In Asia, private supplementary tutoring consumes huge amounts of household finance, and has far-reaching implications for social inequalities, let alone the huge implications it has for school education services. Yet few governments have satisfactory regulations for the phenomenon. 

The book Regulating Private Tutoring for Public Good: Policy Options for Supplementary Education in Asia focuses on the extensive scale of private tutoring in countries of the region, regardless of their development status. The work shows wide diversity in the regulations introduced by governments in the Asian region. It notes not only that these governments can learn much from each other, but also that policy makers in other parts of the world can usefully look at patterns in Asia. The book also stresses the value of partnerships between governments, tutoring providers, schools, teachers’ unions, and other bodies.

 

This report shows that the Philippines is neglecting its obligation to guarantee free public education for all. Since 2009 the government’s allocation of funds to private school chains has increased to more than PHP 31 Billion, nearly $700 million USD, which Riep points out could have paid for 60 thousand more classrooms and accommodated roughly 3 million students.

The report reveals how for-profit schools are using the education system, with the aid of public money, to produce a generation of young people programmed to work as “semi-skilled... cheap labour” for a plethora of corporations in the Philippines. At the same time, low-fee, for-profit schools are employing untrained teachers for low wages at the cost of quality education.

The main findings of the report are:

  • Complicity and failure on the part of Filipino government to fulfil its obligations to provide quality free education for its citizens - this on the heels of the adoption of the SDGs and the FFA.
  • It also reveals failure on the development, implementation and enforcement of legislative requirements that go to for-profit schooling - noting that APEC receives directly and indirectly government/tax payer funding.
  • The report further highlights failure on enforcing a social contract / minimum standards regarding qualified teachers, curriculum and facilities. In fact, the government waived legislative requirements vis a vis school facilities.  
  • What is new here is the state sponsored / subsidised human resource factories directly advancing Ayala’s business interests. This is achieved by reverse engineering the curriculum to produce an army of labour for their businesses e.g. call centres. All in all, the research provides evidence why the profit motive has no place in dictating what is taught, how it’s taught nor how schools are organised. 

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of the Philippines on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/PHL/5-6) at its 65th and 66th meetings (E/C.12/2016/SR.65 and 66) held on 28 and 29 September 2016, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 79th meeting, held on 7 October 2016.

In this decision, the Supreme Court of India interpreted the right to education to include the right to the provision of a safe environment in schools, and imposed an obligation on schools to comply with certain fire safety precautions which were detailed in the judgment.

This report summarises the Asia Pacific regional consultation on Human Rights Guiding Principles on State Obligations regarding Private Schools (hereafter ‘regional consultation') hosted by the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) in Bangkok on 30-31 August, 2016. The purpose of the regional consultation was to share the process for the development of, and for participants to input into, a set of Human Rights Guiding Principles on State obligations regarding private schools (‘Guiding Principles’). The Guiding Principles are a set of global guidelines that clarify human rights law related to private actors in education and are intended to be operational in and adaptable to different contexts.

A report summary for the eastern Africa regional consultation, held in Nairobi (September 2016) is available, here.

A report summary for the Europe and North America regional consultation, held in Paris (March 2017) is available, here.

Commercialisation is creeping into our public school system. A new report, Commercialisation in Public Schooling, reveals teachers are concerned about the influence commercialisation is having in schools; on everything from the provision of tests like NAPLAN, through to private providers offering classes in PE, Music, Drama and even professional development courses for teachers.

The report reveals schools are now forced to buy-in a substantial volume of educational products and services that were once provided by education departments.

These include:

  • Lesson plans
  • Reading programmes
  • Curriculum content
  • Assessment services
  • Remedial instruction
  • Online learning programmes
  • Student data packages
  • NAPLAN and exam preparation materials
  • Professional development for staff
  • School administration support

And, with public education and school budgets constantly under pressure, some schools are looking to pass on the costs for these commercial services to parents wherever they can.

Globally, the provision of education services is a massive business; worth an estimated $4.3 trillion annually.

The Commercialisation in Public Schooling report was commissioned by the NSW Teachers Federation and conducted by Professor Bob Lingard of the University of Queensland’s School of Education and a team which included Dr Sam Sellar (Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr Anna Hogan (University of Queensland) and Associate Professor Greg Thompson (Queensland University of Technology).

NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said the report sounded a warning for parents, teachers, governments and education administrators.

 

This research provides an overview of the trajectories and forms of education privatisation in Nepal, with a special focus on low-fee and chain schools. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing, critical debate about the relationships between students’ rights to quality education, teachers’ rights to quality working conditions, equitable access to schools and the regulation of private actors in education. It used a mixed methodology, comprising desk research, and field work (survey and interviews). The major focus of the desk research was on: (i) identifying and analysing the growth trajectory of privatisation; (ii) examining the overall policy, practice and legislative environment in which the private sector has proliferated; and, (iii) identifying prominent private actors and issues related to equity and social justice in Nepal’s education sector. The fieldwork was comprised of case studies of two types of private schools – (i) the Samata Shiksha Niketan Schools (a low-fee private school chain), and (ii) the schools operated by Chaudhary Group (CG). For the purpose of case studies, five Samata and three CG schools were selected. The case studies were conducted using a survey questionnaire and semi-structured interviews amongst teachers, students, school principals, and promoters/owners. Throughout the process of data collection, interpretation and analysis, special emphasis was given to gender as a cross-cutting perspective. 

In this case, a resident of Uttar Pradesh state challenged a notification issued by the Karnataka government that permitted private medical colleges to charge higher fees to students who were not allocated 'government seats'. The Supreme Court of India held that the charging of a ‘capitation fee’ by the private educational institutions violated the right to education, as implied from the right to life and human dignity, and the right to equal protection of the law. In the absence of an express constitutional right, the Court interpreted a right to education as a necessary condition for fulfilment of the right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. In addition, the Court held that private institutions, acting as agents of the State, have a duty to ensure equal access to, and non-discrimination the delivery of, higher education.

In response to a petition filed by an Indian charity, the Supreme Court of India directed the governments of all States and Union Territories to ensure that all schools, whether private or state-run, provide proper toilet facilities, drinking water, sufficient classrooms and capable teaching staff. The court held that, under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) and the Indian Constitution, central, state and local governments have an obligation to ensure that all schools, both public and private, have adequate infrastructure. Adequate infrastructure includes safe drinking water, toilet facilities for boys and girls, sufficient class rooms and the appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff.

In this decision, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutionality of section 12 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act), which requires all schools, both state-funded and private, to accept 25% intake of children from disadvantaged groups. However, the Court held that the RTE Act could not require private, minority schools to satisfy a 25% quota, as this would constitute a violation of the right of minority groups to establish private schools under the Indian Constitution. This case affirms that the authority of the State to fulfil its obligations under the right to education can be extended to private, non-State actors. Because the State has the authority to determine the manner in which it discharge this obligation, it can elect to impose statutory obligations on private schools so long as the requirements are in the public interest.

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