The globalisation of economic and social activities has resulted in various complexities and wide applications of technology. Many industries and business sectors integrate their operational systems with the modern technology, which is sophisticated and complex. As a result, Sanders (2015) posits that organisations require employees with appropriate knowledge and skills to handle their operations.
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The education sector is the context where employees acquire skills through training. What this implies is the necessity of high standards of training for students in learning institutions. According to Danzberger (2012), different institutions have varied cultures and values they adhere to when offering learning services to students. As a rule, countries have different education policies that guide teaching and learning processes in their schools and colleges.
Nonetheless, the most important thing to consider is that skills in various fields are generically applied irrespective of those policies or cultures. Therefore, collaborations between schools, institutions and countries with different perceptions and policies would help in creating a robust approach for the management of educational processes (Mitchell, 2012).
Education resources are the fundamental elements in learning processes and training of students to gain the desired skills. Schools and colleges have varied resources based on many things. According to Patrinos, Osorio, and Guáqueta (2011), government policies, marginalisation, infrastructure development, inaccessibility of certain areas and technology are among the factors that influence the distribution of resources in the education sector.
Through partnerships, schools and institutions with limited resources can benefit a lot through various exchange programs such as workshops, seminars, and training of teachers. Collaboration enhances the pooling of resources and integration of learning processes.
Education is a sector that all industries and governments rely on to acquire the needed labor. Without skilled professionals, economic and social contexts of a country will suffer (Council, 2012). Therefore, it is the responsibility of individuals, organisations and governments to ensure that learning processes in schools and colleges are effective. As stated by Steets (2011), the cross-sector partnership is essential in improving skill-based academic performance.
Through corporate social responsibilities, business organisations can play a significant role in providing resources to schools and higher learning institutions. Communities can also offer various supports to local schools and colleges. Apart from paying fees and providing students with learning facilities, parents can still offer more support to learning institutions. In this context, Patrinos et al. (2011) argued that collaboration between the stakeholders could make these efforts to be more feasible and sustainable.
Clifford and Warner (2012) identified different forms of collaboration in education. These include government-private sector partnership, corporation-school affiliation, community-school, and home-school partnerships among others. In the light of the above collaborations, it is appropriate to agree with Patrinos et al. (2011), who argued that education processes must involve all sectors if a country wants to achieve sustainable human resources, innovation, and technological skills. Governmental institutions, private organisations, communities, parents, teachers and students among other stakeholders must consistently engage with schools and colleges to improve academic outcomes.
Partnership in Education Is a Crucial Aspect for Social and Labor Markets
The theory of organisational partnership can be used to develop an understanding of partnership in education. The theory posits that promoting partnerships and inter-agency cooperation between private organisations, government departments, and public agencies are essential in enhancing social and labor markets (Kitching, Winbolt, MacPhail, & Ibrahim, 2015). Sharing information, skills and other forms of resources among these entities at national and international levels promote social and economic development.
The concept promotes inclusiveness, employability, and regeneration of resources, skills, and technology to improve social and economic well-being in the society. Although the government makes policies that guide the activities of sectors such as education, partnership and the inclusion of other players would facilitate the fast adoption of modern skills, improved academic performance, and integrating the contemporary technology in the curricula (Sutton & Obst, 2011).
In Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world, policymakers have continued to adopt new forms of partnership by seeking to involve many stakeholders in strategic planning and execution of policies. The model is embraced as a way of acknowledging the increased complexity and multi-dimensional issues involved in education and other sectors (Tushnet, 2013). As a way of addressing the ever increasing complexity, organisations and agencies have been creating partnerships to help in disintegrating their operations into manageable units.
That way, it becomes easier to identify the problems in schools and departments in high learning institutions. Additionally, various organisations, agencies, and individuals have different capabilities (Sutton & Obst, 2011). As stated in the theory of organisation, when these entities and individuals bring their talents together, the possibility of creating a robust education system is very high (Mockler, 2013).
Partnership in Education Helps to Enhance Social and Economic Benefits
In her study aimed at exploring the mechanisms of achieving high standards of education, Rose (2013) identified education as the pillar of a country’s economy. For instance, in Australia, education employs more than 8% of the country’s workforce. Moreover, the sector is the country’s fourth-largest export earner with an annual income of approximately 16 Billion Australian Dollars (Kitching et al., 2015).
