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The Governance of Educational Welfare Markets

A Comparative Analysis of the European Social Fund in Five Countries

by Daniel Pop (Volume editor) Cristina Stanus (Volume editor)
Others XIV, 234 Pages

Summary

This book is a first exploratory inquiry into possible educational selectivity effects of the European Social Fund (ESF). It assesses the extent of the gap between the social policy objectives set through regulatory competences in multi-level governance and the structure of incentives it breeds in practice, with a broad range of implications for the capacity of the government to control for an equitable distribution of services at the community level. The chapters emphasize the educational selectivity involved in national policy decisions concerning ESF implementation in the five countries, the role of informal mechanisms in fine-tuning implementation, the negative effects of formalization and failures in accommodating the complexity of goals which characterizes the ESF, as well as the overall fairness of ESF implementation towards the most disadvantaged groups in society. The empirical analysis suggests that social-service delivery contracting as an instrument of governance is no longer regulating against risks for beneficiaries, but fuels increased social division in access to public services.
The book is the result of the Educational selectivity effects of the European Social Fund project (July 2012 and December 2013), developed with the support of the Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of tables
  • Preface
  • List of abbreviations
  • 1 Introduction: Conceptualizing educational service delivery markets created through the ESF
  • The context: ESF, education and social inclusion in the five countries
  • The governance of service delivery markets and the impact of EU structural funds
  • Analytical framework
  • Methods and data
  • The structure of the book
  • References
  • 2 Linking ESF implementation with low administrative capacity: The case of Bulgaria
  • The Operational Programme Human Resources Development in Bulgaria
  • The institutional set-up of ESF in Bulgaria
  • Formal decision-making
  • The role of intermediate bodies in implementation
  • The representation of stakeholders
  • The availability of information
  • Shaping the market for educational service delivery using calls for applications under BG-OPHRD
  • Who are the potential contractors?
  • Partnership structures
  • Who are the potential beneficiaries?
  • Designing educational services
  • Call design
  • Other aspects of the commissioning cycle
  • Conclusion: Ups and downs in the commissioning cycle
  • References
  • 3 Balancing ESF goals with established national policy on special education: The case of the Czech Republic
  • The context: Roma children in the Czech education system
  • ESF-funded programmes in the Czech Republic
  • Progress in CZ-ECOP implementation by 2012
  • The institutional set-up of ESF in the Czech Republic
  • Formal decision-making
  • The representation of stakeholders
  • Promotion of partnership
  • Shaping the educational welfare market in the Czech Republic
  • Who are the potential contractors?
  • Partnership structures
  • Who are the potential beneficiaries ?
  • Designing services
  • Adjustments made during the comissioning cycle
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 4 ESF-funded education delivery under arbitrary rule-making: The case of Hungary
  • The Social Renewal Operational Programme
  • Progress in HU-SROP implementation
  • The institutional set-up of ESF implementation in Hungary
  • Formal decision-making and institutional role-orientations
  • The representation of stakeholders
  • The availability of information
  • The assessment of applications
  • Risks and adjustments in the commissioning cycle
  • Market-shaping decisions in the calls for applications
  • Who are the potential contractors?
  • Partnership structures
  • Who are the potential beneficiaries?
  • Designing services
  • Call design
  • Adjustments in the commissioning cycle
  • Other relevant aspects
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 5 Rule rigidity in face of public pressure: The case of Romania
  • The Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development
  • The institutional set-up of ESF in Romania
  • Formal decision-making
  • Representation of stakeholders
  • Promotion of partnership
  • Availability of information
  • Adjustments during the commissioning cycle
  • Shaping the market for educational service delivery: Calls for applications under RO-SOPHRD
  • Who are the potential contractors ?
  • Partnership structures
  • Who are the potential beneficiaries?
  • Designing services
  • Call design
  • Improving the situation of the Roma as horizontal objective
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 6 ESF as a substitute for national education funding: The case of Slovakia
  • The Operational Programme Education
  • Progress in SK-OPE implementation
  • The SK-OPE and national education policy
  • The institutional set-up of ESF implementation in the Slovak Republic
  • Formal decision-making and institutional role-orientation
  • Promotion of partnership
  • Key aspects of the commissioning cycle
  • Availability of information
  • Other relevant aspects of the institutional settings
  • Calls for applications and their educational selectivity impact
  • Who are the potential contractors?
  • Partnership structures
  • Who are the potential beneficiaries?
  • Designing services
  • Stumbling blocks in the commissioning cycle
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • 7 The educational selectivity effects of bureaucratic discretion: Conclusion and policy recommendations
  • The institutional dimension: Complexity and over-formalization
  • Balancing complex public goals
  • Over-formalization
  • Partnership as governance mechanism
  • Programme failures
  • Ensuring co-ordination with national education policy
  • Bureaucratic decisions shaping the markets for educational service delivery
  • Resource allocation
  • Defining the issues at stake
  • Defining services and their users
  • Market competition and the empowerment of actors
  • Partnership as project methodology
  • Some policy recommendations
  • References
  • Annexes
  • Annex 1. Operational programmes and priority axes analysed in the book
  • Bulgaria – Human Resources Development Sectoral Operational Programme
  • Czech Republic – Operational Programme Education for Competitiveness
  • Czech Republic – Operational Programme Prague Adaptability
  • Hungary – Social Renewal Operational Programme*
  • Romania – Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development
  • Slovakia – Operational Programme Education
  • Annex 2. Calls for applications analysed, Hungary
  • Annex 3. Governance of ESF funding in the five countries: Synthesis of findings
  • Notes on contributors
  • Index

