for
various agricultural and industrial occupations
and the lower rates which actually prevail in
m a n y areas, or the availability of bank credit at
concessional interest rates for the poor.
The pluses
and minuses of SITE
T h e Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE), which was conducted for a year
from i August 1975, was thefirstoccasion on
which the government concerned itself not only
with the production of rural-interest television
programmes and their transmission, but also
with their wide-scale social consumption.
Direct reception sets with 24-inch screens
were installed in 2,330 villages in backward
districts of six states with programmes in four
languages: Oriya for Orissa; Hindi for the states
of Bihar, Raj as than and M a d h y a Pradesh;
Telugu for Andhra Pradesh; and Kannada for
S I T E utilized A T S - 6 , which was m a d e available and put into geostationary orbit by the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
of the United States. T h e Indian Space R e search Organisation (ISEO) was responsible for
all technical operations of the ground segment,
including the maintenance of the direct reception sets. Doordarshan, as the Indian television
organization is known, was responsible for the
There was a morning transmission of one and
a half hours for school children, with pro-
grammes of twenty-two and a half minutes each
in the four languages. T h e programmes covered
science education, biographies of great Indians,
health education, current affairs and entertainment. T h e evening transmission of two and a
half hours was intended for the rural adult p u b lic (though children turned up in the evening
too and accounted for well over a third of the
audience). It carried news; entertainment programmes, m a n y of which served also to portray
the unity underlying India's cultural diversity;
and instructional programmes on agricultural
improvement, animal husbandry, health, hygiene and nutrition, and family planning. A
news bulletin formed part of a half-hour
'national segment' in Hindi, which was telecast
in all the six clusters.
In addition to the six clusters served via
satellite, a low-power terrestrial television transmitter at Pij, in Gujarat, telecast a one-hour
programme each evening. About 500 conventional television sets were installed in 355 villages of Kheda district, with more than one set
in several villages. T h e Pij transmission c o m prised the half-hour national programme of
S I T E in Hindi, telecast through rediffusion,
and a half-hour Gujarati programme prepared
at Ahmedabad under the auspices of I S R O .
In several programmes the Charantari dialect
prevalent in Kheda district, instead of standard
Gujarati, was employed.
While the experiment was an unqualified
success in terms of hardware and technical
operations, S I T E was only a qualified success
as an exercise in social education for the rural
T h e software operations presented a more
varied and continuous challenge during S I T E
than the installation and operation of hardware.
T h e main reason for the limited social impact
of S I T E was that there were only three base
production centres (HPCs) to make the bulk
of the programmes for villages with varied agroeconomic and cultural backgrounds, m a n y of
them more than a thousand kilometres apart.
D o mass media reach the masses? The Indian experience
Area-specific programmes were therefore minimal. A n d it is a truth apparent to c o m m o n
sense that decentralized and area-specific programmes, employing the local dialect and depicting the local agro-economic and h u m a n
landscape, are necessary in any attempt to
persuade people to change their attitudes and
practices in agriculture or hygiene or, even
more so, in family planning.
T h e commonsense view on the need for areaspecificity and the employment of local speech
in development communication is borne out by
the findings of a research study undertaken
by I S R O . It entailed holistic studies by anthropologists in seven villages: one each in the six
clusters served by the satellite and, in addition,
one village, served by the Pij terrestrial transmitter. T h e anthropologists lived for about a
year and a half in the respective villages for data
collection and continuous observation prior to,
during and after the conclusion of S I T E . Their
findings have been written up by D r Binod
Agrawal in a report that says:
T h e linguistic profile of these villages shows a
higher use of dialects than the standard language of
the region . . . N o n e of the languages spoken in
the villages were used on T V except in Dadusar
where Charautari was utilized to some extent.
Furthermore, the use of English-sounding technical
names (in programmes on agriculture and animal
husbandry) compounded the problem . . . If the
programmes were entertaining enough in terms of
songs and dances, language did not become a
barrier. D u e to this reason, recreational programmes
of other clusters were viewed with enthusiasm in
all the villages . . . T h e Hindi c o m m o n news was
almost ineffective in all villages . . . T h e problem
of lip synchronization affected the credibility of
the T V m e d i u m to an extent (in Andhra Pradesh
and Karnataka which used one video and two audio
T h e last observation is at variance with the
claim m a d e in the foreword of a report2 based
on a study in the two states that cour experiment
conducted in the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
clusters has had encouraging results. This finding has wide potential for application in most of
the developing countries'.
Opposite opinions on the efficacy of S I T E as a
communication exercise (as distinct from the
success of the hardware operation) have been
expressed by the authors of the reports on the
in-house survey3 conducted by I S R O and of
the Planning Commission survey that has been
referred to already. T h efirstentailed the interview thrice of about 6,500 respondents in twelve
experimental and six control villages in each
cluster: for base-line survey prior to, and for
assessing impact during and on the conclusion
of S I T E . T h e Planning Commission survey,
also in three rounds, covered a smaller sample
of 1,600, divided betweenfiveexperimental and
five control villages from each of the six clusters.
T h e two surveys differ not so m u c h in the
actualfindingsof positive and negative changes
in levels of information or in attitude—both
cite some instances of greater gain in the control
villages!—as in the interpretation of the data,,
and in the resulting verdict on S I T E . Whereas
the I S R O survey tends to be self-congratulatory,,
the Planning Commission survey is skeptical.
Impediments to research
Unfortunately, all the research studies conducted during S I T E , including the above two, were
vitiated by the prevailing atmosphere of fear of
the government on the part of Indian citizens.
S I T E began a little over a month after the
establishment of emergency by the government.
Even in normal times Indian villagers are
suspicious of all strangers—officials or researchers—who approach them for information
on the extent of their landholding or income, or
their attitude towards government-sponsored
programmes. It was unrealistic to expect them
to respond candidly to questions put to them,,
specially by interviewers identified with the
government, during the emergency.
G. N. S. Raghavan
In the circumstances, the holistic study appears to be the most reliable guide to the social
impact of S I T E . T h e anthropologists—unlike the
visiting interviewers—lived for a year and a half
in the respective villages and could continuously
observe at close range the nature and extent of
impact oftelevision viewing in the seven villages.
T h e impact of the telecasts from the terrestrial transmitter at Pij, which put out part of the
programmes in the local speech, comes through
m o r e impressively from the holistic study than
that of the telecasts via satellite. However,
interesting cases are also reported of the adoption of improved agricultural and health practices—but not of family planning—as the result
of television viewing in villages in the six S I T E
In the absence of conclusive evidence of S I T E
having proved effective in terms of social
impact, the planners have not so far included
any financial provision in the Five Year Plan
(1978-83) to utilize for telecasts the first Indiano w n e d satellite ( I N S A T - I ) , which is expected
to be put into orbit in 1981.
T h e satellite, which is being purchased from
the Ford Aero-Space Corporation of the United
States, will be multi-purpose: it will have twelve
transponders for telephony; a second payload
for collecting meteorological data; and a third
payload consisting of two transponders that can
be used for telecasts and radio networking.
T h e only use of the third payload firmly
planned so far is for strengthening the sound
broadcasting network. All India Radio does not
have a network of cable, microwave, M W and
S W transmitters of sufficient strength and
interference-free reliability to provide nationwide delivery of signals of satisfactory quality.
I N S A T - I will strengthen the radio network, to
transmit programmes of national interest—music, or running commentaries on Independence
D a y or Republic D a y celebrations or on sports
events or broadcasts to the nation by the
President of Prime Minister.
Apart from providing the radio networking
facility as an incidental benefit, the two transponders to befittedon I N S A T - I will have the
capacity to telecast one video and one audio
channel each. T h e experiment with one video
and two audio channels during S I T E has
evidently been deemed unsatisfactory. Whether,
w h e n and what use will be m a d e of the two
transponders for telecasts is an open question.
T h e best way to utilize the telecast facility of
I N S A T - I would be, it seems to this writer, to
serve certain parts of India that are sparsely
populated and where terrestrial television transmission will be forbiddingly expensive. A d ditionally, the satellite can be utilized to enable
the simultaneous telecast throughout the country
of events of national significance whose coverage would be predominantly visual rather than
verbal, such as the Republic D a y pageant.
There will be problems of language even in the
marginal use of I N S A T - I suggested here, as
there will be in any use of a satellite for c o m munication in a polyglot country.
For the rest of India, there should ideally be
a large number of low-power terrestrial transmitters to provide localised programmes in the
local speech, based on formative research and
responsive to feedback. T h e next best course
would be to have a dozen or more high-power
terrestrial stations, with the necessary number of
relay transmitters, to provide programmes for,
and produced in, each of the major linguisticcultural regions of India.
All this, however, presupposes the availability
of abundant resources to expand television as a
means of social education. That is not the case.
District-level broadcasting
A government-appointed working group studied
and m a d e recommendations in 1977 on the
D o mass media reach the masses? The Indian experience
future pattern of growth, and the appropriate
form of autonomous organization of radio and
Their report urged the establishment of a
chain of local radio stations at district level and,
similarly, television stations with low-power
transmitters for providing programmes of local
appeal and relevance. T h e report ably sums u p
the principles of sound social education:
Instructional broadcasting presupposes specific small
audiences in terms of age (for example, school
broadcasts) and in terms of agro-climatic and sociocultural variables including language. Decentralised
and participative development from below suggests
the need for decentralised messages through local
radio and television. W e would envisage the Station
as something more than a single studio-transmission
complex, distant and seemingly exclusive, or even
inaccessible to the people it is intended to serve.