Based on the above viewpoint, it could argue that having more educated people in a country means the enhancement of social and economic benefits. Nevertheless, the most important thing is the contribution, which education makes in terms of professionalism, skills, and innovative technology. Sutton and Obst (2011) support the idea of economists that education is an investment in the human capital. They posited that human capital is the most fundamental aspect of the economy. In a production context, human resources play the vital role because it controls other factors of production such as machinery, premises, equipment and technology (Kitching et al., 2015).
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The knowledge imparted to students in the schools, vocational colleges and universities should include the skills necessary in fostering economic, social and political development. It is significant to emphasise on this point, especially in the twenty-first century where technology continues to take the center stage in all sectors. Even though the estimated contribution of the human capital embodied on labor to output varies significant, various research studies suggest the need for improvement. According to Tushnet (2013), more students continue to join colleges and university in order to acquire skills. However, there are a significant number of graduates, who have not secured better job opportunities. Because of economic pressure, many of them succumb to low-wage jobs without substantive security.
The only way for a country to realise rapid economic growth is to ensure that its trained citizens get the right employment within their professions. As stated by Steets (2011), the best way for the college and university graduates to get better employment in the relevant fields is through constructive collaborations among the learning institutions, government, and private sectors. The partnership between learning institutions and other organisations helps in establishing learning activities that conform to the current market demands. As a way of supporting the argument, Sanders (2015) pointed partnership as the only way for college and university administrators to understand the current development in the education sector and economic realm.
Having highly educated and skilled workers in the production sectors of various industries have been confirmed as the booster of a country’s overall economic growth (Nye &Schramm, 2015). Nevertheless, the idea of the economic development is directly linked to appropriate skills obtained during the learning period. The manner in which individuals and business organisations adore technology has posed a significant challenge in various sectors.
Many industries and private sectors continue to adopt new skills based on the latest demands in the market. Customers have continued to prefer the simplest and the easiest ways of getting services to the traditional manual approaches. According to Mitchell (2012), institutions can learn the latest skills and technology through partnerships. When a college or university partners with an industrial based firm, they will learn skills and acquire the necessary resources they need to improve their curricula. Many firms have been collaborating with high learning institutions in order to foster research and development, donate learning resources, and help schools in technical and industrial training (Linda, 2013).
Through collaborations, schools and colleges develop a better understanding of their social contexts. These include the lowering crime rates, improving healthcare, lowering the utilisation of the welfare funds and increasing civic participations (Kruss, 2015). The above argument might make sense when we consider the benefits of practical experiences. According to Patrinos et al. (2011), private organisations and firms give learning institutions opportunities to visit their facilities with the aim of developing practical knowledge in their professions.
On the other hand, teachers and lecturers can learn new ideas that would help them improve the study curricula, which conform to the current industrial demands (Bibace, Dillon, & Dowds, 2012). The utilisation of academic skills is something practical, and there is no other way to appreciate the benefits of knowledge other than its application in daily operations. Through partnerships, companies, and government organisations create programs to allow students acquire workplace knowledge through internships, workshops, forums and technology exhibition among others (Sakamoto & Chapman, 2012).
Underfunding schools and colleges is a common phenomenon in Europe, Australia and other countries across the world. In the recent past, expansion of higher education in Australia and other parts of the world has been taking place at a rapid rate. It is because of the increased number of young people who fight for limited places in higher learning institutions that offer competitive courses. According to Jones and Ryan (2014), the number of people, who have attained bachelor degrees in various programs, has significantly risen in the past two decades. Although it is a good move, the main question that many scholars explore is the credibility of those degrees and the necessity for high quality.
As a way of integrating the idea of partnership in education with the need for credibility and high standards, Tushnet (2013) states that partnership helps in creating understanding about education among the public and business organisations. That way, it is easier for well-established organisations, government initiatives, and individuals to promote the funding of schools, colleges and universities. They can do that through donor funds, the contribution of learning equipment such as books, computers, and uniforms among others.
