Theses Doctoral

Schools as Reform Changers: How Teachers and Administrators in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Modify Education Reforms

Belyavina, Raisa Belyavina

This dissertation examines how teachers and their allies utilize agency and draw on social capital to ignore, modify and altogether undo reforms. Focusing on 10 schools in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, this study investigates the mechanisms employed by teachers, principals, and school administrators across the city to counter a single teacher salary reform and maintain the status quo.

This topic is explored in a study combining a mixed methods research methodology that includes analysis of interviews, teacher salary data, policy documents, and observation. The analysis is framed in theories of social capital, power, and human agency as well as in the application of literature on transnational policy borrowing and lending. Through these theoretical lenses, this research contributes to scholarship on the nature of human agency, the impact of professional vitality and resiliency of conviction on resistance to change, and role that stratification and inequality play in shaping the lives of teachers.

The study illustrates the endurance of longstanding norms and social hierarchies within the teaching workforce in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan; it shows how salary reforms can challenge longstanding views around teacher compensation norms; and finally, it further advances the argument that the transfer of global teacher policies from one context to another will necessarily result in a process of local adaptation, and one that may yield unintended consequences.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Steiner-Khamsi, Gita
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 10, 2017