The Neo-Liberal Assault on Education
Although the agenda of globalization started operating in India from the mid-1980s onwards, its formal announcement was made through the New Economic Policy in 1991. The new element was IMF-World Bank's Structural Adjustment Programme imposed on the Indian economy as a pre-condition to receiving fresh international loans/grants. This meant that the Indian government was obliged to steadily reduce its expenditure on the social sector, particularly health and education. This was a rather enigmatic pre-condition in a country where the vast majority of the people did not have access to quality health or education. In education, it made even less sense as it was imposed by those who were advocating 'Education For All' programme along with the move towards the so-called "Knowledge Economy". One can't, therefore, avoid asking the question: what was the hidden agenda?

An analysis of the declaration issued by the World Bank-UN sponsored "World Conference on Education for All" (1990) reveals that the central thesis in the Indian context was three-fold. First, the State must abdicate its Constitutional obligation towards education of the masses in general and school-based elementary education in particular, become dependent on international aid for even primary education and work through NGOs, religious bodies and corporate houses. Second, the people neither have a human right as enshrined in the UN Charter nor a Fundamental Right to receiving free elementary education of equitable quality as implied by the 86th Amendment. Third, education is a commodity that can be marketed in the global market. It follows, therefore, that the education system - from the pre-school stage to higher education - must be, as rapidly as possible, privatized and commercialised. This central thesis has originated from the highest echelons of the global market economy and the Indian Parliament, along with India Inc., has unfortunately acquiesced without any critical scrutiny whatsoever, presumably in larger "national interest". Prof. Noam Chomsky, the redoubtable US scholar-cum-activist, would not have found a more shameful example of his proposition of "manufacturing of consent"!

The Bank's Policies in Education and the Neo-Liberal Assault
World Bank Prescriptions and Structural Changes in Higher Education in India
  • People's Campaign for Common School System (PCCSS)  [Paper]
The World Bank's Policies Relating to School Education in India
  • People's Campaign for Common School System (PCCSS)  [Paper]
Testimony presented by Madhya Pradesh Shiksha Abhiyan in IPT


Arvin Kejriwal -Delhi Water Privatization
Amit Bhaduri - Response to the World Bank
Madhura Swaminathan - World Bank and Food Security


Translators needed for upcoming volume on the proceedings and for the Web site
Film makers and video editors needed!
Join us on Facebook