Image of Amanda Gilbertson and Trent Brown

AII Fellows’ Series: Indian Education Policy and the Hybrid State

Indian education systems have long been characterised by the involvement of non-state actors – from the missionary schools established during the colonial period through to the growing power of international agencies and private schools and colleges since the 1990s. While we know a lot about diverse actors’ involvement in education delivery, less attention has been paid to the complex networks and alliances through which contemporary education policy is devised and enacted. In this presentation, we explore two major education policy initiatives – the Right to Education Act (2009) and the Skill India program (2015) – both of which have been developed and implemented by a ‘hybrid state’, in which government actors work in alliance with NGOs and for-profit entities. We ask: what are the implications of this increasingly hybrid state structure for the coherence of policy, government accountability, and educational outcomes?


Dr Amanda Gilbertson is a Lecturer and researcher in Youth at the Australia India Institute. Her current research explores youth activism in India around gender issues. Amanda received her DPhil from the University of Oxford’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Her doctoral research investigated the intersection and reproduction of gender, class and caste inequalities in suburban middle-class Hyderabad.

Dr Trent Brown is the author of Farmers, Subalterns, and Activists: Social Politics of Sustainable Agriculture in India (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He has written on a variety of topics related to contemporary India, including sustainable rural development, social movements, youth, and migration. His current research explores India’s attempts to introduce formal skill development initiatives for the rural sector.