When over one year ago the idea matured to write, in preparation for the WCT Congressof February 2006, a study on the situation of staff in private education, nobody suspected how complex this task would prove to be. Indeed, it soon became clear that very few comparable data were available on this subject. A lot of reading matter could becollected on private education itself, but always very different in design and tendency and, for the various countries and regions, not always of such a nature that they would yield meaningful conclusions. It was soon concluded that a survey among the member organisations of WCT was indicated to map out the situation in the best possible way.With this end in view, a questionnaire was distributed in the autumn of 2004, and asizeable number of organisations completed it. Some of them did so concisely – probably because they had insufficient comparative material at their disposal –, others went indetail, solidly documented. All this yielded a wealth of information that largely constituted, together with existing publications and viewpoints, the basis for writing thisstudy. The list of responding colleagues, and of organisations on behalf of which they did so, has been attached to this publication. In the texts itself and in the various chapters,too, reference to their contribution has been made. We hope that they will recognisetheir share in this undertaking. We thank them sincerely for their meaningful cooperation.It is also befitting to express a true word of thanks to the co-author, Maria Casalla of IPLAC (Instituto Pedagogico Latinoamericana y del Caribe), based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was in charge of writing the chapter on the Americas as well as thenational reports from that continent. The report on Argentina, however, was written by Fabian Otero of SADOP – Incape. Gregorio Ramirez also made an excellent contributionto collecting the reactions to the survey of WCT and lent support to several other editorial tasks.It is befitting, further, to express sincere thanks to the employees at the WCT secretariat, for whom the coordination and processing of the successive text versions and translations seemed a real puzzle sometimes.The translators of the WCL secretariat deserve all our praise for their cooperation. Inrecent months we gave them quite some, not always easy, extra work. However, they accomplished this work with great commitment and expertise. Thanks to them, theEnglish, French and Spanish version of this study were ready at the same moment. Anachievement that merits our sincere appreciation. Without the support of the VERBA project (CNV/WCL) this study could not have been realised. Our sincere gratitude.The authors of this study hope that their work may be a contribution to a clearer insight into the realities of private education worldwide, particularly to a better understanding of the situation of the staff employed in it. The fact that this publication also is significant for the achievement of the important education goals that the world community set itself in the Education for All Programme is gratifying for all those who have spent much timeand energy to achieve them. The approval of their work by UNESCO officials is highly appreciated.
Louis Van Beneden