Human Rights in The World Bank 2020 Education Strategy

  • Salim Vally
  • Carol Anne Spreen
Part of the Comparative and International Education book series (CIEDV, volume 14)


At the outset of the World Bank’s new Education Strategy 2020. Learning for All (hereafter, WBES 2020), the right of all children to access education is proclaimed together with a ringing endorsement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet, human rights do not feature again in the document. Our critique concerning the rhetoric behind the World Bank strategy as an attempt to colonize the human rights discourse, embraces Uvin’s sardonic sentiment “like Moliere’s character who discovered that he had always been speaking prose, that human rights is what these development agencies were doing all along. Case closed; high moral ground safely established” (Uvin, 2010, p. 165).


Labor Market Human Capital Education Strategy Education Policy Early Childhood Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amin S. Unequal development. Sussex: Harvester; 1973.Google Scholar
  2. Amin S. Accumulation on a world scale: A critique of the theory of underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press; 1974.Google Scholar
  3. Baran PA. The political economy of growth. London: Penguin; 1973.Google Scholar
  4. Bradlow D. The World Bank, the IMF and human rights. Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems. 1996;6(1):48–89.Google Scholar
  5. Danaher K, editor. 50 years is enough: The case against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. London: South End Press; 1994.Google Scholar
  6. Dreze J, Sen A. India: Development and participation. New Delhi: Oxford University Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  7. Easton P, Klees S. Conceptualizing the role of education in the economy. In: Arnove R, Altbach PG, Kelly GP, editors. Emergent issues in education: Comparative perspectives. New York: State University of New York Press; 1992. p. 1324.Google Scholar
  8. Frank AG. The development of underdevelopment. Monthly Review. 1966;18(4):17–31.Google Scholar
  9. Frank AG. Capitalism and underdevelopment in Latin America. London: Penguin; 1969.Google Scholar
  10. Graaff J. Poverty and development. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2003.Google Scholar
  11. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. (19890. Articles of Agreement (as amended effective 16 February 1989), Article IV, Section 10,
  12. Lake, L. & Pendlebury, S. (2008). Children's right to basic education. In S. Pendlebury, L. Lake, & C. Smith (Eds.), South African child gauge 2008/2009. Cape Town: Children's Institute, University of Cape Town, pp. 19-23.Google Scholar
  13. Marginson S. After globalization: Emerging politics of education. Journal of Education Policy. 1999;14(1):19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Motala, E. & Chaka, T. (2005). The case for basic education. CEPD Occasional Paper No. 4. Braamfontein: Centre for Education Policy Development.Google Scholar
  15. Motala E, Vally S, Spreen CA. Reconstituting power and privilege or transforming education and training? In: Bond P, Maharaj B, Desai A, editors. Zuma's own goal: Losing South Africa's war on poverty. Asmara: Africa World Press and South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development; 2010. p. 241–259.Google Scholar
  16. Nussbaum MC. Frontiers of justice: Disability, nationality, species membership. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  17. Nsapato, L. E. (2011, January 22). What good will new World Bank education strategy bring to Malawi? Nyasa Times. Google Scholar
  18. Ohiorhenuan, J. (2002, September 25). The poverty of development: Prolegomenon to a critique of development policy in Africa. Sixth Professor Ojetunji Aboyade Memorial Lecture. Pretoria: United Nations Development Programme.Google Scholar
  19. Pogge T. World poverty and human rights. Cambridge: Polity Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  20. Spreen CA, Vally S. Education rights, education policies and inequality in South Africa. International Journal of Educational Development. 2006;26(4):352–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rodney W. How Europe underdeveloped Africa. London: Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications; 1972.Google Scholar
  22. Rostow WW. The stages of economic growth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1960.Google Scholar
  23. Schultz T. The economic value of education. New York: Columbia University Press; 1963.Google Scholar
  24. Sen A. Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1999.Google Scholar
  25. Sen A. October 28). Edinburgh: The importance of basic education speech to the Commonwealth Education Conference; 2003.Google Scholar
  26. Sen A. Elements of a theory of human rights. Philosophy and Public Affairs. 2004;32(4):315–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Simmons J, editor. The education dilemma: Policy issues for developing countries in the 1980s. New York: The World Bank and Pergamon; 1986.Google Scholar
  28. Tikly L. A roadblock to social justice? An analysis and critique of the South African education Roadmap. International Journal of Educational Development. 2011;31(1):86–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tomasevski, K. (2001). Right to education primer No. 3. Human rights obligations: Making education available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable. Gothenburg: NovumGrafiska.Google Scholar
  30. Tomasevski, K. (2006a). The state of the right to education worldwide. Free or fee: 2006 Report, Copenhagen: Right to Education Project,
  31. Tomasevski, K. (2006b). Six reasons why the World Bank should be debarred from education.
  32. Uvin P. From the right to development to the rights-based approach: How "human rights" entered development. In: Cornwall A, Eade D, editors. Deconstructing development discourse: buzzwords and fuzzwords. Warwickshire, UK: Practical Action Publishing and Oxfam; 2010. p. 163–174.Google Scholar
  33. Vally, S. (2007). Rights and responsibilities in education. The star series—Education in South Africa today (pp. 3-5). Johannesburg: Wits School of Education/The Star.Google Scholar
  34. Watkins P. The quality debate. Rosebank, South Africa: Global Campaign for Education, Rosebank; 2011.Google Scholar
  35. World Bank. (2010, February). Concept note for the World Bank Education Strategy 2020. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.Google Scholar
  36. World Bank. (2011). Learning for all: Investing in people's knowledge and skills to promote development. World Bank Group education strategy 2020. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sense Publishers 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salim Vally
    • 1
  • Carol Anne Spreen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of JohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Curry School of EducationUniversity of VirginiaU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations