Policy Brief No. 1. Public private partnerships in education: Some policy questions.
A Public Private Partnership (PPP) makes it possible to disentangle funding from operation. One form of PPP in education is private operation of publicly funded education. While evidence is thin, a prominent recent study based on cross-country data suggests that private operation of schools with public funding raises student achievement levels, leading to efficiency gains. If it is accepted that primary education should always be publicly funded, and if the superior efficiency of this type of PPP in education is accepted or presumed, then some issues for policy are: (i) whether to give public funds directly to schools (supply-side financing) or as vouchers to parents (demand-side funding); (ii) to anticipate the potential equity effects of different ways of giving public funds for private operation; and (iii) to consider the feasibility of implementing educational PPPs in developing countries. Experimentation with alternative delivery modes, accompanied by rigorous evaluation of their respective efficiency and equity impacts, is desirable before scaling up interventions.
Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge, UK, 4 pp.