Privatization or Public Investment in Education?

Privatization or Public Investment in Education? cover
November 15, 2016
Frank Adamson

Policymakers worldwide are trying to figure how best to organize, govern, and support their education systems. They must manage multiple goals, such as workforce development, nurturing knowledgeable citizens, and ensuring educational opportunity. Some countries approach these issues with a public investment in teacher professionalization and a focus on equity of student outcomes, while others use a market-based, privatization approach to education.

In this SCOPE brief report, Frank Adamson compares pairs of countries using these two different approaches. The data suggest that the education sector is better served by a public investment approach that supports each and every child than by a market-based, competition approach that creates winners and losers. While competition might work in sports leagues, countries should not create education systems in which children lose in the classroom. Adamson explains how and why some children can lose in a privatized system and makes recommendations to ensure that all children receive equitable, high quality educational opportunities.

This brief presents key findings and policy recommendations from the book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes. This research was made possible by the Open Society Foundations.