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What is the Knowledge Economy and how does the World Bank relate it to education?

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Ashlee Anderson

on 31 August 2018

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Transcript of What is the Knowledge Economy and how does the World Bank relate it to education?

What is the Knowledge Economy and how does the World Bank relate it to education?
Development or Exploitation?
Brain Migration & Brain Waste
Washington Consensus . . .
Educational Outcomes
Marketization & Privatization of Schooling, e.g. relationship with Edu-business
Debt for Developing Nations
Many developing nations are already saddled with large debt obligations.
If educational investments do not produce the promised economic returns, World Bank loans only exacerbate bad fiscal situations.
With limited resources, those allocated to higher education often come at the expense of social programs.
Let's put these ideas to work . . .
Neoliberalism is a late 20th century global shift in political and economic ideology that calls for market-based state policies over those which promote the welfare state and government control of economic and social activities.
Envisions the privatization of national institutions to achieve the perceived advantages of the private sector
Economies are composed of individuals acting in their own self-interests.
How does the World Bank support the Knowledge Economy?
The WB and Business
Encourages Public-Private partnerships to achieve economic development

Government institutions partnering with private, multi-national corporations that fund educational projects
This is how the WB carries out its mission (go between)
Discovery Channel, Chevron, HP, Cisco, etc.
EdInvest: program to encourage private actors to make investments in national education systems
For-profit educational service providers & publishers
Primary, Secondary, & Post-Secondary
E-learning platforms as a means of over-coming structural limitations
World Bank Praxis
Watch this brief promotional video for the World Bank and consider the following questions:
According to the video, what are the goals and purposes of schooling?
Favored world model?
What do you think some benefits may be of the World Bank's approach to education? Why?
What do you think some challenges may be of the World Bank's approach to education? Why?
World Bank
Poverty reduction through foreign investment and international trade
History and Structure
What does the World Bank do?
The reduction in poverty and inequality will provide the foundation for self-sustaining economic growth.
Life-long Learning and the new economy: dynamic, constantly shifting economies lead to the rapid creation and destruction of entire industries.
Workers must be able to change and re-tool with shifts in larger economy.
Ontological Commitments
Post-secondary education is an important factor in determining economic productivity.
Shift from blue to white collar jobs
Shift to jobs that require knowledge & technical skills
Inventors, Innovators, & Entrepreneurs
78% of the PT and 98% of the FT have graduate degrees
Knowledge has become the most important factor in economic prosperity.
Educational Commitments for a Knowledge Economy
Educational Outcomes & Criticism
World Bank In Practice
So . . .
What is neoliberalism?
Competition provides incentive structure:
Efficiency: allocation of resources
Excellence & Accountability: market forces as arbiter of success and failure
Bretton Woods: economic conference convened by Western powers at the end of WWII
Era of economic management
Concept of Economic Security: idea being that economic stability and prosperity are the recipe for global peace
Common experiences and mistakes of the 1930s
Fear of the kind of economic turmoil that led to the rise of right-wing militarism in Germany, Japan, and Italy

WB is owned by its 189 member countries

Voting power is based on the number of shares owned by a nation
What do you think the implications might be for developing and under-developed nations?
Era of post-industrial, knowledge economies
Neoliberal economic policies
The private sector possesses inherent advantages over the public sector.
Neoliberalism is the modus operandi of the World Bank
Recap: what is the knowledge economy?
The knowledge economy emphasizes that knowledge has become the most important factor in economic development
This is the main idea behind the concept of the knowledge economy.
Educational Commitments for a KE
The key to economic development is making investments in the education sector.
It declares that the ability of a society to produce, adapt, commercialize, and use knowledge is critical for sustained economic growth.
Education is a panacaea for most of the world's economic problems.
The World Bank supports the concept of the Knowledge Economy.

It is the largest funder of education development projects in the world.

It provides developing nations with loans to implement educational development programs.
Focus on the primary sector (industry) & post-secondary (high technology)
Establish a foundation for economic development
The WB and the Knowledge Economy
Human Capital:
Invests in programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills of a nation's workforce
Skills for industry
Move up the value chain
Global School Curriculum:
Supports the development of a common curriculum focusing on literacy, math, science, foreign languages (English), and civics
Quantitative Measures:
Quantifiable goals and objective measures to assess success or failure
Business model
Individualizes schooling: each student is a discreet unit in which knowledge is deposited (economic input) and measured (economic output)
The WB and Edu-Business
Standardized curriculum: same global economy . . . same educational needs
Assessment-driven instruction: need to measure the effectiveness of programs
Student-centered learning: business model of inputs and outputs
Extensive use of Information and Communication: efficient mode of delivery (from radio courses in the 80s to "One laptop One child"
Critics point out that in many fields there is an over-supply of educated workers. (China is awash in engineering grads . . . often not very well trained by Western standards.
Nations that produce more trained workers than the economy can absorb fuel migration to other areas.
Highly trained immigrants often cannot find work commensurate with their training in host countries.
Are there enough jobs in the knowledge economy to sustain large numbers of highly trained workers?
Opening education systems to private actors from the West
Expands national debt burden without sufficient benefit
What do you think?
The knowledge economy emphasizes that knowledge has become the most important factor in economic development.