Instead, w e envisage at the local level a small and
relatively simply equipped 'mother station' with a
cluster around it of small recording units and
programming facilities which will help bring broadcasting to the people and the people to broadcasting.
This consideration applies both to radio and television.*
T h e y stressed that the station manager should
not only have the responsibility of running his
station but of organizing listening or viewing
groups within the range of his transmitters.
This is a far-reaching recommendation. W h e n
implemented, it will provide rural access to radio
and television for thefirsttime on a large scale.
However, in view of the resources constraint, the
group recommendedfirstpriority for providing
local sound broadcasting at district level. T h e
number of districts is 392.
A great advantage of decentralized broadcasting is that it can help to preserve the traditional and folk forms of communication and
apply them for contemporary purposes. T h e
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has a
Song and D r a m a Division, and m a n y state
governments also make use of troupes of traditional media performers. But live perform-
ances are difficult and expensive to organize,
and therefore have been few in relation to the
scale of the need to reach the minds and hearts
of the rural population through their o w n c o m munity media. District-level broadcasting will
enable a quantum jump in the utilization of the
community media for social education.
These media include ballads, folk drama and
various forms of stylized narration, of which
every cultural region of India has a rich heritage.
T h e y bear witness to the fact that entertainment
versus instruction is a false antithesis. Depending on the content, entertainment can be the
best form of social education, even as formal
education can lead to alienation.
Policy unmatched
by performance
T h e initiatives described above are laudable but
the follow-up action has not been impressive.
A n example of administrative slackness is the
easy and lazy prescription of the availability of
electricity as a condition for the installation of
community viewing television sets in the coverage area even of the post-SITE terrestrial
stations, though S I T E had demonstrated the
workability of battery-operated television receivers.
A second example is the failure to provide
local studio facilities for post-SITE telecasting.
T h e six post-SITE 'rural stations' are—except
in the case of Hyderabad—merely transmitters,
which are fed by the same three Base Production
Centres of S I T E . T h e Delhi B P C continues to
prepare programmes in Hindi for transmission
in the three widely separated states of Bihar,
Rajasthan and M a d h y a Pradesh. All three
B P C s have extremely limited facilities by way
of O . B . vans and portapacks.
Out of the six post-SITE 'rural' stations,
two—Jaipur and Hyderabad—are state capitals.
There, a large number of middle- and upperclass residents acquired television sets in the
G. N. S. Raghavan
hope of adding this latest amenity to the range
of their entertainment. However, these stations
are required to put out programmes of predominantly rural interest. This has left the
well-to-do television families disappointed and
angry. Ironically, it has brought negligible
benefit to the intended beneficiaries because of
the lack of viewing facilities on any large scale
in villages. About 1,800 of the S I T E direct
reception sets have so far been converted for
terrestrial reception and installed in the area
covered by the post-SITE transmitters. T h e
central government is handing over to the states
the responsibility it had undertaken during
S I T E for community viewing. It will hereafter
be for the state governments to maintain the
community viewing sets and augment their
number. This implies the likelihood of the rural
population in the backward states, w h o need
television most for adult education and agricultural extension, having the least exposure
to it.
In respect of sound broadcasting the 1978-83
Plan provided, for thefirsttime, for the establishment of five low-power radio stations for
operation at district level on an experimental
basis, each station broadcasting in the locally
prevalent dialect instead of the literary form of
the regional language. This radical experiment
in local broadcasting is yet to be launched.
Again, from all accounts available so far the
National Adult Education Programme has got
off to a feeble start both quantitatively in terms
of number of adult education centres which
have started work, and qualitatively in terms
of the social education they provide. T h e prog r a m m e has worked well only where it has been
taken u p by dedicated voluntary workers.
Altogether, the performance has thus been
poor in follow-up of the promise held out
in 1977 of n e w beginnings in the multiple
directions of formal schooling, adult education,
decentralized and participatory broadcasting,
and improved political participation.
T h o u g h this has caused disappointment, it
is clear that there can be n o better strategy of
social education for the 1980s. It is to be
hoped that the n e w central government will
give more concrete shape to, and implement
with vigour, the four-pronged strategy for i m proving the quality of life of the economically deprived millions of the world's largest
1. Binod C . Agrawal, 'Television Comes to a Village:
A n Evaluation of SITE', I S R O , Ahmedabad, October 1978 (mimeo.).
2. 'One Video-Two Audio Transmission in SITE',
Audience Research Unit, All India Radio, Hyderabad;
November 1976 (mimeo.).
3. Binod C . Agrawal, J. K . Doshi, Victor Jesudason and
K . K . Verma, 'Social Impact of S I T E on Adults',
ISRO, Ahmedabad, September 1977 (mimeo.).
4. Akash Bharati: National Broadcast Trust, Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting, N e w Delhi, February 1978.
Trends and cases
The world literacy situation:
1970,1980 and 1990
E . A . Fisher
In discussing the literacy situation, statistical
analyses have invariably treated the concept of
illiteracy as though it were a simple dichotomy
so that a person could be classified either as
literate or as illiterate, with no shade in between.
However, it is easy to visualize that no one is
completely literate, although some persons are
more literate than others. B y implication, literacy should have been viewed as a continuum
and the statistical measurement of literacy
should have been in terms of the level of literacy attained by a person rather than by
categorizing him as completely literate or as
completely illiterate.
But literacy experts have not agreed on exact
definitions of a scale of levels of literacy, and
the statisticians have not yet developed tools
that are precise enough to measure literacy by
levels. Until such tools are developed, w e will
inevitably continue to deal with literacy in
terms of two categories, literate and illiterate,
with the understanding that the dividing line
between the two categories continues to shift
towards higher levels.
S o m e examples of the levels of literacy follow.
Various researchers have used parish registers
and other documents requiring personal signatures as the source of data on literacy. T h e
presence of crosses instead of signed names on
such documents would be interpreted as evidence of illiteracy. Clearly, the ability to sign
one's n a m e is a very low level of literacy.
A m u c h higher level of literacy is functional
literacy. Recent studies in some of the more
developed countries, where universal primary
E. A . Fisher (Canada).
Office of Statistics, Unesco.
education has been in force for decades, confirm
that significant proportions of school leavers
are functionally illiterate in the sense that they
cannot engage in all those activities for which
literacy is a prerequisite. Thus they are unable
to function effectively as individuals or as
members of a community. This situation can be
explained partly by the fact that n e w literacybased activities, which are unfamiliar to them,
have since been added in the society and partly
by the fact that at least some of these activities
require skills of literacy that are higher than the
school leavers ever acquired.
National population censuses provide data
on an intermediate level of literacy. Although
the criteria used in censuses to determine
whether or not a person is literate often differ
from country to country, there is a growing
tendency to adopt the definition contained in
the Revised Recommendation concerning the International Standardization of Educational Statistics (Unesco, 1978), which states: C A person is
literate w h o can with understanding both read
and write a short simple statement on his
everyday life.'
In the present article w e will examine the
world situation with respect to the intermediate
level of literacy with reference to the years 1970,
1980 and 1990. In doing this, w e will draw
extensively on the statistics presented in a
recent publication of the Unesco Office of
Statistics: Estimates and Projections of Illiteracy,
C S R - E - 2 9 , 1978. It should be noted that these
projections are based on an extrapolation of
trends in enrolment ratios of children aged 6-11,
on literacy rates of previous censuses, and on
the m e d i u m variant of the demographic projections made in 1973 by the United Nations
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . I, 1980
Trends and cases
Population Division. N o provision was m a d e for
the effects of mass literacy campaigns or international migration.
Adult illiteracy in the world
T h e illiteracy situation in the world for the
years 1950 to 1990 is illustrated in Figures 1
and 2. It can be seen that the adult population
(aged 15 years and over) is projected to more
than double over the forty years from 1950
to 1990. During this same period the number
of adult literates would nearly triple (from
879 million to 2,560 million) but the illiterate
population would also increase (from 700 million
to 884 million). T h e illiteracy rate is projected
F I G . 2 . Decrease of adult illiteracy rate.
to drop from 44.3 per cent in 1950 to 25.7
in 1990. At the present m o m e n t (in 1980) it is
estimated that there are 814 million adult
illiterates, representing 28.9 per cent of the
adult population.
F r o m Table 1 w e can see that in all three
years the number of illiterate females exceeds
T A B L E I. World estimates and projections of illiteracy
for age-group 15 and over (numbers in millions)
% Illiterate
F I G . I . G r o w t h of adult ( 1 5 + ) population and increase
of literates and illiterates.
Source: C S R - E-29, op. cit.
Trends and cases
Millions of illiterates aged 15 and over
Rest of the world
Rest of the world
Rest of the world
F I G . 3. N u m b e r of illiterates aged 15 and over in
Asia, Africa and the rest of the world, 1970, 1980
and 1990.
19.0 per cent and for Latin America 6.1 and
4.5 per cent.
In 1970 nine countries had each more than
ten million adult illiterates. B y 1990 the number
of countries with more than ten million adult
illiterates would have risen to eleven. These
countries are listed in Table 2.
In 1970 these eleven countries accounted
for 51.5 per cent of the total adult illiterates,
but by 1990 they will account for 55.3. In
India, the number of illiterates is several times
greater than in any other country, and every
decade the net increase in their numbers is
greater than the total n u m b e r of illiterates in
any other single country. T h e number of adult
illiterates is also projected to increase in
Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt,
Afghanistan and Sudan. Only in Indonesia and
Brazil are they projected to decrease, but in
Iran they are projected to start to drop after
peaking around 1980.
