Strauss Kahn outside the Washington Conference
The leaders of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been urging countries in the Global South to achieve the Milleniium Devlopment Goals (MDG's) at the UN conference in Washington this week.
The Millennium Devlopment Goal for education would mean that all children received a basic primary education by the year 2015. All reports are clear that even this minimal goal cannot possibly be achieved by the year 2015.
It is deeply ironic that the leaders of the IMF and the World Bank are urging countries in the Global South to achieve the MDG's. Strauss Kahn - head of the IMF said: “we need a sense of shared responsibility between the various actors—the developing countries themselves, the advanced economies, and the international institutions."
In Sub Saharan Africa for example teachers are struggling to survive on as little as $1 a day in some cases - class sizes can be as big as 200 and resources are minimal. Yet when the IMF comes into a country reports show that public spending actually decreases by 8%. According to Strauss Kahn the lending by the IMF coupled with the 'conditionality' (which is the insistence that countries cut their budgets) are 'designed to support growth—sustained, pro-poor, inclusive growth—which is the priority.'
Meanwhile the World Bank - whose leaders also addressed the conference about the need to fulfil the MDG's is the organisation which arranges for corporations to go into countries like Tanzania for example (see previous posts) and expatriate their entire mineral resources. International corporations are making unimaginable profits in Sub Saharan Africa while children are taught in rotting buildings with little or no sanitary facilities. The rhetoric of the IMF and the World Bank is as far away from the reality for teachers and children in the Global South as the fine banquets they enjoy at these kinds of events are from the average meal for the vast majority of people in the world.
Meanwhile teachers in the Global South - like their counterparts in the OECD countries are not engaged in trying to reach the MDG for Universal Primary Educaiton by 2015. They are struggling as we all are to form a relationship with real children and help them to learn and become happy and fulfilled individuals. It is just that in the Global South they are doing it in unimaginably worse conditions while the wealth which is their birthright is robbed from beneath their feet.