Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: the bank policy report as a research project
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This article considers the adequacy of the research base underlying recommendations in the Bank Report and the context within which this project was undertaken. It argues that the Report must be viewed in the broader context of the Bank’s macro- economic structural adjustment policies and considers the extent to which several of the Report’s major policy recommendations are prefigured in the Bank’s Initiating Briefing of 1985. Overall, the effort is to be complimented for the breadth of the study, the openness of its presentation, and its ability to question positions that the Bank had espoused in the past. In some areas, notably recommendations regarding the impact of books and distance education materials, the research base presented in the Report seems insufficient. The study is also faulted for the limited use of African scholars. Finally, this article considers the extent to which events in the continent may be outpacing the research project. For example, the informal ''privatization" of education within the formal system and the possibility that reforms in educational finance, coupled with a perceived decline in the private returns to education, may move in the direction of threatening past progress toward universal primary education.