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  • Series: NORRAG Series on International Education and Development x
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Edited by Natasha Y. Ridge and Arushi Terway

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Arushi Terway

The chapter presents the recent trends in the growth of philanthropic engagement in education development that not only demonstrated an increase in the level of philanthropic funding but also a diversity in the location, types of institutions, ideas and approaches to giving. This has generated critical debates on the role and approaches of philanthropic engagement in global education between those who support greater involvement of philanthropic organisations in meeting the funding and innovation challenges in the education sector and those who caution us to examine how philanthropies, as private actors, change the landscape of education as a global public good. In discussing the diverse perspectives and trends, the chapter summarises how authors in this book address these emerging issues at the global, regional and national levels.

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Prachi Srivastava and Robyn Read

There is a lack of commonly used terminology to classify non-state private actors in education. This presents challenges for research. This chapter considers the implications of hybridity on definitional exercises. It presents pre-determined definitions that were found in two literature reviews framing a study on non-state private actors financing education initiatives in Asia, with a focus on private foundations and impact investors. The literature reviews revealed serious definitional inconsistencies in the conceptual literature as well as in how terms were used by actors themselves. Inconsistencies were aggravated by incomplete publicly available data on organisational self-identification and by differing regulatory contexts. The chapter provides an inductively derived working typology on organisational forms of private foundations, impact investors, and other actors relevant to the study. It argues that inductive characterisations may be better-suited to classify organisational forms than regulatory definitions, particularly for hybrid actors or those using hybrid strategies. This is heightened in comparative or global studies.

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Megan Haggerty, Bronwen Magrath and Gordana Kelava

This chapter focuses on the International Education Funders Group (IEFG), an affinity network of over 100 foundations whose grant-making efforts go towards enhancing the quality of basic education in low- and middle-income countries. These sorts of networks are rarely put under the spotlight and are often a bit of a mystery to outsiders. In order to shed some light on the role of funder affinity networks in strengthening the collective work of education grant-making, this chapter documents the history and current activities of the IEFG and throws a special focus on the organisational structure of this member-led group and how it meets the demands of its diverse membership. In a final step, the chapter describes the challenges that lie ahead for the IEFG, such as the administrative and organisational necessities of a rapidly growing network that will eventually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of education grant-making.

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Maya Ziswiler and Arushi Terway

With an estimated USD 2.5 trillion annual funding gap to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is becoming increasingly clear that many of the world’s most pressing problems cannot be solved without alternative sources of funding. Social finance has the potential to draw additional private capital to drive positive social change by offering new solutions, striking the right balance between risk and reward whilst maximising social impact. Philanthropy can help build the ecosystem for innovative finance and pilot new instruments such as Development Impact Bonds and other blended finance options. This chapter presents UBS Optimus Foundation’s approach to social finance in the education sector along with a description of existing initiatives and programmes the Foundation is supporting. Through the ecosystem-building framework, UBS Optimus Foundation’s approach demonstrates the potential of bringing private capital funding into the education sector that can catalyse innovations to tackle some of the complex problems within the sector.

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Natasha Y. Ridge, Susan Kippels and Elizabeth R. Bruce

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, there has been rapid growth in the number of philanthropic organisations over the past 15 years, in particular in the education sector. However, there is still very little research that takes a detailed look at what exactly philanthropic organisations are doing within the sector. This chapter explores philanthropic activity in the education sector across 11 MENA countries. Using data from 65 philanthropic organisations, we examine key funding characteristics, activities and beneficiaries in order to identify regional similarities, differences and challenges. The chapter begins by identifying the three main types of philanthropic organisations in the region, with relation to funding models. It then explores how each of these funding models impacts decisions relating to activities and beneficiaries. The chapter concludes with a discussion of current challenges and suggests directions for future research.

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Noah D. Drezner

Philanthropic giving towards higher education up until relatively recently was solely a U.S. phenomenon. However, there has been significant growth around the world in the number of countries that are encouraging such support of institutions. This chapter explores the possible explanations for this global growth: first, that there is a functional need for philanthropic support of higher education; second, that this trend is a form of isomorphism where institutions are striving for prestige; and, third, the growth of philanthropy can be explained as a function of borrowing and lending of perceived best practices. The chapter concludes with additional questions that the global growth raises and future directions for research.

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Fabrice Jaumont and Teboho Moja

This chapter analyses the decades-long relationship between leading U.S. foundations and universities in Africa, with a focus on the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. The study highlights the complex dynamics of philanthropic collaborations in this specific sector. U.S. foundations have positioned themselves strategically in the ecology of international developers and have succeeded in advocating the importance of higher education for Africa’s economic development. However, this study shows that donor-to-donor collaborations are not easily implemented and that donor-to-recipient collaborations are not set on equal footing, particularly in the context of higher education in Africa, and that this inequity has a bearing on projects’ design, implementation, outcomes and sustainability.

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Matthew D. Bird and Vicente M. León

After registering the fastest growth among Latin America’s major economies in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the World Bank reclassified Peru as an upper middle-income country. Yet its human development and education indices have struggled to improve in parallel with per capita income. With overseas development assistance (ODA) shifting resources outside the country, local philanthropists sought to fill the social investment gap. What philanthropic and social investment models are emerging in Peru, and what lessons do they offer for other countries caught in the middle-income social investment trap? We base our responses on an original quantitative and qualitative survey of 157 philanthropic organisations in Peru’s 10 largest cities. Given the size of philanthropic spending relative to the country’s public education budget, the ability to strategically leverage investments becomes even more critical to generate impact at scale.

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Heitor Santos

This chapter uses the case of Intel Corporation in Brazil to explore the tensions surrounding the use of corporate funding to promote education reform. Using a distended case approach to policy analysis, it explores Intel’s investment in science fairs in Brazil and abroad to show how, while the movement for science fairs in Brazil has made significant contributions towards the need for a diversified science curriculum, it not only promoted the establishment of a movement that contradicts existing conceptions of the value of science, but it also punished other movements that failed to abide by its standards. These results serve to indicate the increased impact of international philanthropic work in science education, in ways that often contradict the basic principles of a country’s education system. These findings should promote further discussion about the influence of international programs of corporate responsibility, especially in the field of education.