In essence the propositions that provide the framework for the approach are as follows:

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1 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Purpose and Objectives Education inherently serves both public and private interests. It addresses public interests by preparing the young to assume adult roles that promote civic responsibility, embrace a common set of economic and political values, and share a common language. Education serves private interests in promoting individual development, understanding, and productivity that contribute to adult productivity and well being. Levin (2001) The function of this paper is to assist those involved with educational development to address the pressing issue of greater participation by the private education sector; most particularly, the paper aims to investigate the role for private education in meeting the four main challenges that are facing education policy: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) to find sufficient places to meet current and future parental demand for education; to offer a meaningful and relevant learning experience in all schools both public and private - which will benefit all students and also have economic and developmental significance; to upgrade teaching and learning curricula, teacher qualifications and performance, physical facilities, equipment, teaching and learning materials, supervision, minimum standards, regulatory requirements, assessment, examinations etc within reasonable affordable limits in order to support the meaningful and relevant learning experience required by students; to maximize the potential of all available national resources (including private sector providers) in the most cost-efficient manner in pursuit of these policy objectives. This paper argues that education can be perceived as a consumer good and that the student is the principal consumer through the parents. The key issue for the national government is to provide the best education in the most cost-effective manner. This will require the combined efforts of the public and private sectors. The public sector must decide its role in this partnership (its aims and objectives should be clear and unambiguous) and the private sector providers of education must also decide on their role and, as they are providing a public service regulated by the government, they should negotiate a supportive environment and an equitable basis for the partnership with the government. In essence the propositions that provide the framework for the approach are as follows: (i) To describe possible new partnerships and an enabling environment in which responsibilities and functions for the public and private education providers are complementary; 1

2 (ii) (iii) To suggest specific roles and responsibilities for the private sector within this new public-private partnership; To outline the broad parameters that need to be developed for public policy in response to this increased private education provision, particularly with regard to financial support and quality control. 1.2 Some Hurdles There is a very clear division, certainly in academia, and beyond that in the policy arena. There seems to be a sentiment that you have to be either on the growth side or on the anti-poverty side of this debate that it is no longer possible to straddle the two. But promoting growth doesn t necessarily have to come at the expense of the other. Beddoes (2000) Over the past two decades there has been an ongoing emotive debate raging between those proponents that support the benefits of public provision against those experts that advocate the benefits of "private" or market provision (see Colcough 1996). This debate shall likely continue to rage until such time as we obtain a genuine test and an objective evaluation of public-private alternatives on a large enough scale to influence policy reform. For a number of reasons, however, this present lack of resolution is very understandable, for some of the reasons presented below Difficulty of Definition and Meaning Definition of Private and Public The two means of provision - public and private - can be characterized according to the way that they are managed and financed. In their purest forms, public provision is managed directly by the government and the expenditures are met by tax revenues while in private provision revenues are derived from fees and private contributions and the providers are free to determine the type of their educational services. In fact though there are few institutions which satisfy either of these criteria. The state usually subsidizes the private sector through payment of costs incurred in curriculum development, inspection and teacher training. Conversely, in some countries schools which are nominally owned and controlled by the government receive substantial non-government funds and are subject to non-government direction. One international classification of education (OECD 1990) defined private education as that provided in institutions managed by private persons but this definition covers a wide variety of situations. Some private institutions are wholly funded by the state, others are state aided to a wide extent while others again receive no state aid at all. Further, in any one country, the situation may vary over time and according to the level or the type of education. Even though any simple distinction between the two types masks diversity within each sector, from a policy point of view the distinction remains useful when assessing 2