Let us n o w examine the illiteracy rates in
individual countries. O u r first observation is
that illiteracy rates appear to be falling in
every country. In 1970 there were thirty-four
T A B L E 2 . N u m b e r of illiterates aged 15 and over
(in millions)
that of illiterate males. Furthermore, the disparity in terms of numbers between male and
female illiterates is increasing, for whereas
in 1970 this disparity was of the order of
138 million, by 1990 it is projected to reach
194 million. O n the other hand, w h e n the
disparity is measured in percentage points,
there is a very slight drop, from 11.5 percentage
points in 1970 to 11.1 in 1990.
In terms of the geographical distribution of
illiterates, Middle South Asia accounted for
38.6 per cent of the world total in 1970, and
would account for 43.5 per cent in 1990. Asia
as a whole had 73 per cent of the world total
in 1970, and would have 74 per cent in 1990.
T h e respective figures for Africa are 18.7 and
Source: CSR-E-29, op.cit.
Trends and cases
countries with adult illiteracy rates of over
70 per cent. Twenty-four of these countries
were in Africa, nine in Asia and one (Haiti) in
the Americas. B y 1990 only 13 of these thirtyfour countries (ten in Africa and three in Asia)
would have illiteracy rates of over 70 per cent.
At the present m o m e n t (in 1980), the countries
where more than 70 per cent of the population
aged 15 and over are illiterate are as follows:
Eastern Africa: Burundi, Ethiopia, Mozambique
and Somalia.
Middle Africa: Chad.
Northern Africa: Morocco and the Sudan.
Western Africa: Benin, Gambia, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania,
Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and
Upper Volta.
Caribbean: Haiti.
Middle South Asia: Afghanistan and Nepal.
South West Asia: Saudi Arabia and Y e m e n .
Illiteracy in the age-group 15-19
It is interesting to look at the figures projected
for the age-group 15-19, for various reasons.
Firstly, they provide a useful indicator of the
number of n e w illiterates w h o have been added
to the total stock of adult illiterates in the
previousfiveyears. A g e 15 is generally regarded
as a suitable threshold for the measurement
of adult illiteracy, since relatively few persons
would become literate through the regular
school system after they have attained the age
of 15 years. Consequently, the illiterate population aged 15 and over will have to turn to
special literacy classes for adults (if they are
available) for a second chance to learn to read
and write.
In the second place, projections of the percentage of illiterates in this age-group give an
indication of what changes can be anticipated
in the total adult illiteracy rate. T h u s , relatively
large reductions in the adult illiteracy rate will
occur in countries where the projected rate
for age 15-19 is considerably lower than the
present rate for age 15 and over.
Finally, the illiteracy rate of the 15-19 yearold cohort can be considered as an indicator
of the performance of the regular school system at the primary level. It can be used in
educational planning to determine whether
higher priority should be placed on adult literacy classes or on regular primary education in
order to bring about a reduction of illiteracy.
In terms of the number of illiterates, there
were twelve countries that had a million or
more illiterates aged 15-19 in 1970. B y the
year 1990, the number of such countries would
have increased by one. These countries are
listed in Table 3.
It is obvious from Table 3 that most of the
illiterates aged 15-19 are found in these thirteen countries. They represented 74 per cent
of the world total1 in 1970,79 per cent in 1980,
and are expected to reach 81 per cent in 1990.
This table also shows that in India, Pakistan,
Ethiopia, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Egypt and
T A B L E 3. NumlDer of illiterates aged 1 5 -•19 (in
1. N o t including China, the Democratic People's R e public of Korea and the Socialist Republic of Viet N a m .
Trends and cases
Morocco the number of illiterates aged 15-19
will be higher in the year 1990 than in 1970.
T h e net increase of about 10 million in India
alone would be more than six times that in the
world as a whole (1,5 million) during the same
period. However, thefigureswould be declining
from a peak around 1980 of 4.4 million in
Pakistan, 4.1 million in Nigeria, and 1.4 million
in Morocco. O n the other hand, in Bangladesh,
Brazil, Indonesia and Iran marked decreases
are anticipated.
But what is particularly striking is the predominance of India, which by itself accounted
for 37 per cent of the world total2 in 1970, and
is projected to account for 50 per cent in the
year 1990. It is evident that in spite of relatively
high and increasing enrolment ratios, the primary schools in India are failing to reduce the
flow of illiterate youth into the ranks of the
adult illiterates. Clearly, any international action
to reduce illiteracy in the world must pay
special attention to India.
So far w e have concentrated our analysis on
the number of illiterates. W e will n o w turn our
attention to those countries that had the highest
illiteracy rates for the population aged 15-19
in 1970.
There were thirty-eight countries in 1970
where more than 50 per cent of the cohort
aged 15-19 were illiterate. Twenty-six of these
countries are in Africa, eleven in Asia and one
(Haiti) in America. Four countries (Bhutan,
Ethiopia, Niger and Somalia) had illiteracy
rates of over 90 per cent. By the year 1990 all
countries will have illiteracy rates lower than
80 per cent, and only nine (Afghanistan, Bhutan,
Burundi, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania,
Niger and Upper Volta) will have rates higher
than 60 per cent.
In all thirty-eight countries the illiteracy
rates will be less in 1990 than in 1970, and in
some cases remarkable reductions are anticipated (Angola, Botswana, East Timor, Saudi
Arabia, Somalia and the People's Republic of
Y e m e n ) . H o w is it then that the number of
illiterates is increasing in such countries as
Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Morocco and
Nepal? T h e explanation lies in the population
explosion that is foreseen for m a n y countries.
T h u s in Afghanistan the population aged 15-19
is expected to rise from 1,7 million in 1970
to 3.1 million in the year 1990, while the
illiteracy rate will drop from 88.7 to 70.1 per
cent over the same period. Clearly 70.1 per
cent of 3.1 million is greater than 88.7 per cent
of 1.7 million.
Recent data
on a few mass literacy compaigns
It should be remembered that the estimates
and projections shown in the preceding pages
do not make specific allowance for literacy
campaigns. In a few countries, these campaigns
have been so massive that the adult illiteracy
rate has been reduced m u c h faster than would
have been the case by the mere replacement of
older, largely illiterate cohorts (through m o r tality) by younger, mainly literate ones (as
they reach the age of 15). W e will n o w examine
the possible effects of mass literacy campaigns
in five countries for which sufficiently detailed
data are available.
In order to appreciate better the expected
impact of these mass literacy campaigns w e
will present Unesco's estimates and projections
(which do not make any specific allowance for
mass literacy campaigns), and compare them
with the projections m a d e by the national authorities (projections which do take full account
of mass literacy campaigns). W e will start with
Brazil, and then treat India, Iran, the United
Republic of Tanzania and the Socialist R e p u b lic of Viet N a m in turn.
Table 4 exemplifies the tremendous contribution of literacy classes in accelerating the
reduction of illiteracy rates. According to
Trends and cases
M O B R A L ' s estimates, there are only 7.4 million
illiterates in 1980, as compared to 18.1 million
if no classes had been held on a mass scale
during the 1970s. Furthermore, the illiteracy
rate is estimated to be 10 per cent in 1980, that
is to say, 14.5 percentage points lower than the
Unesco projection, which makes n o specific
provision for the contribution of literacy classes.
Enrolment in literacy classes in India during the
past twenty years has been quite high in absolT A B L E 4 . Literacy estimates a n d projections for
Estimate 1
Estimate 2
Number of
aged 15 +
(in millions)
of population
aged 15 +
N u m b e r of n e w
from mass literacy
(in millions,
since 1970)
ute terms (for example, between i960 and
1967 the lowest annual enrolment was nearly
1.5 million persons). However, even these high
enrolments were not high enough to reduce the
net number of illiterates, which was increasing
at an annual rate of about 3.5 million during
the 1970s. In 1978 the Ministry of Education
and Social Welfare launched an ambitious adult
literacy programme aimed specifically at the
100 million illiterates between the ages of 15
and 35. T h e objective of this programme is to
provide literacy and environmental and social
education to 100 million illiterates b y the
year 1983-84. Assuming that at least half the
target students become literate by 1984, the
number of illiterates will have fallen below the
1970 figure, and the percentage of illiterates
aged 15 and over will drop by an additional
10 percentage points. T h e data for India are
presented in Table 5.
In Iran a national literacy crusade has been
launched with the target of reducing the illiteracy rate of the age-group 7-50 years to 15 per
cent by the year 1988. Although estimates for
recent years are not available for this particular
age-group, the relative importance of this target
can be inferred from Table 6.
T h e latest census data on literacy available for
United Republic of Tanzania refer to the
1967, w h e n there were an estimated
5.4 million illiterates aged 10 years and older.
By the end of 1977 more than half this number
been m a d e literate. T h u s seems to be well
w a y to achieving its target of reducing
the illiteracy rate from 67 per cent in 1967 to
1. Unesco, Office of Statistics, Estimates and Projections of
less than 15 per cent by 1980. A truly remarkIlliteracy. C S R - E - 2 9 , Paris, 1978.
2. Mobral, Evoluçào do Indice de Analfàbetizaçâo no Brasil, able performance! Estimates and projections
Rio de Janeiro, 1978.
are presented in Tables 7 and 8.
Trends and cases
Literacy estimates
and projections
for India
N u m b e r of illiterates aged 15 +
(in millions)
Percentage illiterate
of population aged 15 +
N u m b e r of persons to be enrolled in
literacy classes under the National
Adult Education Programme
(in millions, cumulative
since 1978)
1. C S R - E - 2 9 , op. cit.
2. K . B . Rege, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Magnitude of
Illiteracy in India 1961-1981, N e w Delhi, 1971.