Partnership in Education Is Beneficial for International Students
Inadequate learning resources bring us to the idea of Heffernan and Poole (2005) about international partnerships in education. The twenty-first-century world is technology invested. Consequently, people from different countries connect and share ideas based on their cultural backgrounds. The knowledge entailed in this realm can be nurtured through a connected education process.
To enhance appropriate understanding of social, economic and political aspects of the world, schools and higher learning institutions from various backgrounds should interact with each (Kruss, 2015). The concept of international collaboration in education has created the idea of international students in many countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Apart from educational gains achieved by the students through the sharing of diverse knowledge, countries with host international students have various benefits (Welch & Sheridan, 2012).
The idea of enrolling international students in various higher learning institutions started to grow rapidly in the wake of the twentieth century. Developed countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Canada among others started to enroll students from across the world (Heffernan & Poole, 2005). Apart from academic benefits and the increased number of people acquiring different skills from well-known institutions, countries that host international students acquire great economic and social gains.
According to Sutton and Obst (2011), international students pay more fee than the local students. Consequently, they increase financial resources the institutions need to create better learning environments. International students use resources such as foods, accommodation, transport and other things, which significantly contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (Richard. 2016).
Nevertheless, this brings us to the question of credibility and the ability of colleges and universities to provide quality education to the international students. According to Welch and Sheridan (2012), the adoption of international education partnerships has helped students from the developing world to acquire the knowledge and skills they would have not otherwise accessed. Through the programs, the international universities offer skills in different professions to students from other countries.
According to Franklin, Bloch, Popkewitz (2014), the approach would help the international students to acquire and transfer the knowledge back to their home countries. Implementing those new skills through human capital would be vital in the current realm where innovation and technology prevails. As a result, the developing countries are able to acquire the human resources needed to secure a space in the international social, political, economic and technological contexts (Sutton & Obst, 2011).
There have been complaints from the public and education sector about the high fees imposed on the international students in various universities. In addition, questions have been raised about the quality of education international students receives. According to Clifford and Warner (2012), international students do not get the required skills because of the language barriers. Many international students in countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have poor speaking and writing skills in the English language. Since universities use English to teach, it is difficult to interpret various concepts for the productive application of the knowledge in real-life situations (Cox-Petersen, 2012).
According to Hora and Millar (2012), it is important for the colleges and universities that admit the international students to create partnerships with education sectors of the students’ home countries. Through international partnerships, Nye and Schramm (2015) argue that the international institutions should explore the student’s background in order to provide high-quality education. Therefore, developing countries that send their citizens to acquire knowledge in the developed world must develop strong partnerships with those countries as a way of making follow-ups and ensuring that students get the required knowledge.
Partnership in Education Is a Possibility to Improve Community-Institution Relations
Partnership in education can also be viewed in terms of the relationship between communities and institutions. Learning institutions, especially schools rely on children from the neighborhood as their students. According to Ackerman (2012), early education is part of child development process. Therefore, Bibace et al. (2012) suggest that it requires collaborative efforts from teachers, school administrators, and the entire community. The government also put much effort to ensure that children get a proper foundation to acquire knowledge and skills in the higher learning institutions. The idea of including parents and members of the community in the education process of their children has several benefits. These have much to do with positive psychological and physical support (Council, 2012).
Forms of Educational Partnerships May Vary and Determine the Outlines of Education
The types of partnership in education sector differ depending on several things. Based on the argument by Hillman and Loewenstein (2015), the kind of collaboration between learning institutions and other organisations depend on the need, the location of the institution, type of courses offered, and the nature of its current resources. To enhance the full completion of quality courses in schools and colleges, learning institutions often adopt partnerships with diverse viewpoints.
These range from the major international groups, developmental programs, business organisations, and humanitarian organisations to the local or community-based groups (Hora & Millar, 2012). The scope of a partnership could be based on the needed local or international achievements by a country.
For instance, a country might want to integrate its education system with others countries as a way of pulling pup its standards to the international levels. In such case, a country might decide to create a formal partnership with governments, organisations and individuals from abroad to develop strength and expertise needed in the education sector. As stated by Jones and Ryan (2014), countries take such steps in recognition of the complex challenges they face locally. Schools in the developing world have inadequate modern resources to catch up with the rapid technological development needs. Kruss (2015) identified four types of partnership in education. These include strategic partnership, implementation partnership, resource partners and advocacy partners.
