Stellah Keihangwe Tumwebaze1 Public Private partnership in Adult Basic Education

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1 Stellah Keihangwe Tumwebaze1 Public Private partnership in Adult Basic Education What is it? Public Private Partnership is a working arrangement that is planned to bring various resources and abilities from the Government of Uganda, civil society and private sector to achieve specific results in adult education and literacy that none of the parties working alone would get. It is also understood as a range of relationships between the public and private agencies. The minimum element to some degree of formal systematic participation in a traditionally and previously dominated by the public services. Clarity of terms Public: This refers to either central or local government (sub county, district or central) Private: Not belonging to either central or local government (NGOs, CBOS, FBOS, Cultural groups and associations) Partnership: A formal relationship between partners who have agreed to systematically work together and mutually support each other towards spelt out common goals. Adult Basic Education: In this paper ABE is defined as foundation or essential education aimed at meeting or expanding the basic learning needs of adults Note that this paper only presents the practical partnership between civil society and government. The business sector has not yet joined the variety of partners. It is also important to note that by the Government of Uganda, I am referring to national ministries and their institutions, plus local governments and their institutions. Civil society includes the national and international NGOs, Religions, institutions, trade unions, kingdoms, independent research organisations, the media and many other 1 National Coordinator, Literacy Network for Uganda 1

2 people s organisations. Again, this paper will narrowly focus on the partnering of government and NGOs. This is because the other elements of civil society have not yet been won over in the partnership. Why partnerships? Improving education requires the collaboration of a range of actors-government, business, civil society, independent experts, communities and families. A sound education system benefits business by providing a well educated work force, political stability and economic growth. Businesses can benefit by partnering with government to influence the use of public resources and policy; leverage government resources, education expertise, and legitimacy; gain access to national and community leaders; enhance corporate visibility; and deliver on social responsibility commitments (George I, 2006, pg 6). The Uganda s poverty reduction strategic paper strongly supports different forms of partnership in service delay, adult education inclusive: (PEAP, Pg175) It further states that, civil society groups suggested that some of the delivery of adult literacy programmes should be sub-contracted to NGOs and against this background, our government (Uganda) agreed to consider this proposal. Where governments have entered into serious partnership with NGOs and other private agencies, the results have been impressive. One example is Brazil s literacy solidarity. NGOs are often noted for their innovations, aggressive approach, quality outputs and implementation structure that allows them to be at the grassroots level where the majority non-literate live (Litado 2003, pg5). There is a case for promoting public private partnership in Uganda. Other than NGOs playing a significant role in the delivery of ABE services in Uganda, CSOs have proved to be fast and innovative in addressing challenges in the implementation of adult literacy programmes (LitNet 2006, pgix) 2

3 A strong partnership between civil society and government should be hinged on clear roles and responsibilities. The different roles in ABE partnerships have been researched and documented as shown below Source: LitNet Research, The study clarified on different roles to be played by different players in the delivery of the adult literacy programme in Uganda. This has further facilitated the establishment of partnerships in the districts. Adult education in Uganda has benefited from partnerships and collaboration into various agencies in bilateral and international arrangements (Okech pg 5). Some of the aspects of adult education that have been achieved under partnerships include; i. Professional development of adult education providers and their institutions ii. Curriculum and materials development iii. Policy development 3

4 iv. Research and publication v. Organising and celebrating international literacy day How these have been achieved Professional development Co-operation in this category has covered training activities within the country, funding for the organisation and managerial development of adult education institutions and organisations and provision of personnel for technical assistance to develop and support the institutions. Key players in this area has been the German Adult Education Association as international NGO supporting government institutions, the Icelandic Development Agency has contributed a lot in funding the capacity building of NGO staff and Government in adult education areas. Curriculum and materials development The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has in the past worked closely with NGOs in the development of the Adult Literacy Curriculum. NGOs are perceived to be closer to the grassroots and therefore aware of their actual learning needs. The involvement of government and NGOs has led to the development of literacy key documents such as; National adult literacy training manuals Curriculum Adult literacy learning materials Research studies on adult literacy National Literacy Strategic Investment Plan National Literacy Management information system In Uganda, NGOs have been recommended for their creativity in developing literacy materials (Okech, 2001, pg 45). 4

5 Examples of materials Examples of materials that have been produced in partnership with government, national NGOs and International development partners. Policy Development. The Uganda Draft policy on non formal adult learning was initiated by the civil society and later taken up by the government. This shows the true partnership in the delivery of adult basic education in Uganda. 5

