A critical discourse analysis of public-private partnerships in education in Black Africa : A case of basic education in Liberia
Sammanfattning: With many countries in Black Africa immersed in external debts and yet others grappling with effects of civil wars and pandemics, social services such as basic education and primary health care pose challenges to them. To mitigate such shortcomings in the region, innovative ways to provide basic education are sought by the private sector. To meet the goals of education for all, national governments fall short of alternatives which gives rise to options like low fee private schools (LFPSs). But these innovative ways which are basically home-grown have got foreign competitors who provide the same basic education services. This thesis does not address the element of competition; rather it explores latest global changes that affect almost all aspects of social life – particularly basic education. This thesis looks at the public-private partnerships (PPPs) in education with low fee private schools (LFPSs) as one of the ‘innovative’ ways of providing basic education; this has had an effect of having entire basic education systems contracted out by national governments in the region. With weak public service systems, how can Black Africa implement PPPs with LFPSs? Using Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis – theory and method as well as operationalised space-times theory by Harvey (1990), this thesis probed PPPs with LFPSs in Liberia. The objectives were to understand the nature of educational reforms advocated in PPPs with LFPSs and to examine the kind of relationship between government and private sector service providers in PPPs with a view of locating the power within such relationships. Another objective was to probe how equitable and inclusive these basic education services provided by PPPs with LFPSs were. The study revealed that PPPs with LFPSs are implicated in denying access to the rural communities, limiting equitable and inclusive education to many social groups like the poor, girls and people with disabilities as well as seeming to undermine national and local governments due to power and ideology.
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