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Maria Casalla

Louis Van Beneden (eds)

(See Table of Content)

The status and the working conditions of the teachers
The contribution of private schools to reach the EFA

An exploratory survey

A publication of the
Brussels –Belgium

Teaching in private schools

C.I.P. Koninklijke Bibliotheek Albert I – Bibliothèque Royale Albert I

Wettelijk depot/dépot légal/legal depot: D/2005/10.649/2

French edition: Enseigner dans les écoles privées – D/2005/10.649/1

Spanish edition : Enseñar en las escuelas privadas - D/2005/10.649/3
ISBN Number: 2-9600594-0-9
EAN: 9782960059403

Copyright 2005 by World Confederation of Teachers

33 Trierstraat – rue de Trèves

B 1040 Brussels
Tel: **32/(0)2/285 47 52/29
Fax: **32/(0)2/285 47 30

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form of any electronic or mechanical
means, including information storage or retrieval devices or systems, without prior
written permission from the publishers, except that brief passages may be quoted for


When over one year ago the idea matured to write, in preparation for the WCT Congress
of 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 be
collected 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 a
sizeable number of organisations completed it. Some of them did so concisely – probably
because they had insufficient comparative material at their disposal –, others went in
detail, solidly documented. All this yielded a wealth of information that largely
constituted, together with existing publications and viewpoints, the basis for writing this
study. 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 recognise
their share in this undertaking. We thank them sincerely for their meaningful

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 the
national reports from that continent. The report on Argentina, however, was written by
Fabian Otero of SADOP – Incape. Gregorio Ramirez also made an excellent contribution
to 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. In
recent months we gave them quite some, not always easy, extra work. However, they
accomplished this work with great commitment and expertise. Thanks to them, the
English, French and Spanish version of this study were ready at the same moment. An
achievement 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 time
and energy to achieve them. The approval of their work by UNESCO officials is highly

Louis Van Beneden



Acknowledgment 3
Executive summary 6
Glossary 12

Part I – General framework

Chapter 1 Justification 15

Chapter 2 What do we understand by ‘private education”? 17

Chapter 3 Legal and normative framework 21

Chapter 4 Trends and developments in private education 43

Evolution in figures 56

Educational Vouchers 67

Gats 70

Part II - The role and representativeness of private education

Chapter 5 Africa - A necessary retrospective view 74

Chapter 6 Americas – The complex situation of private education in

the Americas 85

Chapter 7 Asia and the Pacific – An enormous diversity 95

Chapter 8 Europe - Reference in the past, what about the future? 108

Relevant Statistics 124

Part III - Situation of private education in selected countries

Chapter 9 Benin - The heavy burden of the past 128

Chapter 10 Mauritius - Pluricultural and free 139

Chapter 11 Morocco - Can we call it ‘integration’? 148

Chapter 12 South Africa - Searching for the right balance 158

Chapter 13 Argentina – Private management of public schools:

A long way towards equality 175

Chapter 14 Chile - A growing tendency 187

Chapter 15 Costa Rica - A new step forward 198

Chapter 16 Venezuela - Increasing power of the State: decline in

private education? 205

Chapter 17 India - Multiface diversity and consequence complexity 216

Chapter 18 Pakistan - Indispensable partnerships 231

Chapter 19 Philippines - The past in the present 246

Chapter 20 Netherlands - The most pluralistic now, also in the future? 257

Chapter 21 Hungary - Following a ‘third way’ since the 1970s 269

Chapter 22 Spain - 20 years of struggle for decentralisation 282

Part IV - Conclusions

Chapter 23 Working in private schools 302

Chapter 24 Trade Union Rights in private education:

the gap between the rights and the realities 328

Chapter 25 Private education and the EFA objectives 341

Chapter 26 Conclusions from a trade union perspective 363

List of participating organizations in the WCT enquiry 367

List of tables 368


« Teaching in private schools » attempts to illustrate and situate divergent developments

emerging on the education landscape throughout the world. On the one hand, it is a
question of an increasing number of private initiatives that are being increasingly
promoted by political authorities themselves and at least integrated in their strategy; and
on the other hand, the impact of decentralisation of education on staff management and
the policy applied in educational establishments. All these developments are the subject
of a detailed study based on two perspectives : Firstly the status and working conditions
of teaching staff concerned, secondly, the role and significance of private education since
it is a question of achieving the goals fixed by the international community in the
« World Declaration on Education For All ». Bringing these two perspectives together
does not seem to be a matter of course initially. The current study will show us that
throughout the world, there is an increasing conviction that the aims of EFA will never be
achieved without the participation of private education. For this reason also, attaining
the necessary expected quality of education depends to a large extent on the propensity
of professionally trained, qualified and motivated teachers being willing and able to put in
more effort, also in private schools. Hence, the established link between the two points
of view mentioned above.

Part 1 gives a summary of the general context.

Considering the several forms and types of what is understood by private education, it
was proper to first of all define the concepts used, in order to avoid interpretation
problems. It is inevitably a matter of compromise because the meanings given to the
same words are often contradictory depending on the countries and regions. Many
explanations on this subject are provided in chapters 1 and 2. A Glossary, preceding
these chapters facilitates interpretation of the terminology used.

Before studying the actual situation prevailing in the continents and in selected countries,
it was imperative to begin by outlining the legal and normative framework, which in line
with education, was also specifically fixed by the international community for non public
education. Chapter 3 deals with conventions and declarations approved by the United
Nations and regional inter-governmental authorities in this domain. Due to the aspect
regarding legal and working conditions of teaching staff, it was in fact also necessary to
talk about instruments approved by the ILO, and ratified by its member states, and its
application to staff in private education. Besides, we had to deal with the framework in
which the goals of Education For All were conceived, in correlation with education goals
fixed by the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

Chapter 4 is the main text, because it attempts to map out some developments
emerging throughout the world with regard to the education policy applied. The following
are tackled in turn: changes at the level of education funding and the results of
increasing privatisation of education regarded as part of the decentralisation policy. To
illustrate everything, several specific perspectives are used, such as « charter schools »,
introduction of vouchers and commercialisation of education projects, among others.
Several relevant statistics as well as small footnotes of comments about vouchers and
the General Agreement on Trade in Services, GATS, illustrate the proposals contained in
this chapter.

Part II and the following chapters are devoted to developments in different

Chapter 5 deals with developments in Africa. An outline of developments and

perspectives on the issue is given after an indispensable retrospective historical analysis.
The developments and perspectives of Sub-Saharan Africa and those of the Maghreb are
especially dealt with. From the analysis, it was clear that the independence of former
colonies was a major turning point for education in these countries. The socio-economic
developments that ensued had again in most cases required a re-focused policy with
regard to private initiative. To conclude the chapter, the challenges facing Africa today
and those it will face tomorrow are outlined.

Chapter 6 deals with developments in America, in North America on one hand, but
especially in Latin America and the Carribean. A lot of emphasis is placed especially on
the latter, because the situation in the United States was already treated at length in the
general chapters, in chapters 3 and 4, in view of their impact on developments
implemented on the international scale.

It is not surprising to learn that Asia, the largest continent in the world, is experiencing
different and particularly complex realities, including those pertaining to education. All
the more so, bearing in mind that we are including the Pacific in our approach. Chapter
7 aims at situating and commenting briefly on them. To be able to assess this diversity in
correlation with developments in private education and decentralised education,
examples are used to situate and illustrate Central Asia, Arab states and several
developments in other regions of Asia, in succession. In all these cases also, there is no
doubt that the history of this huge continent, is also to a large extent, the cause of the
current situation.

To give a summary of developments in Europe in Chapter 8 necessarily involves making

a distinction between Western Europe and Europe as part of the expanded European
Union on one hand, and on the other, Central and Eastern Europe in so far as it adapts
itself to the political model of the EU. Even if these countries collaborate with the
European Union, their current situation still remains strongly linked to the Soviet past of
the region. The differences between the East and West are to be found in the status and
working conditions of staff in private education. The situation in England, France and
Russia is the subject of an more in-depth approach because of their historic influence on
other regions of the world, and to the extent that they continue to be reference points for
many developing countries.

Part III traces the development within private education in several selected
countries because they serve as examples of developments in their region. The place of
private education within the education system is systematically analysed, so is the
situation of teaching staff employed.

For Africa, the following countries are analysed one after the other: Benin in Chapter 9,
Mauritius in Chapter 10, Morocco in Chapter 11 and South Africa in Chapter 12.
The education policy in Benin is a good illustration of what has happened in several West
African countries. First of all, in so far as these countries share the same colonial past
with France, they were led to implement an education policy based on an urban,
bureaucratic and centralised regime. Then, during the first few years after independence,
the education policy was nationalised, only to be realised some time later that everything
was unrealistic. Today, a way out of the enormous problems is being sought and the
political principles tainted with the ideology of yesteryears are no longer prooving to be a
solution. International donors and financial institutions have left, and are leaving their
imprints on the policy adopted. The attitude towards private education has evolved
jointly with policy changes just like the status of the teaching staff.

Mauritius, which has a very discriminatory colonial past, and has also neglected its
education policy, is today a multi-cultural country where private education has played a
big role. The country is ranked as one of the exceptions in Africa, in so far as it has
managed to organise free basic education. With the help of master plans, the
government intends to bridge the current gaps and offer new perspectives, at the level
of staff management too. In secondary education, public initiatives must moderate the
historic influence of private education, given the many loopholes in this sector.

Morocco illustrates developments in the Arab world. Her case only representative of
Maghreb countries of North Africa. The dominant influence of Islam, associated with the
legacy of the colonial past, leads to an education policy that aims at achieving objectives
set by the world community, without having to jeopardise her own character and
customs. The support given to nursery education, among others, mainly through local
Islamic associations that want to promote it but maintain control over it, as well as the
established nature of policies pertaining to private education, are especially
representative of these developments.

South Africa, the ‘rain-bow nation’, set for itself the goal to implement quality education
for all, education which under the apartheid system only benefited a section of the
population because of racial segregation practices. To enhance and adapt education
generally in South Africa and on the level of quality, remains a hard task but has been
tackled head-on. The authorities hope to establish one education system funded by both
public and private funds. Besides, for several years the number of private schools has
increased, among which, several commercial education initiatives.

Cases from Latin American countries are dealt with in the following chapters.
The situation in Argentina is the subject of an in-depth analysis in Chapter 13. In the
periods of prosperity especially, Argentina, whose turbulent past is also known, was for
quite a long time an advocate of a real « European » inspired policy, compared to other
countries of the region. Argentina’s past provided the guidelines for an education policy
still marked by this European approach today, including that of private education. The
status of private education, in terms of the social policy governing it generally, as well as
that pursued with regard to teachers in this sector, still bears the hallmarks of this
approach. Meanwhile, in interests of teachers employed in the Argentiary private
education are not always taken into consideration. International labour standards
provided should be applied to them and they should benefit from trade union rights.
Their situation calls for changes.

Chile was used as an example in many studies, not so much because the developments
within this country are a reference for other countries, but rather because the education
policy, formerly very much centralised under the Pinochet regime, has experienced
developments that fall within the profile of conditions linked to the structural reform
programme imposed by the Bretton Woods organisations on many countries of the
region. The case of Chile serves to illustrate the characteristics of a decentralised and
privatised policy; the functioning of which depends on a « good services » system. Since
1990, this policy has been modified and adapted to rely more on the Education for All
precepts. There is no doubt about the fact that the non public education system was
really shaken by these changes, nor about the fact that this situation has not favoured
the status and working conditions of staff, a point already tackled in Chapter 14.

Concerning Costa Rica, it is explained in Chapter 15 that this Central American country,
has for several years pursued an education policy purposely meant to be in keeping with
international development. Decentralisation of the policy pursued is one of the stages.
Private education, integrated for several years in this policy, is naturally confronted with
several specific challenges, with regard to the policy pursued in general and staff

management in particular. Equal opportunities require more attention, particularly when
it concerns specific population groups, the « local populations ».

Chapter 16 deals with developments in Venezuela. The country is today governed by

President Chavez’s government, which advocates greater State participation. The
question is to know what the repercussions of this policy will be on private education,
which has a long history in this country. There is a lot of tension between the
government and private education. Chavez began by putting an end to the
decentralisation process which had reached its height in the early 90s in this country and
also remodelled it more on the basis of centralisation according to his own vision as the
Head of State. Whatever it is, the fact remains that in Venezuela, salaries and working
conditions of staff are far from being uniform. There is often a marked difference
between academic establishments and the regions.

Concerning Asia, the situation of India is the subject of Chapter 17, that of Pakistan,
Chapter 18, and the Philippines, Chapter 19.

India, a continent in itself, is a particularly complex and extremely discriminating country

characterised by religious differences as much as ideological and cultural differences that
play a big role in it. It is naturally not surprising that this country has a much
decentralised education system. It is inevitable that this eclectism is also reflected in the
position of the different federated states with regard to private education and the
treatment of teachers. We had to feature a series of conclusions in this chapter, in line
with the trade union rights of staff and developments related to EFA goals.