3 expansion of the system. Expansion through the public system implies a direct role for the government in both finance and school management, whereas expansion through the private sector implies a more indirect role exercised through selective targeting of public resources for education within the parameters of a specific legal and regulatory framework. Definition of "Private" used in the Discussion Paper For the purpose of this study schools are defined as "private" if the following criteria apply: (i) (ii) possession and management lies in the hands of the "owners" or managers in the case of NGOs or religious institutions; income and expenditure are the responsibility of the "owners" (i.e., revenue, primarily generated from fees, and expenditure, most particularly payment of salaries and costs of civil works and land purchase, are the concern of the "owners"). Private education is so varied that it is difficult to classify. The classification in Table 1 below is based on features of ownership, management and funding: Table 1: Classification of private schools Type Origin Context Community Some developed from missionary schools; The majority emerged when communities wished to complement insufficient provision of public education Religious Spontaneous Developed for historical reasons, often appearing before the arrival of public education Arose in specific learning conditions to meet particular demands of the rural and urban poor Profit making Arose as a result of diversification/unmet demand; Usually, but not always, urban based serving the middle/upper class; Volume of the fee payment varies considerably Source: Adapted from Kitaev 1999 These schools are normally registered by public authorities; regulated under public legislation and receiving public subsidies These schools are normally registered by public authorities; regulated under public legislation and receiving public subsidies Normally not approved or registered and they do not receive public funding; funds accrued from minimal fees levied by the community Conformity to registration process varies; with the higher range of schools being the most likely candidates for adherence to the system 3

4 Definition of Quality There are two further reasons for pursuing an activist educational policy besides the attainment of positive social externalities: (i) efficiency obtaining the greatest possible output from a given amount of expenditure; and (ii) equity political pressures mount for equal access for the lower income groups (James 1996). Yet the goals of quality, efficiency, access and quantity conflict in that an increase in quantity or enrolment may be at variance with the goal of enhancing quality. Indeed this conflict has been exemplified over the past decade as governments have embarked upon the "Holy Grail" of Universal Primary Education increased access and quantity but arguably at the expense of enhanced quality. Thus different stakeholders have differing interpretations regarding both the production and valuation of educational quality and the trade off between quality enhancement and access, quantity and cost Difficulty of Measurement The Externalities from Schooling It is widely argued that basic education should be subsidized on the basis of positive social externalities. Three such externalities are that: (i) an educated workforce is vital to a successful democracy; (ii) an educated workforce is critical for the adoption of a trained workforce; and (iii) widespread education is necessary to reduce crime and social disruption. Yet it is extremely difficult to quantify the importance of these social benefits and the central question surely is whether there are externalities associated with education above the level that parents would choose in a private market (Poterba 1996). Accessing the Means of Measurement "Education is a public good to the extent that its effects are consumed collectively by the society and, at the same time, it is a private good when it directly benefits an individual" Peano (1996) This complexity of definition and the difficulty of measuring private benefits to the individual against public benefits to society at large is further compounded by the fact that the circumstances facing individual governments vary widely. Hence it is not possible to identify detailed policy implications which are universally recognizable. In summary, near universal free primary education, rapid population growth and an historic limitation on the availability of places within the public sector, have placed immense demand for expansion and improved quality of provision. This pressure is currently being released through an expansion of private schools and increase in community schools enrolments. But actual evidence with regard to the extent of this demand and the extent that it is being met by the private sector is difficult to ascertain not least because there are insufficient assessment studies being commissioned and a lack of education management information systems to record and monitor demand and supply. 4

5 1.3 An Overview of the Partnership Approach Some Key Questions Since the 1980s policy makers have increasingly recognized that the traditional methods of education finance and management were unable to deliver quality basic education to all children and that radical changes were needed. Two responses to this excess demand and the need for enhanced quality of provision have been an increase in emphasis on participation in education from the private sector and a push for the establishment of public private partnerships. Yet there is still clearly a need for: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) a detailed assessment of the progress of implementation of projects that entail development of private sector education (see Annex 3(a) for examples of World Bank education projects with private sector components); rigorous debate regarding what measures can be introduced in terms of tuition/user fees, student loans and income generation; greater clarity as to what the anticipated impact might be and what precautions are necessary in order to guarantee the access of low-income families to education if such measures were introduced. Education has undoubtedly become a marketable product but what does that entail in terms of implications for equity and efficiency? And as the partnership phenomenon takes off, consideration of the tensions and pitfalls involved. Genuine partnership involves not only different actors uniting to pursue a common goal, but also mutual respect, transparency, balanced power relations and the equitable distribution of benefits. Various forms of partnership certainly exist, but there is a lack of a common analytical framework for understanding partnerships. How the public and private sectors interact within the education sector and how such interactions impact upon access to education and on the quality and relevance of such services are poorly understood. A major aim of this paper in Chapter 4 is to look at means whereby the respective strengths of the public and private sectors can be maximized while their weaknesses are minimized. In order to fully understand the possibilities and conditions for partnership, policymakers need to have information pertaining to the legal and regulatory frameworks as well as the benefits and the costs that partnership may involve. To that end, this paper aims to address four main questions: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Are partnerships desirable? What legal, policy and regulatory frameworks are necessary to involve the private sector effectively? What are the main constraints to establishing a public-private partnership? What are the most appropriate roles for the government, the lending agencies and the private sector in enabling environments that support the partnership approach? 5