3. Government of India, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Summary of the Report
of the Working Group on Adult Education for the Medium Term Plan 1978-83, N e w Delhi»
T A B L E 6. Literacy estimates and projections
for Iran
T A B L E 7. Literacy estimates and projections for the
United Republic of Tanzania
(in millions)
15 +
15 +
15 +
1. C S R - E - 2 9 , op- cit
2. Unesco Office of Statistics. Statistics of Educational
Attainment and Illiteracy, STS-22, Paris, 1977.
3. Unesco Regional Office for Education in Asia, Country
Report, Iran, National Literacy Crusade: the First Year.
R O E A - 7 7 / R E M L A / 5 - I r a n , Bangkok, 1977.
(in millions)
10 +
10 +
10 +
B. N . Singh and E . P. R . Mbakile, Tanzania-UNDPUnesco Functional Literacy Curriculum, Programmes
and Materials Development Project, Final Evaluation
Report, July 197¡-June 1976, Mwanza, 1976.
C S R - E - 2 9 , op. cit.
Trends and cases
T A B L E 8 . Enrolment and graduation from literacy
classes in the United Republic of Tanzania (numbers
in millions)
T h e highest rates of illiteracy are to be found
in African countries (and, in particular, in
West African countries), but the countries with
the largest number of adult illiterates are those
in the Indian subcontinent.
enrolled in
Primary-school enrolment ratios are increasliteracy
ing, but in m a n y countries the increase is not
sufficient to reduce the number of illiterates in
since 1967)
since 1971)
the age-group 15-19.
Although in most countries the impact of
literacy classes on reducing illiteracy is fairly
negligible, the mass literacy campaigns being
undertaken in Brazil, India, Iran, the United
Republic of Tanzania and the Socialist Republic
10 +
of Viet N a m seem destined to reduce the illitSources: for 1971-751 Singh and Mbakile, op. cit., Table 7;
eracy rate considerably, as well as to m o v e some
for 1977) the National Literacy Centre, M w a n z a , Tanzania
Pilot-test. Final Report of the Pilot-testing in Tanzania ofof these countries very rapidly towards the
the Unesco Document 'Proposals for the Collection of complete eradication of illiteracy.
Statistics on Literacy Programmes', Paris, 1978.
Furthermore, if the campaign just launched
in India is successful, it could arrest any further
increase in the total number of illiterates in the
world by the mid-1980's. This would be an
Finally, a few words o n the Socialist R e important turning point in the international
public of Viet N a m communiqué received by
struggle to eradicate illiteracy. Countries which
Unesco in 1978 from the Ministry of E d u have been successful in conducting mass literacy
cation2 presents a few statistics on the mass
campaigns are typically those where a strong
literacy programme that is being undertaken
political commitment has ensured that the literin former South Viet N a m . According to this
acy campaign was given a very high priority in
communiqué, there were more than 3 million
national development plans. This appears to be
illiterates in South Viet N a m in 1975. Less
the case in India, but the real challenge will
than two months after the reunification of
c o m e in the early 1980s, w h e n the target enrolNorth and South Viet N a m (which took place
ments in literacy classes are to reach their peak.
on 30 April 1975)5 the authorities established a
mass literacy campaign to m a k e 1,405,870 adults
literate in specific target groups in the south,
namely, males aged 12-50 and females aged 1 2 1. Not including China, the Democratic People's R e public of Korea, and the Socialist Republic of Viet N a m .
45 in the plains, and all persons aged 12-40 in
2. See preceeding note.
the highlands. B y 1978, 1,323,670 of these per3. Ministry of Education of the Socialist Republic of
sons had been m a d e literate (94.15 per cent of
Viet N a m , Directorate of Complementary Education,
Liquidation de l'Analphabétisme au Sud du Viet Nam
the original target population).
(mimeo.). April 1978.
Although adult illiteracy rates in the world will
continue to fall, projections based on enrolment
ratios indicate that the number of adult illiterates will show a net increase of about 7 million
a year until 1990.
Trends and cases
Use of the Bambara language in training young
people: an experiment in rural Mali
G u y Belloncle
Before describing the actual experiment, it
would be appropriate to say a few words about
its context, as this will m a k e it easier to grasp
the experiment's significance.
In 1973, after a preparatory Unesco mission,
the World Bank decided to make an initial loan
available to Mali for the development of its
education system. T h e various projects financed
by the loan included a sort of preinvestment
study or so-called survey of basic education,
the purpose of which was to assist the Government of Mali to develop and introduce n e w
education systems that would provide a certain
type of basic education for a greater number of
people. O n e possibility suggested by the study's
terms of reference was that, given the encouraging results of literacy work in Mali, the n e w
education systems ought very probably to be
developed as an extension ofthat training
therefore decided to carry out a careful evaluation of the achievements of the literacy campaigns in those two areas. W e cannot go into
details here about the methods used;1 the only
point that concerns us at present is that the
literacy centres were shown to attract primarily
young people. For instance, it was found after
evaluating the 1976 campaign that 70 per cent
of those enrolled were under 25 (and 19 per cent
under 15). T h e same trend was observed after
the 1977 campaign, in which the 10,617 participants 'evaluated' were distributed as follows: under 15 years: 2,313, 22 per cent;
from 15 to 25 years: 5,320,50 per cent; from 26
to 35 years: 2,259, 21 per cent; from 36 to
50 years: 629, 6 per cent; 50 and over: 96,1 per
It was clear from this that for all these young
people w h o had m a d e the effort to become
literate, learning the three R s should by no
means be the ultimate target but, on the
contrary, a starting point. This led to the idea
T h e team to study basic education was set u p
at the beginning of 1975, and one of the first of devising a form of 'advanced' training for
these newly literate young people, a second level
things it had to do was to evaluate in a systemof education, as it were, to follow on from the
atic way what the literacy programmes had
first level which had consisted of learning to
achieved. This was something that had not
read, write and do elementary arithmetic.
been done before.
It remained to decide what precise form this
After several fact-finding tours, it was clear
advanced training should take. Obviously it was
that the greatest progress had been m a d e in the
absolutely essential to keep that daily involveregions of Bamako and Kayes, and it was
ment of the young people in the life of their
villages and their normal participation in productive work that the literacy campaigns had so
Guy Belloncle (France). Long experience as a teacher successfully managed to preserve. This led to
and researcher in Africa working for Unesco and the
the idea of organizing the advanced training in
World Bank. Author of: Santé et développement en
the form of short one-week courses, held in the
milieu rural africain; Coopératives et développement
villages themselves and dealing with subjects
en Afrique noire sahélienney Jeunes ruraux du Sahely
which the villagers themselves considered to be
Quel développement pour l'Afrique noire?
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . 1, 1980
Trends and cases
important. O u r basic premise was that, by
organizing four six-week training sessions, it
should be possible to provide the young people
with the ' m i n i m u m level of education' that is
the aim of basic education.
Provision was thus m a d e for instruction in
agriculture and animal husbandry, health, technology (mainly with a view to making better use
of the dry season), economics and civics. Each
of these six subjects was to be dealt with by a
training course lasting one week. T h e project
was scheduled to be carried out in three stages.
T h e experiment consisted of carrying out what
had been called the 'prototype courses'. A
teaching team had been set up for that purpose,
consisting of the co-ordinator of the survey of
basic education, six educational psychologists
and a specialist with a doctorate in biology. H e
was a lecturer at the Rural Polytechnical Institute in Katibougou, and he joined the team
during the school holidays, which coincided
with the training periods, i.e. February-April.
T h e team came under the D N A F L A (Direction Nationale de l'Alphabétisation Fonctionnelle et de la Linguistique Appliquée) and,
more specifically, the Division of Linguistic and
Educational Research, of which it was, in fact,
the education unit.
T h e prototype courses had three aims:
T o check the accuracy of the basic premises
regarding the training of young people in
their villages.
T o compile the Bambara versions of the teaching materials to be used subsequently on a
large scale.
T o train the Malian team and prepare it to
carry on the work on its o w n .
Still as part of the experimental stage, it was
provided that as soon as one prototype course
had been completed, the Malian team would,
on its o w n , run what was termed a 'first series'
course in another village. This would widen the
field of observation, provide a testing-ground
for the teaching materials used during the
first course and, lastly, allow the teaching team
to gain further experience.
This stage consisted of training the national
field team to enable it gradually to extend the
courses to all the villages where there were
literate young people. T h e same method was
to be used as in the experimental stage and
consisted of running afirstcourse under the
responsibility of the national team, with the
participation of thefieldteam (the latter being
the area team responsible for a zone with a
population of approximately 100,000). Subsequently, a second course was run under the
responsibility of the field team but with the
participation of the national team, and ultimately the change-over took place to large-scale
It should be pointed out that during this
so-called 'first extension' stage, the project was
to concern areas that were ecologically and
linguistically different. Consequently, various
teams were to be set up in 1979: a team working
in Peul as part of the Mopti Rice Operation;
a team working in D o g o n in the Koro district
(Mopti Millet Operation); a team working in
Bobo in the Tomignan district (extension zone
of Operation Groundnut); a team working in
Minyanka and Bambara in the Koutiale and
Sikasso districts ( C M D T zone: Compagnie
Malienne de Développement des Textiles).
