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Education, Privatisation and Social Justice
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Education, Privatisation and Social Justice

case studies from Africa, South Asia and South East Asia


2014 paperback 312 pages, £28.00
ISBN 978-1-873927-37-3

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About the book

The involvement of private actors in education is not new yet in the last decade critical issues have arisen that demand close scrutiny. This volume explores emerging forms of the private through case studies from Africa, South Asia and South East Asia and makes three related observations.
First, what is new about these manifestations is their scale, scope and penetration into almost all aspects of the education endeavour – from the administrative apparatus to policymaking, and from formal provision in education settings to out-of-school activities, such as private tutoring. Second, what is particularly controversial about these developments is how education itself is being recast; as a sector it is increasingly being opened up to profit-making and trade, and to agenda-setting by private, commercial interests. Third, the learner is increasingly conceptualised as a consumer, and education a consumer good. The case studies therefore enable us to see more clearly how different forms of the private in education alter what is at stake, for whom, and with what outcomes, and the consequences for individuals and societies. In turn, these raise the very important question about what they mean for our conceptualisations of education, learning and teaching, on the one hand, and for education as a site and means for emancipation, on the other.
These are profound social justice concerns, and ones that make this volume distinctive. This book sets out to address these hard, but urgent, questions and will be of interest to academics and students of education, education researchers, government personnel and policymakers.  


Ian Macpherson, Susan Robertson & Geoffrey Walford. An Introduction to Privatisation, Education and Social Justice

Caine Rolleston & Modupe Adefeso-Olateju. De facto Privatisation of Basic Education in Africa: a market response to government failure? A Comparative Study of the Cases of Ghana and Nigeria

Hamna Ahmed, Sahar Amjad & Masooma Habib. Private Schooling: determinants and implications for social justice in rural Punjab, Pakistan

Pramod Bhatta. Public Desire for Private Schooling in Nepal

Christine Sommers. Primary Education in Rural Bangladesh: degrees of access, choice and participation of the poorest

Govinda Subedi, Mandan Gopal Shrestha & Mukti Suvedi. Dimensions and Implications of Privatisation of Education in Nepal: the case of primary and secondary schools

Monazza Aslam & Paul Atherton. The Shadow Education Sector in India and Pakistan: opening Pandora’s Box

William C. Brehm & Iveta Silova. Ethical Dilemmas in the Education Marketplace: shadow education, political philosophy and social (in)justice in Cambodia

Prachi Srivastava & Claire Noronha. Early Private School Responses to India’s Right to Education Act: implications for equity

Ta Van Tuan. Socialisation Policy and Access of the Rural Poor to Education in Vietnam

Chona S. Sandoval & Cecilia V. Soriano. Education Service Contracting in the Philippines: assessing benefits for marginalised users

Francine Menashy, Karen Mundy & Momina Afridi. The Role of the World Bank in the Private Provision of Schooling in Pakistan

Curtis B. Riep. Omega Schools Franchise in Ghana: ‘affordable’ private education for the poor or for-profiteering?

Ian Macpherson. Interrogating the Private-School ‘Promise’ of Low-Fee Private Schools


Modupe Adefeso-Olateju is Director of The Education Partnership Centre (TEP Centre), an education partnership consultancy specialising in the design, implementation and evaluation of multi-sectoral partnerships in education in sub-Saharan Africa. She has six years of research experience in private-sector participation in education. As an education-policy specialist, she leads on a range of donor-funded education-sector support programmes where she provides technical assistance in the spheres of strategy, monitoring and evaluation, and programme management. Serving as a member of the Federal Minister of Education’s Technical Task Team, she also contributed to the development of the 2011–15 strategic education-development plan for Nigeria. Modupe holds a PhD in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education, University of London, where her research assessed the effectiveness of public and private schools in Nigeria.

Hamna Ahmed is a senior research and teaching fellow at the Centre for Research in Economics and Business, Lahore School of Economics (Pakistan). She has a Master’s in Economics from Warwick University (UK) and has been affiliated with the Lahore School since 2008. On the macro side, Hamna is interested in issues relating to trade and export competitiveness. On the micro side she is interested in issues such as firm and innovation, education and child labour. She is currently working on community-led organisations across Pakistan in collaboration with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and researchers from Oxford University, UK.

