After the  World Bank issued a draft of the 2019 World Development Report,  General Secretary of the international confederation of teachers unions, the Education International (EI), responded in an open letter, explaining why the report was based on flawed assumptions about the relationship between economic, social, and political change:  "Although there are many references to “human capital”, there is not a single mention of “human rights”. There are references to 'social capital,' but not a single mention of 'social justice.' There are many references to individual
progress,  but  there  is  nothing  about  solidarity  or  collective  progress.  And,  there  is  not  a  single allusion in the text to democracy."

The World Bank has now issued the final version of the report, and the EI has, correctly in our opinion, sharply criticized the report and the World Bank for failing to recognize the harm its policies do throughout the world, especially in the global south. The EI website notes that "On education, students are still considered as if they were factors of production to be churned out of schools to serve the global economy."  In his recent blog, a professor of education in the United States provides background about why the World Bank's policies are so damaging, noting the "World Bank forced Ghana to charge public school students and their families school fees, pushed to eliminate food subsidies in war-torn Iraq, and required Tanzania to privatize its water system."

The EI notes that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have, unlike the World Bank, engaged in some self-criticism and seem to have adopted new ideas.  Yet, as is true of the World Bank, these international finance organizations are not subject to democratic control. The World Bank and IMF joint communique about "dangerous currents" in the global economy, and their shared advice about controling debt - a primary argument used by governments throughout the world to maintain austerity -  shows the shared agenda of all three organizations.   Moreover, the minor correctives to the 2019 World Development Report illustrate how little power unions have when playing by the rules established by these organizations for consultation.

The 2019 World Development Report shows the reasons "solidarity from below" is needed more than ever, to provide teachers and their unions global support.