Global Response research, reports and papers

published 3 July 2018 updated 4 January 2022

The effects of commercialisation and privatisation have a serious impact on students, communities and public education systems. We use research as a guide to inform the campaign and create an accurate picture of trends, tendencies and outcomes.

Bridge vs Reality: a study of Bridge International Academies’ for-profit schooling in Kenya by Education International & Kenyan National union of Teachers, (2016)

The study by Education International and the Kenyan National Union of Teachers looks at BIA claims regarding quality, accessibility and affordability of its model. educational provision. Far from providing high quality education at a low cost to the most disadvantaged in Kenya, the study finds that BIA services are of  of poor quality, inaccessible for the very poor and disadvantaged and is ultimately unaffordable for most families in the communities in which it operates.

More specifically, it reveals that in Kenya, BIA students are taught largely by unqualified,  teaching staff - up to 71.5% of teachers were found to be unqualified. The staff is overworked – working an average of 59 hours per week.. BIA teachers are forced to use a scripted curriculum-developed in the US. Lessons are read from tablets, leaving little, if any, room for adaptation to meet the learning needs of students The curriculum used is not approved by Kenyan authorities. In fact, the Kenyan curriculum authority has concluded: “most of the content taught [by BIA] is not relevant to the Kenyan curriculum objectives.”

The full report in English

Schooling the poor profitably: the innovations and deprivations of Bridge International Academies in Uganda by Riep C. & Machacek M., (2016)

The study reveals the operations of BIA in Uganda where it sells its version of ‘education,’ or its standardised ‘Academy-in-a-Box,’ to an estimated 12,000 fee-paying students in 63 schools. Its teachers, untrained and unqualified, have been dumbed-down to content delivery agents and test score attendants rather than educators. What is too commonly referred to as ‘personalised learning’ is no more than scripted learning. It is worrisome that the World Bank, global education corporation Pearson, as well as billionaires Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, are supporting Bridge to the tune of $100 million USD.

The full report in English

Partnership Schools for Liberia: a critical review, by Hook T.

This report reviews and analyses documents related to the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) pilot.

The analysis focuses on three key areas: transparency and accountability, students and teachers, and scalability and sustainability. It identifies issues related to Liberia’s Minister of Education capacity to hold providers accountable, transparency in the commissioning and implementation of the pilot, and potential concerns regarding enrollment, teacher policies, school infrastructure, and funding, particularly between local and international providers, that warrant further investigation. The report concludes with an overview of a proposed research program to address these concerns.

The full report in English

Quality and Equalities: a comparative study of public and low-cost private schools in Lagos, by Unterhalter E., Robinson L., & Ibrahim J..

The report shows that since the 1980s, there has been inadequate state provision for primary schooling in Lagos, Nigeria. During the same period a huge private sector has grown, with very limited effective regulation. It is estimated that 18,000 private schools now operate in Lagos, a 50 percent increase since 2011. The expansion of these private schools has been supported by aid money.  Notably, in 2014, £3.45 million from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) was paid  to Bridge International Academies (BIA), facilitating its entry into Lagos.

The full report in English

Global Response related research resources

Investing in the Crisis: Private participation in the education of Syrian refugees, by Menashy F. & Zakharia Z.

This study explores the complex interrelationship between conflict and private sector participation through a case study of the education of Syrian refugees.

It is estimated that 900,000 Syrian refugee children and adolescents are not enrolled in school, with enrolment rates for Syrian refugees at only 70% in Jordan, 40% in Lebanon, and 39% in Turkey (UNHCR, 2016). Although private engagement in this context is evidently expanding, the exact nature and scale of this involvement has been unclear. This research seeks to better understand which private entities are engaging in the sector, the activities through which private companies and foundations support education, and the rationales and motivations that drive their involvement.

The full report in English

La privatización educativa en América Latina: Una cartografía de políticas, tendencias y trayectoriasby Verger A., Moschetti M. & Fontdevila C.

This study maps out the different manifestations and processes of education privatization in Latin America – informed by a  variety of sociopolitical, institutional, demographic and historical determinants.

The full report in Spanish

Corporatised education in the Philippines,  by Riep C., Bhatta P.

This report examines how, why, and with what consequences, corporate-led privatisations in Philippine education are taking shape, through an analysis of Affordable Private Education Centers (APEC). APEC is a for-profit chain of low-fee private schools (LFPS) established through a joint venture between two major multinational corporations, Pearson Plc and the Ayala Group.

Download in English

Nepal: Patterns of Privatisation in Education,  by Bhatta P. & Pherali T.

This research provides an overview of the trajectories and forms of education privatisation in Nepal, with a special focus on low-fee and chain schools. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing, critical debate about the relationships between students’ rights to quality education, teachers’ rights to quality working conditions, equitable access to schools and the regulation of private actors in education.

The full report in English

Privatización educativa en Uruguay: políticas, actores y posiciones, by Bordoli E., Martinis P., Moschetti M., Conde S. y Marcelo A.

The study attempts to map out the different manifestations of educational privatisation in Uruguay, describing the normative frameworks that enable the participation of private actors, and identify the actors, discourses and positions that support this incipient but renewed thrust in the promotion of privatisation in education.

The full report in Spanish

Education and training policy in the European Semester: Public investment, public policy, social dialogue and privatization patterns across Europe. By Stevenson, H.

This report investigates the effects of the European Semester policy coordination on national education and training reforms and investment and on the changing nature of education investment and public/private developments.

The full report in English