We can hardly deny that Pakistan, located in the centre of a tumultuous and conflict
prone region of Asia, has played and continues to play a key role. Undoubtedly, all this
has a great impact on the well-being of the population, socio-economic developments
and education. The situation of Pakistan shows the serious lapses that have piled up in
many areas, compared to the rest of the world; feeble attempts aimed at turning back
the tide, with some ups and downs; repercussions on education, which in spite of
different attempts remains mortgaged to a large extent by the conservative points of
view of religious leaders and their «madrasas » or Islamic schools. The chapter devoted
to Pakistan reveals the complexity of the situation; a situation in which it is necessary at
all costs to defend the rights of teaching staff. In these conditions, it is not surprising to
note that Pakistan is a sample of many and varied forms of what one means by « private
education ».

Education in the Philippines also largely bears the stigma of its colonial past. American
and Spanish influences, influences of the religious communities, especially the Catholic
Church, major problems in many regions that have lagged behind socio-economically,
and which have evolved religiously and culturally outside the boundaries of the principles
demanded by the national policy, illustrate the tensions and situations that are not
always favourable to education. From the point of view of the EFA goals, the Philippines
must make a lot of progress in order to allow each person to benefit, without
discrimination, from adequate and high quality public education. There is no doubt that a
whole lot of problems arise from this diversity of realities. The country is therefore in
search of new balances in all sorts of areas.

In Europe, three countries have been highlighted.

The Netherlands, which is the subject of Chapter 20, is a country that benefits from
private education mostly supported by the authorities. The questions are « How is
freedom of education interpreted in this country? And what is the impact on education
policy? Do teachers of public and private establishments receive equal treatment? Will
this situation remain viable in the future? “All these questions are dealt with in Chapter

20 because they show the trend of developments that have taken place in different
Western countries.”

Hungary, tackled in Chapter 21, is not only interesting because she offers an
opportunity to explain developments that have taken place in the countries of the former
Soviet block, but also because for a very long time before the advent of the Warsaw
pact, the country had its own policy; she was looking for a « third route » and she found
it. Hungary in this way, offers us an example of the consequences that a decentralised
policy can have on schools and in many respects, also on teachers. Developments
geared towards an increase in private education initiatives are not as many as in other
countries of the region because as part of the decentralised policy, principles emanating
from private sources also determine the policy pursued by academic establishments that
depend on local authorities.

Spain had charted a remarkable path in the past. It would have been unthinkable that
she would continue in the conditions that existed under Franco. It was perfectly clear
that another relationship would be established between the State and private education.
Successive legal initiatives have today led to a new situation based on a balance between
the rights and responsibilities of public authorities and those of private education
initiatives. Chapter 22 also shows the impact of this situation on differences and
similarities in the status and working conditions of staff in public and private education.

In Part IV, several observations and conclusions are drawn from preceding chapters.
Chapter 23 is about the status, salary and working conditions of staff in private
education. It soon emerges from this chapter that, in most cases, with only a few
exceptions, teachers in private education are paid less than their colleagues in public
education, that their status is more uncertain and precarious and that they are
inadequately involved in school policy. This is not the case in countries where the
conditions and status of private school teachers are to a large extent in line with the
public education system, and where it even happens that they receive equal treatment.

The preceding is due to the fact that their individual and collective rights, determined by
international standards, are simply violated in most cases. This is actually the subject of
Chapter 24. Again, a distinction has to be drawn between countries where these rights
are guaranteed in collaboration with the assistance of official education stakeholders, and
other countries where this is hardly the case.

Chapter 25 explains the impact of the role that private education can play in the
selected countries to achieve the goals of the world community, as stated in the EFA
International Declaration and in the Millennium Declaration. It is impossible not to
highlight the existence of extreme situations. In addition to many socially balanced public
and private initiatives that benefit the poor and deprived population groups, there are
others that are elitist and discriminatory with regard to the less well-off, and that cater
exclusively for children of the elite and therefore are not advancing the goals of
Education for All. The position of governments is a determining factor as to how
everything will subsequently move forward.

In conclusion in Chapter 26, a link is established between the search for quality
Education For All and the status and working conditions of staff. The UNESCO and ILO
recommendations of 1996 are references that allow the current situation to be assessed
and trade union strategies of tomorrow to be harmonised.


Names of private institutions, mentioned in this study, in the

language of origin, according whether they are subsidized or
not subsidized by public authorities.

For comments and further explanations: see chapter 2: What do we understand by

‘private education’?

English: Private school = non-governmental school = non-state school = non-

public school
French: école privée = école non gouvernementale
Spanish : escuela privada = escuela no gubernemental = escuela no pública

Grant-aided private schools / subsidized schools

 Publicly subsidized for more than 50%, privately owned and managed

- bijzondere school (Netherlands)

- centro concertado (Spain): private institutions publicly funded under a contract
- (charter schools (i.e. in the USA) : independent public schools, privately
- community school (Ireland)
- city technology college -CTC (United Kingdom) - see: chapter 8 under England
- city colleges for the technology of the arts – CCTA (United Kingdom) -see: chapter
8 under England
- denominational of religious schools: schools organised by religious authorities
- école libre (Francoph. Commun. –Belgium)
- école religieuse (subventionnée) (see : religious schools)
- école sous contrat d’association (France) – see chapter 8 under France
- école sous contrat simple (France) – see chapter 8 under France
- educación de gestion privada
- ersatzschulen (Germany)
- escola - contrato de associação (Portugal)
- escuela privada subventionada (Chile)
- escuela subsidiada (Spain)

- mission schools (subsidized): schools organised by missionaries coming from
foreign countries
- non-profit educational institutions
- religious or denominational (subsidized) schools: organised by religious
authorities: Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Seventh Day Adventist
Episcopal, Greek Orthodox, Quaker, Mennonite, Calvinist, Evangelical,
Assembly of God, Islam, Buddhist,…
- voluntary school (Ireland)
- (voluntary controlled and voluntary aided schools (UK) : the voluntary controlled
receive more state funding than the latter : in the UK not considered to be private
- vrije scholen (Flanders-Belgium)

Non-grant-aided private schools / independent (private) schools / autonomous

 autonomous, privately financed schools; not subsidized or subsidized
for less than 50%

- AEFE schools: schools under the auspices of the Office Scolaire et Universitaitre
International, a French agency for French education in third world countries
- independent schools (UK) – some times also called non-maintained schools
- bible schools : religious schools, mostly from protestant origin
- bush schools : spontaneously organised local initiatives in African countries
- centro non concertado (Spain): non subsidized or non-aided independent schools
- community schools : educational initiatives in local communities in Africa; self-
help initiatives according the English pattern (differs from the écoles
communautaires under the French pattern, which are public schools organised by
local authorities)
- corporaciones (Chile) : vocational or technical institutions ruled by factories or
enterprises, financially supported by public authorities
- école à but lucrative: for profit educational or training initiatives
- école biblique (see: bible schools)
- école coranique (see: madrassahs)
- écoles de brousse (see: bush schools)
- école pour réfugiés (see: refugee school)
- école religieuse non subventionnée (see : religious schools)
- educación de gestion privada
- escola - contrato de patrocínio (Portugal) : partially subsidized school
- escuela autonoma
- escuela bíblica (see: bible schools)
- escuela coránica (see: madrassahs)
- escuela de comunidad local (see: community school)
- escuela de la selva (see: bush school)
- escuelas de misiones (see: mission schools)
- escuelas para fugitivos (see: refugee schools)
- escuela privada independiente
- escualas privadas o particulares pagadas
- escuelas religiosas (see: religious schools)

- for-profit schools: educational and/or training initiatives with for profit objectives
- harambee schools : local educational initiatives in Kenya
- institutos de educación rentables (see: for profit schools)
- Koran schools (see: madrassahs)
- madrassahs / medrassahs / medersas : Koranic schools in Islam dominated
- mission schools (independent): schools organised by missionaries from foreign
- msids : traditional Islamic schools in Northern Africa
- non-maintained schools (UK) (see: independent schools)
- pansala : Buddhist temple schools in Sri Lanka
- pirivena: Buddhist monk schools in Sri Lanka
- refugee schools: schools for expatriates or specific ethnic groups
- religious schools (independent): organised by religious authorities : Roman
Catholic,Lutheran, Jewish, Seventh Day Adventist Episcopal, Greek Orthodox,
Quaker,Mennonite, Calvinist, Evangelical, Assembly of God, Islam, Buddhist,…
- scuola autorizzata (Italy): non grant-aided school
- scuole parificate (Italy) : recognised schools receiving financial state support for
less than 50%
- zaouias : traditional Islamic schools in Northern Africa

Part I


Chapter 1


In the light of contemporary developments in the world of education, one cannot

but conclude that private educational initiatives are becoming increasingly
important throughout the world. Globalisation of the economy, supported by
spectacular new technological possibilities, is forcing all sectors of society to
make fundamental adjustments. The education sector cannot get away from this
development either. Moreover, the strategic importance of education and training
tomorrow’s knowledge society is growing. Authorities are realising that they will
not be able to face the challenges alone. Countries that used to be reluctant to
recognise or support private education are now adjusting their legislation.
International intergovernmental bodies do not fail to also involve the private
sector in their projects. The Millennium and EFA Goal of ensuring quality primary
education for all children is considered only feasible if both public and private
forces are united. Commercial educational initiatives are mushrooming in
particularforms and levels of education aimed at a direct preparation for
employment in industry as well as in services sectors. In short, private education
is everywhere gaining in importance and meaning, albeit in a great diversity of
forms and projects. This development has been described and explained at
length in many studies, policy papers, planning reports. In these documents can
be read much about the repercussions of these developments on policy,
organisation and programmes, but much less about the situation of the
personnel involved in all these new forms and initiatives in the education sector.
It is clear that this is a great gap.

This study aims at helping to situate the evolution in the private education
sector; to describe the importance of private education to reach the EFA and
Millennium Objectives and to chart also the consequences for the status and the

working conditions of the teaching personnel involved. Apart from a literature
study of all the findings already published on this issue, this study is largely
based on the outcome of an inquiry WCT conducted in autumn 2004 among its
member organisations.

The study starts with a definition. What is understood by private education? This
is necessary to avoid interpretation problems afterwards, since situations differ
strongly and are understood so differently.

The existing juridical and normative framework is explained in a second chapter.

A third chapter describes the developments and trends in the world.

The situation in the different continents is elucidated in separate chapters.

Then a closer look is taken at three to four countries per continent as they can
be regarded as exemplary for their region.

Extra attention is paid to the way in which trade union rights and freedoms are
respected in the different countries and continents.

Concluding chapters contain conclusions and recommendations for the WCT

Congress that will devote extra attention to these issues in February 2006.
Each chapter rounds off with a list of references referred to in the text, and the
whole is completed with tables and illustrated texts.
The authors intended to write this study in such a way that each chapter could
be read separately. So, those who read the whole study will discover some
repetitions, but this proved to be really necessary for good understanding and for
the consistency of the content. It goes without saying that the main findings
have been collected and elucidated in the concluding chapters.

Basic starting point

Throughout the world education unions are committed to the interests of the
entire education staff, whereas others protect exclusively the interest of the
personnel either in public or in private education. The authors of this study are
alive to the fact that several social groups and institutions, including a number of
trade unions, expressly advocate, chiefly for reasons of social equality, the
monopoly of the public initiatives and are therefore on principle not favourably
disposed to private education or even reject it. In many cases private education
is only “tolerated” until the public authorities are capable of assuming full
responsibility for education for all the children and youth. As said before, and we
will elucidate this extensively in the next chapters, worldwide evolution is taking
the opposite direction.

The authors take the view that all the members of the personnel –
regardless of the education institution they are deployed in – are fully
entitled to respect for their rights and freedoms, granted to them by
international and national regulations and standards. They have the
basic right to organise themselves in education unions that want to lend
maximum protection to these rights and freedoms. It is from this
perspective that situations are explained and conclusions are formulated

in this study. This detracts nothing from the basic position education
unions may adopt to private education as such.

Chapter 2


This study is aimed at elucidating the importance of, and the evolutions in the
private education and the consequences they have for the status and working
conditions of teaching staff employed in schools or institutes that are not
organized by public authorities. The usual collective term for these schools is
“Private education”. This, however, is less self-evident than one would expect.
Indeed, what appears? The term ‘private education’ refers to very many different
education initiatives (see the Glossary, p. 11). This factor often makes
international comparisons of private (or non-governmental) education difficult.
On the other hand, the definition ‘public education’ refers, dependent on the
country or region, to education initiatives that elsewhere are catalogued as
‘private’. Take, for instance, the situation in England, Wales and Northern
Ireland, where most denominational and other schools owned by churches or
trustees are publicly funded as part of the public sector education. Let us look at
the situation in Africa and Asia. In these continents a lot of education initiatives
are not recognized or catalogued as such because they do not come under the
‘classic’ definitions of ‘public’ and ‘private’ in the countries concerned. Yet, they
account for a considerable part of the institutes that contribute to education and
training. Think, for instance, of the African bush schools, community schools and
Harambee schools, but especially of the Koran schools in the Islam-dominated
countries. Madrassas in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Asian
countries have a quasi monopoly position in quite some regions; in many cases
they are not recognized by the authorities, yet come under the definition
‘independent private schools’, even if there are no traces of most of them in
statistics or comparisons. It is therefore impossible to find an absolute definition
that maps everything correctly.

