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Keywords:

  • NGOs;
  • education;
  • partnership;
  • South Asia

SUMMARY

It is often assumed that non-government education providers prefer to operate without ‘interference’ from government. However, in practice, they inevitably need to form relationships. There is also a common view that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have to choose between service delivery and advocacy. As this article shows, these objectives are often not independent of each other. Drawing on evidence from established national non-government education providers in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, the article identifies different strategies adopted in balancing their service delivery and advocacy objectives. In all cases, the NGOs find ways to ensure a cooperative rather than conflictual relationship with government to pursue their goals. Strategies vary according to the strength of the national policy context, the formality of the relationship and the degree of dependence on funding sources, with the latter being most influential. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.