In “Tiptoeing Around Private Schools in the Global Partnership for Education,” a new report shared by the National Center for the Study of the Privatization in Education, Francine Menashy explores the effort to increase access to education in the developing world. This effort has led to a familiar debate about the role of for-profit school operators and public-private partnerships, with proponenets contending that private schools fill a void created by state failure, and critics pointing out that private schools don’t meet the needs of all students.
Menashy investigates 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.
Menashy’s research depicts “an organization so split on the matter of educational privatization that dialogue has all but ceased.” As Menashy concludes, “regulation of the private sector is needed, and the GPE could contribute to ideas around regulatory policies, but does not because the topic is not introduced….strategic avoidance on this (and other) contentious policy matters may risk the legitimacy of the partnership.”