Momina Afridi is a PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include global governance institutions, education policy and public–private partnerships in education. In the past Momina has worked with various non-profit organisations in Pakistan and Canada on development programming related to youth and gender. Momina holds a Master’s in Development Studies from York University, Toronto, Canada.

Sahar Amjad is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan. Her research centres on the debate between private versus public education in Pakistan, with a focus on the determinants of school choice and the role of shadow education. Previously she held a position as a Teaching and Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Economics and Business at the Lahore School of Economics. Sahar holds an MPhil from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a BSc from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Duong Thi Viet Anh is Deputy Director of the Centre for Development and Integration. She was the National Education Coordinator of ActionAid Vietnam and is currently steering member of the Vietnam Coalition of Education for All (VCEFA) and focal person in Vietnam for the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic Adult (ASPBEA). Anh earned her Bachelor’s in International Relations from Hanoi Dong Do University (Vietnam) and her Master’s in Business Administration from Wales University at the Management Development Institute of Singapore. Her research interests are in education and ethnic minorities in Vietnam.

Monazza Aslam is an Education Economist with more than 10 years of experience working on education, labour markets and gender issues in developing countries. A Rhodes Scholar from Pakistan (Wolfson, 2000), Monazza completed her DPhil in Economics at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom followed by a post-doctoral position at the Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford. Her work has featured in several peer-reviewed journals and she has been invited to present her findings at prestigious events and conferences. Currently a Visiting Researcher at the Institute of Education, University of London (UK) and Senior Research Fellow at the Idara-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA, Pakistan), she has significant experience advising organisations such as the World Bank and the Department of International Development.

Paul Atherton is a reformed economist working on education issues in developing countries. He is currently working for the Education Policy Team in the UK’s Department for International Development. Prior to this he was a Lecturer in the Economics of Education at the Institute of Education in London. His work has featured in several peer-reviewed journals and he has been invited to present at numerous international events. All views expressed are his own, and do not reflect the views of the UK government.

Pramod Bhatta, PhD, is the General Secretary of Martin Chautari (MC), a research institution in Kathmandu, Nepal. At MC, he has conducted research on various aspects of Nepal’s education system and also trained young researchers from various marginalised groups. He teaches sociology of education, public policy and research methods to graduate and post-graduate students at the Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University (Nepal). He is also involved in the government of Nepal’s on-going School Sector Reform Program as a consultant through the Asian Development Bank. He has edited several books and published research articles in the areas of foreign aid, decentralisation and inequalities in education.

William C. Brehm is a PhD candidate at the University of Hong Kong. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA, USA) in 2008, and completed his Master’s degree in comparative and international education from the same institution in 2010. His dissertation research focuses on the political economy of education in Cambodia. From 2010 until 2012, Brehm lived in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and worked as the Director of Research for This Life Cambodia (TLC), an Australian non-governmental organisation.

Masooma Habib is an Associate Professor in the Economics Department and Senior Fellow at the Center for Research in Economics and Business, Lahore School of Economics. She has worked at the World Bank (Washington, D.C.) on education and gender, conducted research related to education reforms in the United States at the George Washington University, and worked as an economist at an engineering firm in Lahore. Masooma has a Doctorate in Education Policy and Administration from George Washington University and a Master’s in Economics from McGill University, Canada. Her research interests include contract teacher reform, teacher incentives, private and public schooling and economics of education.

Ian Macpherson has over 10 years’ experience in international education and development. He has conducted and managed research in education in over 25 countries, as well as managed education programmes in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. In addition to a core concern with social justice and human-rights issues in education, he is particularly interested in the international and transnational dynamics of advocacy in and around education and the role of civil-society organisations in education-policy reform. Ian is Deputy Director of the Open Society Foundation’s Education Support Programme and has directed the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI) since its inception in 2010. Ian holds a DPhil in Education Studies from St Peter’s College, Oxford University (UK); an MSc in Educational Research Methodology from St Anne’s College, Oxford University; an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University (UK); and an MA (Hons) in Mental Philosophy from Edinburgh University (UK).