In the education context, the strategic partnership brings together individuals and organisations with the global reach. However, such individuals and organisations can also be local based (Linder, 2013). The main attribute of strategic partnership, as pointed out by Patrinos et al. (2011), is that they have similar mission and vision. Based on the definition given by Kitching et al. (2015), the strategic partnership involves a plan that is established by the partners to improve certain aspects of the education sector. Several issues emerge in the education sector.
Governments and organisations that support public schools often develop policies and incentives to make the program run. Welch and Sheridan (2012) identified a significant point about the usage of resources contributed to support education. Although governments, organisations, and individuals might show it essential to support the learning processes, such initiatives might fail to materialise if partners do not lay a proper plan on how to use the contributed resources.
Therefore, when creating a strategic partnership in education, the stakeholders, must consider all factors that would affect the learning process and create a strategic plan to deal with possible negative outcomes (Tushnet, 2013). The way resources are organised and utilised will determine the success of partnership in education. In this case, Steets (2011) put more emphasis on the credibility of such collaborations and accountability of the administrators.
Another form of collaboration, which Sakamoto and Chapman (2012) discussed, is the implementation partnership. Strategic plans are developed as a way of providing the lead to creating an effective education system. However, the only way to realise the results is through the implementation of plans. The strategic plans are developed to remove obstacles so that students and educators have an easy time during the learning process. According to Nye and Schramm (2015), when strategic plans are implemented in the right way at the right time, the schools, colleges and other stakeholders involved will realise the intended benefits. The implementation partnership in education can be created to put in place new policies, develop new curricula or implementing new skills, courses or technology (Sutton & Obst, 2011).
Advocacy is another form of partnership in education whereby the members involved advocate for the adoption of new ideas, policies, equipment or technology. In this case, the advocates bring their expertise, energy, and persuasive capacity together to focus on changing the current situations. According to Sakamoto and Chapman (2012), both developed and developing countries need to have a continuous improvement of their education sectors. These include curriculum improvement, training educators, advocating the importance of education to indigenous communities and adopting new technologies. In some instance, the government and relevant authority might be reluctant to make the changes (Rose, 2013). Both public and private sectors can come together to advocate for change. That way, they not only remind the responsible parties about their role but they also try to initiate the stated changes (Macbeth, McCreath, & Aitchison, 2012).
The Process of Forming Partnerships Is Difficult but Crucial
The process of formation a partnership may seem to be a difficult idea. However, it becomes easier once the parties involved embark on the process of implementation. There is a structured road map that most of the partnerships take as explained in the following section. The educational partnerships are no exception in this format or structure (Macbeth et al., 2012). The first step in the partnership formation is the information gathering and initial discussions stage.
During this stage, the partners get to understand each other’s vision and goals, as well as the personal interests. They gather the necessary information on ideas necessary to create a strong partnership. In the case of the school setting, the various parties such as teachers and families must understand each other’s goals. The goal, in that case, is mostly concerned with the educational achievement of the students (Sutton & Obst, 2011).
The discussions help the parties to come up with the best strategy that would fit everyone’s demand. For instance, it can illustrate whether the parents would increase the teachers remuneration for their children’s wellbeing. It can also include any form of benefit for all the parties. When the two parties agree, they can move to the next step, which is the proposal stage (Macbeth et al., 2012).
In the proposal stage, both parties present their proposals or details of the terms and conditions they would like to work under. It is important to achieve the missions or visions discussed in the previous step without any confrontations. The terms comprise of the amount the parents will pay, the number of times the parents will be meeting the students and teachers, and the dates of the meetings, amongst other elements. The proposal has to be carefully studied by all the parties involved. The terms are reviewed and after a careful and thoughtful review, the parties can then append their signatures (Sakamoto & Chapman, 2012).
