Education economics, Sociology of education

In cooperation with the "Privatisation in Education Initiative" of the Education Support Programme (Open Society Foundations)


Course date

9 July - 13 July, 2012
15 February, 2012
The application process is closed; no more applications will be reviewed.
Course Director(s): 

Ian Macpherson

Education Support Programme, Open Society Foundations

Mary Metcalfe

Development Bank of Southern Africa
Course Faculty: 

Faisal Bari

Open Society Institute, South Asia and Central Eurasia Project

Pramod Bhatta

Educational Unit, Martin Chautari Centre for Social Research and Development, Kathmandu, Nepal

Nicholas Burnett

Results for Development Institute (R4D), Washington, D.C., USA

Roger Dale

Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, UK

Suhas Ketkar

RBS Greenwich Capital, USA

Susan Lee Robertson

Department of Education, University of Bristol, UK

Daniel Pop

Open Society Foundation, Education Support Program, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Kenneth J. Saltman

College of Education, De Paul University, Chicago, USA

Aleesha Taylor

Education Support Program, Open Society Foundations, New York, USA

Geoffrey Walford

Department of Education, University of Oxford, UK

The global education landscape is changing rapidly. The last few decades have witnessed shifts in at least four major areas. First, there has been a growing trend of liberalization, marketization, commercialisation and privatisation of educational markets, and the penetration of market dialogue into debates on education. The liberalization of most markets has also called for a rethinking of the role of the government and the private sector in many areas, especially those that were traditionally taken to be the domain of the government.

Second, fiscal pressures on lending and borrowing governments, intensified by the persisting global economic crisis, have pushed this rethinking and forced the exploration of ways to combine private and public initiative for ensuring provision in some of the sectors thought to be the responsibility of the state. Non-traditional methods of raising funds for education have been sought and a number of prospective instruments developed.

Third, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of human capital development - and education in particular - for the processes of economic growth and national development. This looks likely to increase, with a growing emphasis on Technical and Vocational Education by international organisations, development banks and bi-lateral donors. The sharper focus between education and the work place through human capital development results as much from a dissatisfaction with the basic education agenda as the perceived need for increasing economic growth and national development.

Fourth, there continues to be recognition of education as a right of every child, at least up to secondary level. Demands of economic and social justice usually provide the justification for ensuring provision even in cases where education might not be taken as a basic right. International commitments such as the ‘Education for All’ goals and the MDGs are examples of such thinking, while nationally the change of educational rights from non-justiciable sections of a constitution to the basic rights sections highlight the traction of rights-based dialogue at national levels.

Research does exist that addresses each major trend, yet very little is undertaken that explores the extent and manner in which they fit together. Additionally, while non-traditional funding instruments have been developed, they have not been piloted nor has there been critical scrutiny outside of the tight circles that developed them. Nor does research seem to exist on the implications of the confluence for financing, education governance and the organization of service delivery in education across the world. Further, there is a lacuna of enquiry into the social justice implications of these converging trends. Further still, the scant analysis is not widely available or utilised in such a way that informs a debate between education decision makers – including policy makers, practitioners and academics.

This course aims to bring together original thinking, internationally renowned academics at the top of their field, state-of-the-art research and original web-based resources into critical debates on education financing and privatisation in and of education in its different forms.

The summer school will run two concurrent streams. The one will be on Regionalisation, Globalisation and Privatisation in Education; the other will be on Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Quality Education. Taken together, the two streams work towards a more comprehensive analysis and exploration of the political economy of education and as such begin to establish a core of durable and useful ideas and debates around education justice and to provide knowledge and examples of how these can be advanced collaboratively and internationally. 

Applicants will be requested to make their choice between the above two streams in the online application system and submit their application to one or the other. If they wish, they can submit a separate application for both streams marking their preference on the Course Ranking Page (page 10) of the online form. The participants for each stream will be different but they will work together on cross cutting areas.