Education, Poverty and the World Bank

The book tells the story of the World Bank’s involvement in education, for which lending began in 1963. The study considers how the nature of the Bank as a financial institution has shaped its view of development and globalisation, and how education relates to these. The book examines the reasons why the Bank is involved in education, its education policy stances, the nature and impact of its projects and lending programs, and the Bank as an agent of globalisation. Bank work in education is hugely controversial. All around the world, in industrial countries, in transition economies, and in the poorest countries, the Bank continues to be under fire for its policy prescriptions and its modes of operation. From both left and right, the Bank is a major target of discontent. In the popular imagination, the impact of globalisation and the Bank’s shaping of such fields as education in accordance with neo-liberal and market prescriptions are prime sources of unease. At the same time, the Bank is frequently misunderstood and misrepresented. This book is based on the author’s unique access to the Bank—its files, staff and working documents—over nearly 20 years. The work is based on access to thousands of classified Bank documents and on a large number of interviews with past and present Bank officials. Therefore, while critical of many features the Bank, the book will be recognised as an authoritative guide to Bank policy formation in education.

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