When interpreting the current data and situations, it is necessary to take proper
account of the real differences, which are not always obvious and can therefore
make the view on a situation pretty cloudy. Statements on the meaningfulness
and significance of ‘private education’ without a sufficient assessment of the
context of a country or of a situation in which the institutes in question belong,
are not advisable if they are made as a one-sided interpretation of the overall
reality that is the continuation of one’s own reality. Many ideologically coloured
value judgements on private education too easily disregard the reality and are
therefore in many cases misunderstood and/or ill received. Absolutizing negative
experiences in one particular context leads to value judgements and statements
others perceive as offensive and unjust. The truth is that there are private
schools of all tendencies, from the most militant to the most open, from the most
conservative to the most progressive.

It gets even more confusing if the term ‘privatization’ is simply labelled on new
initiatives or on extended forms of “private education”. That way the ‘private
education’ issue gets entangled in an ideological debate; even more, in a debate
on the commercialization of education. There is no denying that this strains the
truth and can get schools wrongly understood.

Commercialization is a form of privatisation, but not each privatisation serves a

commercial purpose. Some forms of “private education” are organised on
commercial lines, of course. One highly strains the truth if one qualifies the
entire ‘private education’ sector as commercial.

Belfield & Levin (2002) rightly affirm that the education sector –because it is a
large expenditure item in government budgets – often faces pressure to
privatize. This pressure comes in many forms. For example, education can be
privatized if: (a) students enrol at private schools; or (b) if education is privately
funded. In the first case, schooling is no longer provided by the government; in
the second case, the government is no longer funding education through
taxpayers’ money or loans. But there is a world of difference between functioning
entirely on government budgets and being fully dependent on private funding.

Recent developments

As we will demonstrate more extensively in Chapter 3, developments worldwide

are making it more difficult than ever before to catalogue education institutions.
In a UNESCO/OECD/WEIP study of 2002 the problem is described as follows:

“The dichotomy between public and private schools is often presented in an

over-simplified way that fails to capture the growing diversity among schools and
how they are managed.

Often the term ‘private sector’ is used to imply private as opposed to public
funding. However, the sources of funding for public and private institutions have
become increasingly mixed. (In the majority of the countries) a proportion of
public funding goes towards private schools and, at the same time, there are
significant private contributions to public schools. In reality, there is a wide
variety of situations according to the country, to the predominant political line of
the authorities and to the financial resources the authorities are able or willing to
make available for education”.

Up until now, non-governmental education has usually been considered as more
a consequence of history, traditions, religion and culture of individual countries
rather than as a well-defined and customized area for policy and research. The
definition commonly used is that ‘private’ education institutions are nor operated
by a public authority, but are controlled and managed by a private body or board
of governors not selected by a public agency or elected by public vote. Non-
Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) or other associations, religious bodies,
special interest groups, foundations, or business enterprises, on either a profit-
making or no-profit making basis may operate non-governmental education
institutions. (An American researcher (Cookson, 1997) has singled out 15
categories of ‘private schools’ in the USA: Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish,
Seventh Day Adventist, independent, Episcopal, Greek Orthodox, Quaker,
Mennonite, Calvinist, Evangelical, Assembly of God, special education, alternative
and military).

In developed countries, non-governmental schools are mostly the result of

diversified demand and the choice ‘to opt out’ of the public system. But in
developing countries, it is the unmet demand and poor access to State education
that triggers the development of private alternatives. What is clear is that
ownership or funding does not account for the main difference between private
and public schools. Non-governmental schools can have any type of ownership or
funding, and even are 100 percent financed by State Grants. The difference lies
principally in the school’s management. As already mentioned, a general
definition of non-governmental education is not a simple category to determine,
due to its numerous types and countries’ specifics. In a broad sense, non-
governmental education refers to any type of formal school which is not within
the public education system (non-public, non-government). In short: the
definition of ‘private’ is by no means clear-cut in situations where many ‘private’
schools are heavily funded and regulated by the State. In fact, we really have a
continuum of public and private funding and control (De Groof, 2003).

The present situation is even more difficult to assess, because in recent years
there has been a strong tendency in several countries, in which public schools
expect a financial contribution from the parents and/or public schools have to or
are allowed to call on private sponsoring to maintain their institutes. Even more,
there is a strongly growing tendency to leave the management or direction of
public schools to private institutions or persons (cf the Charter schools in the
USA). Formally these schools remain public, but the borderline between “private
schools” and “public schools” has become really wafer-thin.

A clear definition of what is understood by ‘private education’ in this study is

therefore more than desirable, even necessary. It is the more necessary if we
want to avoid that global or regional developments are assessed only through
the coloured glasses of the situation in the own country.
Since all these divergent situations have a direct effect on the status and working
conditions of teaching staff, it is essential to express them carefully in
unambiguous definitions. That way one can assess more realistically the actual
situation of the staff in a given country or system, and also assess how and with
whom it can be defended and improved.

What definitions do we use in this study?

So far as this study is concerned:
Since - the use of the term “private school” could be misleading since in the
literature terms such as “independent schools”, “free schools”, ”non-
governmental schools”, “non-public schools”, “private schools”,… are used many
times to indicate the same, and sometimes different concepts of organising
- the history or a particular interpretation in a given context can make a
huge difference when comparing different systems in an international survey.
we will use in the present study, as much as possible, the notion “private school”
as interpreted in the Data Collection UIS/OECD/Eurostat, namely:
“Private school or private institution is a school or institution controlled and
managed by a non-governmental organisation (e.g. a Church, Trade Union or
business enterprise), or if its Governing Board consists mostly of members not
selected by a public agency”.
For the interpretation of the collected data we use “independent private school or
institution” “when it concerns schools that receives less than 50 percent of its
core funding from government agencies. The term ‘independent’ refers only to
the degree of a private institution’s dependence on funding from government
sources; it does not refer to the degree of government direction or regulation”
(OECD, 2003).


Cookson, P.W. Jr, (1997), New Kid on the Block? A Closer Look at America’s Private Schools, The
Brookings Review, Winter 1997, Vol. 15 No 1, pp. 22-25

De Groof, J.,(2003), New Challenges for Freedom of Education. Competitivity in Education, in

Libertad, igualdad y pluralismo en edución, OIDEL/Comunidad de Madrid, pp.19-58

UNESCO/OECD/WEIP, (2002), Financing Education –Investments and Returns, UNESCO Institute

for Statistics

Belfield, C.R. & Levin, H.M., (2002), Education privatization: causes, consequences and planning
implications, IIEP/UNESCO, Paris

OECD, (2003), Education at a Glance - edition 2003, Paris

Chapter 3



Regulations concerning the relations, rights and obligations of private education

institutions are essentially laid down in national law. The same applies to the
status and working conditions of teachers. The existence of binding and/or
orientating international rules, agreements and standards all too often remains
underexposed. In this chapter we will briefly situate and interpret existing
international instruments with regard to private education institutions as well as
the staff employed in them, since the personnel’s status cannot be understood
without insight into the legal and statutory framework within which schools and
institutions are operating.

Private schools and the Freedom of Education

About 40 documents produced by the United Nations and regional and
international institutions deal with the right to education. (De Groof, in OIDEL,
2003). We will briefly mention into a few.

General conventions and declarations

(references: Glenn & De Groof, 2002a & 2002b; OIDEL,2003; IPIS,1985. (a) For
consultation of the mentioned and other important documents see

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948) states that ‘parents
have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their
children’ (article 26, 3). This Article 26 of the Universal Declaration is thus not
limited to (1) the principle of the right to education, and to (2) the relevance of

education to the ‘full development of the human personality and tot the
strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.’ The
article formally states also that parents have (3) the fundamental right to choose
the kind of education that is compatible with their convictions.

It is the duty of the State to ensure this right to its citizens. According to the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN,
1966) ‘the States Parties to the present covenant undertake to have respect for
the liberty of parents… to choose for their children schools, other than those
established by public authorities, which conform to such minimum educational
standards as may be laid down or approved by the State and to ensure the
religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own
convictions (article 13, 3).

This right to education in conformity with one’s conviction is also underlined in

the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN, 1966)
specifying the right of minorities to recognition of their own culture, language
and religion. The Convention Against Discrimination in Education (UNESCO,
1960) already explicitly stated in this connection in article 5: “It is essential to
recognize the right of members of national minorities to carry on their own
educational activities, including the maintenance of schools and, depending on
the educational policy of each State, the use of their own language, provided
(i) That this right is not exercised in a manner which prevents the
members of these minorities from understanding the culture and
language of the community as a whole and from participating in its
activities, or which prejudices national sovereignty;
(ii) That the standard of education is not lower than the general standard
laid down or approved by the competent authorities; and
(iii) That attendance at such schools is optional “.

Not less explicit is The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN, 1989)
specifying in article 14 (1) that ‘States Parties shall respect the right of the child
to freedom of thought, conscience and religion’, but follows this immediately with
14 (2) ‘States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents… to
provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner
consistent with the evolving capacities of the child’.

In December 1960, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted a Convention

against Discrimination in Education, mentioning in Article 2:

“When permitted in a State, the following situations shall not be deemed to

constitute discrimination.

b) The establishment or maintenance, for religious or linguistic reasons, of

separate educational systems or institutions offering an education which is in
keeping with the wishes of the pupil’s parents or legal guardians, if participation
in such systems or attendance at such institutions is optional and if the
education provided conforms to such standards as may be laid down or approved
by the competent authorities, in particular for education of the same level;

c) the establishment or maintenance of private educational institutions, if the
object of the institutions is not to secure the exclusion of any group but to
provide educational facilities in addition to those provided by the public
authorities, if the institutions are conducted in accordance with that object, and if
the education provided conforms with such standards as may be laid down or
approved by the competent authorities in particular for education at the same

The Hague Recommendations Regarding the Educational Rights of

National Minorities (October 1996) illustrates the continuing evolution.
Recommendation 18 stipulates:
In situations where a national minority has, in recent history, maintained and
controlled its own institutions of higher learning this fact should be recognized in
determining future patterns of provision.

In relation with the subject of this study Recommendation 14 is important:

The maintenance of the primary and secondary level of minority language
education depends a great deal on the availability of teachers trained in all
disciplines in the mother tongue. Therefore, ensuing from their obligation to
provide adequate opportunities for minority language education, States should
provide adequate facilities for the appropriate training of teachers and should
facilitate access to such training.

The rights of parents to free choice of education on the one hand, and freedom
to set up schools other than the State-operated educational initiatives are
specified and elaborated in national legislation.

It is crystal clear that unless there is freedom to operate schools, and to do so

with some degree of distinctiveness, the right of parents to choose among
schools will be meaningless. The great majority of the countries therefore
recognize the right of private schools to exist on their territory.

It is not unimportant to mention also that national legislation is highly

conditioned by the conventions and agreements that countries have concluded
and ratified, at regional level too.

Regional conventions and declarations

EUROPE is the most striking example in this context.
Both the Council of Europe and the European Union have done fundamental work
in this field. Chapter 2, art. 14 of The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the
European Union guarantees the right to education. The article provides that
“ - everyone has the right to education and access to vocational and
continuing training (section 1), that
- this right includes the possibility to receive free compulsory education
(section 2), and that
- the freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for
democratic principles and the right of parents to ensure the education and
teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and
pedagogical convictions shall be respected, in accordance with the national
laws governing the exercise of such freedom and right (section 3)”.

Similarly, the First Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms provides that “in the exercise of
any functions which it assumes in relation to education and teaching, the State
shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in
conformity with their own religious and philosophical convections” (article 2).

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s 1990 Copenhagen

Document, paragraph 32,2, states that persons belonging to national minorities
have “the right to establish and maintain their own educational, cultural and
religious institutions, organisations, which can seek voluntary financial and other
contributions as well as public assistance, in conformity with national legislation”.

The Council of Europe’s 1994 Framework Convention for the Protection of

National Minorities (Strasbourg, 1, 2, 1995, ETS no. 157) stated:
“The parties undertake to promote equal opportunities for access to education at
all levels for persons belonging to national minorities (art. 12; par. 3)… Within
the framework of their educational systems, the Parties shall recognize that
persons belonging to national minorities have the right to set up and to manage
their own private educational and training establishments (art. 13, par. 1)”.

In Europe, the constitutional and basic laws regarding educational affairs of most
of the countries are anyway consistent with Article 2 of the first protocol of the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms, Article 13, section 3 of the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and Article 18, section 4 of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), mentioned

A Eurydice study (Eurydice, 2000) illustrates that in all the EU Member States,
the law allows for establishment of private schools offering compulsory
education. In most of the countries considered, the right to set up private
schools is either explicitly stated in the Constitution or implied by it through its
affirmation of the right to choice and freedom of education. This is with the
exception of Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom (the last of which
does not have a written Constitution).

In Spain, France, Ireland and the Netherlands, the State’s obligation to provide
funding to private education institutions offering education to pupils of
compulsory school age and which comply with certain basic legal requirements is
a constitutional principle. In Italy, the Constitution, expressly states that those
setting up probate schools must do so “without imposing burdens on the State”.
This has blocked legislation relating to granting private schools equal status to
state schools and consequently affected the awarding of budgetary assistance to
them. Law No 62 (Marc 2000) formally recognizes that the scuole paritarie are
part of the national education system and specifies a new formula for financing.
In the other countries, the possibilities for public funding of private sector schools
are not rooted in constitutional law but are set out under different legal
provisions. These possibilities are very limited in Greece and the UK.

Leaving aside constitutional principles, the basic legal framework for the
operation of private schools is set out under laws common to the public and
private sector in Belgium, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland

and the United Kingdom. Certain provisions in the laws are specific to the private
sector or else a combination of common and separate legislation in Denmark,
Luxembourg and Sweden. In the other countries: Greece, Austria and Portugal,
the basic legislative framework is dictated to by private sector specific legislation.
In the case of Germany, the Länder regulates private education, either in specific
laws or in laws common to the public and private sector.

The countries of the former Warsaw Pact, certainly those that have become
member or candidate member of the European Union, have already adapted their
legal instruments in such a way that private education has been recognized and
integrated in the general philosophy of their policy. Many developing countries
too have recently amended their legislation to permit private initiative. Their
motives and recent developments will be explained in the next chapters.


the main texts on education (and on the responsibilities of the separate States in
this matter), underwritten and ratified by most countries of the Latin America –
Caribbean region. The Convention dates back from 22 November 1969 and was
an initiative of the Organisation of American States (OAS). The text confirms the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) in that it affirms that the ideal of
the free human being cannot be realised unless the conditions are provided,
enabling each and everyone to enjoy their economic, social, cultural, civil and
political rights. However, the Pact devotes no specific article to education as
such, even if Article 12 sanctions the right of parents to choose the education
they deem expedient for their children: “Everyone has the right to freedom of
conscience and of religion. Parents or guardians, as the case may be, have the
right to provide for the religious and moral education of their children or wards
that is in accord with their own convictions.”

Another interesting article of the Pact sanctions the freedom of association of

people for ideological, religious, political, economic, labour, social, cultural,
sports or any other purposes. Among the countries of the Latin America –
Caribbean region which have ratified the various versions and protocols of the
Pact figure are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States,
Guatemala, Honduras, Uruguay, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

As regards more specifically the theme of our study, we refer to the

(Protocol of San Salvador), adopted by the OAS member states in November
1988. This Protocol provides: “Everyone has the right to work and to perform a
freely elected or accepted lawful activity”. The States, for their part, must
guarantee the workers fair, equitable and satisfactory working conditions such
as: a remuneration that ensures all the workers at least conditions for a dignified
subsistence of themselves and their families as well as an equitable and equal
pay for equal work, without any distinction; the right to promotion and career
advancement; job stability; rest and leisure time; and paid holidays.

As far as trade union rights are concerned, the Protocol points out that the
states must protect the workers and guarantee them the right to create trade
unions and to join the one of their choice for the purpose of protecting and
promoting their interests. The States parties shall permit “trade unions to

establish national federations or confederations, or to affiliate with those that
already exist, as well as to form international trade union organisations and to
affiliate with that of their choice. The States parties shall also permit trade
unions, federations and confederations to function freely, and guarantee them
the right to strike”.
In the matter of education, the Protocol ratifies the right of each person,
directed towards “the full development of the human personality and human
dignity, strengthening respect for the human rights, ideological pluralism,
fundamental freedoms, justice and peace”. With regard to the free choice of
parents in the matter of the education to be given to their children, the Protocol
explains: “In conformity with the domestic legislation of the States parties,
parents should have the right to select the type of education to be given to their
children, provided that it conforms to the principles set forth above”. As for the
freedom to found educational establishments, the Protocol provides that “nothing
in this Protocol shall be interpreted as a restriction of the freedom of individuals
and entities to establish and direct educational institutions in accordance with
the domestic legislation of the states parties”.
The countries adhering to this Protocol are: Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Costa
Rica, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile.

In AFRICA the most important document is the African Charter on Human
and People’s Rights, adopted on June 27 in 1981, It states: “ every individual
shall have the right to education (Art. 17) without discrimination of any kind
such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other
opinion, nor on social origin, fortune, birth or other status” (Art.2). The African
Charter on the Right and Welfare of the Child (1990), entering into force
November 29, 1999, confirms the rights of the child, explicitly in the African

An interesting reference is the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam,

adopted by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Arab States on August 5,
1990, reading in Art. 7 the following:

a) As of the moment of birth, every child has rights due from the parents,
the society and the state to be accorded proper nursing, education and
material, hygienic and moral care.
b) Parents and those in such capacity have the right to choose the type of
education they desire for their children, provided they take into
consideration the interest and future of the children in accordance with
ethical values and the principles of the Shari’ah.”

And in a final article (Art. 25): “The Islam Shari’ah is the only source of
reference for the explanation of any of the articles of this Declaration”.

We will refer to this declaration when we are dealing with the situation in Arab

An interesting case: the USA

The American Declaration on the rights and duties of man (1948) goes less
far than the mentioned European conventions and statements. Article XII

confirms that every person has the right to an education which should be based
on the principles of liberty, morality and human solidarity, and the right to
equality of opportunity in every case, “in accordance with natural talents, merit
and the desire to utilize the resources that the state or the community is in a
position to provide”

In view of the developments relating to (new) forms of private education, it does

not seem superfluous to throw light upon the situation of the USA from a logistic
point of view. It was pointed out beforehand that in federal states with no central
authority for education, such as Canada and the United States, it is rather
difficult to discuss a uniform education policy; the different provinces/states are
individually responsible for their education systems, boast varied traditions and
as a result are beholden to different education rule. The national constitutions
make no provisions for education, and the authority of central government in this
sphere is weak or non-existent (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

The Federal Constitution, adopted in 1789, makes no mention of education,
and specifies that all powers not explicitly granted to the national government
are reserved to the States. The Bill of Rights, adopted in 1791, and later
amendments to the Federal Constitution, while in no case mentioning education,
have had the effect in recent decades of giving the national government, and
especially the federal courts, a major role in state and local policy and practices.
The first Amendment defines what has sometimes been referred to as the ‘first
freedom’ under the American system. Its first words are “Congress shall make
no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
therefore.” The United States Supreme Court has held repeatedly that this
language forbidding a state ‘establishment of religion’ consequently forbids public
funding by any level of government for non-public schools with a religious
character (Glenn, 2002b).

As a consequence non-public schools with a religious character in the United

States were, until recently, denied public funding for their instructional programs.
While services for small children and for adolescents and university-level
education receive public funding without discrimination based on the religious
character of the institutions that provide them, faith-based schools have been
denied such assistance.

Nevertheless, the United States Supreme Court in the 1925 landmark case –
absent explicit constitutional protections of educational freedom – has served as
the legal basis for the right to existence of nongovernmental schools within a
framework of government over seeing.
‘The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union
repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by
forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the
mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have
the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional
obligations’ (Pierce v. Society of Sisters 2687 U.S. 510), (Glenn & De Groof,

The United States Supreme Court (Board of Education v Allen, 392 U.S. 236,
at 247) in 1967 acknowledged ‘that private education has played and is playing

a significant and valuable role in raising national levels of knowledge,
competence, and experience’. In other words, government does not and should
not have a monopoly on serving the public good.

In none of these cases, however, does the right of parents to nongovernmental

schooling for their children carry an obligation on the part of government to fund
that alternative schooling through providing subsidies and assistance equal to
which it provides to its own educational institutions. Put another way, the
allocation of financial resources to government-operated schools but not to
alternative schools which meet the same conditions does not, under international
legal norms, constitute unlawful discrimination (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).
Anyhow, a federal state like the USA is experiencing a growing convergence in
educational policy as the state authorities imitate successful experiences
elsewhere in the country; good examples are the very rapid spread of state laws,
permitting home schooling and authorizing ‘charter schools’. This has occurred
despite the fact that the common law tradition doesn’t encourage fundamental
policy changes through legislation.

Some recent developments in the United States and in several other countries
too can be interpreted and understood against this background. We are talking
about systems of indirect funding of private institutions, e.g. by means of
vouchers, about very commercially focused private educational initiatives or
about a true privatization of public schools that are in practice run and managed
by for-profit private organisations although they are still public schools in name.
It is important to touch here upon the American context because of the great
weight the USA had and still has on and in the programs of the Bretton Woods
institutions, in particular the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,
and in the World Trade Organization. Just think of the structural adjustment
programs and their impact in the developing countries and of the GATS
negotiations on commercialization of services. The American approach has also
had a strong orienting impact on the policies of the industrialized countries
united in the OECD. We will enlarge upon these developments in the next

An ongoing debate: public financed private education or

Education can be a strategic investment. Conventional arguments hold that
provision of education depends on whether education is defined to be a public
good or a private good. If the consumption of a good results in positive
externalities (i.e., spill over effects that benefit society at large, since an
educated population contributes to increased productivity in the economy), it can
be deemed to be a public good. A private good by definition is characterized by
benefits that accrue to the individual alone. The characteristics of education as
an economic ‘good’ reveal that at any one time, it is both a public and a private
good due to the fuzzy nature of the distribution of benefits. Hence, education can
be viewed as a ‘quasi-public good’. Historically, the private sector was
responsible for financing and providing educational services. During the course of
the 20th century, however, the role of the State (public sector) assumed
predominance for purposes of nation-building and instilling national identity
(Shobhana, S., 2002).

While there is an issue of equitable treatment of schools, there is also an even
more pressing issue of equitable treatment of parents who wish to exercise their
right to make decisions about the schooling of their children. The decision about
which families can afford to make use of these schools is often made by the
State in choosing to subsidize its own schools but not alternatives to them,
rather than by the private schools themselves. Not everybody agrees on that.
The debate on the freedom of education and how to guarantee it is still going on
like it is has for a long time. A recent report (Fernandez & Nordmann, 2002)
found that every country from which information was obtained, except Cuba and
Vietnam, permitted non-state schools to operate, and thus met the first
threshold of educational freedom. Among these countries that allowed non-state
schools, however, there was considerable variation with respect to government
support for the exercise of educational freedom, with 34 countries (counting the
United Kingdom as three) providing substantial or complete financial support,
and another 22 providing partial financial support.
We have pointed out that the texts emanating from international bodies
mentioned in the previous text section do not place the State under the
obligation to bear the financial burden of non-state organized schools. Yet it is
only too obvious that the financial burden involved in the organisation of schools
demands special efforts that are far from obvious for those wishing to set up
educational initiatives within the framework of a specific educational project. As
already mentioned above, most countries therefore provide a contribution,
whether limited or not, to the expenses attached to the organization of
educational institutions.

In March 1984 the European Parliament adopted the so-called Lüster

resolution on the provision of subsidies to non-state schools. Point 9 of this
resolution states:

In accordance with the right to freedom of education, Member States shall be

required to provide the financial means whereby this right can be exercised in
practice, and to make the necessary public grants to enable schools to carry out
theirs tasks and fulfil their duties under the same conditions as in corresponding
state establishments, without discrimination as regards administration, parents,
pupils and staff. (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a): This Lüster Resolution represents
the high-water mark, to date, in the international recognition of an effective right
to educational freedom, supported by its appropriate share of public resources.

The existence of aforesaid international instruments does not prevent parties

involved from holding debates, at national as well as international level, on the
raison d’être of and the right to public financing of private schools. The debates
in question are very much ideologically colored, with some people advocating the
state’s exclusive right for the sake of equal rights and equal opportunities (cf. the
documents of the World Education Forum, dominated by very militant teachers’
unions) and some people stating that private initiatives too are entitled to full
recognition and funding as they better meet the fundamental right of parents in
conformity with their moral conviction. Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, for
instance, even uses the free market principles to defend the full privatization of
public education.

As already clear, when describing the situation in the USA, historically
determined reasons often continue to make their mark on the situation today.
Moreover, the history of countries with a strong colonial past still strongly
determines today still the education policies of their former colonies. This is a
very important factor, particularly in Africa, as we will explain in the chapter on
that continent, but certainly not only there.