Francine Menashy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston (USA). Her research centres on aid to education and private-sector engagement, with a focus on the policies and operations of international financial institutions. Previously she held a position as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Comparative, International and Development Education Centre at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research has been funded by such sources as the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Open Society Foundation. She has published extensively on the topics of public¬–private partnerships, international education policies and educational theory. In the past she has worked with an NGO in Laos, and as a teacher in Canada. Francine holds a PhD from the University of Toronto/OISE, an EdM from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (USA) and a BA from McGill University (Canada).

Karen Mundy is Professor and Canada Research Chair at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada. Her award-winning research has focused on the politics of international education assistance in the developing world, educational reform in Africa, the role of civil-society advocacy in educational systems and global citizenship education in North American schools. Her recent research, published in more than two dozen journal articles and chapters and in her five coedited volumes, is concentrated on the evolution of global efforts to ensure ‘education for all’; the role of the World Bank in education; and civil-society activism in Africa. Mundy has carried out sponsored research for such organisations as UNICEF, UNESCO, the Hewlett Foundation, the World Bank, the MasterCard Foundation, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Open Society Foundations, UNESCO and USAID. She is also the founder and co-chair of the Canadian Global Campaign for Education, a coalition of NGOs, teachers’ unions and universities committed to advancing education for all.

Claire Noronha is a Director of Collaborative Research and Dissemination (CORD) and has over 15 years of experience conducting field studies in education in India. She was a member of the PROBE team which conducted the research and analysis for the landmark Public Report on Basic Education (PROBE) (Oxford University Press, 1999). With CORD she has been researching issues related to private schools for the poor for over a decade in several studies ranging from a field study of private schools in three northern states in 1999, to the more recent qualitative research on private schools with RECOUP from 2005–10. Claire was Principal Investigator for the RECOUP research in India that focused on improving education outcomes for disadvantaged young people. The issues investigated through qualitative methodology ranged from health, fertility and skills development to disability and citizenship.

Curtis Riep is currently a Senior Policy Analyst at the United Way in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In this position he is active in local and provincial policy and research related to poverty-reduction initiatives. Curtis holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary, Canada, and an MEd in Education Policy from the University of Bristol (UK). Upon completion of his Master’s degree in 2012, Curtis was a research consultant with the Open Society Foundation. This commissioned research focused on the transnational corporate activity of the edu-business, Pearson Education and how it is shaping educational privatisations worldwide. His research interests include the privatisation of education and its implications for social (in)equity.

Susan Robertson is a Professor of Sociology of Education in the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol (UK). She is founding Director of the Centre for Globalisation, Education and Societies (GES) at the University of Bristol as well as founding co-editor (with Roger Dale) of the journal Globalisation, Societies and Education. Her research has been focused on the study of education and broader social, economic and political forces by analysing the complexities of globalising and regionalising projects, strategies and materialisations, particularly around the complexities of the privatising of education. She has chaired the Open Societies Steering Group on the Privatising of Education Initiative (PERI) since 2010.

Caine Rolleston is a Lecturer in Education and International Development at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is also a researcher for Young Lives at the University of Oxford (UK). He previously worked as a researcher for CREATE (Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity) at the University of Sussex (UK), and has experience in education research in countries including Ghana, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Ethiopia focusing on access, educational effectiveness and the economic benefits of education. He received his PhD from the Institute of Education, University of London (UK).

Chona S. Sandoval has extensive experience in indigenous education provision and policy advocacy. She was a former principal of the indigenous elementary school of the Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center (APC) in Bendum, Northern Mindanao. She is a Research Fellow of E-Net Philippines and currently a lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University. She holds an MA in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from the same university.

Mandan Gopal Shrestha is the Founder and President of Friends of Sankhu (FOS), a national-level NGO, as well as an Associate Professor and Researcher at the Tribhuvan University (Nepal). He is currently pursuing a PhD.

