The 21st century has seen both the private and public education sector grapple with the challenge of adequately preparing students in the education institutions for the work place. The federal and state compliance consumes most of the resources in public schools in particular funding and time. As such, the school system is more concerned with meeting the government regulation than it is preparing the student for the 21st century work place. A partnership between the public and private sector has the potential for providing the catalyst for the public education sector to achieve goals that transcend just compliance. The school system is meant to educate individuals between the ages of 5 to 18. However, once these students make it into the work environment, hirers have been known to complain about the inadequacies of the preparation of said students (Rosenau, 2000).
Public/Private Partnership in the education sector and its benefits
Public/Private partnerships between schools and corporations/business ventures in the United States are cited as contributing approximately 2.4 billion dollars as well as 109 million volunteer hours to education. The impact is said to benefit up to 35 million students. A new trend should focus on more than the traditional partnerships forged by education agencies to provide funds. Education agencies could benefit immensely from the value these corporations could provide if they shared in the preparation process of the students. Partnerships would ensure that education advances in line with the trends in industry and business. Student development that such a partnership fosters would be more valuable than any funding that could be generated instead. The students would benefit from improved motivation and a direction for their future education. This is an authentic education plan that makes connections for students with the world outside school while they are still in the school system allowing them in the process of career objectives identification (Rosenau, 2000).
Governments, universities and businesses have over the years realized the tremendous benefits derived for partnerships in particular to economic development advancement. The partnership ensures that future employees are well prepares, it build revenue and customer loyalty, it improves the students' achievement and consequently promotes the development of the community. This acknowledgement should act to trigger business' commitment to education at a deeper and different level creating partnerships that advance the mutual goals of entities involved (Patrinos, Osorio & Guaqueta, 2009).
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Challenges in the Public/Private Partnership in the education sector
Although they are mutually supportive associations, Partnerships do encounter challenges. A plan that is simple on paper can actually be quite hard in practice, presenting difficulties in the implementation process. Challenges in the education partnership arise because of lack in transparency in the motivation, benefits and expectations of the partners. The readiness to collaborate is however a push towards success. In most cases, the public sector motivation, funding, does not align with the private partner motivation, solid planning to achieve the expected results (Brinkerhoff, 2002). A solution to this misalignment lies in intentional conversations between the partners that should continue throughout the project's lifecycle. This continuous conversation that addresses the value derived from each partner will act to promote the respect of these values and also offer a greater understanding of the needs of each individual partner (The Council for Corporate & School Partnerships, 2010).
Businesses should not be content in only playing the "grantor" role but move to establish collaboration, equality and mutuality in a partnership with the education system.
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