Regulating Public-Private Partnerships, governing non-state schools: An equity perspective

Adrian Zancajo, Clara Fontdevila, Antoni Verger, Xavier Bonal

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The global expansion of non-state actors as providers of basic education has frequently taken place under the umbrella of some form of public-private partnership (PPP). PPPs have expanded despite an increasing number of studies warning about the possible negative consequences of higher levels of private provision on equity, such as school segregation and students selection practices. As a response to these equity concerns, different actors have engaged in an intense debate on the pros and cons of PPPs and, specifically, how the governance of private subsidized schooling can be put at the service of the right to education. A growing consensus has emerged around the idea that the ultimate impact of PPPs depends largely on the specifics of their policy design. As a result of this debate, several international organizations call to adopt regulatory frameworks that could contribute to inhibit both school segmentation and opportunistic behaviors in the context of PPPs.

Despite the centrality of regulation and accountability efforts in the debate around PPPs in basic education, the different policy options and instruments available for such purposes have been less systematically examined. The first objective of this paper is to identify the main regulatory and accountability dimensions involved in the governance of private subsidized schools, as well as the main policy designs available for each of these dimensions to promote equity in education. On this basis, the paper examines how different PPP regulatory dimensions can affect educational equity. The evidence presented is based on a review of the available literature on the relationship between PPPs and education equity in education systems with a significant presence of publicly funded private schools. Finally, the paper systematizes the main lessons drawn from the literature reviewed regarding the regulation of private subsidized schools in the context of PPPs.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnited Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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