This stage was to follow the spread of literacy,
the assumption being that 'advanced' training
for young people should take over from literacy
work. It so happens that there are literacy
training campaigns at present in six out of
seven regions in Mali and a literacy component
is n o w being systematically incorporated into
Trends and cases
all 'integrated rural development projects'. It
is fair to suppose, therefore, that if an effort
is m a d e to provide literacy programmes with
the staff they lack, the ground will be m a d e
ready for 'advanced' training for young people.
But there are already hundreds of young people
in areas where official or private literacy training
exists, waiting to be able to use the basic
knowledge they have acquired. For instance,
to take the O A C V operation alone, the 1977
evaluation showed that there were 4,000 'fully'
literate out of the 10,000 people tested.
Seventy-two per cent of them were young
people, which means that there are some
3,000 young rural dwellers waiting for the
'advanced' training already in existence in this
area, and it is to be expected that with the
successive campaigns there will be more and
more of them. Similarly, another careful inquiry
showed that in the Koro district alone, of
nearly 3,000 literates w h o had been taught by
the Protestant missionaries to read and write
in D o g o n , half were under 25. There is thus
n o shortage of candidates.
Operational aspects
of the experiment
H o w far have w e got with the experimental
stage? So far, six prototype courses and four
'first series' courses have been completed out
of the twenty-four scheduled. Three of them
were related to agriculture and three to health.
T h e ten courses have nevertheless given us
good cause to think that w e are on the right
road and that this is the direction Mali should
take in order to give its young people the
training that will enable them to make a real
contribution to development or, in other words,
to transforming village life. Let us consider
thisfirstseries of courses and see what lessons
can be learnt from the experiment.
Three courses were held in two separate villages, prototype courses in Suransan, to the north
of Kita andfirst-seriescourses in Torodofolo,
to the north of Kolokani.
These villages were chosen for three reasons:
(a) the evaluation had shown that there were at
least ten young literates there; (b) to help meet
the cost of running the literacy centres, the
two villages had cultivated land which it was
hoped could be used for practical work; and
(c) the two villages were centrally situated in
the two sectors where progress in literacy work
had been greatest and it was therefore to be
expected that it would be easier to work outwards from there.
T h efirstcourse was held at Suransan at the
end of April, and at Torodofolo at the beginning
of M a y 1977. W e chose that time of year so as
not to let slip the advantage of a rainy season.
Our plan was to work in the following order:
a course on soils, a course on plants, and a
course on the basic principles of sound agricultural practice (working the soil, types of
manure, germination and growth of plants, crop
rotation, etc.), with, as a conclusion to the
courses, the cultivation of a trial plot by the
young trainees. Another premise was that there
should necessarily be adult involvement in the
experiment, meaning that they should be persuaded to accept the fact that the young people
would, in a sense, become the 'envoys of innovation' for the whole of the village. O n e of the
major problems (if not the major problem)
encountered in any external agricultural training is that w h e n newly trained youngsters return
to their villages, they cannot put what they
have learnt into practice because the adults did
not give their prior consent. W e were therefore
strongly in favour offirstdiscussing with the
adults the problems that arise in the villages
and then asking them to agree to our giving
the young people a training that would be
directly relevant to those problems. A s a logical
Trends and cases
corollary to this, the adults were then asked to
team had already discussed the question of
let the young people put what they had learnt
botanical terminology in Bambara. Although
into practice. This in fact is the course w e
there were no difficulties over the designation
followed. O n our veryfirstday in the villages,
of roots, stalks or leaves, w e did not know if
w e organized a discussion evening with the
there were any equivalent terms for pistil,
adults (or to be more precise, the heads of the
stamen, pollen, ovary and ovule. W e agreed,
important families) around the very open-ended
therefore, that before w e coined any neoltopic of c what is amiss in agriculture'. I obogisms, w e would go and ask the 'old folk',
viously cannot go into the details of the disthis time in the afternoon so that they would
cussion here, but to confine myself to the be able to see more clearly.
crux of the debate, it was quite plain that
Great was our surprise and greater still that
the cold folk' (to keep to the vocabulary w e
of the nationals among us, to discover that
used during the courses) were all aware of
the old people were not only capable of identthe fact that the critical problem for the vilifying the various parts of the plants but also
lage was the constantly declining fertility of of naming them and describing their functions.
the soil. They further understood perfectly
T h e highlight of these terminology sessions was
well that the reasons for the decline were
undoubtedly the session on flowers. W e had
population growth and the greater land area
chosen a Senegalese Erythrina and I can still
given over to groundnut cultivation.
see the village chief disecting it in front of us,
naming all the parts: the corolla and its sepals,
T h e whole issue therefore revolved around
the calyx and petals, the stamens and the
'whether it is possible to cultivate land conpistil, the pollen and the ovary. T h e ovules
tinually without it losing its goodness'. W h e n
were the only part he knew nothing about. 'I
w e explained to the 'old folk' that the whole
have never looked inside the denso (literally
point of the training w e wished to provide for
'the house of the fruit'),' he said.
the young people was precisely to enable them
to answer that question, they could only enB y the end of that second week, w e had
courage us to carry on. So the training sessions
completed a whole botany course in Bambara
began the very next morning in the 'kalanso',
and the trainees had acquired the basic knowor literacy classroom. Here again I cannot go ledge they needed to understand w h y and h o w
into details, but the important thing is that
a plant grows.
w e used the most active teaching methods
They n o w had to apply what they had learned
possible and m a d e it a matter of principle for
to the soil and to plants, and this was done b y
the young participants, before w e continued
way of a third course on the principles of
our discussion with the 'old folk', to go back
sound agricultural practice, culminating in the
every evening and tell the 'old folk' what they
cultivation of a trial plot by the young trainees.
had learnt during the day. At the end of this
N o difficulties were raised on this account
first course, w e had m a d e an enumeration of either by the 'old folk' w h o , in both villages,
traditional knowledge relating to the soil and
agreed to give the young people the two and
had also introduced a certain amount of supa half hectares they needed to begin with, or
plementary information concerning the chemiby the young people w h o were very enthusiastic
cal composition of the soil and the importance
at the thought of working a 'modern' farm
of the micro-organisms living in it.
together. There were difficulties, however, and
they came from the most unexpected quarter,
T h e second course focused on a knowledge
of plant life. Naturally, w e had prepared the i.e. from 'Operation Groundnut'. T h e objeccourse before going to the village and the tions were not to the principle of the course but
Trends and cases
to its content. O u r plan was to 'try out' the
most recent findings of agronomical research
with our young people, whereas the Operation
wanted us to keep to themes that had already
been widely covered by extension work, even
though there was evidence from recent research
that they seriously jeopardized soil fertility.
In fact, irrespective of the situation peculiar
to the O A C V , this raised a fundamental problem. T o the mind of the teaching team, the
trial plot was to be a sort of foretaste of what
the farms would—or should—be like once the
young people reached adulthood themselves.
T h e trial plot ought therefore to be fully
'integrated' into the extension scheme so that
the villagers could see, before their very eyes,
the kind of results they could themselves expect
from using the same farming techniques. In
short, w e felt there should be no hesitation in
setting one's sights higher with the young
people, as a forerunner to large-scale extension
T o avoid friction with the 'Operation', w e
had to agree to work this year on the basis of
the technical subjects they proposed.
T h e important thing was that work had
begun and that there were two groups of
young people actually working together on
trial plots in the two villages. Subsequent
training was, of course, to be based on what
was achieved on those two trial plots, and the
experimental network that was also set up.
T h e course on health education was developed
with the help of D r Hubert Balique of the
Centre de Formation et de Recherche en Santé
Rurale at Kolokani. In this way, w e were sure
that our training would be technically sound
and that it would be followed immediately by
practical action.
Furthermore, w e had elected to work in
two villages where onchocerciasis was the main
health problem, the aim being to prepare a
larger scale campaign in conjunction with literacy work, to combat the disease. T h e three
prototype courses were accordingly held in the
village of Fasa, situated on a tributary of the
Baoulé, in the Kolokani district. Here too,
w e began with a participatory survey on diseases requiring priority treatment in the villages
concerned. In addition to onchocerciasis, m e n tion was m a d e of bilharziasis, hernias, malaria,
measles, etc., but what w e found most interesting
was the fact that the villagers instinctively m a d e
a distinction between men's, w o m e n ' s and
children's ailments, which gave us the idea
of organizing three one-week courses on each
of these themes.
W e began with a course on men's ailments
(which affect w o m e n as well but not because
they are w o m e n ) and dealt with the three
ailments which had been named as the most
important, namely onchocerciasis, bilharziasis
and hernias. Here again, I cannot enter into
details but would, however, like to m a k e two
T h e first concerns the spontaneous or e m pirical knowledge of the country people. W e
found here another instance of h o w broad and
h o w accurate the knowledge of some of the
adults can be. T h e person w h o acts as village
chief in Fasa (and w h o has been blind for
several years) was familiar with the carriers of
onchocerciasis (a small insect called a m u s o musolen) and bilharziasis (a tiny water-snail)
even though he was unaware of the connection
between the carriers and the disease. T h e
purpose of the course was, in fact, to explain
this connection. T h e second remark concerns
the part that might be played by literate m e m bers of the village community in protecting the
villagers' health. In the course on onchocerciasis,
for example, w e had the young trainees draw u p
a list of all the people with cysts, those afflicted
with 'night blindness' and those w h o were
completely blind. W e were thus able to calculate
the rate of infection and do the groundwork for
the medical team which came after us, the
Trends and cases
measures to combat onchocerciasis consisting
of removing the cyst and giving regular doses
of Notezine. W e followed the same process for
the prevention and treatment of malaria, with
Nivaquine. In one afternoon, with the help
of the young trainees, w e m a d e a list of all the
children, by age, w h o should be taking Nivaquine
regularly. T h e young literates were subsequently
to keep the registers on the days when the
Nivaquine and Notezine were distributed to
check that everyone had taken their medicine.