6 1.3.2 Some Key Issues The current policy message with regard to Public-Private Partnerships as a development strategy within the education sector can probably best be summed up as follows a worthwhile strategy that requires further exploration but for which there are still some serious issues and obstacles to be overcome, such as those outlined in Table 2. Table 2: Issues and Obstacles to Public-Private Partnership Issues Problems and Needs The role of government in education development Problem: Education is a public good, hence exclusive reliance on market or community initiatives will not result in social efficiency and equity Linking partnerships with challenges in education Problem: Current partnerships are not clearly linked with resolving the challenges faced by the education sector. Legal and regulatory framework Problem: There is a lack of a well-defined governance structure allowing for a proper distribution of responsibilities to all players : Issues of trust Problem: Lack of trust and mechanisms upon which to build such trust. Accountability Problem: The public sector as the main provider of services is not made rigorously accountable for the quality and equity of its service provision; while the private sector tends to feel responsibility primarily for their organizational goals, be they for profit or otherwise. Needed: The creation of an enabling environment; The establishment of an appropriate mechanism to control quality; Development of systems that can ensure that there is transparency and accountability for the delivery of the services. Needed: Clarity about the objectives; Sharing of benefits as well as responsibilities; Transparency in terms of who is doing what with whom and with what effect. Needed: A clear legislative framework specifying the roles of both sectors, their relationships and the areas of cooperation; Definition of the roles of the public sector at the various levels (central provincial institutional); Definition of the roles of private for profits and the NGO/communities. Needed: Conduits between the two sides that support dialogue and ongoing debate (within the private sector intra or among all its members and inter between the public sector and the two components of the private sector, the for and not for profit arms) Needed: Means of distributing information with regard to institutional performance of all secondary schools; Mechanisms that enable greater involvement of the parents in a child s education 6

7 II. THE PRIVATE EDUCATION MARKET IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES There is a range of ways in which the private sector can participate in the education sector in developing countries. These include the traditional form of private participation namely the delivery of education services through privately owned schools and higher education institutions. But there are a number of other ways that the private sector participates in education in both developed and developing countries. These include: - private sector management and operation of publicly owned schools under contract to the state (i.e., so-called contract schools); - catering, cleaning, security and recruitment; - providing scholarships or vouchers, whether publicly or privately financed, for students to attend private schools; and - providing inputs into the educational process, including curriculum materials and educational building infrastructure such as school buildings. These different modes of private participation in education are discussed in turn and are summarised in Table 3. The focus of this section, and the toolkit in general, is on the delivery, management and financing of education, rather than on the provision of inputs. Table 3: Summary of Private Participation in Education Mechanism Delivery of Education by Private Providers Private Operation of Public Schools Private Sector Supply of Inputs into Education Process Education Vouchers and Scholarships 2.1 Education Delivery by Private Providers Private Sector Involvement Private schools and higher education institutions Tutorial colleges Education internet portals Private tutoring services Public schools operated by private firms or organisations under contract to a public agency Supply textbooks, curriculum and other learning materials to public and private schools Build and operate educational infrastructure such as student hostels Supply associated services to schools and higher education institutions, such as school review and inspection, health care services and canteen services Governments or private sector individuals/organisations provide vouchers or scholarships to students to attend private schools. The first, and most common, avenue for private participation in education is through the delivery of education by private providers. These can include "formal" private schools and higher education institutions, so-called tutorial colleges that prepare students for 7

