Critical Attributes of Public-Private Partnerships: A Case Study in Vocational Education

Critical Attributes of Public-Private Partnerships: A Case Study in Vocational Education

Hitendra Pillay (Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, QLD, Australia), James J. Watters (Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, QLD, Australia) and Lutz Hoff (Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, QLD, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/javet.2013010103
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Abstract

The term ‘partnership’ is increasingly used by governments, industry, community organisations and schools in supporting their daily businesses. Similar to the terms ‘ICT’ and ‘learning’, ‘partnerships’ are now ubiquitous in policy discourse. Yet, the term remains ill-defined and ambiguous. This study reviews and reflects on a government led industry-school partnership initiative in the state of Queensland, Australia, to understand how the term is used in this initiative. Given the frequent use of Public Private Partnership (PPP) language, PPP was used as a framework to review this initiative. The methodology of this qualitative case study involved consultations with stakeholders and an analysis of Gateway schools documents, policy documents, and literature. The review suggests that despite the use of terminology akin to PPP projects in Gateway school and policy documents, the implicit suggestion that this initiative is a public-private partnership is untenable. The majority of principles shaping a PPP have not been considered to a significant extent in the Gateway project. Although the review recognises the legitimate and sincere purpose of the Gateway schools initiative, the adoption of a PPP framework during the design, monitoring, or evaluation stages could have strengthened the initiative in terms of outcomes, benefits, and sustainability.
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Review Of Underlying Assumptions In Private-Public Partnerships

Proponents of public-private partnerships in education (Ball, 2003; Caldwell & Keating 2004; DEEWR, 2012; Deloitte Access Economics & Queensland Resources Council, 2011; PhillipsKPA & DEEWR, 2010) note three apparent benefits. These are cost efficiency; responsiveness to local demands to overcome an over-reliance on a centralised and rigid state bureaucracy; and adaptability to changing work practices stimulated by industry–led continuous knowledge innovations.

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