Educational Privatization in the 21st Century: A Global Framework for Understanding Non-government Schools
Stern, Jonathan Michael Bradley
The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the shifting trends in the provision and funding of non-government schools in developing countries over the past 20 years, with an emphasis on the rise of low-cost private schools. As a result of recent changes in governmental support to public schooling and increases in low-fee private enrollment rates, it is necessary to examine not only the cross-country factors that impact private enrollments but also the quality of the low-cost sector that has become so prominent in many developing countries. Accordingly, this dissertation addresses each of these issues via three distinct but related papers. The first paper provides an updated and expanded analysis of Estelle James' pioneering work on why countries have different mixes of public-private provision of primary and secondary education. Counter to James’ findings, I hypothesize that as a result of Education for All initiatives across the globe, public spending is no longer predictive of private enrollment rates. In addition, this paper finds differences across levels of development and therefore seeks to determine the level of economic development at which we begin to see changes in predictors of private enrollment rates. In order to illustrate the demand for quality in developing countries, the second paper provides an analysis of the quality of the private secondary education sector in Brazil—overall, as well as by level of tuition. This paper uses data from the state of Sao Paulo in order to assess the impact of private schools by analyzing differences in academic outcomes (e.g. end of high school exams) between public-private transfers and public school “stayers”. The third paper examines the private school sector in Indonesia--a country that follows a less traditional model for private school financing and monitoring. By incorporating 2009 PISA results with findings from fieldwork conducted in Indonesia in 2010, this paper provides a new perspective on the impact of (low-cost) private schools in a country with large private secondary enrollments and a highly subsidized private education sector.