Educating for Prosperity:An Historical Analysis of Education as the Panacea for Poverty

  • Author / Creator
    Ocampo Gomez, Elizabeth
  • Policy emphasis on education as a medium to alleviate poverty and to achieve development is this thesis’s topic. Long enforcement of this approach has led us not only to believe in the education-for-prosperity link, but also to reproduce it and create a social system that works in line with it. This study explored this approach as conceived by key international financial institutions—the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank—and by a specific nation-state—Mexico.
    An historical analysis was conducted of 29 documents from 1960, when these banks first became involved in policy making and funding of education projects worldwide, to the present time. They were chosen because of their relevance in effecting concrete practices in the education sector. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to read, analyze, and identify relevant categories within them. A content analysis methodology was also used to study the treatment of the concepts of education and poverty over time by the two banks and Mexico.
    This study contributes to a deeper understanding of how educational policies came to be. The study of the banks revealed that the link between education and poverty occurred at the end of the 1980s. This link was strengthened by a shift of focus from the nation to the individual, which facilitated the education-for-poverty objectives. The study of Mexico suggests that international policies influenced national education policies; Mexico adopted the same perspective during the 1990s, a decade later than the banks.
    Despite the strength and acceptance of education for prosperity, it is still a social construct of our creation and reproduction. The key recommendations are (a) to develop further understanding and appreciation of the noneconomic side of education; (b) to distance education from economic and neoliberal principles that belittle its humanistic side; (c) to consider that education, our way of conceiving it, and our practice is a social construct that can be challenged and changed; and (d) to seek a type of education that truly fosters equity and equality.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.