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Philanthropic Engagement in Education: Localised Expressions of Global Flows in India

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Abstract

This article argues that the rise of domestic and international philanthropic engagement in education in India cannot be understood in isolation; rather, it is part of a broader trend of what is termed ‘new global philanthropy in education’ in the Global South. Central to understanding the nature of this engagement is the localised expression of global flows, that is, the movement and connections of ideas and actors that enable philanthropic action and discourse. Based on a global review of the literature, this article contextualises and applies a conceptual framework of philanthropic governance to India given the country’s prominence in the review. It also presents illustrative examples of philanthropic engagement in India.

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... I must underscore that, as I understand them in this piece, LFPS are a very specific subset within a broader universe of schools in the Global South targeting the least well-off. Multiple non-state private actors are currently involved in the provision of education in developing nations, including local and international NGOs, donor agencies of foreign governments, United Nations bodies, and local religious institutions, not to mention public-private partnerships (see Srivastava, 2016 for a conceptualization of private and philanthropic engagement in the Global South), and many of these institutions support a great variety of not-for-profit schools. These schools are not the subject of this article. ...
... This is not the case of LFPS I have in mind. As I mention throughout the paper, these schools are corporate-backed chains that often team up with service providers, such as education micro-finance institutions; rating systems; scripted curriculum delivery systems; and education technology providers (Srivastava, 2016). This institutional evolution is very significant for understanding why LFPS could prevent the emergence of public school systems. ...
Article
This paper examines and rejects two normative justifications for low-fee private schools (LFPS), whose expansion throughout the Global South in recent years has been significant. The first justification – what I shall call the ideal thesis – contends that LFPS are the best mechanism to expand access to quality education, particularly at the primary level, and that the premise of their success is that they reject educational equality and state intervention in educational affairs, traditionally associated with public schools, embracing instead educational adequacy and unregulated markets for education. Against this thesis, the paper argues that an ideal educational arrangement must not do away with educational equality and some degree of state interference. The other justification for LFPS – the secondbest thesis – contends that although LFPS do not represent the ideal state of affairs, they nonetheless bring us a step closer to the ideal of universal primary education; they are a ‘realistic’ approximation to that goal. Against the second-best thesis, the paper argues that this justification commits the approximation fallacy: by deviating from the ideal educational arrangement LFPS may obstruct rather than facilitate its achievement.
... In Brazil, the corporate reform of education does not sustain a privatising model with charter and academy schools and vouchers found in places like the USA, England or Chile. Nor does it focus on low-fee schools found in lowincome countries (see Srivastava and Walford, 2016;Srivastava, 2016aSrivastava, , 2016b. Instead, the corporate policies and new philanthropy agenda revolves around a results-oriented education management, with a standardisation of education, large-scale assessment and focus on STEM disciplines (Arelaro, 2007;Krawczyk and Vieira, 2008). ...
... In conclusion, in spite of long-term tensions between different traditions in the study of networks, some authors have been striving towards an anthropological approach to networks, with a greater search for meaning and context. It is within the context of crossfertilizations between SNA and anthropological approaches to networks that recently policy sociology scholars have been adopting the method of network ethnography to analyse education policy networks, like Junemann (2012, 2015), Olmedo (2014Olmedo ( , 2016Olmedo ( , 2017, and Hogan, Sellar and Lingard (2015a, 2015b, 2016a, amongst others. The method and its procedures will be discussed in the next section. ...
Thesis
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The provision of public services is increasingly shared in networks of governance with public and private actors, including business and philanthropy. Concomitantly, philanthropy is changing by incorporating business sensibilities, referred to as “new philanthropy”. Besides operating in service delivery, new philanthropists are working in policy-making, supporting policies that foment a corporate reform of education. This thesis aims to address the question of how new philanthropy operates in the network governance of education in Brazil, focusing on the labour invested by foundations in policy networks. Though having the main empirical setting of Brazilian institutions, this research analyses networks, policies and discourses that surpass national borders and considers their “glocal” dynamics, addressing how new philanthropists are connected to global networks and participate in global policy mobilities. The method of “network ethnography” is employed, with extensive online searches, interviews, and field observation. Throughout the activities, network graphs are built to identify relevant individuals, institutions and relationships. The method is supported by the approach of “following policy”, looking at the whos, whats and wheres of policy. Three fundamental and interrelated modalities of labour are identified in the activities of new philanthropy institutions: labour to frame policy problems and solutions with policy entrepreneurship; labour to coordinate, mobilise and activate relationships and resources in networks; and labour to institutionalise policies and relationships in heterarchies. This means that first, new philanthropists aim at participating in education policy-making, and labour to frame policy problems and solutions discursively. Second, networks are created and animated with many activities, such as sharing resources and promoting meetings to foster relationships. Finally, policy ideas and relationships become institutionalised in heterarchies, in which new philanthropy and public authorities collaborate to exert the governance of education. Throughout these efforts, boundaries between public and private are blurred, and education policy is rescaled globally.
... Among the wide range of NGOs working in the area of teacher training, a select segment that is largely supported by prominent corporates is increasingly gaining considerable importance in education policymaking circles (Srivastava, 2016). These NGOs employ a managerialist approach to education where the school teacher is envisioned as a technician imparting literacy and numeracy skills. ...
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Democratic capitalism has become the popular paradigm in the modern world, and it is spreading further through globalization. It is a model based on growth, expansion and constant innovation. However, it is accompanied by social problems which may worsen despite overall gains in wealth. In this paper, we suggest that democratic capitalist societies may benefit from the application of what has been a primarily American institution: Philanthropy. We present the Entrepreneurship-Philanthropy Cycle, which demonstrates the relationship between wealthy entrepreneurs, philanthropic contributions and economic opportunity. As a nonmarket and nonstate mechanism, philanthropy is unique in its structure and operations, and may offer the ideal approach to solving social problems. We suggest that both the internationalization of American foundations, and the growth of domestic philanthropy, can help developing countries offset social problems.
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