 

← vi | vii → Tables

Table 1-1. PISA test results in the five countries, 2000–2009

Table 2-1. Key areas of intervention concerning the educational interventions with a focus on vulnerable groups, BG-OPHRD: Synthesis

Table 4-1. Data concerning HU-SROP implementation 2007–2012

Table 6-1. Financial allocations for the education of vulnerable groups, SK-OPE, 2007–2012

Table 6-2. Aggregated contracted number of projects, contracted amounts and share of the total allocation for 2007–2013, SK-OPE

Table 7-1. ESF spending on reforming education and training systems in the five countries, 2007–2013

Table 7-2. Number of calls for applications requesting the provision of core educational services in the five countries, 2007–2013

Table 7-3. Eligibility of additional educational services/activities under ESF-funded programmes in the five countries, 2007–2013

Table 7-4. Eligibility of different categories of potential beneficiaries, ESF-funded programmes in the five countries, 2007–2013

Table 7-5. Eligibility of disadvantaged groups in calls for applications under ESF-funded programmes in the five countries, 2007–2013

Table 7-6. Eligibility of potential contractors under ESF-funded programmes in the five countries, 2007–2013 ← vii | viii →

 

← viii | ix → Preface

This book is intended as a first exploratory inquiry into possible educational selectivity effects of the European Social Fund. It is the result of the Educational selectivity effects of the European Social Fund project, which was developed between July 2012 and December 2013 with the support of the Education Support Programme of the Open Society Foundations.

This is a comparative research project aiming to showcase the effects of the European Social Fund (ESF) in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The main hypothesis of the project is that the weak regulation via tender documentation generates four adverse effects in our country cases: 1) it leads to low propensities to form inter-institutional and inter-sectoral partnerships for organizing and delivering public services; 2) it leads to a centralization of contractors to a small number of urban clusters, causing massive discrepancies in terms of geographical equity; 3) it leads to a convenience-driven purposeful selection of project beneficiaries that is also afflicted by an upward bias in the vulnerability continuum; and 4) it leads to high propensities to develop convenient, rather than efficient and innovative projects. If confirmed this evidence would suggest that, under these circumstances, the social-service delivery contracting as an instrument of governance is no longer regulating against risks for beneficiaries, but fuels increased social division in access to public services. The focus on these particular five countries is a natural one, as the European Social Funds is an instrument dominantly focused on Eastern Europe and, among other new EU members, these countries were perceived as not very good performers in terms of ESF implementation.

The project is divided into three research streams. The Public Stream focuses on the institutional setup of ESF-implementation in the five countries. The Contractors Stream focuses on how the uses of specific regulatory tools lead to specific responses from those competing for educational service contracts. The Beneficiaries Stream focuses primarily on the ways in which ← ix | x → contractors identify target groups and the overall impact of ESF-funded interventions on vulnerable groups. This book is the result of research conducted under the Public Stream of the project.

The project is a collective effort, involving a team of sixteen researchers in the five coutries. This book, reflecting a part of the project results, has benefited from the inputs and ideas of all researchers and from a series of meetings and workshops organized by the Education Support Programme. The editors would like to thank the governing board of the ESP for understanding the importance of a project dealing apparently only indirectly with education. Support, advice and highly valued comments came from Hugh McLean, director of the ESP. The project, the workshop and the book would not have been possible without the invaluable support of Laura Cziszter and Boglarka Fedorko. Elemér Könczey’s caricatures graphically describe the challenges of ESF implementation in Central and Eastern Europe and enrich the book. The editors would like to thank the contributors for their patience despite heavy editing and tight deadlines. Finally, the editors would like to thank their families for their support and tolerance towards laptops taken on holidays.

 

← x | xi → Abbreviations

Details

Pages
XIV, 234
ISBN (PDF)
9783035306880
ISBN (ePUB)
9783035396485
ISBN (MOBI)
9783035396478
ISBN (Softcover)
9783034318990
Language
English
Publication date
2015 (April)
Published
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2014. 234 pp., 8 b/w ill., 11 tables

Biographical notes

Daniel Pop (Volume editor) Cristina Stanus (Volume editor)

Daniel Pop leads research at the Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations. His research focuses on regulatory governance of public service commissioning and the operations of related quasi-markets. Cristina StănuşCristina Stănuş¸ is lecturer at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania. Her research interests focus on the comparative study of local governance and politics and educational policy.

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