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McMaster PhD Dr. Claudia Díaz Ríos recognized with international dissertation award

The award from the Latin American Interest Group (LASIG) of the Comparative & International Education Society recognizes an outstanding thesis in the field of comparative education in Latin America

Mar 12, 2018

Dr. Claudia Díaz Ríos completed her dissertation at McMaster under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Dion  in 2016. Dr. Díaz Ríos is currently a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

The award from LASIG recognizes “outstanding doctoral dissertations (Ph.D and Ed.D) that address the analysis of educational reforms, policies or practices in Latin America under a comparative/international perspective.”

Dr. Díaz Ríos’s thesis answers the questions: What explains changes in secondary education governance in Latin America since the 1960s? Do ideas diffused by international actors really play a role in this transition? If so, why does this governance transformation vary across countries that are otherwise similar and with comparable educational traditions?

The dissertation argues that although the diffusion of globally recognized education policy ideas drove Latin American countries to change the role of the state in education, domestic policy legacies and political coalitions re-interpreted and implemented these foreign recommendations in a variety of ways that range from full adoption to outright rejection. These reforms benefitted new stakeholders that favour the newly adopted models but also produced among others an opposition to negative consequences of the changes and demands for a stronger role of the state. Findings of this research suggest that the level of organization, the closeness to the decision-making process, and the impact of the power resources of supporters and opponents of the global idea define the extent to what a global idea is adopted.

The study was based on more than 80 interviews with elected and appointed officials in government, non-government organizations, international organizations, and interests groups and an analysis of primary and secondary documents from the 1960s through 2010 in Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. Findings of this project help policy practitioners to have a better understanding of the complex politics of policy development and opens up new venues to study education quality and inequality.

The award will be presented to Dr. Díaz Ríos at the CIES annual meeting this month in Mexico City. Congratulations, Claudia!