Govt Advised to Adopt Public Private Partnerships in Education Sector

The government of Uganda, and other African countries have been advised to adopt public private partnerships as a way of improving the quality of education received by children in public schools.

The recommendation was made by the Bridge Uganda, which runs international schools in different African countries.

The recommendation was based on a report that was released last Friday about the effectiveness of public private ran schools in Liberia.

The study which was conducted at the 8 Bridge run partnership schools for Liberia (PSL) showed that students in the PPP schools studied twice as much compared to students in purely public schools.

The report also indicated reduced absenteeism of teachers and students as well as well as better school management and happier students who are more eager to learn.

Commenting on the report, the Director of Academics at Bridge Uganda, Christine Apiot said, “These learning gains from Liberia are outstanding and show what is possible from a public private education Partnership. These extraordinary results are due to the bold vision of the Liberian Ministry of Education. We hope that the Ugandan Government will look at these results and think about what such a partnership could do for Ugandan children.”

The report authors at Center for Global Development, said, “There is solid evidence of positive effects for Liberian children during the first year of PSL. Students at PSL schools learned more, received more instruction, and were happier at school than students at traditional public schools. Teachers in PSL schools were more likely to be at school, on-task, and engaged in instruction.”

Dr. Shannon May, co-founder of Bridge, said, “The world was watching to see whether Liberia’s education system could be transformed, and the answer is yes. Liberia’s innovative PSL public school program has been validated. This shows that a Government lead Public Private Partnership initiative designed to improve education could be effective in other countries such as Uganda. The report proves that teacher accountability, improved operating capacity, a full day of learning for pupils, and class sizes conducive to learning, produce great results. The success of this program gives a generation of children in Liberia hope and children across Africa the possibility of a brighter future.”

Further findings from the report about PSL as a whole, which includes 8 government partners indicated the following:

  • More Learning: Over one school year, learning gains for students in PSL public schools were equivalent to 0.56 extra years of schooling for English and 0.66 extra years for maths.
  • More Teaching: Teachers in PSL public schools were 20 percentage points more likely to be in school and 16 percentage points more likely to be engaged in actual teaching. This is a radical improvement in areas where teacher absenteeism is at 60%.
  • Better Managed Schools: PSL public schools are better managed – inclusion in the PSL program moves the average public school from the 50th to the 66th percentile in management practices — in just one school year.
  • Happier Parents and Teachers: Over 80% of parents and teachers at traditional public schools wish Bridge and other PSL partners would open more PSL public schools.
  • Happier, More Educated, More Civic Minded Students: Students are happier in PSL public schools than in traditional public schools, and less likely to be absent. They are also are more likely to think school is useful, more likely to think elections are the best way to choose a president, and less likely to think some tribes in Liberia are bad.
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