Let’s go back to history.

Educational freedom paradoxically has often been discouraged or forbidden in

the name of freedom. Alternatives to a uniform model of government schooling
were not desired by political leaders. ‘Freedom’ was the stated goal of those who
argued in favor of government schooling and against alternative forms of
schooling in the France of Jules Ferry, the United States of Ulysses S. Grant;
Lenin’s USSR, Germany’s Nazi’s, etc.

The intention to reduce the role and influence of the Catholic Church in society,
and to extend the role and the influence of the State, led to the idea of a ‘service
public de l’enseignement’ in France in which the teachers would serve as a corps
of government officials with primary loyalty to a hierarchical organization rather
than to local concerns, and which would be marked by control, centralism,
patriotism, and discipline. With the secularization of public primary schools,
religious instruction was replaced by instruction in a ‘morale laïque’ which Ferry
insisted – must have a scientific basis. This approach makes it possible to
understand the developments in some former French colonies after their

Former British colonies had education systems that, like in their mother country,
were highly decentralized with integrated schools based on religious principles in
public education. Despite (usually unsuccessful) attempts at a thorough reform
of this system, the British approach continued to determine developments after
independence. At a Commonwealth conference in 2002, John Daniël quite
bluntly stated that unlike countries in Africa (and Asia): ‘With a common working
language and similar systems of law, public administrations and education, the
Commonwealth has built on its shared history to become a vibrant and growing
association of States in tune with the modern world’ (Daniël, 2002).

Other ‘illustrious’ examples.

In January 1918, the Soviet Government ordered that “the teaching of religious
doctrines in all state and public schools or in private educational institutions
where general subjects are taught, is prohibited”, and two days later Lenin
issued a decree forbidding the Orthodox Church from teaching religion in State or
private schools to any minors. The education statute enacted in 1918 had
required that all schools (state and private alike) be secular, its replacement of
1923 disavowed neutrality toward religion and ‘prescribes the propagating of
atheism as an official doctrine in all schools.’

Martin Bormann issued a directive that ‘the creation of an ideologically objective

school system is one of the most important tasks of the Party and the State…
Not for nothing have the political Catholics, above all, realized the importance of
teaching the young and controlling their spiritual growth and character

building….’ Baldur von Schirach, unconsciously echoing the insistence of the
French defenders of the laicité, said “ the teacher would become the priest of a
new world, responsible for leading mankind into the path of truth” (the
examples quoted are from Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

Why did political leaders in the examples mentioned but also in other totalitarian
ideologies so strongly support state monopoly for education? It is abundantly
clear that they did so because they regarded education as an outstanding
instrument to spread their ideas. Those who did not serve the regime were
pushed out.

Why in some countries do most ‘progressives’ oppose allowing parents to choose

among a variety of schools and approaches to education? Why, in fact, are the
threats to educational freedom almost as likely to come from sincerely
democratic governments and political parties as from authoritarian ones? The
objection seems directly related to the fact that, around the world, non-
government schooling is predominantly religious in nature. This can certainly be
explained by the too strong impact of ecclesiastical bodies on policy in one case,
or the church hierarchy’s too strong adherence to a disputed political regime in
another case. In the past the Catholic Church certainly sometimes deserved
some of the blame too. However, does this explain the aggression still frequently
occurring now that internationally consecrated rights and liberties of relevance
can be found in generally accepted conventions and resolutions?

In today’s modern society, marked by ever increasing globalization in all spheres,

such arguments seem ever less evident. This thesis will be founded and
discussed in the next chapter from the perspective of new worldwide
developments. If we want to ensure quality education for all without distinction,
all those who continue feeding differences from the past, on whatever grounds,
will have to change arms from shoulder. The enormous challenges facing
education as a whole make it necessary to unite forces and require that
everybody assumes his or her share of responsibility. The priority of the
fundamental right of all children and young people to equal opportunities and
access to full quality education is beyond question. Sterile discussions about the
past are here of little avail. But, teachers’ unions have repeatedly explicitly
stated that extensive commercialization of educational services was threatening
this democratic right. The resolutions of the WCT Congresses in Kuala Lumpur
(1998) and Albena (2002) are quite explicit on this matter.

EFA and Millennium objectives

The Dakar Framework for Action, adopted in Dakar - Senegal, … 2000, is a
re-affirmation of the vision set out in the Jomtien Declaration of 1990.

In 1990, there was another important turning-point in the legal framework of

education. In that year UNESCO, in cooperation with countries from all over the
1990). The text confirms that the main system capable of providing basic
education outside the family is, and remains, primary education. The Declaration
also points out the urgent need to mobilise financial and human resources in all
the sectors: public, private and voluntary work. It calls for more support from

the public sector, which implies “drawing on the resources of all the government
agencies responsible for human development, through increased absolute and
proportional allocations to basic education services with the clear recognition of
competing claims on national resources of which education is an important one,
but not the only one”.

The Dakar Framework sets six major EFA goals and proposes twelve major
strategies. It puts forward twelve major strategies informed by the experience of
the decade after Jomtien 1990 and the changing global context. These include
the international development targets for education to which national
governments and the international community are already committed (UNESCO,

On 8 September 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted its
Millennium Declaration stating in point 19 “(We resolve further) to ensure that
(by the year 2015) children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to
complete a full course of primary schooling and that girls and boys will have
equal access to all levels of education”.

These two declarations will be a point of reference in almost each chapter of this

Status of teaching personnel in private schools

The teaching profession throughout the world is regulated by many laws,
directives, decisions and guidelines that are specific to the country, to the
particular character of a school or institution, depending on the organizing
authority, to general or particular agreements and practices, personal contracts
or agreements. The legal position of the teaching profession is indeed a
precondition for a properly functioning education system.
A school is a socio-professional, educational and philosophically based, neutral or
pluralistic community where the teacher in various capacities, as an employee,
and as a ‘mediator’ as far as the provision of education is concerned, is able tot
put specific rights into practice. The teacher’s duties are covered by a private or
public legal contract and in a number of cases, the tasks are not alike that of a
civil servant employed in a public office. The teacher has a wide variety of duties
that are essential for carrying out the teaching program, but his rights tend to be
less than sophisticated.

As far as the private educational systems are concerned, these rights are
primarily governed by employment legislation and labor agreements concluded
by teachers and school governors (De Groof ,1995).
In conformity with each country’s individual tradition or positive regulations,
more or less detailed arrangements for the legal position of staff exits for all the
categories of staff (governors, teachers, tutors, administrative and technical
staff.) Thus, the law can restrict itself to a general framework with a number of
minimum conditions within which the educational establishment can move
freely, for example regarding its mission, appointment or employment, the
selection and evaluation procedures, the composition of the staff, the financial
statute or the career structure.

The legal status of personnel in private institutions is not always clear and
unambiguous at all. A mix of formal statutory provisions parallel to the
regulations applicable to the personnel of State education is often coupled with
regulations that are specific to the institutions or group of institutions of the
same pedagogic concept as the school of employment. De Groof (1995) states
in this context that there must be room for additional rules for the educational
circle in question –if necessary after consultation with the joint committee
between employers and employees in conformity with social legislation –which
compliment the common statutory provisions, regardless of the nature of the
educational establishment. Specific provisions must hence be enforced between
the organizing body and the members of staff (e.g. concerning specific
incompatibilities) in the light of the characteristics of the pedagogical project.
But the same development can be observed for the satus of personnel as for the
institutions. The borders between private and public law are becoming
increasingly blurred. In some countries the distinction between a statutory and a
contractual legal position has become so small that the dismantling of the status
of public servant as a possible strategy is being considered (De Groof, 1995).

International regulations

Often many international treaties, agreements, recommendations offer a juridical

framework for determining their status and working conditions. These are under
estimated. Many of these regulations have a general scope, often inherent to
universal human rights, others concern all employees, and still others public
service employees. Several specifically relate to the teaching profession.

It is outside the scope of this chapter to broadly discuss this issue. International
UN organizations such as UNESCO and ILO as well as international trade union
organizations have placed relevant specialized as well as general publications at
the disposal of the education community. We will restrict to a global setting of
the major instruments to which reference must be made in order to understand a
particular situation or development.

With regard to the teaching profession in a broad sense, two United Nations
organizations have at international level a task of standard-setting and of
supervising the implementation of these standards: the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Labor
Organization (ILO).

Teacher training is a field of competence of UNESCO, the social and economic

situation of teachers in both public and private education of the ILO. Also
spurred on by international teachers’ organizations, the two organizations have
joined hands to develop an instrument aimed at promoting all aspects of the
teaching profession and thus at valorizing the profession itself.

This joint effort resulted in the Recommendation concerning the Status of

Teachers, adopted on 5th October 1966 by an intergovernmental conference
convened by UNESCO. A few years ago, 5 October was proclaimed International
Teachers’ Day. The recommendation does not only deal with the status of
teachers but discusses also the role of education in society and its efficiency. The
recommendation does not impose obligations on governments but invites them

to use it as a source for drawing inspiration for their own policies concerning

The member states are periodically invited to submit reports on the measures
they have taken to incorporate the provisions of the recommendation into their
education system. A Joint UNESCO/ILO Committee of Experts examines these
reports every two to three years. Another aspect of the Committee’s work is
examination of allegations from teachers and teachers' organisations on the non-
observance of the recommendation's provisions in member States. But still more
important, to the extent that the recommendation’s provisions are based upon
ratified ILO standards, complaints can be referred to the Committee on Freedom
of Association that has been set up by the Governing Body and in which workers
and employers are equally represented. Very important here are the references
to the recommendations from 1966. Judgments of this Committee have mainly a
high moral value although they can in principle, initiate legal proceedings.
(In 1997 a similar instrument was developed for higher education that comprises
the same procedures but we will not enter at length into it as higher education is
beyond the scope of this study).

It is essential to reiterate once again that the provisions of the 1966

Recommendation falling within the competence of the ILO are based upon the
Conventions and Recommendations that are, since their creation in 1919 by
the International Labor Conferenc,e applicable to all employees, including
teaching staff. Some of them are very pertinent to the teaching profession, e.g.
those relating to fundamental human rights – freedom of association, equal
remuneration, non-discrimination at work – or those relating to employment
policy, vocational training, and safety at work.

By profession, at the forefront of the development of a just society, teachers are

naturally also affected by all the ILO instruments relating to social policy,
industrial relations, working conditions, social security, employment of women
and elderly persons. The conventions and recommendations of both direct and
indirect relevance to teachers are listed in the appendix. We will enter briefly into
the conventions relating to industrial relations, in particular those concerning
trade union rights and freedoms and collective bargaining. As already mentioned
before, reference will be made to other specific international instruments that are
important for a good understanding of one or other situation. A consideration of
the full package of international standards in this context would take us much
too far afield. We refer here to a.o. the ILO publication Teachers and
international labor standards: A handbook and other publications of ILO and
Unesco that are, and have been, distributed large scale and are obtainable from
all ILO representations.

The present report will show that trade union rights and freedoms of employees,
particularly in private education, are sometimes ridden over roughshod. They
often receive adventurous interpretations in which general education interests
and ‘the interest of the child’ are used as an alibi to call fundamental rights of the
employees into question.

It is therefore necessary to explicitly reiterate that by virtue of Convention 87

concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to
Organize (1948), workers and employees, without distinction whatsoever, shall

have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organization
concerned, to join organisations of their own choosing without previous
authorization. These organisations shall have the right to draw up their
constitutions and rules, to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organize
their administration and activities and to formulate their programs without any
interference from public authorities. Workers' and employers' organisations shall
not be liable to be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority.

One year later, in 1949, the ILO adopted a second convention that also
concerned the basic human right of freedom of association, namely Convention
98 concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organize
and to Bargain Collectively. This Convention gives workers adequate
protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their
employment; protects them against any acts of interference in their
establishment, functioning or administration. Any control of employers on
workers’ organization is formally rejected.
In cases of dispute, the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has repeatedly
confirmed that both conventions are also applicable to teaching personnel.
However, like the ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts in several reports, we have
observed systematic violations of these rights in many countries. The present
study shows that this is still the case today, particularly in schools that fall under
our definition of private education.

The principle that wage and working conditions had to be discussed and in the
first place also negotiated, had been frequently disputed for the public sector.
This was the reason why in 1978 Convention 151 concerning industrial
relations in the public sector was adopted. This convention enlarged the field
of application of Convention 98. It is not unimportant to mention this convention
here because, as will appear further on, in several countries negotiations for
private education personnel are being conducted jointly with those for public

Not unimportant either is the 1981 Convention 154 concerning collective .

The aims of this convention are:
- To ensure all employers and all groups of workers access to collective
bargaining; (not unimportant in countries where negotiations for the
employees in the education sector are conducted jointly for both public
and private education)
- To promote the establishment of clear bargaining procedures
- To conceive bodies and procedures for the settlement of labor disputes so
as to contribute to the promotion of collective bargaining

Since the subject of this study is specifically the status of the teaching personnel
it will appear from the next chapters if and where aforementioned international
standards are implemented and respected in the institutes classified under
private education.


