Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Life skills, technology, teacher evaluation and the World Bank

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This is a very good examination of the role the World Bank plays in language learning, and by implication, in learning in general, especially in the global south. The key questions asked here are (1) what counts as success for the World Bank's education programs, and (2) success for whom? It is arguable (and argued here) that the World Bank is as interested in lowering wages as it is in promoting economic development. "The teaching of 'life skills', the promotion of data-capturing digital technologies and the push to evaluate teachers' performance are, then, all closely linked to the agenda of the World Bank:

  • cost accounting and quantification (since returns on investment must be carefully measured)
  • competition and market incentives (since it is believed that the 'invisible hand' of the market leads to the greatest benefits)
  • the private sector in education and a rolling back of the role of the state (since it is believed that private ownership improves efficiency)."

The principle are, of course, quite familiar to most observers of education policvy generally. These same observers should be aware of the harm they have produced and how poorly prepared they leave us should, say, a global pandemic completely upset the world economic order.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 19, 2024 7:42 p.m.

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