Global-local policy interactions in the South and the need for critical policy engagement–lessons from teaching licence policy in Pakistan

Sajid Ali, Afaq Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Countries in the global South, such as Pakistan, face challenges to determine their education policies without any external pressures. The national sphere of authority of the state has to deal with both global and national policy pressures. The travelling policy gets embedded in the local context adjusting to the local demands. However, for this embedding to take place smartly, the host/adopting country needs to demonstrate critical engagement. The developing countries are faced with a plethora of policy prescriptions from the global space; sometimes in the name of ‘best practices’ and at others in the name of funding conditionality or priority. Due to the absence of multi-actor critical engagement, the policies exist only during the project and as soon as the project is over, the policy is shelved. The article presents the case of a critical policy engagement – ‘teaching license policy dialogues’. This is an independent university-led effort to improve the teacher management system in Pakistan. A four-stage policy advocacy process is adopted to create critical policy space. It comprised (i) development of concept, (ii) preparation of green papers, (iii) policy dialogues and (iv) launch of the White Paper for policy consideration. The case shows a critical way of engaging with a global policy along with all stakeholders, assessing its efficacy, and make alterations as per contextual needs. We hope that our attempt at critical policy dialogue, which promotes critical engagement of multiple stakeholders on equal footing without pressure from a donor, might offer a better way forward. In this way, the policy may not be seen as a push from global space, rather it would be seen as a negotiation between global-national space. We further highlight the crucial, yet rare role of academia in the global South, which is desperately needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Critical policy engagement
  • global-local policy interaction
  • globalisation
  • teaching licence


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