Daniël. J., (2002), Education for All in the Commonwealth: What are the issues?, Council for
Education in the Commonwealth, London 14 March 2002.

De Groof, J., (ed) (1995), The Legal Status of Teachers in Europe, Acco, Leuven/Belgium

Eurydice, 2000, Private Education in the European Union, Organisation, administration and the
public authorities’ role, Eurydice European Unit, Brussels

Fernández, A. & Nordmann, J.D., (ed) (2002) El estado de las libertades educativas en el mundo,
OIDEL, Madrid, Santillana.

Friedman, M., (1995), Public Schools: Make Them Private, Briefing Paper No. 23, CATO Institute.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002a), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. I, Utrecht/Lemma.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, Utrecht/Lemma.

ILO, (1991), Teachers and International labour standards: A handbook, International Labour Office,

ILO, (1996), Impact of structural adjustment on the employment and training of teachers, ILO,
JMEP/1996/II, International Labour Office, Geneva.

IPIS, (1985), De rechte weg. Tekstboek Mensenrechten, IPIS en Justitia et Pax, Antwerpen/Brussel

OIDEL, (2003), Libertad, igualdad y pluralismo en educación, Madrid/Comunidad de Madrid.

OEA (1969), Convención americana sobre derechos humanos “Pacto de San José”, in

OEA (1988), Protocolo adicional a la convención americana sobre derechos humanos en materia de
derechos económicos, sociales y culturales “Protocolo San Salvador” in

Shobhana, S., Trends in Private Sector Development in World Bank Education Projects, World
Bank, Washington.

UNESCO, (1990), Declaración Mundial sobre educación para todos, in

UNESCO, (2000), Dakar framework for action,

Table I - Status of Ratification of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Country Signature accession (b)
Germany 9 October 1968 17 Dec 1973
Angola 10 Jan 1992 a
Saudi Arabic
Algeria 12 September 1989
Argentina 19 February 1958 08 August 1986
Australia 18 December 1972 10 Dec 1975
Austria 10 December 1973 10 September 1978
Bangladesh 5 oct.1998 a
Belgium 10 December 1968 21 April 1983
Belarus 19 March 1968 12 Nov. 1973
Bolivia 12 Aug 1982 a
Brazil 14 Jan 1992 a
Bulgaria 8 October 1968 21 September 1970
Burkina Faso 4 Jan 1999 a
Canada 19 May 1976 a
Chile 16 September 1969 10 Feb. 1972
China 27 October 1997
Colombia 21 December 1966 29 October 1969
Costa Rica 19 December 1966 29 November 1968
Croatia 12 Oct 1992 a
Denmark 20 March 1968 6 January 1972
Equator 29 September 1967 6 May 1969
Egypt 4 August 1967 14 January 1982
El Salvador 21 September 1967 30 November 1979
Slovenia 6 July 1992 b
Spain 28 September 1976 7 April 1977
Unites States of America 5 October 1977
Estonia 29 Oct 1991 a
Ethiopia 11 June 1993 a
Russian Federation 18 March 1968 16 October 1973
Philippines 19 December 1966 07 June 1974
Finland 11 October 1967 19 Aug 1975

France 4 Nov 1980 a
Greece 16 May 1985 a
Guatemala 19 May 1988 a
Honduras 19 December 1966 17 Feb. 1981
Hungary 25 March 1969 17 January 1974
India 10 April 1979 a
Ireland 1 October 1973 8 Dec 1989
Island 30 December 1958 22 Aug 1979
Israel 19 December 1966 03 October 1991
Italia 18 January 1967 15 September 1978
Jamaica 19 December 1966 03 October 1975
Japan 30 May 1978 21 June 1979
Jordan 30 June 1972 28 May 1975
Kenya 1 May 1972 a
Lebanon 03 November 1972
Lithuania 20 Nov 1991 a
Morocco 19 January 1977 03 May 1979
Mexico 23 March 1981 a
Nicaragua 12 March 1980 a
Nigeria 29 July 1993 a
Norway 20 March 1968 13 September 1972
New Zeeland 12 November 1968 28 Dec1978
Netherlands 25 June 1969 11 Dec 1978
Paraguay 10 June 1992 a
Peru 11 August 1977 12 Oct 1992 b
Poland 2 March 1967 18 March 1977
Portugal 7 October 1976 31 July 1978
United Kingdom 16 November 1968 20 May 1976
Czech Republic 22 Feb. 1993 b
Korea Republic 10 April 1990 a
R. Dem Congo 1 Nov 1976 a
R. Dominican 4 Jan 1978 a
Slovak republic 28 May 1993 b
Iran Islamic Republic 4 April 1968 24 June 1975
Rwanda 16 April 1975 a
Rumania 27 June 1968 9 Dec 1974
Senegal 6 June 1970 13 Feb.1978
Serbia-Montenegro 11 August 1967 02 June 1971
Sri Lanka 11 June 1980 a
South Africa 3 October 1994
Sweden 29 November 1967 6 Dec 1971
Switzerland 18 June 1992 a
Thailand 5 Sept 1999 a
Uruguay 21 February 1977 01 April 1970
Venezuela 24 June 1969 10 May 1978
Vietnam 24 dec 1982 a

Source: Fernández y Nordmann (2002)

El estado de las libertades educativas en el mundo, OIDEL Madrid

Table II - Status of fundamental labour rights

Status of fundamental labour rights conventions


Source: UNDP, Human Developpment Report, 2004

Chapter 4




The statistics, which have been published pretty systematically in recent years –
usually in cooperation with the statistical institutes of UNESCO, OECD and the
World Bank –, go to show the developments in education worldwide. They also
allow interesting conclusions with regard to the developments in private
education. Why, in this regard, should they be interpreted with due reserve

While they are fairly accurate for the industrial world, they are much less so for
the developing countries. Several authors (Motivans, Lockheed & Jimenez,
Péano, Watkins, among others), but also the Human Development Report of
UNDP and the EFA Global Monitoring Report of UNESCO, point out the possible
gaps and not always correct data. In too many cases the data provided by
governments, also a number of data from international institutions, are based on
estimates that are by definition only approximate at best.
(In some national cases, described in this study, we will refer to specific
problems in relation with inadequate data).
How does this come about. There are several causes.

Not all official statistics mention conclusively the education initiatives that are
not under the control of the authorities. (This also goes for some Western
countries). This is particularly true for commercial initiatives that are monitored
from Third World countries in many cases. In view of the numerical
developments in the school population, the ratio’s in terms of percentage are
therefore many times more relevant to weigh the relative part of the
(recognized) private initiative.

Also, taking the overall expenses on the government budget as the standard,
this leads to at least partially questionable conclusions. Indeed, more and more
countries shift a sizeable part of the expenses for education on to the
parents/pupils/students. In some cases even public schools are encouraged (if
not compelled) to get part of their receipts from sponsoring or commercialised
services. As there is no trace of these receipts in the government budget, the
evolution of the expenses for education have to be interpreted with due reserve.
This affects the relative part of expenses for education in a country’s total budget
as much as the relation to the GNP. Yet, these are two assessment criteria that
are often used to measure and compare the governmental efforts.
Observers agree that the figures published for many developing countries are
heavily underestimated. In some countries not all children are even registered at
birth. Refugee Children are not often into account. Particularly in rural areas the
official reports show nothing of the multitude of local education and training
initiatives, even if these initiatives are in many cases the only educational
activities in their locality or region. This is very explicitly the case in large areas
of Africa, but also in a number of countries in South and Central Asia.
Incidentally, quite some countries have more or less recognized such initiatives
so they gild to some extent the blind spots on the educational map. We will go
into this in the chapters on Africa and Asia.

Yet, the published statistics provide interesting comparative material. Some of

the main data – which we therefore publish at the end of this chapter – are
indicative of the policy line. However, the reservations we mention give an idea
of a number of trends upon which we wish to dwell.

The changing nature of financing education

Worldwide the authorities are aware of the importance of education for the
further development of the people and the country. The sufficiency of education
and training facilities is strongly dependent on the policy of, and the financing by,
these authorities. Fact is that the huge expansion of education in recent decades
has been largely the result of the supply by the authorities. But there is no
denying that many groups in our society – millions of children! – are not yet
reached today. The statistics published by UNESCO, the World Bank, UNICEF,
UNDP and other international bodies illustrate this very clearly.

The type of schooling offered is often inappropriate for children from certain
backgrounds. Girls, indigenous peoples, tribal groups, disadvantaged children
with learning disabilities, children with physiological and psychological problems,
and children without homes have not been accounted for. There is also a wide
gap in terms of educational services made available to urban and rural
populations. Many linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples are underserved.
The supply-driven expansion of schooling has run into further trouble, as

governments are becoming less able to bear increasing costs. The relevant
questions relate to who should pay for schooling. Should the State support both
public and private education?

Basically the authorities have to bear the expenses of their own education
initiatives. (We will elucidate later on, that this is not the case for the complete
amount of these expenses). In quite some countries the authorities have opted
expressly for either total or partial sponsoring of private schools, not without
conditions, of course, and not of all the private schools. The consequence is also
for human resources management. Public subsidising of a non-state school does
not make it a state school, but does subject it to the rules of accountability,
audit, financial records and public information.

In general, private schools are heavily subsidized (to the extent of 80 percent or
more of costs). In those countries (most of which are in Europe but also
countries such as Lesotho, Togo and Chile and the state of Kerala in India)
teacher salaries are paid by the state. They are also the most heavily regulated

A wide variety of countries provide indirect (through tax breaks) or partial

subsidies (less than 25 percent of costs) to private schools. These include
countries as diverse as Japan, the USA, Indonesia, Kenya and several Latin
American countries. The governments tend to have only a moderate amount of
control over individual schools. On the other hand, some governments which
offer neither indirect nor partial support, still attempt to regulate their private
schools (Lockheed & Jimenez, 1994).

As for the situation in the industrial countries, Jens Lundsgaard (2002) says that
in most OECD countries, the majority of education institutions are public but
typically the share of private institutions increases with the level of education
and the degree of orientation towards specific professional skills. Among the
private institutions, some can be classified as government-dependent in the
sense that more than half of their costs are covered by public funding, while
others are financially independent as they rely mostly on funding from tuition
fees and other private sources. In broad terms, government-dependent private
institutions are mainly found in Europe while independent private institutions are
found to a large extent in Japan and Korea and to some extent in North America.
The level of direct public funding for private schools ranges from nothing in the
United States, through little or moderate financial support in the United Kingdom,
Italy, Greece and Portugal, to substantial grants in Norway, Finland, Sweden,
Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Australia, Spain, Belgium and the
Netherlands. This typical generalizing statement is on the whole correct, but also
somewhat misleading because of the strong differences in interpretation of the
terminology (cf chapter 2). In the chapters on the situation in the continents we
will come back more in detail to these differences in order to place them more
precisely in their real context.

Privatisation: a hot issue

“Privatisation is one of the hottest issues currently being debated in the

education sector”, stated Gudmund Hernes, Director of Unesco’s International
Institute for Educational Planning, Belfield & Levin, 2002, Education Privatisation:

causes, consequences and planning implementation. It is fast becoming a
widespread trend when considering education reform, as it eases the pressure on
governments to meet increasing demand and relieves them of excessive costs.
In developed countries, the issues at hand are provision and accountability. Here
privatisation can be advantageous to parents, who are given more freedom and
choice when deciding on schools for their children, and greater control over the
way their children are educated.

The different needs presented in developing countries mean that the motives for
privatisation vary and that the form of privatisation adopted is also specific to the
country and its economic and demographic situation. Also, the previous history
of an education system, whether or not marked by colonial or other external
influences, is in many cases very determining. It is very obvious, however, that
in all the regions with a strong increase in population and limited government
budgets, the strong need for education facilities for all children at school age
remains largely unsatisfied. This is certainly the case in Africa as a whole, but
also in several Asian countries and other regions. Private initiatives, are looked
upon as the alternative solution if the public initiative anticipates insufficiently
the demographic reality.

What motives play a role in this?