After the signing of the agreement forms or term sheets, the parties can then begin the journey forward as partners though they might still be on parallel fronts. That process entails a review of the contract details, negotiations, and drafting different legal documents that would govern the partnership. Once a decision is made on such documentation, the partnership can be described as officially formed (Franklin et al., 2014). After the conclusion of the above steps and finalising legal documents, there should be a closing session (Kruss, 2015). The teachers, parents and members of the community can then begin executing their responsibilities as indicated in the contract. In the case of the educational partnerships, there is no much handing over. Therefore, the transition phase is not important in this case.
Benefits of the Educational Partnerships That Prove the Importance of the Study
As talks of the educational partnerships, it is important to know how they benefit all the individuals, ranging from the students to the teachers, the families, and communities. The stakeholders feel having different partnerships in education help in improving education standards to ensure the achievement of experience and results. The society benefits as the stakeholders work in unity to improve the education of their children. The specific benefits of the educational partnerships are outlined in the following section (Franklin et al., 2014).
Partnership enhances effective communication and development of strategies that would help schools to achieve better academic performance. According to Kruss (2015), collaborations among stakeholders such as parents, teacher, and communities improve the discipline standards of students. That helps in executing learning processes according to the structures developed during the formation of the partnership.
An appropriate coordination of parents, teachers, and administrators is essential in improving the working conditions. As stated Ackerman (2012), academic performance of students improves when their welfare is not only left to the teachers. He further states that parents who understand the learning environment will give substantial support to the school in which their children learn. Furthermore, the established interpersonal relationships among stakeholders results into good attitudes and better communication strategies (Macbeth et al., 2012).
People and Organisations Could Face Challenges in Partnerships
There are some problems that different organisations or individuals in a partnership experience. According to Kruss (2015), problems and challenges will always occur even if the partners’ aim is to create an effective partnership. When the partners understand the challenges, it is easier to anticipate the probable barriers in order to enhance a better working relationship. Certain obstacles must be considered because they relate to the technical, strategic, or financial issues adopted when implementing partnerships.
The issues relating to trust, leaders’ compatibility, conflict-resolution capability, and the joint problem-solving-capacity are vital elements to consider (Ackerman, 2012). Danzberger (2012) identify other challenges to be the battles among the stakeholders, strict policies on the intellectual property, different organisational cultures, and assignment of the roles among other issues related to the differences in interests among the stakeholders.
Because educational partnerships involve many parties, the possibility of having many individuals with varied ways of doing things is very high. According to Jones and Ryan (2014), some of these have to do with the management styles. As some may prefer parental dynamic, the others would want the laissez-faire leadership. As some would want to stick to the rules, the others would want to bend rules in order to satisfy others’ interests.
As a result, Woessmann (2001) argues that conflicts may arise between the teachers and parents, the community, government and other parties. Some parents may be stricter than teachers, and they would prefer working with teachers who have the same viewpoints to those who consider the dynamic aspects of education (Ackerman, 2012).
Analysis of the Theory Base That Can Be Used to Create an Effective Educational Relationship
The literature chosen for the analysis proves that even being aware of the importance of educational partnerships people face a plenty of challenges and uncertainties when the time to build their own relations comes. People try to cover as many aspects as possible to comprehend how they can benefit in case they decide to start creating such types of relations. They focus on the theoretical base and fail to realise that their main advantage is their individuality and personal experience.
Instead of focusing on their abilities and expectations, they try to organise their participation in the relations using the opinions of other people and define educational relationships as “an educational empowering process” where other people are used to “identify their needs” and take responsibility for planning, managing, controlling, and accessing various collective actions that are crucial in this kind of relations (Adekola, 2011, p.11).
The majority of literature aims at discussing the importance of educational partnerships and the necessity to develop under different conditions. Still, the main weakness of many resources is the inability to prove that people’s individuality should play the most crucial role in the formation of educational relationships. People should not only comprehend the worth of their individualities but also learn how to use it in accordance with the existing standards and expectations.
Recommendations That Can Prove the Necessity of Forming Successful Partnerships in Education
Problems in the education sector are dynamic and require varied solutions. Government agencies, organisations and individuals should partner after identifying the problems they have to solve. In this context, choosing the right partner is important. According to Danzberger (2012), learning institution should invest in this step if they want to form a strong foundation for the future partnership. It is important to evaluate the history of the potential partners in terms of interests, academic expertise, vision, strategies, and international corporations. It is important to embrace a critical attitude when selecting an education partner.
