Working Paper: Private Schools and the Global Partnership for Education

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Working Paper: What Next for Educational Privatization in the Developing World?

In "Tiptoeing Around Private Schools in the Global Partnership for Education," Francine Menashy explores the evolution of private delivery of K-12 education in the developing world, summarizes the current debate, and assesses the difficulty opposing groups have had in finding common ground. Menashy accomplishes this task by focusing on the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a collaborative effort of philanthropic foundations, donor and recipient governments, multilateral organizations, and private companies. Launched by the World Bank in 2002 as the Education For All Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the organization was rebranded in 2011 as the GPE and is now involved in 59 developing nations.

By: Francine Menashy
Working Paper No. 224

Private K-12 education in the developing world has mushroomed over the past decade and in the process generated significant controversy over the role of for-profit school operators and public-private partnerships.

Proponents contend that these new schools fill a void created by state failure. Critics counter that fees, however nominal, exceed the means of many impoverished families, that many children with learning disabilities can not be accommodated, and that poor oversight invites profiteering. Where vouchers take the place of fees, proponents hail choice for parents and competition between providers while critics denounce the diversion of funds from already inadequately financed government-run schools. In sum, the same issues dividing policymakers in the United States and many other OECD nations separate their counterparts in the developing world.

In "Tiptoeing Around Private Schools in the Global Partnership for Education," Francine Menashy explores the evolution of private delivery of K-12 education in the developing world, summarizes the current debate, and assesses the difficulty opposing groups have had in finding common ground. Menashy accomplishes this task by focusing on the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a collaborative effort of philanthropic foundations, donor and recipient governments, multilateral organizations, and private companies. Launched by the World Bank in 2002 as the Education For All Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the organization was rebranded in 2011 as the GPE and is now involved in 59 developing nations.

From interviews with key GPE stakeholders and careful examination of GPE meeting minutes, policy briefs, and recipient government education plans, Menashy depicts an organization so split on the matter of educational privatization that dialogue has all but ceased. Discussion must resume, Menashy concludes. At stake is a plan for sensible regulation of the private sector as well as a road map for future initiatives.

View paper

Published Monday, Mar. 30, 2015

Working Paper: What Next for Educational Privatization in the Developing World?

By: Francine Menashy
Working Paper No. 224

Private K-12 education in the developing world has mushroomed over the past decade and in the process generated significant controversy over the role of for-profit school operators and public-private partnerships.

Proponents contend that these new schools fill a void created by state failure. Critics counter that fees, however nominal, exceed the means of many impoverished families, that many children with learning disabilities can not be accommodated, and that poor oversight invites profiteering. Where vouchers take the place of fees, proponents hail choice for parents and competition between providers while critics denounce the diversion of funds from already inadequately financed government-run schools. In sum, the same issues dividing policymakers in the United States and many other OECD nations separate their counterparts in the developing world.

In "Tiptoeing Around Private Schools in the Global Partnership for Education," Francine Menashy explores the evolution of private delivery of K-12 education in the developing world, summarizes the current debate, and assesses the difficulty opposing groups have had in finding common ground. Menashy accomplishes this task by focusing on the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a collaborative effort of philanthropic foundations, donor and recipient governments, multilateral organizations, and private companies. Launched by the World Bank in 2002 as the Education For All Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the organization was rebranded in 2011 as the GPE and is now involved in 59 developing nations.

From interviews with key GPE stakeholders and careful examination of GPE meeting minutes, policy briefs, and recipient government education plans, Menashy depicts an organization so split on the matter of educational privatization that dialogue has all but ceased. Discussion must resume, Menashy concludes. At stake is a plan for sensible regulation of the private sector as well as a road map for future initiatives.

View paper

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