Either, as mentioned before, attempts are made to fill the gaps in regions where
the authorities establish or equip an insufficient number of schools.
Or parents or local communities take initiatives themselves, if confronted with
overcrowded and low-quality public schools.
Charles Glenn adds two further possible motives that are not without importance
for an explanation of the developments:
- For reasons of a redundant qualified teaching force, limits on the recruitment
and increase of salaries of civil servants are established under structural
adjustment programmes. Teachers are forced to set up non-state schools or seek
employment in them.
- As a deliberate government policy to reduce upon the existing schools and
avoid the introduction of tuition in public schools. The approach was used, for
example, in Zambia (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

In many countries the authorities have opted to parents a financial contribution,

also in the institutions it organizes itself, or for promoting in their policy the
principles of the market, as we will explain later on.
The consequence has been that in many countries the number of private schools
has increased at the same time as fees have been introduced in some public
schools, noted Belfield and Levin. This trend has emerged largely as a result of
the incapacity of the State to satisfy the increasing educational demand at all
levels. If an increase in private funding means freeing public resources to
support the development of free, quality basic education for all, then it may very
well mean a more equitable use of public funds.
The privatisation movement is, however, much more complex than a mere
increase in private funding, they rightly affirm. It can take many forms: an
increase in the number of fully privately managed and funded schools; privately
managed schools financed by public funds; public schools fully or partially
financed by private funds; private courses complementing the education
provided in public schools; private contracting of certain services; distance
courses, etc. New information technology opens the way to many new forms of

privately financed education to satisfy many different needs (Belfield & Levin,

This evolution exposes an important problem. If privatisation simply means

increasing the role of parents in the financing of education, it is associated with
increased inequalities in access to education and the breaking of social cohesion.
When implying more resources for the education sector, more efficient use of
these resources, and more flexibility in education delivery, it looks more positive.
The debate is loaded with ideological considerations, as we will see later on.
By way of illustration of the foregoing: In the World Development Report 1990 of
the World Bank the role of the State in the struggle against poverty and the
contribution of private education are described as important economically.

1. When one’s individual consumption of a good affects others, the individual

must be induced to consider the social as well as the private costs and
benefits of his behaviour.
2. Government intervention may be necessary because financial markets are
too limited to allow students to borrow enough to cover their current costs
on the basis of their likely future earnings.
3. If making human resource investments is accept a principal strategy for
alleviating poverty, then this also implies the need for government action.

What is the role for private education in this setting?

1. Private education must fill the inevitable gaps in public education
2. Private education can have a second role in fostering greater efficiency by
requiring public schools to compete for students.
3. Private schools can serve as a laboratory for alternative models of school-
level management, which, if effective, could be adopted by public schools.

By far not everybody endorses the role the World Bank assigns to the private
initiative. At the first World Forum on Education in Porto Alegre, in 2002, the role
of the World Bank was tartly denounced (Vultures over the poor – Hirtt, 2000).
Movements such as APED (Appel pour une école démocratique – Appeal for a
democratic school) are notorious international opponents of private education,
which they accuse of elitism and of serving only the interests of the rich at the
expense of the poor, who are left behind orphaned in qualitatively weak and
insufficiently supportive public schools. Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen is a
radical opponent of private education and praised the government of West
Bengal for forbidding teachers in public schools to give private courses in their
free time. Sen assumes that the ban on private education will induce the richer
parents to make greater efforts so that public schools achieve better (Coulson,

The developments worldwide seem to take little account of their message. Apart
from that, all forms of private education are too easily treated all alike.

It is very obvious that the privatisation of education fits in with the pursuit of
decentralisation, which is generally considered indispensable for making the
education aims feasible. Without the direct commitment of all the bodies and all
the people concerned, at all levels of education, the great aims, formulated on

the occasion of the Millennium or in programmes like Education for All and other
UN initiatives, are unfeasible.

Privatisation as a form of decentralisation.

McGinn & Welsh (2003) distinguish major forms of ‘private’ school governance,
arranged in an increasing degree of ‘decentralization’:
• publicly subsidized, privately owned and managed schools which conform
to government guidelines and do not charge fees;
• publicly subsidised, private owned and managed schools which enjoy
relative autonomy and do charge fees; and
• privately financed schools that are autonomous from public control.

Almost all countries have some private education, the authors affirm. In very few
countries, however, do the second and third kinds of private schools taken
together enrol more than 10 percent of primary and secondary enrolment. In
some countries, however, as much as half the total enrolment is in the first kind
of private school. Almost all proposals for public funding of private education
today are for the first form of school governance.
In some countries demand for private education exceeds supply because of
government restrictions on creation and expansion of private schools. The
restriction may take several forms:
• an outright ban on construction or increased enrolment
• a ceiling on the size of tuition fees that can be charged which makes
expansion financially impossible, or
• insistence on inclusion of a certain proportion of students not members of
the dominant group in the school, which reduces the attractiveness of the

Expansion of private education will increase the total number of children in

school only under certain circumstances. Expansion of fee-charging private
schools will result in greater overall enrolment if the supply of publicly financed
free private schools, and public schools, is insufficient to meet demand for
schooling. Increasing the number of free private schools will increase overall
enrolments only if the supply of public schools is less than demand. In Vietnam,
for example, the government allowed expansion of private education rather than
rapid expansion of public schools. Countries that have not invested in public
education in the past will experience an expansion in total enrolments if they
increase spending, whether that money goes to public or to private schools
(McGinn & Welsh, 2003).

Rose (2002) reminds us that the potential for the non-state sector to meet the
needs of the poor has been receiving increasing attention. Some of the reasons
put forward in support of non-state sector involvement in education include:
• Responsiveness to excess demand – enables the expansion of educational
• Provisions of differentiated products relevant to consumer’s demands
• Setting of price according to ability to pay
• Accountability and cost-effectiveness
• Supplementing limited government capacity
• Better targeting of public subsidies
• Encouragement of innovation

In reality, the non-state sector has always been involved in education in a variety
of ways, including through the provision of education to under-served areas by
not-for-profit NGOs, as well as for-profit private institutions catering for the elite.
More recently, two key trends in the role of the non-state sector in education
provision are evident. Firstly, international debates related to the changing role
of states and markets in education, particularly in the context of the WTO and
World Bank moves towards a global education industry, have focused attention
on increased liberalisation in the education sector, accompanied by calls for a
‘lighter touch’ in state regulation of the sector. This potentially provides greater
opportunities for increased non-state sector involvement, with incentives for the
growth of the for-profit private sector in particular. Secondly. the Education for
All agenda has placed emphasis on the expansion of basic education, often with
implications for the quality of education provided by the state sector, as well as
putting pressure on other levels of the education system. As a result, the non-
state sector has mushroomed in some areas to fill the gap, although institutions
are often unregistered and, therefore, unregulated by the state (Rose, 2002).

Fading limits

The consequence of recent developments is that even the public/private

distinction is no longer accurate. How is this? Non-state schools provide an, as
such recognised public service in many countries while state schools increasingly
may operate as though they were private institutions and in some countries are
partially privatized. For example ‘charter schools’ in the United States.
The principal long-standing difference between public and private education,
regarding their funding arrangements – that while public education should be
free, private education requires tuition and user fees – has become less evident
with the many cases of dramatically increased community and family financing of
public education, together with their contributions in kind (maintenance, repair,
school meals, purchase of school equipment, etc.) and teachers recruited by the
community. Nowadays the real difference between public and private education
is mostly in the actual amount of fees and other community and family
contributions (Péano, 1999).

What do we understand by the aforementioned Charter schools in the USA?

Charter schools are independent public schools, designed and operated by
educators, parents, community leaders and educational entrepreneurs. They are
sponsored by local or state education authorities that monitor them, but allow
them to operate independent of many regulations. In 1999 there were 37 charter
school laws in the United States, and charter schools are operating in 27 states
and the District of Columbia, serving 300,000 students in 1,205 schools (Centre
for Education Reform 1999). A few companies, such as Edison, bid to run failing
schools (Patrinos,1999). Throughout the 1990s state after state adopted laws
permitting ‘charter schools’. Three-quarters of the states now provide full (or
nearly full) public funding for schools created by private groups, schools which
operate outside the structures of local government under charters issued by

state government or (in some cases) by other public agencies. This led to a
fundamental shift of perspective: Traditionally, Americans have defined a public
school as any school run by the government, managed by a superintendent and
school board, staffed by public employees, and operated within a public
bureaucracy… Now consider a different definition; a public school is any school
that is open to the public, paid for by the public, and accountable to the public
for its results (Finn, Manno & Vanourek, 2000).

In 1987, New Zealand opted for a radical strategy.

In New Zealand, each school is since then managed by its own elected board of
trustees in which community members predominate. These boards hire and fire
staff, but salaries are set nationally. The boards choose or develop curriculum
(within national objectives), set language of instruction, choose or develop
instructional materials including texts, and manage block grants of funds from
the national government. The Ministry using national achievement tests,
assesses school performance. The national Ministry charters all schools. Boards
of trustees have complete autonomy in how they run their schools, but the
ministry reserves the right to intervene if performance does not meet standards
specified in the charter (McGinn & Welsh, 1999).


Voucher systems have led to year-long controversies in the United States but
have been introduced in other countries and continents as well.
A voucher is a payment that a public entity gives directly to students and that
students use at the school of their choice. Stipends are given to students or their
families to pay for schooling-related expenditures (See below article on
“Educational vouchers”).

The granting of vouchers is not specific for education. Charles Glenn reminds us
that the public welfare system in the United States turned to various forms of
vouchers for the provision of benefits to low-income families. In his opinion the
reasons were largely practical rather than ideological.

First, it is considered appropriate to allow individuals with few resources to make

decisions about matters in which their personal preferences are significant.

A second reason to use vouchers is the provision of social services so that it can
lead to a proliferation of alternatives which suit the diverse needs of the
population being served.

By simplifying the process of becoming a service provider, vouchers not only

make the services available more abundant and more diverse, but also introduce
an element of competition between providers which challenges complacency,
encourages innovation and responsiveness to clients, and improves the quality of
the services provided (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

There is no denying, of course, that the voucher system is chiefly propagated by
economists who gained followers in the USA under Ronald Reagan, England
under Thatcher, Chile under Pinochet and other authorities of neo-liberal or
monetarist inspiration. In the context of the structural reform programmes,
many developing countries have learned what it feels like that their body of
thought has had an undeniable influence on the policy of IMF and the World

In an article in the Washington Post dated 19 February 1995, Nobel Prize winner
Milton Friedman stated literally: “Our elementary and secondary educational
system needs to be radically restructured. Such a reconstruction can be achieved
only by privatising a major segment of the educational system, i.e., by enabling
a private, for-profit industry to develop that will provide a wide variety of
learning opportunities and offer effective competition to public schools. The most
feasible way to bring about a transfer from government to private enterprise is
to enact in each state a voucher system that enables parents to choose freely
the schools their children attend. The voucher must be universal, available to all
parents, and large enough to cover the costs of a high-quality education. No
conditions should be attached to vouchers that interfere with the freedom of
private enterprises to experiment, to explore, and to innovate” (Friedman,

Based on the ideas of Milton Friedman, schools were funded through taxes
under political control and supervision by payments direct from parents thus
equipped with a new ability to compare schools and move between them.
England under the government of Margaret Thatcher adopted for that purpose
the Parents’ Charter and the 1980 Education Act. The other country where
Friedman’s ideas where influential was, like already mentioned, Chile during the
late 1970s and the 1980s under the Pinochet regime.

The controversies over vouchers in the USA must be understood in the context of
a wider movement to expand parental choice of schools as a means of
encouraging diversity and accountability in American education. Some of the
private voucher programs designed to help low-income families, nevertheless
expect them to pay a part of the cost of tuition, on the grounds that this will
increase their commitment to the success of their children.
The use of demand-side financing mechanisms, such as vouchers and stipends,
and capitation grants, dos not necessarily imply less public finance. Part of the
conceptual framework of demand-side financing in education is the issue of
choice. The focus is on the individual (or parents in the case of basic education).
In fact the calls for parental choice are usually directly related to efforts to
improve educational outcomes, as part of an overall reform effort (Patrinos,

Yet, many advocates of a voucher system have motivated their preference on the
basis of greater social equality. The idea of vouchers was therefore picked up by
social progressives concerned to empower poor parents in relation to
unresponsive bureaucracies (Glenn, 2002a).

In his study ‘Schools, Vouchers, and the American Public’ (Moe, 2000) Terry Moe
concludes that the strongest supporters of introducing vouchers can be found
among the poor and the minorities, who in the suburbs have reached the

subsistence level or have just enough income to afford tuition. He also found
more advocates than could be expected among those living in poorly achieving
school districts. Opposition to the voucher system comes chiefly from those who
fear that a strengthening of private education would lead to more unequal
treatment of socially weak or underprivileged groups and therefore serve
particularly the interests of the higher class of the population.

Ironically, among public (school) parents, vouchers are supported by 73 % of

those with family incomes below $ 20,000 a year, compared to 57 % of those
with incomes above $ 60,000 … 75 % of black parents and 71 % of Hispanic
parents, compared to 63 % of white parents… 72 % of parents in the bottom tier
of low-performing school districts favour vouchers, while 59 % of those in the
top tier do.

In a number of American cities, private benefactors have created voucher

programs to enable children from low-income families to attend non-public
schools. Those establishing the private voucher programs have generally done so
not to help individual children but also to have an impact upon public policy
(Glenn, 2002a).

