A long-awaited face-to-face meeting between officials of the two organisations has seen both sides find common ground in their commitment to both strengthening the teaching profession and to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goal on education.
The message from World Bank Vice President Keith E. Hansen and Chief Executive Officer of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Philippe le Houerou to the leadership of Education International (EI) in Washington on 3 February was made clear: an "unwavered commitment" to the strengthening of the teaching profession and to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 principles of free, quality and inclusive education for all.
The meeting was the result of months-long concerns and doubts which had surfaced at EI about the Bank's commitment given its support to the privatisation and commercialisation of education services, including for profit schooling by Bridge International Academies (BIA) in Uganda, Kenya and Liberia.
Education International studies on the operations of BIA found that the company provides poor quality education and works with unqualified teachers in order to satisfy its profit margins. The Bank officials said that EI's findings will be taken into account when the IFC's support to BIA is evaluated later this year.
The President, vice presidents, general secretary and deputies of EI took part in the meeting in which all participants agreed should be seen as a new beginning of an ongoing dialogue between the Bank and EI.