The Arguments and Evidence behind Public-Private Partnerships in Education

Donald_Baum_200x280_2By Donald Baum, Assistant Professor of Education Policy and Economics, Brigham Young University

Over the last few months, Liberia has become the site of and source for significant debate over its decision to initiate a large scale public-private partnership (PPP) in education. The new initiative would see management of all the country’s pre-primary and primary schools shifted to private operators. This blog looks at the critiques being made of this move, and suggests essential design features to help ensure success of education PPPs.

Education PPPs are not a particularly new phenomenon. Different combinations of school finance, management, and ownership are prevalent across the world, and have historically been important components of national education systems in low-, middle- and upper-income countries.

2A World Bank review of education policies governing private education in 20 African countries found that 14 (70 %) have an officially-established legal framework for the operation and administration of some type of education PPP. The large majority of these (11) consist of government funding, subsidies, or other financial support to non-state schools. Additionally, private management of public schools is found in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea, and a school voucher program is in operation in Mali. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Finance, private schools, private sector, teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What it’s like teaching refugees in Malawi

By Dede Buloba

1Everyone agrees that education is important in a refugee camp to help those who have had to drop out of school to move across borders. I can speak about this from my experience as refugee, now teaching other refugees in Dzaleka, Malawi.

My name is Dede Buloba. I’m Congolese. I arrived in Malawi in 2007. I taught in secondary schools in the DRC for 8 years, and for 6 years I taught French as a foreign language for adult refugees from various countries (Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Malawi), and for a further 6 years I taught French to 18-25 year olds in Malawi.

There are currently more than 23,000 refugees in Malawi. I believe strongly from my time teaching refugees that education is particularly important because it protects them from trafficking, illegal adoption, child marriage, sexual exploitation and child labour. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Conflict, refugees, Refugees and displaced people, Teachers, teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

When is state funding of private schools a violation of human rights?

By Sylvain Aubry, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

liberia edThe announcement at the beginning of the year by the Ministry of Education of Liberia of its intention to outsource the management of all its pre-primary and primary schools to private providers has spurred vivid discussions on education public-private partnerships (ePPPs, understood here as State funding of private schools).

A perspective on ePPPs that is seldom considered in depth in this debate is the human rights legal angle. Yet, virtually all States in the world have ratified at least one treaty binding them to guarantee the right to education, and many also protect this right it in their domestic legal system, making it legally binding almost anywhere on the globe.  Should an ePPP violate human rights, it would not only be unethical, creating a high reputational risk for both the States and the private contractor, but also illegal, which constitutes a significant legal risk for the parties involved. As the right to education is increasingly being claimed in courts and used by judges to review the legality of countries’ policies, PPPs that undermine it could even be struck down by courts. Continue reading

Posted in Equality, Finance, Human rights, private schools, private sector, Quality of education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Building resilience and shaping futures: the UNRWA response to the education needs of Palestine refugees from Syria

By Caroline Pontefract, Director of Education, UNRWA/UNESCO Education Programme

21Over the past 65 years, the UNRWA/UNESCO education programme has been providing quality and equitable learning opportunities for refugees, and is currently supporting 500,000 refugees in the Middle East despite the myriad crises the region has endured. In doing so, the programme has built, what the World Bank has described as “education resilience in four generations of refugees.”

Despite this experience, the onset of the Syria crisis brought new challenges for UNRWA: the challenge of continuing to ensure quality, relevant education for the Palestine refugee children from Syria; not just those internally displaced, but also to those forced to flee to Jordan, Lebanon and Gaza. Wherever they were the UNRWA students were in need of special support, to ensure that they could continue to access quality education, and help them to deal with the upheaval in their lives and the fear and the trauma that the crisis had brought.    Continue reading

Posted in Arab States, Conflict, Disaster preparedness, emergencies, Out-of-school children, refugees, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Refugees are more than just numbers

salamBy Salam Al-Nukta, youth Advisor to the GEM Report.

In a world where war is constantly taking place, violence and human rights violation force hundreds of families to flee their countries everyday leaving behind wounded memories, beloved ones and broken lives.

In honor to millions of these people, the United Nations General Assembly has decided to bring world leaders’ attention on every 20th of June in every year to urge them to stand in solidarity #WithRefugees.

Very often we see the media doing a great job covering the negative impact of refugees on host communities. In a result, the world now points at them as the problem rather than victims of a battle they didn’t choose to be a part of.

In Syria, where I live, crisis has left behind huge destruction. Thinking about Syria conjures up pictures of wounded people, wrecked houses and poor refugees scattered and lost in camps. Continue reading

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No child should have to pay the cost of war

By Malala Yousafzai, Student, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Co-Founder of the Malala Fund

1No child should have to pay the cost of war, to be kept away from the classroom because of conflict. Yet whole generations of refugee children from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine and South Sudan have had to leave their homes and schools. But they do not leave their dreams of a better future for themselves and their countries, a future only possible through education.

It is unacceptable that just half of refugee children have access to primary education and one quarter have access to secondary education. It is unacceptable that girls are nearly always the first to miss out. Education is every child’s basic human right. Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, emergencies, Out-of-school children, refugees, Refugees and displaced people, Uncategorized, violence | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

How to include all in monitoring the global goal in education SDG4?

By Aaron Benavot, Director of the GEM Report

It’s tough to cover this issue in a blog. It’s something we cover extensively in the next GEM Report due out on September 6th. But it’s also something I presented on today at the Oslo Education Week Conference, alongside Silvia Montoya from UNESCOs Institute for Statistics, Justin Van Fleet from the International Commission to Finance Education Report and Jo Bourne from UNICEF.

What do we know? The GEM Report has done much work to help expose the extent of the challenges faced by the marginalized. We have shown that…

  1. the poorest are four times more likely to be out of school and five times more likely not to complete primary education than the richest.
  2. the proportion of out of school children in conflict affected countries has grown since 2000.
  3. nearly two thirds of adults with minimal literacy skills are women.
  4. 40% of the global population do not receive education in a language they speak or understand
  5. refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non refugees.

The case for doing better in including all, and key aspects of the challenge, is already made therefore. The SDG agenda has taken up the challenge with two whole goals dedicated to ‘including all’ – SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG10 on reducing inequalities. As such, it has a lot to deliver.

So how are we to monitor whether or not countries are doing better or not?

The GEM Report has a World Inequality Database on Education  (WIDE) that has been tracking education disparities since 2012, with data from over 160 countries.  Dissectible by country, it shows just how wide education gaps are by wealth, location, gender, language and more. It serves as a vital tool for policy makers and donors to be aware of the challenge and correctly address where their resources need to be targeted. It serves as a signpost to campaigners, and those reviewing progress such as us, as to whether or not gaps are being closed, or simply remaining as they are. Continue reading

Posted in Equality, Equity, Finance, Marginalization, sdg, sdgs, Sustainable development, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment