Education in the era of globalisation: Who benefits?

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In the context of economic neoliberalism, educational policies assume positive effects for both economic growth and equality of educational opportunities. In recent years, this thinking has been hegemonic: it has been extended around the world and especially in developing countries (with a special role of the World Bank). Those policies are presented as a response to the challenges of globalisation and as the correct strategy to ensure collective benefits of educational development, especially for socially disadvantaged groups. This paper identifies the main theses of neoliberal educational policy. The relationship of education and labor market, the connection between educational expansion and public expenditure and educational strategies to combat poverty are explored as some of the fields where neoliberal educational policies are produced. Expected effects of educational policy measures are questioned for each of these fields. At the same time, the text provides evidence of results that show that the most disadvantaged groups are not those that can really obtain the main benefits of mainstream educational policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-671
JournalEducacao e Sociedade
Issue number108
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • Development
  • Educational policy
  • Globalisation
  • Inequality
  • Poverty


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