|dc.description.abstract||This thesis examines three decades of educational reform in Ghana between
1970 and the present. Government reports and secondary literature reveal that Ghanaian
reformers sought to democratize and transform education but largely failed in their
efforts. I argue that this failure stems from their adoption of development and
implementation strategies that did not encourage democratic negotiation.
Drawing upon Miller, Freire, and Dewey, I present a conceptual analysis of
democratic and transformative educational aims. I argue that reforms which are
imposed externally and do not encourage genuine democratic participation among all
actors do not lead to meaningful change. Democratic negotiations require that
environments conducive to dialogue be created for all actors, that discourse reflects the
characteristics and conditions of the participants' lives, and that all system actors be full
participants to the process of change.
Aims talk, the alternative discourse that I advocate as the basis of future
educational reform in Ghana, would facilitate democratic negotiations by requiring that
educational reforms become educational projects in the Freirean sense. As educational
projects, reforms would encourage critical dialogue during which participants would
problematize their socio-economic and political realities. Aims talk would connect
democratic means with democratic ends. Aims generated as part of such projects
would be seen as tentative; they would reflect the characteristics and conditions of the participants, and they would provide the grounds and foresight for periodic review.
Finally, aims talk would require that participants commit to dialogue that is moral and