Education reform for the knowledge economy in the state of Sangon
This paper aims to highlight the issues associated with the implementation of education reform policies relating to �future schools� in a small state in the Middle East and North Africa region. The study points to the consistency with which global corporations and the supranational organisations, such as UNESCO and the World Bank, promote a twenty-first-century skill agenda as an essential component for educational renewal and innovation; but, with equal consistency, it highlights the difficulties that school practitioners face in trying to enact this agenda by way of the reformist policies. Through focus-group discussions supplemented by interviews with senior school leaders and government officers, a complex web unfolds related to the enactment of education reforms in a fragile Arab state, to such an extent that the �future schools� narrative is seen to have little or no importance in the wider reform process. Arising from interview data, three main themes emerge related to: organisational culture, technology and tradition. Far from promoting, amongst students, the development of twenty-first-century skills, the strength of local traditions and epistemology are of much greater importance than the neoliberal imaginary with which policies from the Global North are imbued. Whilst avoiding essentialist arguments, the study contributes to the growing body of literature, in the wake of the Arab Spring, that questions the boiler plate implementation of Western ideals upon countries with very different cultural and epistemological traditions. � 2014 British Association for International and Comparative Education.