Annotations in an annotated bibliography help you identify the resources you have consulted, describe those resources, and evaluate them. An annotation is more than just a summary or abstract as it should give sufficient critical information for you to determine its usefulness and effectiveness in your research. It should, therefore, be both descriptive and analytical.For this Discussion, you will draft of an annotated bibliography based only on one article you chose for this week’s Assignment. The article must be one you selected in the Week 4 Discussion that is relevant to the research gap you identified. You will review one another’s annotations to offer suggestions for improvement.Identify one article that you selected and that you are also including in this week’s Annotated Bibliography.

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International Journal of Educational Development xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
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International Journal of Educational Development
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Neoliberalism, academic capitalism and higher education: Exploring the
challenges of one university in rural Haiti

Max Stephenson Jra, , Laura Zanottib

Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance School of Public and International Affairs, 201 West Roanoke Street Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States
Department of Political Science, 509 Major Williams Hall Virginia Tech, 220 Stanger Street Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States
World bank
Rural community development
Higher education
Academic capitalism
This analysis of Rural Haitian University (RHU, a pseudonym) highlights the complexities that have arisen as a
social entrepreneur in an extremely poor rural region in a deeply impoverished developing nation has sought to
employ higher education to encourage community development. We argue that RHU has languished as a result
of its founder’s embrace of a grass roots-centered vision that nonetheless ironically tracked neoliberal assumptions and conditions concerning institutional sustainability. We contend that our case suggests that a
strategy that assumes self-sustaining and autonomous higher education institutions is unlikely to succeed in very
poor nations.
1. Introduction
2. Background
This article explores the efforts of a Haitian social entrepreneur to
develop Rural Haitian University (RHU, a pseudonym), to promote
development of the remote agricultural region in which it is located.1
Frederick Kiberlain (a pseudonym), who created the institution, did so
as an early adopter of the view that higher education could stimulate
development in deeply impoverished contexts. His view was consonant
with then emerging World Bank policy encouraging such efforts. We
suggest that neoliberal assumptions and international donors’ funding
priorities as well asKiberlain’s initial mistaken hope that the university
he founded could be community funded and self-supporting, have
limited the strategic choices available to this NGO leader by pushing
him to emphasize ‘autonomy’ and ‘survival’ for RHU. That fact has
placed the university in persistent jeopardy of failing and has undermined development of its potential reach and effectiveness. This article
comprises six parts: this introduction, a description of the Haitian
context (labeled background), a summary of recent World Bank policy
concerning higher education, an overview of our research approach, a
brief comparison of the close similarity between RHU’s struggle to
survive on the basis of its Founder’s assumptions and the dynamics of
academic capitalism and our conclusions.
Haiti occupies a land area of 28,000 km2, and mountains make up
70% of the country’s territory. Roughly 70% of Haiti’s nearly 10 million
residents live in its 570 rural communal sections, while 30% of its
people reside in the nation’s urban centers. The government’s 18
Ministries and State Secretariat find it extremely difficult to provide
even basic public services to any portion of the country due to chronic
governance challenges, including the lack of anything resembling an
adequate national taxation system and an exceptionally poor population (Kiberlain, 2009). Indeed, as we write, the nation is once again
embroiled in a governance crisis that is threatening its path to democratization and vigorous development (Razafimbahiny, 2015; USAID,
In consequence, social services are principally provided by international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) that also serve as the
backbone of the nation’s economy. In January 2010, for example, such
NGOs supplied more than 70% of available health care in Haiti.
Similarly, private schools, operated primarily by INGOs and NGOs
(often funded by their international cousins), provide education to 85%
of the nation’s elementary and secondary school-aged population that
receive it (International Crisis Group, 2009; 13). Haiti has one of the
most privatized school systems in the world (Edmonds, 2013; 440).
Moreover, local NGOs and the Haitian state rely heavily on foreign

Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (M. Stephenson), (L. Zanotti).
