Policy change in nascent subsystems: Mozambican higher education policy 1993-2003

Jasmin Beverwijk, Leo Goedegebuure, Jeroen Huisman

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29 Citations (SciVal)


The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), developed by Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith in the late 1980s, has proven to be a valuable theory to explain policy change. At the same time, however, researchers have identified limitations in the ACF relating to various dimensions such as definitions of key variables, their operationalization, and the universal applicability of the framework to any context, be it Europe, the US, or countries outside the OECD. The key question addressed in this article is whether the ACF, like most other established public policy theories or frameworks developed in a western industrialized context, can be applied to very young (sub)systems in volatile contexts. We try to answer this question by applying the ACF to the development of the Mozambican higher education subsystem, a subsystem that fits the conditions of volatility and nascence. On the one hand this subsystem is characterized by a turbulent environment and a weak democracy. On the other hand, the higher education subsystem is built practically from scratch. The findings of the study suggest that the ACF is built on basic assumptions that do not apply to a country with a high degree of civil and political turbulence. Some revisions need to be made to improve the ACF's fit to such a context. Reprinted by permission of Springer
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-377
Number of pages21
JournalPolicy Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Education policy
  • Mozambique.
  • Higher education
  • Policy making
  • Reform


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