Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Education funding in SSA

My lecture in development theories criticised the neoliberal agenda of the World Bank and IMF by giving an example from Africa in passing, while he was lecturing about industrialisation and statecraft. Basically, this week questions if industrialisation is the only way for countries to eradicate poverty. (This is where Singapore and other Asian Tigers get mentioned a lot, because us 'late industrialising countries' had strong state intervention, with policies like import-substitution industrialisation.) For a state to implement an industrial policy, it also needs to have a social policy in health and education to develop a skilled labour force, which is also exactly what happened here in these Asian Tigers.

I didn't know this, but in many sub-Saharan African states, funding to universities were slashed as part of structural adjustment policies about 2o years ago, because the neoliberal agenda of the WB and IMF considered this sort of education spending to be "pro-elite" and unfriendly to the poor. Instead, they want the spending to be redistributed to poor for basic education. As a result, the university sectors have collapsed and it's ridiculously expensive to go to universities in Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, etc. and not to mention that this invites corruption when parents try to earn extra money to send their children to university. As Ellen puts it, so everyone has basic education, but where do they go now?


adeline said...

sad huh. they don't even get a say in how to spend money for their people. makes you think about how stuff's really unfair.

Sya said...

yeah, their massive debt leave them with not much choice besides accepting loans from IMF/WB that come with conditionalities. except maybe, not spending all that aid on luxury consumption in the first place, hoho.


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