New Actors and Modes of Governance in a Globalizing World
Edited by Susan L. Robertson, Karen Mundy, Antoni Verger and Francine Menashy
Chapter 3: International PPPs in Education: New Potential or Privatizing Public Goods?
Alexandra Draxler ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ – asked Alice. ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to’ – said the Cat. ‘I don’t much care where’ – said Alice. ‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go’ – said the Cat. (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll 1865) Introduction The term ‘partnership’ has joined the fashion vocabulary of development as the ‘new black’. Versatile, modern-sounding, ready for all occasions, it carries seductive connotations of innovative solutions and magically-unearthed extra resources; an exciting and energetic new way of doing things. It seems to sweep away stodgy notions of financial assistance programmes implemented by bureaucratic government entities using cumbersome and inefficient procedures. It replaces them with heady perspectives of actors liberated from the ineffective yoke of useless constraints and brought together by the common purpose of doing things more flexibly, rapidly, effectively and economically.1 When ‘public private’ is added as a qualifier, the whole package seems to make mouths water with the potential of business methods and talents working to assure an ever more perfect public good. What exactly is meant by ‘public private partnership’, or by the companion term ‘multi-stakeholder partnership’, that parses the concept to include a wider range of actors, notably nongovernmental organizations?2 Even at the definitional stage, conceptual differences arise, and they are not benign. This chapter highlights these conceptual issues and attempts to provide some markers for clarifying roles and responsibilities involved in PPPs. The purpose...
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