The Trouble with DfID is ...

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I've lost count of the number of discussions and conversations I have these days where someone starts a sentence in this way – and it usually ends, one way or another, with a complaint that DfID is [shock] promoting current government policy.  But DfID has always done this, and a major purpose of the development education that it has supported over recent years has been to win public approval for its policies – hence all those Brazilian Dance troups that the Daily Mail (and others) go on about.   And when there has been low public support, historically, for the idea of overseas aid, there are points that need to be made and ideas to be got across.  So, the problem now is not that the department has changed; rather, it is that the policy has – which is what so many people are upset about.   DfID is ok, it seems, provided it's 'OK'.   As for me, well, I am always uneasy about government departments promoting themselves through the education system, as this is not what schools, colleges and universities are for in a liberal democracy.  Imagine the uproar if the MoD ... .

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