These involve a thorough discussion of feasible issues and achievable goals and objectives (Hillman & Loewenstein, 2015). Various organisations and individuals execute their business based on different cultural and social contexts. However, the idea of globalisation and interconnection through technology should encourage institutions and governments to accept partnerships.
Developing a shared vision is a foundational step of creating a strong partnership in education. It is important to note that partnerships begin with the recognition of the shared objectives and policies. According to Albach and Knight (2007), a good communication strategy is instrumental in developing a shared vision among partners. Strong leadership with sufficient power to represent each partner during the negotiations is necessary.
Together, the shareholders should demonstrate their ability and willingness of creating a partnership framework with common policies, objectives, democratic decision-making environment, effective communication, responsibility and trust (Jones & Ryan, 2014). In the process of forming a partnership, the partners must develop shared conditions such as cultural understanding, language, and varied learning approaches based on the available resources. That way, Kruss (2015) argued that partners could develop an understanding of their different social and regulatory frameworks at the local and international levels.
The analysis of literature shows that any kind of partnership is a kind of agreement between two parties, people, or organisations that are connected with the same goal and more or less same methods. It does not matter if an educational partnership is formal, informal, or of any other type, it should be based on clear guidelines and corresponds to a certain list of characteristics. The formation of educational partnership should be full of respect, understanding, and commitment.
Besides, such partnerships have to be culturally relevant so that all parties can gain benefits. The formation of relations is a time-consuming process; therefore, it does not matter who is interested in the development of such relations, people should be ready to spend their time and efforts to create the required environment. Education should never be isolation, and it becomes a significant part of a person’s life.
People should think about and choose the most appropriate resources in order to build successful partnerships in education. First, a person should realise what kind of educational partnership is required. Second, it is necessary to clarify what benefits can be gained in the social, economic, political, and cultural aspects (Lemon & Weller, 2015). It is not enough to know that the creation of the relations is an obligatory step to be taken.
It is more important to understand why such relations may influence the person’s life. Therefore, it is expected to take into consideration such aspects as personal experience, needs, knowledge, and even feelings to build an educational relationship. As soon as the structure and strategy are chosen, it is necessary to organise negotiations during which it is possible to clarify what portion of information could be obtained from both parties and what financial or organisational aspects should be discussed. Roles, deadlines, and finances should be identified before the implementation step occurs. In the end, all parties have to share their own visions of the chosen and planned partnership to clarify if they are ready for actual steps and if they understand the outcomes they can get from their activities.
Conclusions about the Importance of Partnership in Education
The analytical review of various studies as efficiently addressed the partnerships in education. There are different aspects of educational partnerships, which assist in developing a robust education system for a country. To develop an effective partnership, the partners involved should understand the importance of collaboration, the processes involved when forming the partnerships, and the different forms of partnership structures (Kruss, 2015). According to Beauchamp, Clarke, Hulme, and Murray (2015) it is important to consider the benefits of partnerships, the challenges faced in the partnerships and the recommended strategies.
The idea is supported by Woessmann (2001) who confirms that strategic plans are necessary to achieve greater values with the educational partnership. The recommended objectives must be feasible and easily implemented by the stakeholders if they are to improve the general performance of the students. From the review of various studies, we can articulate the significance of educational partnership in improving academic standards of schools and higher learning institutions.
Through the international partnerships, students and educators from developed countries benefit can access quality education from world-class institutions in the developed world. The evaluation, implementation and monitoring of policies through partnerships would help in achieving the best outcomes in the learning processes (Jones & Ryan, 2014). The idea is supported by Beauchamp et al. (2015) who argues that educational partnership can help learners if an appropriate plan is laid to allocate resources and implement relevant policies. In conclusion, forming a partnership in education is essential in bringing stakeholders within the education sector together.
As a result, they are able to bring their resources together in order create an effective learning environment for students. It also eliminates the idea of leaving learning processes and education issues in the hands of teachers and administrators of learning institutions. It makes educational processes to be a collective responsibility of teachers, parents, administrators, and students among other stakeholders.
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