A word should be said on the last course,
concerning women's ailments.
Quite naturally, the villagers put in this
category anything to do with pregnancy and the
female physiological make-up as a whole. O n e
subject of particular concern to the people of
Fasa is the problem of sterility and repeated
miscarriages. W h e n w e arrived in the village
with a very experienced gynaecologist in our
team, w e had another meeting with the adults
to explain to them what w e were going to teach
the young people during the course, and especially that to understand about women's
ailments, it was important to understand what
m e n and w o m e n did to have children. This
caused some embarrassment in the audience,
and shortly afterwards the adults asked whether
they could go off and discuss it among themselves. W h e n they came back, they suggested
that before w e went and explained all these
things to the young people, w e should first
explain everything to them, the adults, m e n and
w o m e n . F r o m that m o m e n t on, the whole
village joined in the training session, with the
m e n and w o m e n in the mornings in separate
groups and the young people in the afternoon.
T h e result was a complete change in the relations between m e n and w o m e n in the village.
* W e did not know', said the w o m e n when the
time came for our evaluation, 'that when a
w o m a n could not have children it might also
be the man's fault. N o r did w e know that there
were so m a n y reasons w h y a w o m a n could not
have children.'
Another result of the course was that a series
of lessons on h u m a n reproduction was compiled
in Bambara, proof that it was a subject that
could also be taught in Bambara.
This, then, is an outline of these initial
prototype courses, although unfortunately so
brief a description cannot do justice to the
variety of subjects covered. Meanwhile, by way
of a conclusion, it might be useful to recapitulate the lessons learned from the experiment.
A f e w basic principles
for the training
of young country
dwellers in Africa
W e have tried to draw from this experiment a
number of basic principles which might serve
as a guide in the education of young country
T o repeat what has been said before, the main
drawback of conventional education systems,
whether involving schools or agricultural training centres, is that they cut young people oft"
from their environment. A n d then there is
general discussion about the need to facilitate
their reintegration in society; but experience
has proved that reintegration is virtually impossible to achieve and the best thing would no
doubt be to avoid any break in thefirstplace.
Hence the importance of giving the training in
the villages themselves, in the very environment
in which it will have to be put into practice.
But the training should not only take place
in the village, but also for the village. In
other words it should be deliberately aimed
not at promoting individuals separately, but
at promoting the group as a whole, that is to
say the village community. This is w h y e m phasis should be placed on what w e have called
'self-examination', that is to say an examin-
Trends and cases
ation, by all the heads of families meeting as a
village assembly, of the problems which they
regard as important and which the training
given to the young members of the community
should, in fact, help to solve. W h e n the starting
point has thus been an examination, with the
'old folk', of the village's problems, the young
people are quite naturally seen as the village's
'envoys of innovation', as it were, responsible
for taking the risks that the whole village cannot
take at the same time. O n e can see here h o w
greatly their position is changed by this. In the
first case, when training is given away from the
village, the young people meet with distrust and
hostility from the adults w h o are afraid that any
innovation will be a threat to social cohesion in
the village. In the second case, however, the
young people enjoy a higher status as the
village's delegated innovators.
W e did not ourselves follow this principle, but
gradually came to realize h o w important it was.
For example, w h e n w e were clearing the land
which was to be used for the trial plot, w e
discovered that there were other young people
w h o had followed no literacy course but w h o
were extremely interested in practical agricultural training. W e then realized that w e
should have involved all the young people belonging to the ton (the traditional association), if
need be keeping a special role of village ' m e m ory' for the literate, w h o , with their writing
skills, were able to take notes. T h e inclusion of
all the young villagers in our scheme, without
discrimination, would undoubtedly have been
appreciated by the village community and the
training would have had a greater impact. W h a t
is more, the fact of associating non-literate
young people with the training scheme could
only have been an encouragement to their
enrolling in the courses.
There is a practical reason for this. W h e n
training is to be given in the villages by a
finite number of instructors, the time spent on
each village is necessarily limited. There are
also excellent educational reasons for alternation as it is the best way of linking school
with the environment and training with change.
Between two weeks of intensive training, a
certain amount of practical work is left to be
done. If this work is actually carried out, it
means that the training has really become the
concern of the whole village. If not, there
must be some obstacle somewhere that must be
sought out before attempting to go any further.
In The Savage Mind, Lévi-Strauss wrote a very
cogent account of what he calls the 'science of
the concrete', showing that there was already
some rational scientific thinking behind e m pirical knowledge, which also progressed with
the discovery of 'relationships', sometimes
purely coincidental but occasionally correct.
This was true to such ah extent that LéviStrauss does not hesitate to claim that empirical
knowledge is a forerunner of sciences and is
even in some respects ahead of it, for it establishes between certain phenomena relationships
about which there can be no doubt but which
are still not accounted for scientifically.
W e endeavoured to start systematically with
what the villagers knew already, both for educational and for scientific reasons. W h e n w e
came, for instance, to making a list of the
food crops that grew naturally on the land
belonging to the village, w e learnt as m u c h
in one evening as w e would have done in
months with a survey team. It is also extremely
important from a psychological point of view,
Trends and cases
because the villagers are proud to show that
they, too, k n o w things and, in some respects,
k n o w even more than educated people. A s the
Bambara proverb says, dow be do don, dow t'o
don; dow tè de don, dow b'o don, which means
some people k n o w things that others do not,
but the latter m a y k n o w things that the former
do not know.
I have often heard extension workers saying:
'Country people do not need to understand.
Let them do as they are told and they will
see the results for themselves.'
T h e problem is that h u m a n nature being
what it is, people will often want to understand
before they do something. W h a t struck us most
during these ten courses was that w h e n it came
to the final evaluation, the participants were
always most interested in the observations or
experiments. These included dissecting a ram
to show h o w a hernia occurs, or dissecting a
goat to look at its genitals, or observing under a
microscope the minutefilarialw o r m s that cause
onchocerciasis, or bilharzia eggs or explaining
an infant's weight chart, or, in the agricultural
sphere, explaining a simple or complex experimental set-up.
T h e courses also showed that the motivations
they aroused were potentially the best way of
reinforcing general education. In addition to
calling upon the basic knowledge required for
the courses (the trainees were often telling us
that in one week they had done more writing
and arithmetic than in a whole year at the
literacy centre), w e would also try, between
two courses, to find every possible opportunity
to encourage the young people to use the
knowledge they had acquired. But sadly, at that
level, there is absolutely no literature available.
T h e equivalent of the Labour Library, dear to
Freinet's heart ought really to be created some
This is by far the most important principle.
T h e fact that education or training cannot
change a situation unaided can never be e m phasized too strongly. They can only make a
contribution—a decisive one certainly, but still
just a contribution—to technical action. In fact,
one should go even further and say that education and training, left to themselves, can be
terribly frustrating. Imagine, for instance, our
going along to the two villages and explaining
the causes of onchocerciasis and the possible
ways of eradicating it (or at least checking the
cause of the disease before it causes blindness)
without there being any medical follow-up.
T h efirstthing the educator must do, therefore, is to make sure that the training is duly
followed by technical programmes. However,
one must admit quite frankly that there are
situations in which any training action is absolutely impossible.
This, then, sums u p our experiment, which
no doubt had its limitations but is, I think,
extremely promising. I should like to conclude
with three more remarks.
I a m a firm believer in the system of prototype courses being run in situ by highly qualified
staff, because only such staff are capable of
finding technically viable solutions to the problems encountered by country dwellers. Instructors or nursing personnel can only dispense
cure-all formulae, whereas the people expect
answers to specific problems. Obviously, the
highly qualified staff cannot be responsible for
training in all the villages, but the longer they
stay there, the better they will be able to
Trends and cases
understand the real problems involved and give
the middle-grade personnel some grounding in
h o w to solve them.
M y second remark is that it would not, as w e
have come to realize, take very long to pass on
the knowledge that might bring about a total
change in village life. This is particularly true
as regards health. In the village of Fasa, for
example, if practical effect is given to the whole
scheme, the entire health situation of the village
will have changed within the space of a few
This is also true in agriculture. It is perfectly
possible, in five or six one-week courses, to
convey the essential facts and ensure that they
are taken in by the whole village community.
W h y , then, opt for cumbersome, lengthy solutions that 'uproot' the people?
In the final analysis, and this is m y last
remark, one of the essential factors of success is,
beyond doubt, the language in which the
training is given. T h e whole training system w e
propose assumes that without exception, the
language used will be the language of the
environment. This is w h y it is important, where
it has not already been done, to make all
African languages written languages. I reject
the argument that it is an expensive process,
for even in strictly economic terms, it would not
be hard to demonstrate the very high profitability of the investment.
I. Readers interested in this aspect can consult the
Rapport final de l'évaluation de l'alphabétisation fonctionnelle dans l'opération arachide et cultures vivrières
March 1978. R o n e o 309.
Book reviews
The fiftieth anniversary of the International Bureau of Education
Bogdan Suchodolski, G u y Avanzini, Rosiska Darcy de Oliveira, Eugen Egger,
Samuel Roller and Rodney Stock, The International Bureau of Education in the Service
of Educational Development, Paris, Unesco, 1979, 152 p.
