Through a Glass, Darkly: An Analysis of the Monitoring Process used in Public-Private Partnerships in Abu Dhabi Government Schools

Evans, Mark R. (2017). Through a Glass, Darkly: An Analysis of the Monitoring Process used in Public-Private Partnerships in Abu Dhabi Government Schools. EdD thesis The Open University.

URL: http://www.pentainternational.co.uk/Mark%20Evans%2...

Abstract

This thesis is a study of the monitoring process used to evaluate Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in education in Abu Dhabi. It leads to a suggested framework that is more efficient and effective in supporting school improvement.

The thrust of the literature on PPPs is to emphasise political and economic benefits, with little focus on educational outcomes. Assumptions that the use of the private sector brings about positive change are seen in the educational (as well as other) sectors, but there appears to be little data on verifiable improvements in academic outcomes.

Documentation from and about the Abu Dhabi PPP project was analysed. This gave an insight into the aspirations of those who commissioned the project. It also uncovered discrepancies between the original plans and the implementation. The imaginative aims were blurred in the attempt to press for fast results.

Interviews were conducted with a sample of stakeholders, including principals from government schools involved in the project, and others that have been part of the large PPP project to improve educational standards in Abu Dhabi. These interviews revealed their views as to the successes and the difficulties of the PPP itself and the monitoring of it.

The analysis of the results of these two strands of investigation – documentary analysis and interviews - are drawn using a post-positivist approach, in the belief that we can know the truth, but only imperfectly.

The ethical and cultural strictures within which the research was sited, are discussed in detail as they were a key element in the design of the research. They created limitations in terms of questions that could be asked and data recording methods that could be used.

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