Following the attention given by the Jomtien Declaration to the need for partnerships and collaboration in the promotion of educational improvement (World Declaration on Education for All, 1990), developing countries have initiated several partnership programmes with many international donor agencies. These partnerships for educational development in Africa vary in scale, character and context, and the institutional and policy frameworks are now more demanding. The conception and practice of partnership has been a challenge primarily because, how the policy/organisational framework, design and practice of partnerships influence the outcome of such collaborations remains poorly understood. In this study I examined the framework, construction and practice of partnerships using the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) educational partnership programmes in Ghana and South Africa as case studies. I studied these two examples of JICA funded programmes in order to determine the opportunities and constraints that such partnerships offer. Data was collected through interviews with 12 key officials using semi-structured questions and the analysis of documents. Such documents as project proposals, monitoring and evaluation reports, minutes of stakeholders’ meetings and newsletters of each of the two case studies were reviewed. Observations of some project activities such as stakeholders’ meetings, training workshops and conferences were also conducted for the purpose of validation. Using the concept of ‘surface and genuine partnership’ proposed by Mkandawire (1996) and Odora Hoppers (2001), data were analysed focusing on the interactive effects of partners on the outcomes of the two partnership programmes. Evidence gathered from this study suggests that while partnerships are key they are often narrowly conceptualised for two reasons: First, the common conception of partnerships as ‘bringing resources together’ with little or no recognition of the interactive effect of partners on their success is limiting. This is mainly because partnership engagement may go beyond the resource agenda to issues of mutual respect, power relations, nature of dialogue and professional as well as interpersonal relationships. Second, partnerships normally focus on supply-driven opportunities rather than stimulating demand among immediate beneficiaries. The need of creating sustainable capacity building systems for teachers in the long-term is imperative however it requires stimulation of demand among teachers who are the potential users of the knowledge and skills offered by such partnership endeavours. Third, I found that the initial model and construction of a partnership becomes less significant if actors practically engage in genuine partnership given that: (1) the principles of pure dialogue will lead to flexibility, which allows reconstruction as the partnership evolves and (2) the practice of shared culture and interest will permit creative use of challenges in devising innovative approaches. The main lesson presented in this study is the revelation that no mater how well intended and designed a partnership arrangement is, its subsequent implementation can adversely be affected by the practices at both the individual and organisational levels. The characterisation of the implementation process of the partnership described in this dissertation is a mixed bag of stimulating and limiting factors. It therefore presents a crucial responsibility to collaborators to deliberately devise mechanisms that will maximise the former and at the same time minimise the later. The significance of this study is that both policymakers and donor agencies involved in partnership arrangements as well as researchers need to rethink the conceptualisation of the term partnership (Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, 2005) and re-examine the policy and institutional context (Azar, Harpring, Cohen&Leu, 2004; Hall, R. 2002) under which such educational development partnership ventures thrive.
Dissertation (MEd (Curriculum and Instructional Design and Development))--University of Pretoria, 2008.