The World Bank embraces the concept of the knowledge economy. It declares that the ability of a society to produce, select, adapt, commercialize, and use knowledge is critical for sustained economic growth and improved living standards. Thus. investment in education is a panacaea for most of the world's economic problems, including the economic development of poor nations and ensuring continuing economic development in all nations.
Ethiopian Example
Sociological & Historical Context
Demographics & Economic Measures
Multi-ethnic State: 11 major ethno-nationalities & language groups
Oromo, Amhara, Somalie (3 largest)
Median age of 16.8 years (young population)
17% urban (majority rural)
Orthodox 43,5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, traditional 2.6%
Economic Measures (Under-developed Nation)
Per capita GDP: $1000 (very poor nation)
Agriculture: 44% of economy . . . 85% of workforce
Industry: 13% . . . 5% of workforce
Services: 43% . . . 10% of workforce
Politics & Conflict
Imperial History: only African nation not colonized by Europeans
Ancient Kingdom: emerged from colonization by highland Christian groups the Amhara and Tigray ethnic groups (4th century CE)
Dominates Ethiopian politics to this day
Modern State: emerged in 19th century under Menelik II
conquered the highlands and lowlands
played European powers off one another to maintain sovereignty
The Derg: Military Junta took power in 1974
Deposed Haile Selassie . . . ended ancient Abyssian line dating back to King Solomon
Eliminated imperial institutions and land distribution
Centralized power . . . won Ogaden War with Somalia
Federal State: Tigray People's Liberation Front, Eritrean Liberation Front, Oromo Liberation Front waged guerilla warfare against the Derg
1989 Menguisto fled
Federal Republic formed
TPLF gained control . . . Meles Zenawi assumed Presidency in 1995
De-centralization: Multi-ethnic federation
Constitution established 9 ethnically based regional states (Tigray, Afar, Amhara, Oromiya, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Southern Nations, Gambella, and Harar
Tigray dominate political structure
National functions increasingly de-centralized to regional states
Legacy of Ethnic Conflict: long history of ethnic conflict and imperial conquest by Amhara and Tigray (AND competition between the two dominant powers)
Result: long standing ethnic tensions and conflict
Eritrean War
Somali Resistance
Oromo Liberation Front
Ethiopian Education System
Primary: Eight Years & Two Cycles
Primary First Cycle (1-4)
Primary Second Cycle (5-8)
Secondary: Four Years & Two Cycles
Secondary First Cycle (9-10)
Secondary Second Cycle (11-12) based on "secondary education completion certificate examination" students pursue either:
University Preparation
Vocational Training
Nine regional state governments responsible for primary and secondary sectors
Teacher Training
Funded by Federal Government
Federal Government responsible for tertiary sector
Setting standards, policy guidance, monitoring and evaluation of ALL SECTORS
Ethno-nationalities & Political Conflict
As you can imagine, education is tied up with ethnic conflict
World Bank Program: General Education Quality Improvement (GEQIP)
On-going project . . .
Goal of improving general education quality (measured by "National Learning Assessment" & completion rates
High quality textbooks
Improve teacher training
Empower local communities to plan for and manage schools
Build regional state capacity to plan for and manage system
Improve coordination and monitoring functions among different levels of governance
Provide funding for these inputs
$400 million from World Bank and International Donors (2009-2013)
Matching funds from Federal Government
"Specific Purpose Grants": local governments must use funds for quality related priorities defined by the program, i.e. Donors and Federal Government
International Donor Concerns vs. De-centralized Decision-Making
Federal Concerns vs. History of Ethnic Conflict and Distrust
Strictly economic perspective obscures related dynamics at work in Education Practices/Policies
Ethnicity & Culture
Indigenous Languages
Political Conflict
Economic Development, Structural Adjustment, & the Politics of International Aid
Focus on developing and under-developed nations
Provides funding (loans) for economic development projects (requires matching funding)
Manages development projects (government, international donors, etc.)
World Models of Education
Economic World Model
Economic vs. Progressive
Education for a knowledge economy
This is the dominant perspective in global education discourses.
The goals and purposes of education are primarily economic.
Social Ontology: People find meaning and autonomy through economic activities
Business model of inputs & outputs
Input knowledge (education)
Output economic productivity
Progressive World Model
Economic development, but not primary motivator.
Goals of education & schooling are social justice, sustainability, preparation of democratic citizenry, cultural preservation, and peace
Social Ontology: People find meaning and autonomy through social interactions and relations with others
Note: a strictly economic perspective may obscure related dynamics at work in Education Policy.
Ethnicity & Culture
Indigenous Languages
Political Conflict
"Human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade" (Harvey, 2005).
"The ‘neo’ of ‘neoliberalism’ consists in‘extending and disseminating market values to all institutions and social action" (Brown, 2005)
Guiding Assumption . . .
Provides loans to middle- and low-income nations
(per capita $15,000-$1,300 per year)
Provides interest-free loans to the poorest nations
(per capita $2,400-$100 per year)
Voting Power
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