Accountability and governance in Pakistan : the case of educational NGOs
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The aim of this study is to critically explore the partnership/relationship between the civil society organisations, government and international development agencies to reveal how different sources of funds construct power relations that require discharge of accounts through particular accounting technologies. Based on interview narratives with local educational NGOs activists in Pakistan, and critical analysis of discourses and documents vis-à-vis education, this study explore power dynamics shaping governance and accountability relations between local and foreign-funded educational NGOs in Pakistan, where 25 million children are out of school. Using the multiple theoretical viewpoints, including postcolonial studies, literature on governmentality and theories on education, the study demonstrates the ways how the framework of dependency is created between the international development organisations and the Foreign Funded NGOs (FFNs), who are governed from a distance through formal mechanisms of accountability that are largely based on calculative accounting techniques. The study argues that FFNs become mediators of neoliberal discourse when they are embedded within the ‘accounting-based-accountability’ arrangements that are enforced by their funders at a distance. On the contrary, Locally Funded NGOs (LFNs) have increased legitimacy as they uphold their organisational values, with the ability to resist oppressive modes of neoliberal governance as they are not entirely dependent on foreign resources, with the potential to facilitate ‘accountability-based-accounting’ structures. The study also demonstrate the issue of mistrust embedded within the socio-economic, political and historical conflicts between the NGOs/actors (re)-enforcing scepticism and suspicion between agents, further hindering emancipatory potentials to development and education. This leads to serious queries about the effectiveness of aid and the ways these educational NGOs are governed and held to account. As the consequence of scepticism is oppressive education, new forms of imperialism and developmentalities, embedded within the oppressive neoliberal modes of governance.