Author: Bethke, Lynne
Full Citation: Bethke, L. (2009). Capacity development in education planning and management in fragile states. Paris, France: International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP).
Overview: Capacity development is a multi-faceted concept, impacting upon and being affected by several interacting levels of analysis. The author uses the OECD-DAC typology of fragile states as a main reference in order to explore the links between state “fragility” and capacity development. The characteristics of countries in a state of “arrested development”, “deterioration”, “post-conflict transition” or “early recovery” largely determine how to design sustainable capacity development strategies that have the intended effects.
Findings: The challenges facing different types of fragile states are considered: the presence or absence of violent conflict, political will and existing capacity levels are crucial variables in this respect. In post conflict situations, for example, expectations of a “peace dividend” are normally high, but may be difficult to meet because of low levels of capacity. In situations of violent conflict, however, the legitimacy of Ministry officials may pose a larger challenge. The paper further presents a few common dilemmas faced by actors on the ground. Overcoming these dilemmas, such as working with state actors or non-governmental actors, is often about finding the right balance in the specific context. The sustainability and coherence of interventions should for example be measured against their legitimacy and urgency. Strategies for capacity development emphasize a long-term perspective, building trust and improving coordination, but equally stress the importance of planning, setting goals and measuring outputs along the way. Flexibility is also a crucial point: fragility is a moving concept, and states may become more or less fragile practically overnight, directly affecting capacity development efforts. However, if properly designed, capacity development interventions may also reduce fragility through efficient educational planning and management.