8 national exams, the supply of individual tutoring services or the provision of tuition through education internet portals, and training colleges (e.g., secretarial, languages and computer learning Size While it is true that the provision of education in most countries is predominantly public, private sector participation in education is significant and growing in many countries (see Annex 3(b) for additional examples collated by EdInvest At some education levels, the private sector dominates the education market. This is especially true at the secondary and higher education levels. For example, the private sector makes up: - nearly one-fifth of all enrolments (36 percent of secondary school enrolments and 100 percent of professional training enrolments) in Côte d Ivoire (EdInvest 1999); - over one-fifth of all enrolments (28 percent of junior secondary enrolments and 77 percent of senior secondary enrolments) in The Gambia (EdInvest 1999) - 28 percent of private school enrolments in Cameroon (57 percent of enrolments in Douala, the financial capital of Cameroon (LaRoque 2000); - 75 percent of higher education enrolments in the Philippines; and - 57 percent of universities in Argentina (The Economist 2000) Nature The private education sectors in developing countries are diverse. Private institutions can differ along a number of dimensions including the client groups they serve (e.g., rich or poor), whether they are registered or unregistered, whether they are religious or secular, whether they are aided or unaided, whether they are for-profit or not-for-profit, and the quality of tuition and infrastructure. Because of the diverse nature of the private sector, it is difficult to provide a general description of the private sector in individual countries. Private schools and higher education institutions may be either aided or unaided. Aided schools are government subsidised. Unaided schools are not. The latter must finance their operations entirely out of fee and other non-government revenues. Private schools in many countries, including China and Ghana, do not provide assistance to private schools (LaRoque and Jacobsen 2000). However, a number of other countries, in both the developed and developing world, do provide some assistance to private education institutions. Often this assistance is less than that provided to public institutions. The education market in developing countries is characterised by a wide range of types of education providers. Traditionally, not-for-profit NGOs and churches have played a significant and pioneering role in the delivery of education. For example, in 1997/98, religious schools made up 23 percent of the private school market in Senegal and 45 percent of the private market in Cameroon. Religious-affiliated institutions are the 8

9 driving force behind the rapidly expanding higher education sector in Ghana. Box 1 provides background details pertaining to one such private institution in the Gambia. Box 1 - The Institute for Continuing Education, Kanifing South, The Gambia The Institute for Continuing Education (ICE), located in Kanifing South in The Gambia, West Africa is a non-exclusive private junior and senior secondary school catering mostly to low-income students. ICE was established to meet a gap in senior secondary school provision - at the time there were only three public or grant-aided senior secondary schools in Banjul. ICE is a legal partnership. It was set up by retired public school principals and has a Board of Directors made up of the five investors who have put capital into the school. It has financed its expansion through significant borrowing from a local bank. Annual fees are $US223 in the Senior School and $US182 in the Junior School. Students also pay other fees on top of that (eg, examination fees). There are currently 1,000 students in the senior school and 600 in the junior school. ICE has the same academic focus as other schools - students write the same exams as those in other private schools. Source: LaRoque (1999) Recent years have seen the emergence of for-profit education providers in developed and developing countries. These can be sole proprietorships, multi-school chains (where one proprietor owns several schools) or franchises. There are many examples of such forprofit institutions in developed countries, including Edison Schools, Advantage Schools, Nobel Learning Communities and the University of Phoenix. There are also increasing numbers of such institutions in developing countries. Examples include: - Centro Escolar University and Far Eastern University in the Philippines, are both large private higher education institutions listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange; - Groupe Scolaire Loko in Abidjan, Côte d Ivoire is a for-profit company that owns six educational institutions, with over 10,000 students. These range from schools offering general secondary education to a school for optometrists and opticians; there are nine private post-secondary colleges operating in Oman, two of which are listed on the Muscat Securities Market; - Datus Complex Schools is a for-profit company that owns four secondary schools in Accra and the Central Region of Ghana; - Groupe Pigier in Abidjan, Côte d Ivoire is a franchise of a long-established Paris firm, offering technical and professional training; 9