Iveta Silova, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Comparative and International Education in the College of Education, Lehigh University (Pennsylvania, USA). Her research and publications cover a range of issues critical to understanding post-socialist education-transformation processes, including the professional development of teachers and teacher educators, gender-equity trends in Eastern Europe, Central Europe and Central Asia, and minority/multicultural education policies in the former Soviet Union, as well as the scope, nature and implications of private tutoring in a cross-national perspective. She serves as the co-editor (with Noah W. Sobe) of European Education: issues and studies (a peer-reviewed journal published by M.E. Sharpe).

Christine Sommers spent a year and a half in Bangladesh researching rural primary education as a Fulbright Fellow through the US Department of State and as a grantee for the Open Society Foundations’ Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI). Christy has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer, researcher and international development consultant in West Africa, South Asia and Washington. Her research interests include South Asia, Education for All, basic and primary education, education privatisation and madrassa education. Christy holds a MA in International Education and Development from the University of Sussex (UK) and BA in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University (USA).

Cecilia ‘Thea’ V. Soriano was a founding Board member of the Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net Philippines), which was formed in 2000. In 2006, she worked as National Coordinator of this coalition until 2012. She studied a Master in Public Management major in Development and Security from the Development Academy of the Philippines. She is currently the Programmes and Operations Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE).

Prachi Srivastava is Associate Professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford (UK). She has published on issues of education and international development, and is among the first researchers to undertake original empirical work on low-fee private schooling in India, where she has conducted research for over a decade. She has published more than two dozen contributions in the areas of private non-state actors in education and development; education in India; education governance and reform in developing and conflict-affected countries; and international education-policy discourse. In addition to the PERI study reported in this volume, she recently completed a review of the private sector in India over the first decade of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for DFID (with Claire Noronha and Shailaja Fennell). She is Principal Investigator on a major grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to continue work on non-state actors and the right to education in India. Her latest book is Low-fee Private Schooling: aggravating equity or mitigating disadvantage? (Symposium Books, 2013).

Govinda Subedi, PhD, is the Principal of the Tribhuvan University Kathmandu, Nepal. He is engaged in several academic and non-academic researches in both the national and international arenas.

Mukti Suvedi is a Visiting Lecturer at the Tribhuvan University in Nepal and the University of Warsaw in Poland. He has abundant research experience, including 12 years of experience working in international development and humanitarian support.

Ta Van Tuan is currently Vietnam Country Director of the Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP). Tuan is providing overall leadership, strategic direction, organisational and programme management for the AFAP in Vietnam. Tuan graduated from Ha Noi University (Vietnam) and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Development from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. He has more than 14 years of working with international organisations and civil-society organisations (CSOs) in Vietnam on such development issues as public services and social policies. Tuan used to work for ActionAid International, Plan International, the EU and Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded projects in Vietnam. Tuan’s research interests include governance, public service and social accountability. His work has been published in Asian Development Bank research publications and the International Journal on Culture, Health & Sexuality.

Geoffrey Walford is Emeritus Professor of Education Policy and Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford (UK). He has degrees from Oxford, Kent, London and the Open University, and is author of more than 150 academic articles and book chapters. His books include: Life in Public Schools (Methuen, 1986); Privatization and Privilege in Education (Routledge, 1990); City Technology College (Open University Press, 1991, with Henry Miller); Choice and Equity in Education (Cassell, 1994); Doing Qualitative Educational Research (Continuum, 2001); Private Schooling: tradition and diversity (Continuum, 2005); Markets and Equity in Education (Continuum, 2006); and Private Schooling in Less Economically Developed Countries (Symposium, editor, 2007 with Prachi Srivastava). He was Editor of the Oxford Review of Education from 2004 to 2010, and has been a Deputy Editor of Ethnography and Education since it started in 2006. His research foci are the relationships between central-government policy and local processes of implementation, private schools, choice of schools, religiously based schools and qualitative research methodology. He has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Open Society Foundations’ Privatization in Education Research Initiative (PERI) since 2010.

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