This paper highlights key concluding observations adopted between 2014 and 2016 by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), and the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) regarding the role of private actors in education in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Morocco, Uganda and Zimbabwe. These add to more than 50 other concluding observations previously issued by these committees on the topic.

This paper highlights key concluding observations adopted between September 2014 and November 2017 by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) regarding the role of private actors in education in Ghana, Chile, Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, Philippines and Brazil. These add to more than 50 other concluding observations previously issued by these committees on the topic.

In recent decades, governments have made considerable efforts to provide education for all. However, a large gap remains between international commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goal 4, and the actual achievement of inclusive and equitable quality education for all. As a result, certain actors often critique public education as ineffective and inefficient, and thus incapable of addressing this issue. They argue for privatisation as a solution, deeming private providers as more innovative and effective than public ones. However, shortcomings in public education often arise not from lack of capacity, but lack of political will.

This review of examples of public education in low- and middle-income countries shows that, in direct contrast to widely disseminated (and empirically unvalidated) ideas, public education can be highly effective, efficient and transformative and, crucially, it is possible to develop quality public education everywhere. 

In recent decades, governments have made considerable efforts to provide education for all. However, a large gap remains between international commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goal 4, and the actual achievement of equitable quality education for all. As a result, certain actors often critique public education as ineffective and inefficient, and thus incapable of addressing this issue. They argue for privatisation as a solution, deeming private providers as more innovative and effective than public ones. However, shortcomings in public education often arise not from lack of capacity, but lack of political will.

This review of examples of public education in low- and middle-income countries shows that, in direct contrast to widely disseminated (and empirically unvalidated) ideas, public education can be highly effective, efficient, and transformative and, crucially, it is possible to develop quality public education everywhere. 

Public education is often critiqued as ineffective and inefficient. However, where shortcomings in public education are identified, they can often be attributed not to lack of capacity, but lack of political will. Reviewing seven examples of public education in developing countries, this research shows that, in direct contrast to widely disseminated ideas, public education can be the most effective, efficient, and transformative approach to education, and, crucially, it is possible to develop quality public education everywhere.

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