NORRAG joins the Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (5th-9th March, Atlanta)



NORRAG joins the 61st Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society on Problematizing (In)Equality: The Promise of Comparative and International Education, to be held from 5th to 9th March in Atlanta.

>> Conference website

This year NORRAG will be co-hosting three panel sessions on two different themes.

Two consecutive panels  “Seeing like the state, calculating like a business: PPP revisited” are co-organized by NORRAG, Education International and the Open Society Foundations:

Part I: Businesses speaking the language of public education
Tuesday 7th March: 10-11:30am, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Capitol South (North Tower)


  • Alexandra Draxler, NORRAG


  • Désirée Acholla, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona – PPPs for financing loans for low-fee private schools in Rwanda
  • Marina Avelar, University College London, Institute of Education – Advocacy as a core business: new philanthropy strategies in Brazilian education policymaking
  • Mauro Moschetti, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona – Unfair competition: Exploring state-funded privately-run schools’ logics of action in Buenos Aires


  • Hugh Mclean, Open Society Foundations
  • Antoni Verger, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Part II: Public education and the adoption of the business logic

Tuesday 7th March: 11:45am-1:15pm, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Capitol South (North Tower)


  • Nikola Wachter, Education International


  • Mireille De Koning, Open Society Foundations – Defining a framework for public private partnerships in education
  • Joanne Barkan, writer and commentator on education (USA) – Exporting the U.S. model of privatization
  • Carol Anne Spreen, New York University and Sangeeta Kamat, University of Massachusetts Amherst - Profiting from the Poor: The Edu-Solutions Industry in Hyderabad
  • Zeena Zakharia, University of Massachusetts Boston and Francine Menashy, University of Massachusetts Boston – Private Participation in the education of Syrian refugees: Understanding the roles of businesses and foundations.


  • Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Teachers College, Columbia University, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and NORRAG

The close collaboration between the public and private for-profit sectors, advanced as part and parcel of managerial reforms of the past twenty years has blurred the boundaries of how the two types of providers conceive, design and speak of basic educational services and goods. While the vocabulary of commitment to inclusiveness, nurture of diversity, and multiple paths for individual journeys to the acquiring of skills and competencies is still used, the mass production model has become the more accepted one in both national and international circles. The adoption of private sector language and techniques for education thrives on a narrative of failure of public institutions and trust in the private sector as the favorable alternative.

The two panels will examine the consequences of these developments by analyzing the impact that PPPs, voucher schemes, for-profit fee-based education and other forms of public support for the private sector have had on public education, in particular on promises of ensuring equality, serving the common good, and promoting equitable quality learning opportunities for all.

The papers presented at the two panels will form part of a volume of collected papers issues as an open-access publication in several languages as part of NORRAG’s thematic focus area on the global governance of education and training.

>> Read more about these sessions (Part I, Part II) or take a look at the session flyer!

The third panel, entitled The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): What progress for education a year and a half later?” and co-organized by NORRAG and UNESCO will be held on Wednesday 8th March: 9:45-11:15am, Sheraton Atlanta, Grand Ballroom B (South Tower).

It interrogates what has happened in the past year and more to the global ambitions and aspirations of the SDGs affirmed by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. This will be examined through the lens of the SDG 4 on education. The particular cases of India and South Africa are used in the panel to tease out the problem of how the national or continental architecture for planning and development has been able to align with the global goals and targets of Agenda 2030. At the same time, attention is paid in the panel to teasing out how the newly created global architecture for reporting upon and monitoring the education goal and its targets is aligned in practice with on-going national and regional planning cycles.



>> Read more about this session

Furthermore, NORRAG will be hosting a reception on Wednesday 8th March at 8:00pm in room Atlanta 1