Right to Education Project and ActionAid are delighted to announce a small but ambitious project to deliver high-quality, human rights-based research on the impact of ‘low-cost’ private schooling on the right to education, the decline in government provision of education and the benefits of a fairer tax system.
Aimed at turning the tide of privatisation of education fostered by international financing institutions, donors and new philanthropic ventures, this project will coordinate community and national-level led research in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan. These countries have been selected because of the explosion of ‘low-cost’ private schools, which claim to provide affordable schooling but whose fees actually constitute a massive financial burden for families living in poverty. We will focus on Bridge International Academies in Kenya and Uganda, Omega Schools in Ghana and independent ‘low-cost’ private schools in Pakistan to study the impact of these for-profit initiatives.
The project will produce evidence to convincingly advocate for increased investment in a good quality, free and universal public school system not only in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan, but globally.
We believe that a fairer tax system, that is, collecting the revenue lost through tax evasion, avoidance and incentives, particularly to multinationals operating in those countries, is the most effective and sustainable way for governments to fulfil the right to free and compulsory quality education for all children, as school systems worldwide depend on domestic revenues raised through taxation.
Silver bullet solutions to entrenched education problems, such as ‘low-cost’ private schools, often lead to violations of the right to education.
This project will collate evidence and analysis of the findings in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan into national reports and an international report that will be used to advocate for a fair and sustainable education financing policy that will transform children’s lives.
Dr. Maria Ron-Balsera is Research and Advocacy Coordinator for the Right to Education Project.