6 In 2002, Literacy Network for Uganda (LitNet) mobilised other civil society actors to input in the National Literacy Strategic Investment Plan (NALSIP). The process was initiated by the government and worked in partnership with NGOs to ensure that the document is comprehensive. Secondly, the Government of Uganda has worked with civil society in the development and implementation of National Adult Literacy Management Information System. Civil society played a key role in pre-testing the data collection tools and training in software. Research in adult Basic Education. One significant outcome of the partnership has been in research. Different adult education actors have conducted studies and these have been a basis for the development of various adult education programmes in Uganda. Examples include the adult needs assessment by the Icelandic Development Agency in islands, Directory of Adult Education in Uganda by Makerere University in partnership with UNESCO. All these and others have provided a basis for the development of adult education programmes to cater for the diverse learning needs of the learners. LitNets recent study on partnerships has gone a long way to defining the roles of different players in adult education delivery. Will partnerships hinder or facilitate? Since poverty is multidimensional, it includes lack of basic education and resultant powerlessness and voiceless. If some of the expected impacts of ABE are to include self confidence, self esteem, civil virtues, good governance and stronger civil society, then civil society should or must be involved in delivery ABE. It is often claimed by NGOs that they reach bigger areas and live within the community where the beneficiaries live. Are we not missing the synergy of putting those with grassroots experience (CSOs) together with those with a democratic mandate (government) and efficient groupings (private sector)? 6

7 Factors for effective partnerships i. Existence of CSOs with capacity and sizeable / significant share of service delivery with a shared mission close to that of government is important for a successful Public Private Partnerships. ii. A supportive policy framework and guidelines are pre-requisites to a successful Public Private Partnership. These should be disseminated to guide all the stakeholders and especially to the service providers. Details of the specific partnerships should be highlighted in the implementation guidelines contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (LitNet, pg 34). For example, in Health where partnerships have been successful, a National Health Policy has been instituted. This aims at strengthening collaboration and partnership between the public and private sector. Similarly, the non formal adult learning policy highlights how the government will work in partnership with the private sector in the delivery of adult education. However, it does not mention the mode and nature of different partnerships it will consider. iii. Clearly defined areas of partnership facilitate Public Private Partnerships. Different roles to be played by different actors in the delivery of adult education have been defined both by LitNet research on partnerships and non formal adult learning policy. Unless, the roles are clearly defined, the partnerships are bound to fail as there will be overlaps and duplication of activities. iv. The Public Private Partnership requires a lead agency but there should be appropriate fora for effective representation of the private sector partners both at central and the local government level. A network of civil society organisations as the lead agency to coordinate civil society activities with government is very important. Network monitors on government ensures space for civil society participation in government initiated activities. 7

8 Likewise, it is easier for government to reach NGOs through a network than contacting each individually. For effective partnership the CSOs should be willing to work hand in hand with the government. There is a need to involve partners with good technical capacity and ability to add value to the partnership. As much as commitment of partners is very important, there should equally be enough CSOs on the ground with the capacity to deliver the services (LitNet, pg 35). Furthermore, it would be appropriate for donor funding to go through the partnership basket and then Government identifies CSOs to implement the activities in a particular area in consultation with the network. This would enhance collaboration and coordination and increase information flows between the public and the private sector. Conclusion In Public Private Partnerships, civil society should be a loving, critical friend of government. In the love, civil society should share in a transparent way its professional expertise. Government should accept to open up on an equal basis, discuss and formulate policies jointly with civil society. Funders should support both CSOs and government to deliver adult education work in a systematic partnership. Various models of partnerships should be tried out. When all these are done, then we shall be on the path to genuine Public Private Partnership in Adult Basic Education. 8

9 Bibliography. George I et al (2006) The Untapped opportunities, USA Kasaija S et al (2006) Public Private Partnership in Adult Basic Education-Research, Kampala, Uganda LITADO (2003) Literacy Advocacy, Kampala, Newsletter Article Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (2004) Poverty Eradication Action Plan, Kampala, Uganda Okech A et al (2001) Adult Literacy programme in Uganda, Kampala, Uganda. Author Information Stellah Keihangwe Tumwebaze has 9 years experience in Adult Literacy and Basic Education work. Her specific experience is in designing training programmes for adult literacy learners. She has worked closely with governments in developing literacy plans and lobbying the government to incorporate them. Stellah has a Post graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management from the Uganda Management Institute and a Bachelors Degree in sociology social Administration from Makerere University. 9

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