Quality in Indian Education: Public-Private Partnerships and Grant-In-Aid Schools

Romina De Angelis


The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 represents the 'last piece of the puzzle' that was missing in Indian education policy. This Act was passed at a time when the nature of the Indian state was inherently changing, due to the (neoliberal) policies adopted in the last decades. Neoliberal ideology suggests a withdrawal of the state from the public sphere, where the private sector would produce more efficient services. With the enactment of the RTE, the state reiterates its commitment and responsibility to provide free and compulsory – and ‘good quality’ – education to all children. This study investigates the nature of the modern Indian state in comparative terms with the past, using the discourse on quality in education as a framework for analysis. It takes into consideration the features of and values promoted by the current neoliberal framework, within which the new model of Public-Private Partnerships in education has been proposed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. A qualitative approach is employed, including the study of documents, and the use of in-depth interviews with educational experts, practitioners, activists and government officials. Case studies of two grant-in-aid (GIA) schools were conducted, to provide insights on the experiences, advantages and shortcomings of this system in the state of Maharashtra. These insights of the GIA system are used to reflect on the PPP model, suggesting the need for the state to strengthen its role rather than ‘rolling back’. Recommendations are provided regarding the need of further research to assess long-term implications of PPPs and employ approaches beyond the dichotomy public versus private. Critical reflections unveil that policy making needs to promote an inclusive paradigm shift in Indian education.


PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) in Indian Education

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ISSN 2049-9558
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