Multi-stakeholder partnerships under the Rajasthan education initiative: if not for profit, then for what?

Pachauri, Anupam (2012) Multi-stakeholder partnerships under the Rajasthan education initiative: if not for profit, then for what? Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis explores the development of a multi-stakeholder partnership model using a multiple case study research design. Specifically this study examines the rationale for the launch of the Rajasthan Education initiative, its development and its impact on educational development and reaches conclusions about the scalability and sustainability of multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs) in the context of Rajasthan.

The literature review shows that there is insufficient independent research evidence to support the widespread claims that public private partnerships (PPPs), of which MSP is a new ‘avatar’, are able to deliver results in terms of developmental gains and added value. This paucity of evidence and profusion of claims is partly explained by the fact, that the research that has been commissioned is not independent and its conclusions have been shaped by vested interests of those promoting the organisations they claim to evaluate. In particular organisations associated with the World Economic Forum (WEF) have been
projecting PPPs and programmes of corporate responsibility as a way to engage for-profit organisations and enhance the effectiveness of external support for the delivery of services to basic education. Alongside this not-for-profit PPPs are seldom scrutinised in terms of public accountability, value for money, scalability, or sustainability partly due to the voluntary nature of such inputs to the public system. I believe my research makes a new and unique contribution to the independent evaluation of state enabled, not-for-profit MSPs in action.

The research selected eight formal partnerships for case study which were selected using a
matrix of organisational characteristics, scale and scope of interventions. The case studies
are organised into four thematic groups i.e, School adoption, ICT based interventions,
teachers’ training and universalisation of elementary education in underserved urban
localities. Each case study is examined using a framework which highlights three
dimensions. These are i) the design of the partnership, ii) stakeholder involvement and intra
agent dynamics and iii) the Governance of the partnership.

A cross case analysis of the eight partnerships is used to arrive at conclusions about MSPs in Rajasthan. This uses the concept of double contingency of power (Sayer 2004), and specifically the concept of causal power and causal susceptibilities and Stake’s (2006) multiple case analysis, to discuss the commonalities and differences across partnerships and emerging themes while cross analysing the partnerships.

I have engaged in interpretivist inquiry and sought to understand the workings of an MSP
which involves businesses and CSR groups alongside NGOs and government agencies with an aim to place Rajasthan on a fast development track. Rather than looking for an ideal
type MSP, I problematise the MSPs in Rajasthan as I explain the workings of an MSP
model in action. Given this methodological perspective, I have used semi structured
interviews, observations of the partnership programmes in action, and document analysis as methods to collect and corroborate data for this study.

The study concludes that the exiting MSP arrangements in REI are not scalable,
unsustainable and have very limited impact. Moreover, the MSPs are unstable and reflect
fluid inter-organisational evolution, as well as ambiguous public accountability. There was
no purposeful financial management at the REI management level. In addition the exit
routes for partners supporting interventions were not planned, resulting in the fading away
of even those interventions that showed promise in accruing learning gains for children, and
by schools and teachers. Non-scalability and lack of sustainability can be inferred from the
fact that the partners do not have a long term view of interventions, lack sustained
commitment for resource input and the interventions are implemented with temporary work
force. The instability of the partnerships can be explained through the absence of
involvement of government teachers and communities. Also economic and political power
dominated the fate of the programmes. In this MSP it was clear that corporate social
responsibility (CSR) was a driving force for establishing the MSP but was not backed by
continued and meaningful engagement. The ‘win-win’ situation of greater resources,
efficiency and effectiveness, which formed the basic premise for launching the REI was not
evident in reality.

MSPs are gaining currency globally. This research points to the fact that much more
intentional action needs to be taken to ensure that partnerships such as these have a
sustained impact on development. The problems and issues of education are historically,
politically and socially embedded. Any action that does not take this into account and
which is blind to the interests of different stakeholders in MSPs, will surely fall short of
achieving what it set out to do. Further independent research examining the ambitions and
realities of other MSPs is needed to inform policy development and implementation. This is
essential for achieving the goals of education for all before investing further in what
appears to be a flawed modality to improve access, equity and outcomes in education.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2801 School administration and organisation
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0071 Education and the state
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG021 Asia > LG060 India. Pakistan. Bangladesh. Burma (Republic of the Union of Myanmar). Sri Lanka. Nepal
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2013 14:08
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2015 12:54

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