10 - South Ocean Schools in China, which operates a chain of boarding schools in several large provincial Chinese centres; and - One of the largest for-profit providers on a global scale is based in India - NIIT (The National Institute for Information Technology) - which operates franchises in some 38 countries worldwide Growth In many developing countries, enrolments in private schools and higher education institutions are growing quickly. For example: - private school enrolments in The Gambia grew by nearly 50 percent between 1993 and Over the same period, the number of students at the primary and junior secondary school levels grew by 40 percent and 120 percent respectively; - the proportion of students at private tertiary institutions in Côte d Ivoire grew from 3 percent to 23 percent 1991/92 and 1995/96. Over that same period, the proportion of students at private secondary schools in Côte d Ivoire grew from 27 percent to over 36 percent; - private school enrolments in Senegal grew by over 75 percent between 1987/88 and 1997/98. Over the same period, enrolments in private primary schools grew by over 120 percent; - private school enrolments in Ghana rose from 76,865 to 354,787 an increase of 362 percent between 1986/87 and 1996/97. This led to a more than tripling in the share of private school enrolments from 3.2 percent to 10.9 percent; and - private school enrolments in Cameroon grew by over 15 percent between 1994/95 and 1998/99, above the 10 percent growth rate for public school enrolments. 2.2 Contract Schools The previous section discussed the "traditional" form of private sector participation in education, where education is delivered by private schools, higher education institutions or other means. However, private sector involvement in the education sector can go well beyond this traditional mode of involvement. One area of increasing private participation is for private firms or organisations to operate public schools under a management contract with the local school board. These schools remain publicly owned and publicly funded, but are managed by a private sector operator in return for a management fee. As part of the contract, the firm or organisation is generally required to meet specific benchmarks in areas such as school attendance, student performance and community involvement. There are a number of examples of "contract schools". Edison Schools is a publicly listed company that operates over 100 public schools in the United States through contracts with various local school boards. There are many international variants on the 10

11 contract school model. These include Transformed Schools which operate in the Haidian District of Beijing, China, the Fé y Alegría network of schools in Latin America (see Box 2) and Sabis Schools, which operates over 20 schools in the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States (LaRoque and Jacobsen 2000). Box 2 - The Fé y Alegría Network of Schools Fé y Alegría (FyA) was established in Venezuela in 1955 by the Jesuits, and now has schools in 14 countries, with over 1 million students and 22,000 staff. FyA schools offer formal education, as well as technical training ranging from farming to secretarial skills. The majority of students at these schools are from poor families. The government provides some funding to FyA schools - to meet either operating or set-up costs. Recent evaluations of these schools have suggested that these schools cost less and have better results than public schools located in similar neighborhoods. (Visit for additional information) 2.3 Vouchers and Scholarships Vouchers or scholarships are a fourth way in which the private sector can participate in the education sector. This participation can be either direct or indirect. First, private individuals or organisations can participate directly in education by financing vouchers or scholarships for students to attend private schools. There are a number of examples of such private financing schemes in the United States. Programmes operated by the CEO America Foundation and the Children s Scholarship Fund in the United States are both examples of private sector financed voucher schemes (of course, even publicly financed voucher schemes are in reality private as they are financed by taxes and revenues from the private sector). Second, vouchers or scholarships, whether publicly or privately financed, can encourage private delivery of education by financing students to attend private schools and higher education institutions. Vouchers can stimulate the growth of the private education sector by making private schooling affordable even for those on low-incomes. Generally speaking, vouchers are payments that a public entity gives directly to students that may be redeemed to help offset all or part of the cost of tuition at a school of their choice. Vouchers come in a variety of forms. They may cover the full cost of tuition at a school or they may cover only a part - with students paying the rest. The voucher may be limited to covering all or part of tuition fees only or they may also cover other costs such as transportation, uniforms, books, etc. Vouchers may be made available to all students 11

12 or they may be targeted toward specific groups for example, girls in rural areas, students from poor families, etc. In most cases, vouchers are not paid directly to students. Rather, parents are given the freedom to choose the school and the school receives funding in accordance with the number of enrolments. Box 3 Government Sponsorship of Students in Private Schools in Côte d Ivoire The number of places available in public schools and training institutions in Côte d Ivoire is insufficient to meet student demand. In addition, gross and net enrolment ratios are low, even by Sub-Saharan standards. To help bridge some of the gap in the supply of places, the government has introduced a programme of sponsoring public students to attend private institutions. Under the programme, private schools receive a payment for each public student placed at their institution. The government sponsors students in lower and upper secondary and in professional and technical training. Students can be sponsored to attend both religious and secular schools. The payment amount varies with the student s educational level: US$200 per year for lower secondary students, and $US233 per year for upper secondary students. The placement of students depends in part of the educational performance of the school. Only those schools that are chartered are eligible to take on sponsored students. In 1997 the government paid out some $US10.3 million to sponsor over 160,000 students at the school level. Over 40 percent of students in private schools are sponsored under this programme. A number of developing countries are making use of innovative school financing mechanisms such as vouchers or subsidies to private schools that are linked to student enrolments see (see Table 4). These include Indonesia, Senegal and El Salvador and Côte d Ivoire (see Box 3). In the United States, a number of small publicly funded voucher schemes are operating with Cleveland, Milwaukee and the State of Florida being the most commonly cited examples. Until recently, New Zealand operated the Targeted Individual Entitlement scheme, which provided publicly funded vouchers for poor students to attend private schools. Appendix 4 provides detailed examples of voucher schemes in the Netherlands and Colombia. Patrinos and Ariasingam (1997) review World Bank education projects that became active during 1993 to 1996 and that included demand-side financing components such as stipends, community financing, targeted bursaries, vouchers, student loans, community grants, and public assistance to private schools. 12

