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

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 in the provision of basic education involve different types of policies such as vouchers, charter schools, contracted schools or subsidies for private schools. Although all of these policies involve the existence of private subsidised schools, they operate under different policy and regulatory arrangements.

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 subsidised 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 organisations call to adopt regulatory frameworks that could contribute to inhibit both school segmentation and opportunistic behaviours 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 main purpose of the work is to explore how education PPPs are regulated in different national contexts, as well as to analyse how these regulatory configurations affect equity.

Based on this main purpose, the project had three objectives:

  • To identify the main regulatory and accountability dimensions involved in the governance of private subsidised schools, as well as the main policy designs available for each of these dimensions to promote equity in education.
  • To analyse different small-scale case studies of new regulations specifically adopted to reduce inequalities generated by the presence of private subsidised schools.
  • To systematise the main lessons drawn from the literature reviewed regarding the regulation of private subsidised schools in the context of PPPs.

PI and Co-Is

PI - Dr Adrian Zancajo - University of Glasgow, School of Education

Start and End date

1 July 2020 - 15 September 2020


Funder and Funding amount

UNESCO (Global Education Monitoring Report)

Total funding: £7,883

Related Publications

Zancajo, A., Fontdevila, C., Verger, A., & Bonal, X. (2021-forthcoming). Regulating Public-Private Partnerships, governing non-state schools: An equity perspective. Background paper prepared for the 2021 Global Education Monitoring Report. (under embargo until the 2021 GEMR is published).