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Our PPP Global Alliance Group led by the group’s Chair and members who are appointed by GISA. The association assists the group by providing logistical support, which include the coordination of meetings and overseeing the production of key outputs. The group’s Chair works with GISA to determine the scope of work and appropriate terms of reference for its operations. The group can hold a joint call once every month for four months to discuss the key issues. At the end of this period, the group will submit a final report to GISA which will include its analysis and recommendations.  If you are interested in being a member of the group, please contact us.

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  • Public-private partnerships are a key part of the international community’s strategy to deliver an inclusive and equitable quality education for all, as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. But the impact of such partnerships around the world remains heavily contested. A new Global Alliance on Public-Private Partnerships, created by the Global Independent Schools Association (GISA), will work to identify best practice, and act as a valuable resource for policymakers and education experts alike.

    The last few decades have seen increasing numbers of governments in low and middle-income countries partner with the private sector to deliver education services, a trend that has been championed by major development groups such as the World Bank.[1] These public-private partnerships have long been a feature of the education systems of many high-income countries, including in Belgium, the Netherlands and more recently the UK.[2]

    Such partnerships provide stakeholders throughout education systems with options that would be otherwise unavailable.[3]Governments that are struggling to address public demand for quality education can use the private sector to staff schools with teachers, build vital infrastructure and provide children with transportation and meals. Donors can use social impact financing to tie funding to improving educational outcomes.[4] And, in some countries, parents can use government-issued vouchers to pay for their children’s private education. Proponents of public-private partnerships argue that they make education more efficient and cost-effective.[5] For development banks and global organizations, such partnerships are a way to drive sustainable development in countries where the public sector has long struggled with delivering access to education.[6]

    But these partnerships are not a panacea. Researchers have persistently raised concerns that public-private partnerships, when poorly conceived, can fuel inequity across education systems, including social stratification and school segregation.[7]The evidence of these partnerships’ long-term impact on key factors, including student outcomes, varies widely.[8] And governments which have used the private sector to avoid making vital investments in public services have found themselves facing significant costs in the long term.[9] Such concerns have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which left some governments which had contracted out major services exposed to financial risk.[10]

    The best partnerships between government and the private sector are underpinned by transparency and effective regulation.[11] But they also require governments to give private actors managerial and academic autonomy.[12] Such partnerships, then, must strike the right balance between autonomy and accountability. And, as governments continue to look to the private sector to deliver education services, the sector itself has a vital role to play in contributing its own evidence and best practice to the debates.

    GISA’s membership has extensive experience in delivering public-private partnerships across different countries, and the independent school sector now has an opportunity to show its leadership on this issue. The association could become a valuable resource for governments and the international community, by sharing best-practice and showing how to implement new approaches.

    To this end, GISA has created the Global Alliance on Public-Private Partnerships, to identify examples of best practice from its members’ own experiences of public-private partnerships, in order to inform future agreements between governments and the private sector. The group will focus particularly on the situation in low and middle-income countries, which has seen an increase in such partnerships in recent years. The group is intended to bring together the expertise and experience of a wide range of stakeholders across the spectrum of education, from school operators and business leaders to representatives of global bodies working on education and development.

[1] Adrián Zancajo, Clara Fontdevila, Antoni Verger and Xavier Bonal, Regulating Public-Private Partnerships, governing non-state schools: An equity perspective (Ref: ED/GEMR/MRT/2021/P1/29), 2021

[2] 2021/2 Global Education Monitoring Report, Non-state actors in education, UNESCO, 2021

[3] Harry Anthony Patrinos, Felipe Barrera-Osorio, and Juliana Guáqueta, The role and impact of public-private partnerships in education, 2009

[4] See eg Social Finance, British Asian Trust, ; and Social Impact Investment: Building the Evidence Base, OECD, 2015

[5] See eg Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in Education, The Inter-American Dialogue, 2019

[6] See eg Public-Private Partnerships, World Bank,, 2022

[7] Adrián Zancajo, Clara Fontdevila, Antoni Verger and Xavier Bonal, Regulating Public-Private Partnerships, governing non-state schools: An equity perspective (Ref: ED/GEMR/MRT/2021/P1/29), 2021

[8] Adrián Zancajo, Clara Fontdevila, Antoni Verger and Xavier Bonal, “2.2. Concerns and debates relating to the effects of PPPs on educational inequalities”, Regulating Public-Private Partnerships, governing non-state schools: An equity perspective (Ref: ED/GEMR/MRT/2021/P1/29), 2021

[9] Timothy C Irwin, Samah Mazraani, Sandeep Saxena, How to Control the Fiscal Costs of Public-Private Partnerships, IMF, 2018.

[10] How can governments look at COVID-19's impact on infrastructure PPPs?, World Bank, 2020

[11] Jordi Rosell and Angel Saz-Carranza, Determinants of public–private partnership policies, Public Management Review, 2020, vol. 22, issue 8, 1171-1190

[12] Harry A. Patrinos, Designing effective public-private partnerships in education, Education For Global Development, World Bank, January 2023

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