The Challenges of Public Private Partnerships in Realising the Right to Education

by | Jul 29, 2015

This is a recording of an interactive online workshop, hosted by the Oxford Human Rights Hub and the Open Society Foundations on 29 July 2015.  It explores the challenges of public and private partnerships in realising the right to education.


Public private partnerships are an increasing phenomenon in the field of education. The growing influence of a market model of private education, particularly in providing low-fee schools, has challenged the traditional understanding of education as a public good. This brings with it the risk that the State will abdicate its public responsibilities, and education will be viewed as a market commodity. This raises the question of how to retain the fundamental nature of the right to education as a societal or public good, rather than a private good.

The aim of this online consultation was to develop a human rights understanding in relation to several crucial issues raised by public-private partnerships. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Mr Kishore Singh, participated in the online workshop and will use the workshop discussions as a resource for his annual report to be submitted to the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

The online workshop investigated three key questions:

  • What is the role of law in structuring a PPP and in conceptualising the purpose of education?
  • How can the state and private providers be held accountable for both quality in education and against corruption?
  • What enforceability measures are needed to hold actors in public-private partnerships accountable?

You can read more about public private partnerships and the right to education, and this online workshop here.

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