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We know that school improvement is not sustainable if it is attempted in isolation. So we work with a range of partners on initiatives that work to improve education systems. We work to help ensure that children across the world have access to high quality, inspirational teaching.

     

Public-Private-Partnerships

Around the world, policymakers and academics are starting to see that non-state organisations may play a valuable part in delivering a great education - they believe that these organisations could work alongside schools through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). However, in some areas, such as sub-Saharan Africa, PPPs are relativey untested. We're now working with governments around the world to explore how these partnerships could hold poor schools to account and help good schools to thrive.

As well as running excellent schools and supporting education entrepreneurs, we also work to explore how public and private organisations can work together to support pupils around the world. Through our Public Private Partnership (PPP) practice, we want to help create environments where poor schools are held to account and good schools are able to thrive.

Why Public Private Partnerships matter

In some developing countries, government schools aren't delivering a good enough education for pupils. As a result, even the poorest families are turning to private schools - last year in Uganda, 48% of secondary enrolments were for private schools. However, there's little evidence that this is money well spent. These private schools aren't delivering the results that pupils and parents hope for.

However, evidence from Columbia, Venezuela and Pakistan shows that privately-managed government schools have the potential to improve results for the very poorest children. By allowing the schools greater autonomy, and asking for more accountability and efficiency, these PPPs are delivering real results.

What our PPP practice does

We've been approached by governments and stakeholders in areas such as from India and Pakistan to Thailand and Tanzania. They want us to help them explore whether PPPs could help improve the education they're providing to their pupils.

That's why we set up our PPP practice - a resource to help policymakers explore what public-private partnerships could do for them. We will design, develop and - in time - even execute PPPs where appropriate, using our experience of delivering quality education around the world. As an organisation with a successful track record in improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, we can act as an honest broker between those public and private organisations who may be able to work together. We can use what we've learned, and tailor it to suit the specific challenges each country is facing.

Our aim is that our PPP practice will become a centre for excellence in this area, and will support countries in creating public-private partnerships that transform children's lives.

Quality assurance

Last year, we piloted a school assessment framework in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which has over 120,000 schools, 10 million pupils and no inspection body. The pilot of our School Quality Assurance programme was developed in collaboration with partners Ofsted, DfID, CfBT and M-CRIL, and includes tools to automate the inspection process and make it easier for stakeholders to analyse school data. 

Getting children into school is a challenge for many countries. But how can governments ensure that pupils receive a good education once they get there? In India, 56% of all children – and 70% of the poorest children – leave primary school without even basic reading or writing skills.

Last year, we piloted a school assessment framework in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which has over 120,000 schools, 10 million pupils and no inspection body. The pilot of our School Quality Assurance programme was developed in collaboration with partners Ofsted, DfID, CfBT and M-CRIL, and includes tools to automate the inspection process and make it easier for stakeholders to analyse school data.

Our framework was developed alongside, and has now been officially adopted by, the government of Madhya Pradesh, which has announced that it will be rolled out across all its schools over the next five years. Millions of pupils now have a greater prospect of a better education because their schools will be held to higher standards. And we are now working with the authorities in Delhi to do the same work for them.  

Value-Add

Parents, government organisations and educational professionals in the UK have a wealth of information to make informed decisions and assesments on the quality of education a school is providing - from Ofsted reports to detailed exam result data.

In Uganda, the picture is quite different: the main source of information is a single, annual list of schools showing the percentage of students achieving the very top grades. Of the 3,000 schools in Uganda, over 1000 have less than 5% of students achieving this top grade, and a further 1000 have no students in this category - meaning that there is no way to assess how schools are supporting a huge proportion of students. 

To counter this, Ark is developing a value added performance measure for the Ugandan government. Value added performance measures assess the progress a student has made during their time at school, allowing for a fair comparison between schools in different contexts. They also recognise the performance of each student equally, rather than rewarding schools only for their work with high performing students.

Our value added measure is one of the first ever attempts at developing this kind of metric for a developing country's educational system and is due to be presented to the Ugandan government in late 2015. If implemented, the measure will give the country a new and unprecedented system for assessing how schools help each and every Ugandan students - allowing good practice to be spread, and underperformance addressed.

Our Public-Private-Partnership practice

Our PPP Practice has been active in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Some of our work includes:

  • India, where we have funded an independent organisation, the Education Alliance, to work with governments in different states across India to help in the delivery of public-private partnerships.
  • Kenya, where we are supporting the Nairobi City County to create the Nairobi City County Education Trust and help execute the Trust’s recommendations on ensuring access and equity, good education data, and better regulation of the private educational sector.
  • South Africa, where we are working to set up a public-private partnership and drive reform in the wider education system.