The effects of privatisation on girls’ access to free, quality public education in Malawi, Mozambique, Liberia, Tanzania and Nepal

This report shows how the right to education in Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nepal is undermined by the low quality of public education. Governments have a duty to ensure the right to free, public education of good quality for all but the low quality of public schools is driving parents to pay for private education. Privatisation aggravates existing inequalities and marginalisation of vulnerable groups and children from poor families. Governments must fulfil their responsibility and ensure free, public education of good quality for all children.

The right to free, quality education is established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and reaffirmed with the Sustainable Development Goals. However, despite much progress, the obstacles to achieving free public education for all are still numerous. In recent years, the growing trend of for-profit privatisation within the education sector has emerged as yet another serious challenge. One of the concerns is that it aggravates existing inequalities and marginalisation of vulnerable groups within the education system, as these groups are not able to pay for education. The purpose of this study was to conduct research on the education landscape in five countries (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nepal and Liberia) and to analyse the effects of privatisation on girls’ access to free, quality public education in those countries. The study focusses on privatisation at the primary and secondary school level and looks at the different providers of private education, as well as the development in privatisation between 2010 and 2015. The research is based on a desk study, field visits (to Nepal, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania) and interviews with key education stakeholders.