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The climate of growing dissatisfaction in the developing world seems to have led to some changes in the World Bank's main discourse. The current World Bank president, James Wolfensohn, pointed out the existence of a "human crisis," besides the overemphasized financial one. He proposed a new development framework taking into account the widening poverty gap, the increase in unemployment, as well as the growth in population, water scarcity, food security, and the danger of social unrest. In the area of education, a change of discourse included the fear of social unrest and the question of "social cohesion." This paper examines two contemporary World Bank publications in education and development: "Decentralization of Education: Demand-Side Financing in Education" (Patrinos and Ariasingam, 1997/1999) and "Assessing Aid: What Works, What Doesn't and Why" (Dollar and Pritchett, 1998). The paper states that if these two documents are not an "official view" of the World Bank concerning education and development, then the education policy paper entitled "Education Sector Strategy" (World Bank, 1999) cannot be denied as an official and recent World Bank document showing the organization's educational agenda. It examines in detail this third document. It notes that many documents mentioned in World Bank publications as a base for their work continue to be kept in secrecy, inaccessible to the public. It also finds that a deep historical perspective is lacking in the 1999 document, and that the World Bank's Educational Knowledge Management System seems to be an attempt to foster the commodification, sterilization, and standardization of knowledge, constituting a peril to democracy. (Contains 11 references.) (BT)

Descriptors: Agenda Setting, Developing Nations, Discourse Analysis, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education

Autor: de Siqueira, Angela C.


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