False promises

How delivering education through public-private partnerships risks fueling inequality instead of achieving quality education for all

A growing body of evidence shows that education public-private partnerships (PPPs) which support private schooling are too often failing the most vulnerable children and risk deepening inequality. Despite this, the World Bank has been increasingly promoting education PPPs in poor countries through its lending and advice.

Oxfam’s research shows that over a fifth of World Bank education projects between 2013 and 2018 included support to governments for private provision of education. Detailed analysis also reveals the Bank's policy advice actively encourages governments to expand private provision of education.

Case studies in Uganda and Pakistan raise concerns about unequal access, poor quality and low accountability. Low-fee private schools disproportionately exclude the poorest students and in particular girls, and rely on low-paid, poorly qualified teachers, many of whom are women. The World Bank and other donors should stop promoting and financing market-oriented education schemes and focus on expanding quality public schooling as a human right for all.