Role and Impact of Public-Private Partnerships in Education

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The World Bank’s Book on PPP in Education (Patrinos,Barrera-Osorio, & Guáqueta, 2009)

Education is widely believed to be critical for any nation’s economic, political, and social development. It is widely believed to help people escape from poverty and participate more fully in society and in the market place. These are a few of the reasons why governments around the world assume the responsibility for providing and ?nancing education, especially basic education. But this responsibility is a large and complex one for any government to meet adequately, which is why it is important for governments to explore diverse ways of ?nancing and providing educational services.

This book presents the results of the ? rst phase of a multi-year program to examine the role of public-private partnerships in education. It focuses on contracting models at the primary and secondary education levels. It reviews the conceptual underpinnings for why such partnerships might contribute to achieving a country’s education goals, reviews empirical evidence, and offers some guidelines for operations. The next phase of this agenda will focus on international and multi-stakeholder partnerships, including philanthropic initiatives on the one hand and for-pro?t activities on the other.

The book examines ?ve ways through which public-private partnership can help countries meet education goals.

  • First, public-private partnerships can increase access to good quality education for all, especially for poor children who live in remote, under-served communities and for children in minority populations.
  • Second, lessons for innovative means of ?nancing education can be particularly helpful in post-con?ict countries undergoing reconstruction.
  • Third, lessons about what works in terms of public-private partnerships contribute to the development of a more differentiated business model especially for middle-income countries.
  • Fourth, the challenge of meeting the education Millennium Development Goals in less than a decade is a daunting one in the poorest countries. Understanding new partnership arrangements within a broad international aid architecture in education can help bring us closer to those goals.
  • Fifth, some very innovative public-private partnership arrangements are happening in Arab countries, and lessons can be drawn from their experience.


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