By Nicholas Burnett, Managing Director for Education at Results for Development Institute, leader at the Center for Education Innovations
I was in Ghana earlier this year, where as many as two-thirds of the children living in slum areas outside the capital of Accra are estimated to attend private schools, quite a few of which I visited. Though some think it unfortunate, the poor are increasingly enrolling in non-state schools in Africa and in South Asia, as they have for many decades in Latin America. These non-state schools include those run by non-government organizations and those owned and operated by private proprietors.
Why do I say some think it unfortunate? We believe far too many people come to the table with preconceived notions about what works and what doesn’t work in education, all too often based on labels such as “public” and “private,” and too rarely based on evidence and results. But, as we move toward 2015 with the Education for All and Millennium Development goals clearly not going to be met, in terms of either enrolment or quality, it is time to move beyond ideology and focus pragmatically on harnessing all parts of the education system and on what works in practice.