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21 - 24 September 2005, Bonn, Germany

  • DIE
  • EADI

Show details for "Role of NGOs in Education Sector Development Programme in Developing Countries"

Role of NGOs in Education Sector Development Programme in Developing Countries

Working GroupAid and Development Policy
AbstractRole of NGOs in Education Sector Development Programme in Developing Countries

Mojibur R. Doftori, Ph.D.
Department of Education, 33014 University of Tampere, Finland. Tel: +358-3-215 6860 (office), +358-415011274 (mobile), Fax: +358-3-2157502, E-mail:

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been playing a central role in education of marginalised groups in developing countries since 1980s. They emerged as alternative providers of education against the backdrop of the State’s failure to provide relevant and quality education for economically and culturally disadvantaged groups. They are assumed to have pro-poor orientation, flexibility, innovation, cost-effectiveness, and participatory approaches in their educational projects. Democratization in 1990s has been working as a further boost for role of NGOs in education sector in developing countries. Though NGOs vary in their ideologies, strategies and geographical coverage, donor-drivenness make them as part of the global “associational revolution”. NGOs are seen as symbols of social responsibility and global morality. They have long been working with project-based approach to reach the non-enrolled and dropouts from public schools with the active support of international donor agencies.

However, introduction of Sector-Wide Approaches (SWAps) and Poverty Reduction Strategic Plans (PRSPs) by multilateral and bilateral development cooperation agencies since mid-1990s has strong bearings on the future role of NGOs in development in general and education sector in particular. Under the new framework of sector programmes, donors have been emphasising national ownership of sector programmes by highlighting on coordination, complementarity and coherence among different stakeholders. Within the new modality of development cooperation, the role of NGOs in education sector has been facing serious dilemmas. On the one hand, they provide educational opportunities for hard-to-reach groups who are left out by public schools. On the other hand, they are blamed for creating parallel education system which run outside national educational administration and monitoring system.

Under SWAps, there is a distinct risk that the mandate of NGOs in education sector may be squeezed and they may turn into sub-contractors of government in the field of education losing their civil society characteristics. Despite the important role of NGOs in reaching marginalised groups, there is very little understanding on the impact of SWAps on the role of NGOs in education sector. The aim of this paper is to analyse existing literature on the role of NGOs in the education sector and the strengths and weaknesses of NGO projects. It will also explore the future role of NGOs within the broader national education sector development programmes.
Name of AuthorMojibur R. Doftori
Surname of AuthorDoftori and Tuomas Takala
InstituteDepartment of Education, University of Tampere
StreetRatapihankatu 55
Kaiser Friedrich Strasse 11, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel: (+49) 228 261 81 01; Fax: (+49) 228 261 81 03