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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 7: Private Foundations, Philanthropy and Partnership in Education and Development: Mapping the Terrain

Prachi Srivastava and Su-Ann Oh

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


Prachi Srivastava and Su-Ann Oh Introduction ‘Partnership’ between the public and private sectors is increasingly touted as an advantageous way of financing and delivering education in developing countries. Within this context, there is a general belief that partnerships with, and philanthropy by, private foundations are ideologically neutral and procedurally effective and efficient. This is despite previous research, though largely focused on American foundations and Western philanthropy, which shows highly complex and often self-interested motivations and colonial, neocolonial and imperialist paradigms underpinning education delivery through private foundations (Arnove 1980; Berman 1983; Davis 1976; King 1971). Given the reported increase of private foundations globally, and their growing prominence in key international fora, such as the World Economic Forum, the main purpose of this chapter is to more solidly grasp the role that private foundations are currently playing in education finance and delivery in the global ‘South’. The guiding intention is to call attention to this influential group of actors, and establish a renewed research agenda on the topic. Results of a review of key developments indicate that, as a set of actors, private foundations form a complex matrix of local and international actors about which we know very little, and claims about their efficiency and effectiveness in education finance and delivery are premature. We argue that a renewed interest in private foundations by international policy actors is driven by two particular discourses – one resulting from the macro-policy backdrop for education finance and the other entrenched in an uncritical ideological acceptance of a...

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