13 Table 4 - Voucher and Voucher-like Schemes in Developing countries. Country Mechanism Bangladesh Stipends for girls to attend public or private schools Belize Government partnerships with churches to share costs Bolivia Private management (church-based organisation) of public schools Brazil Matching grants, capitation grants, scholarships for poor students Botswana Matching-grant schemes Chad Community financing Chile Voucher system for poor students, capitation grants for all students China Matching-grant schemes, targeted bursary for poor and minority children Colombia Targeted voucher system Côte d Ivoire Government sponsorship of students at private institutions Dominican Republic Assistance to private schools serving low-income students El Salvador School choice for poor Gambia Targeted scholarships, capitation grants for all students Guatemala Targeted stipends for girls in 13 communities Ghana Matching-grant schemes India Matching-grant schemes and numerous incentives Indonesia Targeted scholarships for junior secondary school students Jamaica Student loans Kenya Voucher for informal sector workers for short-term skill upgrading courses Lesotho Government partnership with churches to share costs Mauritius Matching-grant schemes Mexico Targeted bursary for poor and indigenous populations Myanmar Community-sponsored schools Morocco Scholarships for rural girls Mozambique Scholarships for rural girls Pakistan Community scholarships, subsidies to private schools serving rural girls Senegal Scholarships for students to attend private and public schools in Dakar Tanzania Matching-grant schemes, targeted bursaries for secondary school girls Thailand Bicycles for poor students in rural areas Zimbabwe Per capita grants Source: Patrinos (2000) 2.4 Supply of Educational Inputs The private sector may also be involved in education through the supply of educational inputs used by both public and private schools and higher education institutions. These include: - the supply of textbooks, curriculum and other learning materials to public and private schools and higher education institutions; 13

14 - building and operating educational infrastructure such as student hostels; and the delivery of associated services to schools and higher education institutions, such as school review and inspections, health care services and canteen services. There are a number of examples of the private sector supplying inputs and associated services to schools and higher education institutions. For example, public universities in China have been directed to contract out non-core services. Many schools allow groups of local women to provide canteen services for the school. The University of Ghana (Legon) has made increasing use of the private sector to finance and operate student hostels. 14

15 III. THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN EDUCATION: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK This section provides a brief overview of a conceptual framework for considering the role of government and the private sector in education. This is particularly important as context for considering the regulatory framework for private education. The objectives of governments in education are generally to ensure that: families with varying financial resources and varying educational needs have access to education (access or equity concerns); appropriate quality standards are attained in relation to teaching, the school environment, child safety, curriculum, and educational outcomes (quality concerns); sound educational decisions are made and that parents act in the best interests of their children (agency concerns); and public resources are carefully used so that the broad social and economic benefits of having a well educated community are realized (social and economic concerns). Market imperfections in education may arise because of information asymmetries, capital market constraints or the existence of externalities (Poterba 1996). However, identifying a potential role for government where there are possible market imperfections says nothing about the form that intervention should take, or indeed whether intervention itself will deliver an outcome superior to that provided by the market. 3.1 Policy Instruments Governments have a range of policy tools or instruments available to help them meet these objectives. At a very broad level, there are four principal policy instruments available to governments: Funding. Governments can purchase goods and services for people or subsidize a service or activity. This could include paying living allowances to students, subsidizing a school s operating expenditures or providing vouchers to students to attend public and private schools; Ownership. Governments can own the providers of services. For example, governments generally own the majority of schools and most universities; Regulation. Governments can mandate or require firms or individuals to do or not do certain things. This can include putting in place health and safety requirements for schools, limiting fees that can be charged by schools and requiring particular governance structures for schools; and Information. The provision of information is a policy instrument available to the government when the private sector does not provide adequate information to allow for informed consumer choice. 15

