Whilst the link between access, quality of schooling and gender equality in promoting Education for All is vital, the problematic nature of this agenda for the curriculum in developing countries is not sufficiently recognized. Previous sociological research indicates the contradictions between the social reproductive elements and the egalitarian potential of a 'globalised curriculum' especially in the complex postcolonial scenario of developing economies. A close reading of the EFA Global Monitoring Reports highlights rights within and through the curriculum, representing the 'curriculum as opportunity', 'curriculum as reform' and 'curriculum as a democratic tool'. However, gender equality represents a deeper challenge to dominant knowledge forms than that represented by a gender fair/friendly curriculum or a gender neutral curriculum. Global citizenship education controversially brings female subordination and gender power into the curriculum but its potential in relation to the goals of EFA is not proven. Localized historical and socio-cultural investigations are needed into the gendering of national school knowledge in non-Western environments, and its relationship to material and socio-cultural conditions of gender relations. Such investigations could account for different types of gender performances in school, and offer a transformative politics of recognition as well as redistribution.
Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge, UK, WP08/17, 19 pp.