Outsourcing education services in South Korea, England and Hong Kong: a discursive institutionalist analysis

Agnieszka Bates, Tae-Hee Choi, Yong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


The outsourcing of education services has been widely adopted across international contexts as a ‘tested solution’ or panacea to meet various educational problems including school management, curriculum design, teaching and student discipline. Contracting third party providers, it is argued, enhances organisational goals such as efficiency, quality and school improvement. However, the outsourcing of education services has also impacted on established notions concerning the boundaries around teachers’ work. This paper deploys the framework of discursive institutionalism to offer insight into how the idea of outsourcing has been activated and circulated by discursive communities in three diverse international settings. Despite its problem-solution logic, the institutionalisation of outsourcing creates its own problems, not least the undermining of teacher professionalism, the ‘businessification’ of schools and a diminishing of their educational mission.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalCompare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education
Issue number2
Early online date21 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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