This article addresses the politics and policy-making of alternative forms of basic education in the context of EFA, with an emphasis on non-formal education (NFE) for school-age children. It explores how policy-makers interpret the relevance of such alternatives, the steps that are taken to implement the reforms and factors that play a role in decision-making. Data are drawn from two case studies of NFE policy processes, in Uganda and in Kenya. It is suggested that, while governments make progress in moving towards diversified basic education, they tend to follow different models of integrating NFE. The solutions they find seem to depend on the national dynamics in which the roles of non-state actors, international agencies and, above all, the state are paramount. Their interactions reflect differences of power and of national education traditions.
Journal of Education Policy (2011) 26 (4) 529-542 [DOI:10.1080/02680939.2011.555000]