We have employed pseudonyms to protect the confidentiality of those individuals we interviewed for this analysis and use those throughout this article. We assigned pseudonyms to
interviewees and to the university we examined when citing documents related to it or describing its operations. We have done so to honor the conditions of the consent provided by
participants in our study.
Received 8 September 2016; Received in revised form 23 June 2017; Accepted 11 August 2017
0738-0593/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Please cite this article as: Stephenson Jr., M., International Journal of Educational Development (2017),
International Journal of Educational Development xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
M. Stephenson, L. Zanotti
In 2000, a World Bank-UNESCO Task Force on higher education
encouraged the Bank to reconsider its lending policies based on the
need to address the global knowledge economy. The group contended
that lesser-developed nations might be lifted from poverty by cultivating citizen capacities to engage in the so called ‘knowledge economy’
through improved access to strengthened higher education institutions.
Naidoo has observed that the primary assumption underpinning this
mindset was that developing countries could succeed by emulating the
developed world (Naidoo, 2008; 85). The manifestation of this frame
was a repositioning of funding to support, “higher education in developing countries as a crucial site for social development and for the
production, dissemination, and transfer of economically productive
knowledge and innovation” (Naidoo, 2008; 84). The important phrase
in this sentence was ‘economically productive knowledge and innovation.’ The Bank was willing only to acknowledge forms of knowledge
and inquiry that in its view were directly germane to a country’s existing employment markets. This sort of thinking was a direct product of
the assumption that knowledge could be commodified and only such
curricula as could be viewed as instrumentally serving current employment could be perceived as legitimate (Kauppinen, 2014). Both
assumptions were (and are) powerfully reductionist and unable to accommodate broader views of higher education as crucibles for individual acquisition of multiple forms of communication and reasoning
capacities that are applicable to diverse forms of employment as well as
the exercise of citizenship responsibilities.
This view also supposes that there are adequate public and private
sector employment markets with demand sufficient to absorb those who
graduate from developing nation universities. In Haiti, as in many other
emerging nations, this assumption is false, with too few jobs available
to support a burgeoning youth population. In fact, as noted above, the
job market in Haiti is by and large driven by international NGOs that
employ those individuals who are better educated, thereby diverting
human capital that might otherwise be available for locally driven
entrepreneurial initiatives. Furthermore, As Daumerie and Hardee have
funds to support their operations. In fact, fully 70% of the central
government’s budget is foreign financed (Ramachandran and Walz,
2012). In the absence of a working tax system, national state budget
resources depend disproportionately on collection of customs revenues,
especially from Haiti’s main port in Port-au-Prince (PAP). However,
special interest groups have controlled the capital city’s harbor and all
other secondary seaports and customs houses since a devastating
earthquake in January 2010.
The state and NGOs alike confront a situation in which approximately 76% of the Haitian population lives on less than $2 a day, and
56% survive on less than $1 per day. Moreover, about 30% of Haiti’s
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is comprised of remittances from the
country’s diaspora, on which approximately 1.1 million people depend
for sustenance. This situation of low income and strong reliance on
external support has been aggravated by the fact that impoverished
farmers have been migrating to already overcrowded Port-au-Prince at
the rate of 75,000 people per year.
The nation’s former President Michel Martelly (2011–2016) embraced education as essential to the future of the nation. But only 22%
of Haitians finish elementary school, and 1% complete college (Downie,
2012; A8). While more than 40% of the children who live in and around
Port-au-Prince continue to seventh grade, less than 10% of young
people living in the rural areas do so. For the nation’s other urban
centers, the overall enrollment rate in seventh grade is approximately
30% of the eligible population (IHSI/Fafo, 2003, cited in Lunde, 2008).
For its part, notwithstanding recent rhetorical support from national
leaders and fiscal aid from international donors, the higher education
sector in Haiti faces a number of challenges, including a lack of reliable
and ongoing sources of funding, an ongoing brain drain through international migration and to INGOs located in-country (that frequently
offer better pay and working conditions than Haitian public or private
sector posts may provide), and a continuing population shift away from
rural areas and toward the country’s already overwhelmed cities, particularly Port-au-Prince. Moreover, as noted in 2. above, the nation’s
universities, including RHU, have all had to find ways and means to
address the destruction of major shares of their infrastructure by the
January 2010 earthquake, and in this effort they have received very
little support from the Haitian government, whose facilities and work
force were also badly affected by that disaster. These trends have
contributed to an ongoing depletion of Haiti’s human and social capital.
