Table of Contents

Public Private Partnerships in Education

Public Private Partnerships in Education

New Actors and Modes of Governance in a Globalizing World

Edited by Susan L. Robertson, Karen Mundy, Antoni Verger and Francine Menashy

This insightful book brings together both academics and researchers from a variety of international organizations and aid agencies to explore the complexities of public private partnerships as a resurgent, hybrid mode of educational governance that operates across scales, from the community to the global.

Chapter 2: Governing Education through Public Private Partnerships

Susan L. Robertson and Antoni Verger

Subjects: economics and finance, public finance, education, education policy, politics and public policy, education policy, public policy, regulation and governance, social policy and sociology, education policy


Susan L. Robertson and Antoni Verger Introduction Over the past decade, the globalization and governing of education though Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) have generated considerable debate as to their meaning, purpose, status and outcomes. This debate is particularly heated in the education sector because of the widely-held view that education is a complex social and political activity that should remain largely, if not wholly, in the public sector serving public interests. The rapid expansion of Education Public Private Partnerships (ePPPs), which increasingly involves private actors in a range of public sector education activity, including more and more of the traditional arenas of public education systems – policymaking, education provision, inspection, school management (cf. Ball 2007; Bhanji 2008; Hatcher 2006; Saltman 2010) – therefore deserves close scrutiny. To some observers, ePPPs are simply a newer, friendlier, face on a longerstanding ‘privatisation of education’ agenda (Hatcher 2006, p. 602), whilst others regard ePPPs as an innovative means of financing education that draws upon the best of the public and the private with the potential to resolve deep systemic problems in education systems, such as access, quality and equity (King 2009). Whatever the veracity of either positions, PPPs are not only ‘… increasingly professionalized, technical and rational’ (Hodge et al. 2010, p. 3), they are also part of a rapidly growing corporate industry (Greve 2010). Yet they remain an enigma, and their status as a contemporary governance practice in education continues to be controversial. At the centre of this debate are questions around what PPPs are,...

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