Coproducing universal primary education in a context of social exclusion : households, community organisations and state administration in a district of Karnataka, India

Subrahmanian, Ramya (2000). Coproducing universal primary education in a context of social exclusion : households, community organisations and state administration in a district of Karnataka, India. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e2e2

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the challenge of achieving the goal of universal primary education in a context that is characterised by wide-ranging disparities in the education prospects of different social groups. An overall history of state failure to provide for universal education, and the patterns of exclusion and deprivation that constrain the participation of large sections of Indian rural populations provide the background to recent policy efforts to address the problem of low education participation. The thesis argues that concerted effort is required on the part of households and of the state if future efforts to achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE) are to be more successful than the past. It analyses new approaches which recognise the importance of challenging inequality in access to education, the role of community organisations in the process of stimulating participation in education, and the need for the reform of the administrative apparatus of the state into a more responsive, flexible institution.

The coproduction framework facilitates the analysis of the means through which different institutional actors can co-operate in the production of goods and services. Recognition of the importance of social norms and networks that aid co-operation between different actors, and of the importance of effective governance on the part of the state in constructing positive relations between different actors are the strengths of the framework. However, the framework also has limitations. The thesis principally identifies the following: the assumption of shared orientations between users about the value of the good or service concerned, and the implicit assumption of homogeneity among service users and lack of attention paid to inequality and exclusion. Further, the thesis argues that there is insufficient empirical attention to the informal relations within which processes of implementation are embedded. Evidence of limitations is provided through application to a rural district, where the interface between state, community organisations and households in relation to primary education services is studied. Centrally, the thesis argues that the analysis of norms that perpetuate the reproduction of patterns of education exclusion is essential to identify the types of production processes and relationships that are necessary for inclusive and universal education.

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