There are many obstacles to the successful provision of universal primary and secondary education. The failure of state schools to provide adequate schooling is a serious hindrance to achieving the international goal of Education for All. Non-state providers of education are regarded as an alternative but the variation in the quality of education provided is a growing concern. Educational partnerships between the public and private sector have been regarded as a way out of this impasse in the United States and Western Europe and there has been considerable debate about the economic and political implications of these public private partnerships (PPPs). Disentangling the economic and political dimensions of provision would further our understanding of these new models of educational provision. This paper sets out a typology of identifying the economic and political aspects of provision through using the Hirschmanian concepts of 'exit' and 'voice'. The idea of exit draws on the mainstream economic understanding of free entry and exit with the latter occurring when individuals were no longer satisfied with what was on offer in the market. The term voice is used to denote political activity undertaken by an individual to ensure the continued provision of a good and/or the quality of the good. Conceptualizing educational provision in relation to exit and voice permits the examination of how the role of the market and community affect the access to and quality of education. Educational initiatives by state and non-state providers in India are mapped onto this typology to gain an understanding of how the new models of education, such as PPPs, would affect the current provision of education.
Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge, UK. WP07/05, 20 pp.