Higher Education and Global Poverty: University Partnerships and the World Bank in Developing Countries

by Christopher S. Collins


The benefit of higher education in developing countries has been the subject of much debate over the last several decades, and the World Bank has been at the center of these debates. Over the course of time, the World Bank has shifted its policy and position on higher education and its potential as a viable strategy for poverty reduction in the developing world. Nonetheless, many questions about the World Bank remain unexplored, and many criticisms remain unverified. Evaluation of higher education as a means of poverty reduction continues to be narrow and limited. This study investigates the intersection of higher education and poverty reduction—a connection shaped by a knowledge-based economy. The rapidly changing context of the knowledge economy and international development are key factors that impact whether or not developing countries remain consumers or become active participants in the global economy. Higher education has served a key role in producing and disseminating knowledge. Countries without an infrastructure for advanced education and science and technological research are often left without a means of creating solutions for local and global problems.

For many years, development agencies like the World Bank have been the primary source of setting the education agenda for developing countries. Billions of dollars in loans serve as the incentive to guide countries toward specific development paths, including an emerging perspective on the benefit of higher education over the last 30 years. The purpose of this study is to empirically demonstrate various links between higher education and poverty reduction. This covers a range of topics and theories related to globalization, colonialism, development, and indigenous knowledge.

Through ethnographic methods, this study offers a model for cross-border partnerships between universities in developing and developed countries, which will be highly valuable for those training to be education specialists in development agencies as the model presented casts light on the potential benefits of higher education as a poverty reduction strategy. The treatment of this subject pairs historical trends with their current impacts on various populations. This is cutting-edge information within a framework of policy analysis.

This study is founded on several case studies which examine countries, including Thailand and Uganda, where impact analyses were done on World Bank loans dedicated to the expansion of higher education in science and technology. These two countries were chosen because they are in two different regions with dissimilar colonial histories and their loans are relatively recent. A case study on crossborder university partnerships also provides a model which other universities and development agencies may utilize when positioning higher education as a poverty reduction strategy.

Delivering extensive frontline information on education, international development, and the challenges that follow, this book also includes a review of poverty reduction strategies as well as a theoretical framework that covers colonialism, development, and indigenous knowledge. This research conducted on the World Bank and the impact of its policies in two developing countries offers primary source information on work related to the topic. A major portion of the book looks at the effort put forth by U.S. universities in partnership with universities in developing countries for the purpose of using knowledge creation and dissemination as a poverty reduction strategy. The policy recommendations presented are useful for international development agencies like the World Bank, and the model demonstrated can be used by universities interested in cross-border partnerships across lines of economic development.

This book will be invaluable to educational researchers, qualitative and ethnographic researchers, international development specialists, and scholars in international education.


© Cambria Press, 2020. Innovative Publisher of Academic Research. /About Us/ Contact Us/ Privacy.