Haiti’s demographic characteristics contribute greatly to the country’s economic and environmental challenges and opportunities.
Ninety-seven percent deforested, Haiti is densely populated with
339 inhabitants per square kilometer. The high rate of population
growth for several decades combined with limited arable land has
resulted in unsustainable environmental pressure. … The median
age of the population is 20 years, and almost 70 percent of Haiti’s
people are under age 30 (Daumerie and Hardee 2010; 2).
3. STET The World Bank and higher education
A 1994 World Bank report on higher education outlined the rationale on which the Bank had dramatically reduced lending for higher
education to developing nations in favor of primary and secondary
More generally, as Kruss, McGrath, Il-haam Petersen and Gastrow
have recently argued,
… higher education investments have lower social rates of return
than investments in primary and secondary education and investments in basic education can also have more direct impact on
poverty reduction, because they tend to improve income equality
(World Bank, 1994; 12).
the relationship between higher education and economic development is extremely complex and deeply contextualized and based in
particular sectors in particular skillsets [and] in particular firms
(cited in Van Hilten, 2015; Kruss et al., 2015).
To attain their goals for higher education in developing nations, the
World Bank and the IMF “have exerted tremendous pressure to roll back
state control, deregulate domestic markets and open them up to international trade and competition” (Naidoo 2008; 86). Consistent with
these neoliberal aims to dismantle state social support programs, the
World Bank, as noted above, had long been openly unsympathetic to
understanding higher education as a public good. In addition, consistent with neoliberal notions of free trade and the movement of goods
and ideas, the Bank has supported efforts by universities to be more
competitive in the knowledge economy.
A UNESCO position paper on Higher Education post-2015 (2014)
found that unequal access to higher education is likely to continue to
exist in most developing nations for decades to come because of poor
elementary and secondary education and persistent poverty:
Bloom et al. later found that the Bank had indeed decreased support
for higher education from 17% of its worldwide education portfolio
between 1985 and 1989 to just 7% between 1995 and 1999 (Bloom
et al., 2006; 4).
The Bank’s 1994 analysis also contended that developing nations
could ill afford to treat higher education as a public good (World Bank,
1994; 21). The World Bank’s position was that access to higher education should be limited and provided to students on a cost-sharing
basis (World Bank, 1994; 4). But, in a signal of a possible shift, this
document also suggested that countries that adopted this more ‘sustainable’ stance might be provided support (World Bank, 1994; 86). In
practice, this observation meant little, as the Bank did not reconsider
seriously the role of higher education in development for six more
International Journal of Educational Development xxx (xxxx) xxx–xxx
M. Stephenson, L. Zanotti
RHU’s vision, mission and challenges. We did so iteratively for each text
by means of a process of open and axial coding, identifying all possible
themes and then aggregating those until we had identified a set of core
perceptions among our interviewees concerning the relationship of
RHU aims, capacities and capability to ensure continued pursuit of its
stated aspirations, on the basis of its goal of autonomous institutional
We also gathered all of the documents we could obtain for the
period 2011-present concerning the founding vision and evolution of
RHU and we examined each for its assumptions concerning the financial and organizational structure and standing of the institution as
well as for its leaders’ arguments concerning how such was to occur as
the university confronted a continuously unforgiving economic and
political context.
Progress in the provision of basic education and the growing need
for relevant skills and lifelong learning opportunities have substantially increased demand for access to different streams and
forms of post and basic and tertiary education. Ensuring equitable
access to relevant and diversified post-basic and tertiary education is
a challenge that all countries must meet.
This challenge is particularly acute in the least developed countries,
where insufficient opportunities to access higher levels of learning
have resulted in a knowledge gap with serious consequences for
social and economic development (UNESCO, 2014; 5).
