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Public Private Partnerships and the implications for educating youth from poor communities: a vew from South Asia

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This paper examines the manner in which new private providers of education operate within, and how they withdraw from, the educational marketplace in countries where mass schooling has not yet been achieved. The conceptual framework is drawn from the original model of exit, voice and loyalty in educational markets created by Hirschman in 1970 that set out the mechanisms by which households evaluate the difference in educational provision provided by each provider.

It focuses on the responses of suppliers to exit and voice mechanisms used by households to signal their level of satisfaction with the range of educational provision available from state and non-state providers. The paper maps how new private providers respond to households of different socio-economic status making schooling choices and examines the extent to which type and quality of provision are altered in relation to these schooling choices. The data collected from rural and urban communities in India and Pakistan is used to show how new hierarchies of provision are created, with branding exercises such as English-language learning to attract better-off households and cream skimming methods to attract academically more able students through coaching centres and other supplementary educational provision. The poorer households and less academically able students face economic, social and political hierarchies that work against equal access. The implication of our findings regarding the manner in which new providers are using PPP contracts to further profits and brands in the face of diminished exit and voice mechanisms exercised by poorer households is a rise in the inequality of educational outcomes. Furthermore, the nature of state-private provision interactions work to strengthen existing institutional hierarchies and obstruct the objective of universal access to education and improved quality of educational provision.

This talk is part of the Centre for Commonwealth Education (CCE) series.

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