T h e International Bureau of Education, which after
á long and productive career as an independent
organization became an integral part of Unesco
in 1969, celebrated itsfiftiethanniversary in Geneva
last July. For an international organization,fiftyyears
of uninterrupted work, even during the most bitter
of wars, is indeed too rare an achievement to pass
unnoticed. O n the occasion of this anniversary,
commemorated by a ceremony of sober dignity,
Unesco published a collective work entitled The International Bureau of Education in the Service of Educational Development. A brief review of this work is
given here.
Because it is a collective work, the six authors, all
of different nationalities and from different backgrounds, naturally do not share the same views or
put the same construction on events or trends, and
as a result the historical or critical presentation of
facts is at times repetitive and even somewhat disjointed. But then might it not be argued that diversity
is what is wanted in education? This booklet supplies
a wealth of facts and ideas, shedding interesting n e w
light on the past and offering stimulating prospects
for the future.
It begins by retracing the early origins and more
recent development of the I B E with, in the background, an excellent s u m m a r y of the evolution of
ideas in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from
William James to Claparède, from Herbert Read to
Alaria Montessori, from Ferrière to Lunaczarski and
from John D e w e y to Jean Piaget. F r o m this meltingpot of theories and experiments, a single aim emerges,
that of a ' n e w education' based o n a better understanding of children and on one and the same determination to ensure their independence and provide
for their happiness. This is followed by an account
of the part played by Geneva in launching the I B E
and, in particular, the founding of an Institute of
the Sciences of Education, which was to be given
the highly significant n a m e 'Institut Jean-Jacques
Rousseau'. A n dfinally,the maturing of a longnurtured plan with the setting u p , under the aegis of
this Institute, of an 'International Bureau of E d u cation', thanks to the combined efforts of Adolphe
Ferrière, Pierre Bovet, Robert Dottrens, Jean Piaget,
Pedro Rosselló and a few others, with the active
support of the Geneva authorities. It m a y be noted
that the statutes adopted on 10 June 1926 stipulated
that the membership of the Bureau was to consist of
international unions, national or local institutions and
individuals. There was no question, therefore, of
admitting governments. T h e function of the n e w
organ which was to work 'in a strictly scientific and
objective spirit', was to co-ordinate information and
research, convene meetings and encourage exchanges
between educators and psychologists from various
In 1929 thefirstmajor change took place, and at
the instigation of Pedro Rosselló, the I B E assembly
decided that an intergovernmental structure would be
adopted, thefirstM e m b e r States being the Republic
and Canton of Geneva, Poland and Ecuador. T h e
effects of the change were impossible to foresee.
Although participation by the various States provided
the I B E with more reliable resources and better
opportunities for concrete action, was there not also
a risk of it being diverted from its original aims?
Whereas it had, in the minds of its founders, been
set u p as a means of promoting the ' n e w education'
throughout the world, would it not, by coming under
the influence of political powers, forego some, and
perhaps even a great deal, of its intellectual independence and vitality?
A n d yet for the n e w I B E the ten years between the
acquisition of its n e w status and the Second World
W a r , and then again the period between 1946
and 1968, were extremely productive ones. T h e
prestige and genial authority of Jean Piaget, its
Director, and the tireless and competent efforts of
Pedro Rosselló, his Assistant Director, w o n for the
I B E the esteem and confidence of all its M e m b e r
States. It was not looking for glamour or publicity;
the prevailing tone was one of simplicity, modesty
and discreet but effective action. Its studies of
comparative education, the publication of the Yearbook, the work of the then yearly International
Conference on Public Education, and its recommendations, the Library and the Permanent Exhibition
were all highly appreciated contributions to international co-operation.
W h y , then, did the I B E have to take the decision
to join forces with Unesco, to the extent of becoming
an 'integral part' of that Organization, giving u p in
so doing its status as an independent international
organization? T h e fact is that for several years, the
Bureau had been struggling to emerge from a crisis to
Prospects, Vol. X , N o . 1, 1980
Book reviews
which there seemed to be no solution. It was in the
first place a financial crisis. Since 1929, there had
been n o increase in its resources, which came from
contributions by M e m b e r States, for most of the older
m e m b e r s refused to augment their payments, while
some had even fallen into arrears, and the agreements
concluded with Unesco m a d e it practically unthinkable to recruit n e w m e m b e r s . Compelled to resort to
pitiful stopgaps, the I B E was only just surviving with
the help of subsidies from Unesco.
Apart from the criticalfinancialsituation, another
apparently legal but in fact political crisis had already
arisen at the 1963 Conference over Portugal, with the
African countries demanding that it be excluded
from the Organization. T h e crisis c a m e to a head the
following year, w h e n the 1964 Conference broke
d o w n in mid-session with some of the participating
States recalling their delegations and the DirectorGeneral of Unesco withdrawing Unesco personnel.
It became clear that, like all the other intergovernmental organizations, the I B E had entered into a
period of tension and conflict in regards to which it
was in n o w a y responsible but was nevertheless
severely hit by all the after-effects without any means
of countering them. Both politically and financially,
it n o w depended heavily on Unesco which provided
the funds and took the most important decisions.
It was for these reasons that France m a d e the
proposal, which was initially misunderstood, but
subsequently supported by Switzerland, the host
country, and eventually adopted by all the M e m b e r
States, to integrate the I B E into Unesco while making
sure that it would continue to enjoy considerable
intellectual and functional autonomy. O n c e it was
free from its financial worries and political tensions,
the Bureau could pursue its work undisturbed. T h e
positive effects of this reform, carried out under the
firm supervision of the Bureau's Director, Leo Fernig,
are quite rightly recalled in the chapter entitled
' T e n years within Unesco'.
T h e book ends with a chapter which is remarkable
for the ambitious prospects it opens u p and its
decidedly doctrinal tone. It is, in fact, a report on a
recent symposium o n the theme ' W h e r e is education
going?' If one were looking for really novel ideas and
proposals in it, one might be disappointed, but it does
give a perceptive, coherent description of the main
indictments levelled at education and society in
recent years: pollution of our natural surroundings
and debasement of the social environment, inequality,
violence, the crisis of science, society and education.
A n d it ends with a prophetic anticipation of the future,
in a rather similar vein to Ivan Illich, with the
announcement of a different type of education, society
and life in general.
C o m i n g as they do at the end of the book, these
ideas might be regarded as a conclusion, or alternatively an insight into the future role of the I B E . But
in fact nearly all the questions dealt with here are
already to be found, obviously in a less polemic form,
in the Unesco programmes and M e d i u m - T e r m Plan.
It is only natural that a great international organization, the United Nations Specialized Agency for
education, science and culture, should tackle the
major problems of our time. But surely it is presumptuous and even unwise for the I B E as well to be
launched into such ambitious undertakings, which,
moreover, are quite evidently outside its scope. If
the I B E is to continue to c o m m a n d the confidence it
has hitherto enjoyed, consistent with the 'strictly
scientific and objective spirit' prescribed by its
founders, is it not better for it to be encouraged to
carry on work in its o w n specificfield,namely information, documentation and studies? Let it therefore
follow the path traced out for it, provided it is, as
always, the path of progress.
Book reviews
Gaston Mialaret (ed.)> Vocabulaire de l'éducation: éducation et sciences de l'éducation,
Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1979, 457 PG . Terry Page, J. B . T h o m a s and A . R . Marshall, International Dictionary of Education, L o n d o n , K o g a n Page; N e w York, Nichols Publishing C o m p a g n y , 1977, 381 p .
T h e appearance of a n e w work of reference in education is a rare event—and this for obvious reasons.
T o gather the essential material, terms, names and
addresses, titles of publications is a demanding process because of the wide range in the theory and
practice of education, subject also to the process of
rapid change that characterizes our time. T o select,
classify and check this material requires moreover a
strictly scientific approach based on a consistent and
adequate set of principles. Yet with advances in
research, changing practices and newly stated concepts to justify them, the educationalfieldparticularly
requires the constant renewal of its reference works.
Both the difficulties and the need apply with force
to the area of lexicography.
T h e n e w Vocabulaire de l'éducation edited under the
direction of Gaston Mialaret is a welcome addition to
the instruments available in French: an appropriately
modern work designed both for practical use and for
helping to define 'in this latter part of the twentieth
century the contours of what is meant by the word
H o w can one describe or appreciate the qualities of
a dictionary? Perhaps the best course is to scan it,
driving in shafts of inquiry here and there, with
three questions in mind: the public it serves and its
likely usefulness to such people; thefieldit covers, its
apparent adequacy; and the authority on which it
rests, the quality of the defining apparatus.
T h e Vocabulaire attempts to meet the needs of
French, French-speaking and foreign publics, in other
words an international set of users w h o are concerned
with or interested in education. T e r m s are chosen
from current usage not only in France but also in
Belgium, Switzerland, French-speaking Africa and
especially in Quebec where indigenous developments
and the impact of American English combine to produce an extensive n e w vocabulary in education. In
m a n y cases, although not all the way through, the
origins of terms are traced and equivalents given for
English, G e r m a n and other modern languages. But it
is especially in the clear and direct definitions provided, with quotations from authoritative sources
w h e n necessary, that the needs of a wide public of
users are met. In these respects, the Vocabulaire is a
model of dictionary making.
It is, too, easy to consult. T h e series of entries
under École illustrate this point. Afirstheading in
bold type, École (généralités), provides a proper
dictionary definition. Under École (historique) appear
accounts of earlier models in French history. T h e unit
Écoles caractérisées describes a n u m b e r of types of
schools distinguished by their organization, such as
the comprehensive, the modern school of Freinet,
and so on. U n d e r Écoles (nom d') w e find types of
institutions, andfinallyÉcoles particulières (quelques)
gives a select list of important establishments.
