The World Bank and Education: Critiques and Alternatives

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Sign in with your library card. Search within Brent Edwards Jr. University of Hawaii. Inga Storen University of Oxford. In the s and s, liberal education economists at the Bank, like Jean-Pierre Jallade, routinely recommended substantial investments in education access and quality financed by progressive taxes. Without any basis in evidence and with specious reasoning, the Bank, along with the IMF, imbibed and spread so-called Washington Consensus policies for the next four decades through Structural Adjustment Programmes and their successors, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers PRSPs , delegitimising governments and starving the public sector of resources.

Of course there is a learning crisis. The world is replete with crises of education, health, poverty, development, environment, war, and more. How the Bank and other neoliberal institutions frame these crises, cast blame, and proffer solutions, as in this WDR, reflects their ideology. In education, the WDR privileges a narrow view of learning, separates it from attention to access, blames teachers, and, unbelievably, does worse than ignore finance — it actually questions whether more resources are needed.

The legitimacy of the Bank — and the IMF — needs to be challenged. That campaign needs to be revisited. It is high time for a new Bretton Woods conference to re-think and re-formulate the role and nature of these institutions.

New BWP briefing offers critical gender analysis of World Bank lending instrument to borrowing countries. At 75, the World Bank and IMF face a crisis of multilateralism in no small part of their own making as failed economic policies have resulted in skepticism of the international order they helped to create.

Related resources The World Bank and education: critiques and alternatives 21 September Sense Publishers. Educational International. World Bank. Related articles At issue: The World Bank as a new global education ministry? Steven Klees is professor of international education policy at the University of Maryland. He did his PhD at Stanford University in economics and public policy. He is the former president of the Comparative and International Education Society.

KLESS, Steven J. | Globed

Subscribe observer newslens. In the news More news. Featured briefings New BWP briefing offers critical gender analysis of World Bank lending instrument to borrowing countries. More briefings. Education Review, Despite that the WBES was subjected to repeated external review and consultations, the Bank has arguably remained unresponsive to critiques that might significantly alter its mandate or the paradigm under which it operates.

While the volume as a whole indeed offers both critiques and alternatives, the majority of the authors focus on the former.

Adult education and lifelong learning – southern critiques and alternatives

Divided into four parts Framing the Issues; Learning, Assessment, and the Role of Teachers; Research and Policy; Reshaping the Future , a number of common observations emerge, albeit examined from different perspectives depending on the chapter. Robertson explicitly draw attention to the ways in which neoliberalism has underpinned past and present strategies, and framed the arguments invoked to support Bank policies.

The economic disciplinary bias associated with neoliberalism, according to the chapter by Antoni Verger and Xavier Bonal, was revealed in past Bank education strategies, and the current WBES does not depart from this orthodoxy. De Siqueira, draw attention to the potential and real impacts of this promotion of privatization, on both equity and democracy. The volume does an excellent job of explaining how Bank prescriptions such as privatization are associated with, for instance, the deprofessionalizing of teachers Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Ginsburg, Klees and gender inequity Stromquist , and indicate a neoliberal vision of education as an economically instrumental good, in direct contrast with a conception of education as a human right.

Nordtveit, who performs a rigorous discourse analysis to reveal several shortcomings of the strategy.

Finally, the criticisms offered within this volume make clear that the World Bank, which has a mandate to free the world of poverty, does not provide logical strategies for dealing with inequities, and for the most part ignores the intersections of poverty, equity and education. While a few chapters delve briefly into some alternatives for the Bank including those authored by Robertson and Samoff , it is the chapter by Anne Hickling-Hudson and Klees that concentrates on where we go from here. Following this alternative vision for international financing to education, the book concludes with an overview of some prominent themes covered by the authors, many of which overlap with those highlighted in this review.

Bretton Woods

A book that focuses primarily on policy, and predominantly on a single document, is by its nature specialized and thereby slightly limited. For instance, few chapters provide an analysis of specific country-level Bank-funded projects. And so while the volume is a unique and important addition to the field of comparative and international education, it seems to be geared to readers with a relatively strong foundational understanding of the World Bank and the international aid regime in which it operates.