Debt distorts state priorities

6th October 2000 at 01:00
JAMES Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank, is correct in stating that the bank and the International Monetary Fund have homework to do with respect to developing countries and the debt crisis (TES, September 22).

Wolfensohn correctly draws attention to the need for governments to prioritise education, be efficient, introduce safety nets, ensure high quality, and have proper, transparent politics. He also wisely points out that the vast majority of finance for education comes from inside a country.

However the real problem is debt-slavery.

It is difficult for countries to prioritise education when they are victims of natural disaster; to be efficient when they lack the expertise and human resources; to have safety nets and quality when constanty struggling to get anything off the ground.

And they have to deal with outmoded cabalistic practices and racist attitudes of western governments and unaccountable bodies such as the bank and the IMF (whose policies are seen by many economists as out of date). Indeed, Uganda was recently refused debt-relief by Austria, France, Germany and Japan.

Your reports "Children bear the burden of debt" and "Uganda's dash for expansion" understandably focus on education and Oxfam's campaign. Perhaps wider questions need to be pondered and a good place to start is

Stephen Pennells

Support teacher and co-ordinator

Ethnic Minority Achievement Service

Ducie high school

Lloyd Street North

Moss Side, Manchester

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today