16 The key task for policy makers in designing the regulatory framework is to determine the best "mix" of policy instruments to use to address any identified market failures. For example, Box 4 provides three problems and possible responses. Box 4: Indicative Problems and Responses Problem Appropriate Response Students cannot borrow to finance their Establish a student loans scheme that would education because of capital market provide funds to students to finance their imperfections education The poor cannot afford to access education Provide targeted assistance to the poor to help There is a lack of information available to consumers in the education market cover the costs of education Require schools to disclose information to parents The key point is that the policy solutions or "regulatory mix" advanced should address the barriers that must be overcome. Further, the mix of policy instruments used in one sector might be quite different from that used in another. In some cases, governments may use only one or two policy instruments. In other cases, they may use all four. This can be illustrated by comparing two areas of social policy - education and income support. In education, most governments use all four instruments to help achieve their objectives - they subsidize schools, they impose mandates on schools and students, they own schools and they publicize details on performance. Income support policy is different. There, most governments will use only two instruments to achieve their objectives they subsidize people to purchase food (by providing welfare benefits) and they regulate food safety standards. Governments generally do not own the provider of services - grocery stores or restaurants. Provision is ordinarily carried out by the private sector. Regulatory reform is not just about deregulation. It is about regulating better. Its goal is to achieve the right "regulatory mix." This can involve softening some aspects of the regulatory framework, but strengthening others. Indeed, less reliance on one policy instrument may require a strengthening of other instruments to ensure that objectives continue to be met. For example, allowing greater entry of private education providers (i.e., moving away from state provision) may require greater reliance on regulation as a way of maintaining standards. The funding, ownership and regulatory interventions of government affect the choices of both students and education institutes about the nature, type and quality of the education they seek and provide. Poorly designed interventions may reduce overall welfare if they result in wasted resources or education that does not best meet the needs of students and can be unfair if they penalize some students and institutions but benefit others. 16

17 3.2 Ownership This section sets out common arguments advanced for government ownership of education institutions, focusing in particular on whether the objectives sought by ownership can be delivered more effectively through funding and regulatory instruments. One reason that is often put forward for government provision of education is that profitmaking organizations may put profits ahead of quality and access to services. However, government ownership is not a necessary instrument to overcome the perceived problems of profit maximization. Privately owned, non-profit education organizations could deliver service and access, but are subject to the same problems of productive inefficiency that characterizes public non-profit provision (James 1991 and 1994). Another possible rationale is that certain types of education are capital intensive, requiring a critical mass of investment in land, libraries and classrooms, for example, and that the private sector is unwilling to make that investment. This might be an historical explanation for government ownership. Imperfections in financial markets might also constrain access to capital by the private sector. In addition, other interventions available to government including loans and guarantees can help address these issues without requiring government ownership of educational infrastructure. In other words, the government could provide or guarantee loans to the private education sector. In some cases, access to capital is restricted because government regulations (such as limits on profit-making) make financial institutions wary of lending. In these cases a less restrictive regulatory environment could increase access to private capital and reduce the need to the state to finance schools by owning the physical infrastructure. A further explanation for government ownership of schools is the transaction costs facing a community in responding to an underlying demand for education. Even where a community wants to have its children educated, it can face hurdles in organizing itself to obtain a building, hire a teacher and determine what should be taught. The difficulties are compounded in remote, poor communities. 3.3 Funding Concerns about access typically stem from the idea that education is costly and that students and their families may not have the necessary resources to purchase it. It is well recognized that education is an investment that generates a future stream of benefits, both monetary and non-monetary, for students. It also confers wider social benefits. An important policy question arises immediately: what proportion of the overall costs of education (which also delivers public benefits) should be paid for by the student? There is considerable disagreement on this point, largely because it is hard to determine the exact mix of these private and public benefits. However, there is general agreement that the public benefits are greatest at earlier stages of education and lesser at later stages. This pattern of benefits suggests that most government funding should be directed at 17