UNESCO has likewise called for developing nations to strengthen
technical curricula for their higher education students.2
This neoliberal perspective, by virtue of being imposed on developing nations, including Haiti, via structural adjustment programs, has
displaced local narratives and culture:
5. Rural Haitian University
5.1. A community supported strategic vision
[The neoliberal account] universalizes policies and obscures country
and regional differences. … [It] denies the capacity of local institutions and cultural values to mediate, negotiate, reinterpret and
transmute the dominant model of globalization and the emergent
form of knowledge capitalism on which it is based (Olssen and
Peters 2005; 330).
RHU, which formally began operations in January 2004, is located
in a remote mountain rural area in Haiti and is the product of the
imagination of its founder, Frederick Kiberlain. He envisioned RHU as a
mechanism to combat Haiti’s cycle of poverty through the creation of
social capital and economic opportunities in its region and beyond.
Kiberlain foresaw recruiting students for RHU via specialists working
with local grassroots organizations in each of the 570 rural communities in Haiti (Kiberlain, 2013). In his view, the nation had to decentralize educational opportunity to retain intellectual capital in its
countryside, since the major share of the country’s citizens continue to
reside there, and to nurture a workforce able to secure development
(Kiberlain, 2013).
In an interview with the authors in 2012, he suggested that it is
necessary to work at different levels to cultivate and retain social capital within communities (Kiberlain, personal interview, May 15,
2012). He saw RHU as part of an effort to secure that purpose and the
development linked to it in its region and across Haiti. In particular, the
University’s 2012 strategic plan embraced a grass roots-oriented mission centered on peasant culture and sustainability as a way to break a
perceived cycle of dependence on external support:
In short, UNESCO and World Bank’s a priori assumptions concerning knowledge, employment and higher education in developing
nations, including Haiti, stand in stark contrast to the conditions actually obtaining there. In consequence, its policy prescription ill fits the
contexts to which it is targeted:
One factor missing to spur economic growth is qualified manpower.
Only six out of every 1000 people in the labor market have a certificate or diploma and less than two-thirds of the population is
literate (Daumerie and Hardee 2010; 8).
There is neither a vigorous job market of the sort the Bank and
UNESCO routinely has envisioned in their commodified view of
knowledge arising from higher education, nor a workforce equipped to
assume positions in that ideologically imagined marketplace in Haiti.
4. Research approach
The university will be based on a solid ethical foundation that respects the Haitian peasants’ cultural identity, their set of values. For
instance, the university will be founded on the principle of solidarity. The university will be based on the principle of popular
education. That means it takes as its starting point the peasants’ life
experiences. … The philosophy of the university and all the subjects
taught should also be based on the principle of sustainability. The
students must be prepared in such a way that they learn to minimize
their dependence on external factors and instead maximize the selfmanagement and development of their communities. In other
words, they become promoters of independence rather than dependencies (Rural Haitian University, 2012, emphasis in the original).
We conducted fieldwork at RHU in 2011 and 2012 and have remained attentive to the institution since, a task aided considerably by
the (participant observer) service of one of the authors on the United
States Board of Directors for RHU from 2012-present. Indeed, one author’s governance role for RHU has afforded both authors routine access
to the institution’s leaders and to documents the university has produced during that time concerning its ongoing efforts to maintain its
operations. During our field visits to Haiti, we interviewed 8 RHU-affiliated students (of the approximately 20–25 then active), 3 university
administrators, 3faculty members and 2 volunteers. We also interviewed 2 other local citizens, 1 INGO representative responsible for a
grant to RHU and 7 well-known Haitian education leaders familiar with
the aims and operations of the university. Our 26 interviews were semistructured in character and varied in length from 35 to 75 min. One of
the authors is fluent in French, which allowed many conversations to
occur in that language. When that was not possible, we arranged for a
translator to undertake simultaneous translation from Creole to English.
We used our interview data to parse key questions confronting RHU as

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