The target of this study was to analyse how development partnerships influence government ownership in education policy processes. Ownership has been emphasised as an important partnership commitment during the last decades. It has, however, often been understood as a mechanism for increasing aid effectiveness rather than a target of its own.In this study, the education partnership between funding agencies and the Government of Uganda, during 1997-2009, was selected as a case. Three education sector plans were developed during this period. The study was based particularly on the analysis of the related processes of setting the education priorities.To guide the analysis, world systems theory was chosen as the analytical framework because of the complexity of development partnerships, including both international and national actors as well as international and national commitments. The study relied on a qualitative research design. The data was gathered during a 6 weeks’ fieldwork, including interviews with 12 purposefully sampled participants and a document analysis.The main findings of this study are related to the enhancement of partner roles. The leadership role of the central Government has been strengthened by capacity development. At the same time, the donor harmonisation process and the inclusion of funding agencies in governmental policy processes have both strengthened government ownership in formulating education priorities as well as resulted in new channels of influence for the funding agencies.The study provides three perspectives on the current use of the concepts of partnership and ownership. Firstly, it is the dilemma between the equality of partners implied in the concept of partnership and the emphasis on government leadership implied in the concept of ownership. Secondly, it is the weakness of the ownership definition used in international normative frameworks, which fail to include capacity issues. Thirdly, concerns the different primary commitments of funding agencies and governments, and how this influences policy dialogue.