18 early childhood and primary education. Less government funding should be directed at the secondary and higher education levels, where students and their parents could be expected to pay a greater proportion since they benefit more. Yet this pattern is almost exactly the opposite of how governments actually fund education. Unlike other investments however, it can be hard for students to borrow privately in order to fund their education because capital markets require collateral. The imperfections of capital markets for education therefore create a potential role for the state in overcoming these imperfections though loans or loan guarantees. There is considerable variation in the way governments worldwide fund education, and there are a number of significant issues to be addressed since Government policy on the funding of education can have profound effects on the decisions of students, as on the decisions and management of education providers themselves. Box 5 summarizes four of the main questions regarding expenditure. Box 5: The principal questions regarding government expenditure the appropriate level of public funding whether public funding is targeted or universally available (targeting); whether public funding is directed at students or institutions (demand side versus supply side) and whether public funding is available at public or private institutions (neutrality) Targeting The universal provision of funding is generally seen as equitable, but can in fact be regressive (i.e., unfair to the poor) because students from better off households can "topup" the school s resources through donations or fees. Targeted funding can be directed at students whose needs are highest by shifting resources from those who are able to contribute to their own education. If funding is directed only at government institutions, then students from poor homes are typically denied access to private education, since private providers must raise their own capital and recoup their investment through fees that the poor may not be able to afford. The effects of the lack of choice are exacerbated when public schools offer poor quality schooling Demand-Side versus Supply-Side Financing One of the policy choices government has is whether to link resourcing to schools or to individual students. Resourcing institutions rather than students provides the government with a very direct and administratively straightforward mechanism for influencing the level of resources used in the sector. Resourcing the students, however, has other desirable effects in that it: permits precise targeting so that resourcing can more accurately reflect the diversity of student circumstances; 18

19 enhances the bargaining power of parents since schools know that failure to deliver on student needs directly translates into lower resourcing; and encourages schools to be responsive to the needs of students and accountable to parents. Some examples of such mechanisms employed in countries throughout the world are provided in Table 5.: Table 5: Selected Demand-Side Financing Examples in Developing Countries Mechanism Public stipend/scholarship Community financing Targeted bursaries Vouchers Public subsidies to private schools Community grants Matching grants Source: Vawda (2000) Neutrality Country Examples Bangladesh, Indonesia, Guatemala, Mozambique, Pakistan Chad, El Salvador, Myanmar, Pakistan China, Colombia, Mexico, Tanzania Chile, Colombia, Côte d Ivoire, Kenya Belize, Czech Rep., Dominican Rep., Lesotho Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan Botswana, China, India, Tanzania Another design choice is how different types of provider are resourced. Funding can be directed at either government institutions only, or at government and private institutions. Funding directed only at government institutions has a number of drawbacks. In particular, it: reduces the choices available to students, especially poor students and implies that choice is exercised most actively by better-off families; forces private providers to target students who can afford fees; and insulates government institutions from private sector competition. More neutral funding directed at both private and government providers allows a range of provider types to emerge to meet diverse needs of students, enhances equity by allowing private providers to serve poorer students and enhances student choice. It can also induce greater efficiency and quality through competition. 19

20 3.4 Regulation The regulatory framework for education sets the overall environment in which parents, students, teachers, schools, higher educational institutions and the government itself will operate. It represents, in essence, the rules of the game for the various stakeholders in the education sector. Box 6: The Regulatory Framework Defined The term regulatory framework refers to the set of tools or instruments that the government uses to influence the actions of individuals and firms involved in the education sector and the actions of the government itself. The definition includes the rules that govern: how providers are established; the level and manner in which providers are resourced; the taxation and customs treatment of providers; how providers are governed and managed; the operational flexibility that providers have; information disclosure requirements on providers; regulation of the teacher labor market, including teacher registration and contracting arrangements; and the process of review and quality assurance of providers. Regulation of the quality and content of education is often undertaken by the state. Such regulation can be seen as arising from a need to protect the interests of students and to protect the interests of taxpayers where the state owns educational institutions or provides funding. Table 6: The Advantages, Disadvantages and Difficulties Inherent in Regulation Advantages Disadvantages and Difficulties Allows the government to explicitly Unable to address issues of affordability set out the objectives for education Enables the government to allocate Unable to ensure that the wider benefits of education are funding necessarily attained Allows the government to allocate Difficulty of obtaining information re inputs (the number rights and obligations of classrooms, facilities etc) and outputs (quality of Provides the legal framework for enforcement education) Inability to estimate the compliance costs of regulation In summary, regulation and rule setting by the government need to be considered with a view to the following possibilities: (i) Rule setting by government may discourage the development of more effective mechanisms for allocating rights and responsibilities. For instance, in some situations private agreements between parties might be better suited to creating mutually beneficial solutions than centralized rule making. 20

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