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The Role and Impact of Private Schools in Developing Countries

Document Category: Education

This paper presents a rigorous review of evidence on the role and impact of private schools on the education of school-aged children in developing countries. It was commissioned by the Department for International Development (DFID) and produced by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and advisers with expertise in education, economics, international development and political economy from the University of Birmingham, Institute of Education, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report. The focus of the review is on private school delivery of education to poorer sections of societies, including private schools identified as low-fee private schools (LFPs).

The research question driving the review is: Can private schools improve education for children in developing countries? The conceptual framework set out a number of hypotheses and assumptions that underpin the polarised debate about the potential and real contribution of private schools. These are interrogated through a rigorous and objective review of the evidence and findings are mapped on to an evidenced theory of change.