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Globalisation and Inequality: Challenges to Education in Africa

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This article begins with a discussion of the terms globalisation and education. It is argued that globalisation really means capital driven market economy leading to some few winners and very many losers. The neo-liberal policies forced on African countries lead to a more class-structured society with greater inequalities. The 1988 World Bank document: Educational policies for Sub-Saharan Africa: Adjustment, Revitalization, and Expansion has become almost a Bible for the donor policies in the education sector in Africa. The document is looked at anew here with the benefit of hindsight. What has happened after this document was released? What about the World Bank Education Strategy 2020 called Learning for All: Investing in People’s Knowledge and Skills to Promote Development ? What does this shift from Education for All to Learning for All mean? Do the authors of the World Bank document show that they know that children learn better when they understand what the teacher is saying? The use of African languages as languages of instruction would make for a more egalitarian educational system in Africa. Using the colonial languages as languages of instruction serves the interest of a small elite, increases inequality and works to the detriment of the majority of Africans.
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Keywords: World Bank policies on education; globalisation and education; language of instruction in Africa; neo-liberal policies and education

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.
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