This paper gives an account of the author's experience on the Steering Group of the Education for All Conference from 1989 to 1990. The main purpose is to give a firsthand account, based on primary sources, of the discussions that took place in the meetings and the editing of the documents leading up to the EFA Conference in Jomtien. This participant-observer account is based on draft documents circulated and verbatim notes taken during the preparation stage and the conference itself. The conclusion is that the original neo-liberal economic approach to improving basic education was retained in the final documents because alternative approaches were largely discouraged or reduced to small editorial changes. The main mechanisms for ensuring this result were the drafting and publicizing of the original documents as the basis for building a “global consensus” with little time or opportunity for changing the basic assumptions underlying the suggestions for research and reform.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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