Within this logical framework, there m a y be room
to argue about the final selection of terms. T h e
Vocabulaire in fact comprises a fair amount of
institutional data—a list of acronyms, descriptions of
organisms carrying Bureau, Centre, Conseil, etc., in
their titles. T h e increasing complexity of educational
organization has led to a proliferation of these terms,
and the user of the book will n o doubt frequently
turn to it for such information. T h e problem arises
rather in the m i x of general and specific entries, the
latter having inevitably to be sampled o n some
subjective basis. A dictionary of acronyms and
proper names in education, accompanied by addresses,
might be justified in its o w n right and could be more
comprehensive. Moreover, the cross-referencing of
the Vocabulaire, while sound, could have been
extended. T h e hierarchic structure exemplified by
the École entries seems to call for added entries,
where terms in alphabetic order would appear in
smaller type to refer the reader to the spot where the
full definition is given.
A s a second point of inquiry, thefieldcovered by
the Vocabulaire is education in its wide French sense.
Professor Mialaret explains that the classic and
encyclopedic Dictionnaire de la Pédagogie of Ferdinand
Buisson still stands for etymological and historical
purposes; just as specialized works like Lafon's
Vocabulaire de psychopédagogie et de psychiatrie de
l'enfant deal sufficiently with neighbouring domains.
T h e terminology of educational research has been
largely left aside, since G . de Landsheere has just
completed a work on it. With these definitions by
exclusion, the Vocabulaire sets out to cover all aspects
of formal and nonformal education from the point of
view of modern developments in administration,
organization and teaching. Both the practising teacher
and administrator and the interested student or
parent should thus find the book a valuable source of
information on precise questions.
Book reviews
I consulted it at two points. T h e most basic cluster
even with such warnings, the source in each case is a
of terms are those relating to the very substance of
specialist or a scientific publication from the region
education: éducation, enseignement, instruction, péda- concerned.
gogie: at times somewhat confused or unnecessarily
O n the whole, then, this is a useful and valuable
juxtaposed by French speakers, always confusing to
book which is likely to establish itself as an essential
the less skilled foreigner. T h e definitions clearly
tool for all w h o are concerned with the theory or the
distinguish meanings and uses of these terms, show
practice of education.
the relationship between them, and thus lead (one
This review provides an occasion also to call
hopes) to more precise usage. At the other extreme,
attention to an English work, International Dictionary
the modern areas of education appear to be well
of Education, prepared by G . T . Page, J. B . T h o m a s
covered both in choice of terms and of definitions:
and A . R . Marshall in the United K i n g d o m . First
planification, budget, coût, analyse, the concepts de- published in 1977, it is already in a second impression.
rived from the economics of education; alternance,
T h e book is designed as a work of easy reference
animation and other terms attached to the idea of
for British and American users. T h e 10,000 or so
lifelong education; and a good set of definitions under
entries carry brief and clear definitions. T h e terms
the term égalité clarify our understanding of the represent a merging of several different files which
various facets of equal opportunities in education.
m a y be separately described and assessed. T h e largest
T h efieldsof sociology and psychology are equally well
set are the technical terms that m a k e up the specialrepresented, and considerable space is given to the
ized language of education, derived from psychology,
vocabulary of international cooperation in education.
sociology and economics as well as from the organIt would seem, then, that the compilers' intention to
ization of teaching and learning. A comparison with
trace the contours of contemporary education has
older dictionaries, such as Carter G o o d , shows that
largely been achieved.
the authors have selected their terms for current
usage and have developed sharp, original definitions.
T h e authority of the work springs from the team
This is apparent at such groups of entries as 'intelliresponsible for its preparation. Mialaret is an edugence', 'job', 'perception', 'performance'.
cator of international reputation and h e worked
especially with a staff group in the Institute of E d u A second set of terms comprises the proper names
cational Sciences in the University of Caen; to these
associated with the education systems of the United
were added other collaborators from universities,
K i n g d o m and the United States: the major reports
administration and schools in France and abroad.
and laws, institutions and organizations (with adY . Brunsvick of the French National Commission for
dresses). T h e Dictionary thus contains an extensive
Unesco and Jacques Hallak of the International
directory apparatus, which is broadened to include
Institute for Educational Planning m a d e considerable
the names of outstanding educators—from Plato and
contributions in their fields of specialization, just as
Erasmus to H u s e n and Peters. T w o appendixes deal
Rachèle Desrosiers (University of Quebec, Montreal)
with c o m m o n acronyms and American honor societies
and J. Burion (University of M o n s , Belgium) proand fraternities.
vided for the geographical extension of the VocabuT h e third component is what m a y be termed the
laire. T h e author of each entry is identified and a international element—built u p of terms for school
bibliography draws together the list of works cited.
types and certificates from a number of languages and
the names and addresses of institutions. T o some
For the most part the authority of the Vocabulaire
extent this is biased naturally to C o m m o n w e a l t h or
is evidenced by the work itself—the choice of terms
English-speaking countries (e.g. for the titles and
and the devising of sound, original definitions point
addresses of Ministries of Education) and as it spreads
to a vigorous and youthful team. There is, in all
more widely to Europe and other continents the
lexicography, some part of what D r Johnson referred
sample of terms is more restricted; one could, too,
to as 'harmless drudgery', but still more of a higher
find r o o m to question some of the choices and
intellectual function, that of setting standards, of
exercising a normative influence. This latter aspect is
present throughout the work in the positive nature of
This said, the International Dictionary of Education
the definitions, and occasionally in the negative
succeeds in condensing a surprising amount of
warnings issued about the use of anglicisms especially
information in a practical and workmanlike fashion.
in Quebec (such terms as enrichissement for example,
Itfillsan essential place a m o n g reference works by
from the English enrichment, have satisfactory French
its eclectic character and ease of use.
equivalents—renforcement in the example cited). But
Building Community Schools:
an Analysis of Experiences
By Margrit I. Kennedy
Margrit Kennedy is an architect and urban planner w h o has designed community
schools in Africa, North America and Europe. The book is based on the materials
she has collected, her observations and her experience.
The author hopes to demonstrate that education and the community can be
brought closer together, that each community working with its national authorities
has to forge its o w n solutions to meet its o w n needs.
155 p. 4 5 F
Museums and Children
B y Ulla Keding Olofsson, General Editor
Illustrations, Gerard Teichert
Ulla Keding Olofsson, from the International Council of M u s e u m ( I C O M ) , has
assembled fourteen country studies written by m u s e u m education specialists.
She analyses the role m u s e u m s should play as out of school educational instruments,
because m u s e u m s are very important cultural resources. Their activities should
complement school programmes by developing in students a deeper sense of their
national heritage.
195 p. 2 8 F
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Contents of preceding issues
Vol. IX, N o . 2, 1979
A. N. Leontiev and D. B. Elkonine T h e child's
right to education and the development
of knowledge of child psychology
W. E. Searles T h e state of inquiry in science
Viewpoints and controversies
Bernard Dumont After literacy, teaching:
paradoxes of post-literacy work
Elements for a dossier:
Learning about interdependence
Lester R. Brown Learning to live together on a
small planet
David C. Smith Conflict studies and peace
Ingrid Classen-Bauer Education for international
Robin Richarson Learning in a world of change:
methods and approaches in the classroom
József Margócsy Education for peace and
international understanding in the training
of teachers
Struwe T h e Danish Unesco schools project
Helena Allahwerdi Development education in
Finland: a tool to global citizenship
Teruo Sato Education for international
understanding in Japanese schools
Glenn D. Hook Japan: political or apolitical
education for peace?
Trends and cases:
International Year of the Child
Fay E. Saunders Discrimination and inequality
between the sexes at school
Ana Vasquez Children of exiles and immigrants
Vol. IX, N o . 3, 1979
Wincenty Okoñ All-round education and
development of the personality
Kjell Eide Education and communication in a future
Viewpoints and controversies
Jean Dresch Reflections on the teaching of
Olivier Reboul Slogans and the educator
Elements for a dossier:
Mathematics for real life
Max S. Bell Teaching mathematics as a tool for
Hans Freudenthal N e w math or n e w education?
Rolf Hedrén H a n d calculators and maths in primary
Zbigniew Semadeni Mass media in the mathematical
training of Polish primary teachers
George S. Eshiwani T h e goals of mathematics
teaching in Africa: a need for re-examination
Ricardo Losada Márquez and Mary Falk de Losada
Mathematics programmes: first aid
Manmohan Singh Arora Whither secondary
mathematics? T h e Indian experience
Trends and cases
Shalva Amonashvili Teaching: the problem-solving
Gustavo F. Cirigliano A n example of educational
transformation: Venezuela
Vol. IX, N o . 4, 1979
Budd L. Hall Knowledge as a commodity and
participatory research
Viewpoints and controversies
George Psacharopoulos Academic work and policy
Georgi Lozanov Accelerated learning and individual
Elements for a dossier:
Physical and sports education
Mohamed Mzali T h e Olympic spirit and education
José María Cagigal Education of the corporeal m a n
Arvid Bengtsson Children's play is m o r e than
physical education
Eleutheria Koussoula-Pantazopoulou T h e
requirements of physical training and sport
in female education
Jean-François Brisson Sport and study sections
in France
Alberto F. Dorta Sasco and Aixa Duran Lopez
Physical education and sport for handicapped
children in Cuba
Trends and cases
James and Mary Olsen Towards a model of early
childhood education in the Caribbean
Olav Holt T h e democratic university and regional