The opposition of the teachers unions to vouchers in the USA remains as strong
as ever. But mistrust of voucher proposals in Europe has a very different basis
than the opposition in the United States. In the United States, vouchers are
opposed primarily by the teachers’ unions and by secularised elite which has a
deep distrust of religion. They talk about ‘indoctrination’, ‘great turmoil’, the
Balkans and Northern Ireland, and theats to ‘the foundation of our democracy’ In
Europe by contrast, many voucher opponents support public funding of religious
schools but see the voucher mechanism as a libertarian assault on public
accountability for schooling. Vouchers are seen as a way to bring market forces
to bear upon the quality of schooling. Not a belief in market forces but a concern
to extend educational opportunities is the real energy behind the current demand
for vouchers in the United States, and the Supreme Court’s decision permitting
them was clearly based upon that consideration, says Charles Glenn (Glenn,

What is left out the debate is the observation by Lundsgaard that by allocating
funding automatically on the basis of student enrolment, Australia, Belgium,
Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom operate
implicit voucher systems where institutions are rewarded for attracting students
by improving their education programmes and for reducing drop-out rates when
funding is based automatically on the passing of exams. Denmark, Finland,
Norway and Sweden have adopted mixed funding schemes, weighing different
performance measures including degrees earned (Lundsgaard, 2002). It is this
very interpretation of “vouchers” that causes confusion.

Under the spell of the market

The discussions on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the

World Trade Organisation (WTO) have sharpened in many countries the debate
on privatisation from a widely supported opposition to the commercialisation of
education, particularly elementary and secondary education. With Rose (2002)
werelready reminded that the changing role of the State and the growing

pressure of the market under the impulse of the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF
and World Bank) and WTO lead us to a global education industry. This
commercialisation of education is a top item on the agenda of higher education.
But the trade agreements within GATS can encompass all the levels of education.
In the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the USA, Canada
and Mexico, all education is catalogued as a commodity. This is by no means the
case in the European treaties underlying the European Union. (For the time
being?) the European countries do not wish to lay down binding agreements on
education in the GATS agreements, in contrast with, besides NAFTA, countries
like Australia and New Zealand and countries that under the pressure of IMF, the
World Bank, etc go to the international market in search of solutions for
education problems they cannot solve themselves. The periodical revisions of the
GATS agreements will make it clear if the pressure of commercial considerations
will affect education more deeply than is currently the case (see also the box
below on GATS).
There are viewpoints in principle but there is also reality. Not only the growing
demand for financial support of education by the parents and from external
sources, buto the pursuit of ‘deceasing’ the State, a ‘lighter touch’ in state
regulation, provides greater opportunities for increased non-state sector
involvement, with incentives for the growth of the for-profit private sector in

It is not all a bed of roses. Many people watch this evolution with regret.
Sullivan (1998) remindsthat in some countries, education is completely a
commodity, with students and parents the consumers. Places in school are goods
that can be bought and sold. Yet education markets also construct positional
goods, for instance, private schools, that favour the well-to-do class. Public
schools are inclined to become safety nets of the whole education system. Even
worse, public education is a choice-of-better-than-none, for the marginalized
groups. Under this condition, the freedom of choice in education is nowadays a
kind of negative freedom. Parents and students do not have the freedom to
create the choices, but only the freedom to choose from whatever the authorities
supply to them. Policy makers have been swept by the ‘blind faith’ in markets
and competition that permeated government. This implies that the more
competition that is introduced, the more difficult it is for the disadvantaged
groups in societies to access quality education. This kind of user-pays rationale
has dominated not only capitalist governments, but also the largest communist
country, China.
The international and many national teachers’ unions have taken a firm stand
against the commercialisation of education and against the integration of
education in the GATS agreements. We refer here to the Congress resolutions
passed in recent years by WCT and EI. The emphasis in them is both on social
and on professional arguments.

The effects of a market-oriented education policy on the education supply can

probably be illustrated best by the evolution in China under and after Lin Piao. It
is obvious that in the 1980s and 1990s China pursued a policy that was expressly
aimed at the development of a market economy. A strong development of
private education was an exponent of this. The figures below demonstrate that it
was a large-scale privatisation operation. There is no need to entertain doubts as
to the underlying orientation to the market.

Under Mao the entire Chinese education system was placed under State and
Party responsibility. But in 2000 there were already more than 60,000 non-
governmental educational institutions in China, including 44,000 kindergartens,
4,300 primary schools, 7,316 ordinary high schools, 999 vocational high schools.
Though the state-funded public schools dominate, China now has already more
than 70,000 private schools ranging from preliminary to higher education
attended by over 14 million students.
Encouraging the development of private schools will be necessary to meet the
country’s growing educational demands, said Minister of Education Zhou Ji in an
interview March 25, 2004. The Law of promoting Non-state Educational
Institutions went into effect on September 1, 2003 and a new regulation kick of
on April 1, 2004. Both the law and the regulation are designed to better guide
private schools towards a legal and healthy track so as to provide people with
qualified educational resources, the Minister added. Public and private schools
should be put an equal footing; regional governments should give preferential
policies to private schools that want to use land to build schools. Private schools
should not be discriminated against by- public and governmental institutions
(People’s Daily online, 2002 and 2004).
Speaking of a break with the past!

In a comparative study on the developments worldwide, in relation with the aim

to guarantee all children a quality elementary education by 2015, Andrew
Coulson (2003) reaches the following conclusion:
“Market schools paid at least in part by parents are consistently more effective,
efficient, and responsive to parental needs and demands than are free
government schools. Because this reality conflicts with the cherished belief that
schooling should/must/will be provided free-of-charge by the state it is widely
But while scholars and international agencies can afford to ignore this reality,
most developing nations cannot. Universal free government schooling is not only
ill-suited to the Achievement of Education for All, it is unaffordable. The lack of
parental co-payments, coupled with low efficiency, make free government
schooling prohibitively expensive for less developed countries with large numbers
of unenrolled children”.
It seems unlikely that international development organisations will reverse
course any time soon, advocating market-based education reforms along the
lines supported by econometric research. Nevertheless, there is ample reason for
hope. If governments as committed to central planning as Tanzania and China
could admit the merits of private schooling, then so can any nation on earth. In
other words, the path to Education for All will be blazed by those citizens and
leaders of the developing world for whom reason and evidence, not ideology,
drive education policy.


Belfield, Cl.R. and Levin, H.M., Education privatization: causes, consequences and planning
implementation, IIEP/Unesco, 2002.

Cookson, P.W. Jr, (1997), New Kid on the Block? A Closer Look at America’s Private Schools, The
Brookings Review, Winter 1997, Vol. 15 No 1, pp. 22-25

Coulson, A., (2003), Implementing ‘Education for All’ Moving from Goals to Action, Conference
paper Milanolibre, Milan, Italy, 17 May, 2003

Daniël, J., (2002), Education for All in the Commonwealth: What are the issues? The Council for
Education in the Commonwealth, Westminster, London, 14 March 2002.

Eurydice, (2002), Key data on Education in Europe, ISSN 1725-1621, Brussels.

Friedman, M., (1995), Public Schools: Make Them Private, Briefing Paper No. 23, CATO Institute.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002a), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. I, Utrecht/Lemma.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, Utrecht/Lemma.

Hirtt, N., (2000), Vol de vautours sur l’école des pauvres, L’école démocratique, n°3

Jimenez, E., Lockheed M.E. & Paqueo, V., (1991), The relative Efficiency of Private and Public
Schools in Developing Countries, in The World Bank Observer, vol. 6, no 2 (July 1991), pp. 205-
218, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/WB, Washington.

Lockheed, M. and Jimenez E., (1994), Public and Private Secondary Schools in Developing
Countries: What are the differences and why do they persist?, HRO Working Papers,World Bank,
November 1994

Lundsgaard, J., (2002), Competition and Efficiency in Publicly Funded Services, OECD Economic
Studies, no 35, 2002/2, pp. 76-128

McGinn, N. & Welsh, T., (1999), Decentralization of Education: why, when, what and how? Series:
Fundamentals of Educational Planning -64, IIEB/Unesco, Paris.

Moe, T.M., (ed) (2000), Schools, Vouchers and the American Public, Washington, DC, Brookings
Institution, 2000.

Finn, Ch.E.jr, Manno, B.V. & Vanourek, G., (2000), Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public
Education, Princeton University Press.

Motivans, A. (2003) Public and private roles in Education, in OECD/Unesco, Financing Education.
Investments and Returns. Analysis of the World Education Indicators 2002, Unesco, OECD, WEIP

OECD, (2003), Education at a Glance, 2003 Edition, Paris.

OECD, (2004), Education at a Glance, 2004 Edition, Paris.

Patrinos, H.A., (1999), Market Forces in Education, paper for the seminar “Education: the Point of
View of the Economists” Donostia–San Sebastian, Spain, July 22-24 1999.

Péano, S., (ed.) (1999), Financing and financial management of education, Report Pan African
seminar, Dakar, Senegal, 12-14 October 1997, IIEP/UNESCO, Paris.

People’s Daily online, (2002), China to Give Equal Rights to Private, Public Schools, June 24, 2002

People’s Daily online, (2004), China has more than 70,000 private schools, March 26, 2004

Rose, P., (2002), Is the Non-state Education Sector serving the needs of the poor?: Evidence from
East and Southern, World Development Work for Poor People, WDR Workshop, Oxford, 4-5
November 2002.

Sullivan, K. (ed.) (1998), Education and Change in the Pacific Rim: Meeting the Challenges.
Oxford: Triangle. Series Title: Oxford Studies in Comparative Education.

UNESCO/OECD/WEIP, (2002), Financing Education – Investments and Returns – Analysis of the

World Education Indicators, Unesco Institute for Statistics, 2002

Watkins, K., (2000), The Oxfam Education Report, Oxfam GB.



In the introduction to the chapter “Trends and developments in private education” we

already indicated that the published international comparisons are not always complete
or entirely accurate. We also explained why.
The tables below, based on the UNDP Human Development Report 2004 and the
UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005, also require some explanation to allow
a correct assessment of their real meaning.
For clarity’s sake we mention the comments both organisations have made themselves.

The UNDP Report says (p. 253):

Gaps throughout the indicator tables demonstrate the pressing need for improvements in
the availability of relevant, reliable and timely human development statistics. (…)
Because of a lack of reliable data, 16 UN member countries are excluded from the HDI.
(…) For a significant number of countries data (…) are unreliable and out of date and in
some cases need to be estimated. (…)
When compiling international data series agencies often need to apply internationally
adopted standards and harmonisation procedures to improve comparability across
countries. Where the international data are based on national statistics, as they usually
are, the national data may need to be adjusted. Where data for a country are missing,
an international agency may produce and estimate if other relevant information can be
used. And because of the difficulties in co-ordination between national and international
data agencies, international data series may not incorporate the most recent national
data. All these factors can lead to significant discrepancies between national and
international estimates.
The EFA Global Monitoring Report says:

Gaps in the statistical tables may occur for a number of reasons. In some cases data do
not exist at country level – where countries are in conflict, for example, or where they do
not have the capacity to collect the data concerned. In other countries data may exist
but were not reported to UIS. (Unesco Institute for Statistics)
(…) Estimates are often necessary.
(…) Gaps in the tables may also arise where data submitted by a country are found to in
(…) Net enrolment ratios are now available for over 90% of countries that submitted data
(i.e. not including countries in conflict and other non-respondents) or for which estimates
have been made.
Taking into account the reservations resulting from these comments, the published data
remain highly interesting materials for comparisons. When drawing conclusions, some
caution is called for in case of incomplete or estimated data.

Table III : Important data from the Human Development Report 2004
A. Commitment to education: public spending
B. Literacy and enrolment
(Source:UNDP (2004), Human Development Report 2004, UNDP, New York)

Table IV: Private enrolment as % of the total enrolment

(Source: UNESCO (2004), EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005, UNESCO,

Table V : Relative proportions of public and private expenditure on

educational institutions
(Source: OECD (2004) , Education at a Glance 2004, OECD,Paris)

Table III - Important data from the HDR 2004

A. Commitment to education: B. Literacy and enrolment

public spending

Source: UNDP, Human Developpment Report, 2004

Table IV - Private enrolment as % of the total enrolment

Source: UNESCO (2004), EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005

Table Va - Relative proportion of public and private
expenditure on educational
institutions for all level (1995, 2001)

Distribution of public and private sources of funds for educational institutions after transfers from public sources
by years

Table Vb - Relative proportion of public and private
expenditure on educational
institutions by level of education (1995, 2001)
Distribution of public and private sources of funds for educational institutions after transfers from public sources
by years

Source: OECD (2004), Education at the Glance 2004


A market approach to education?

Chapter 4 described the role of vouchers in educational systems. Available literature on

this issue explicitly shows that misunderstanding reigns, given the divergent
interpretations made of the educational policy of different regions around the world and
their particular features. That is why we would like to make a brief outline of this issue so
as to explain these divergent interpretations, taking into account that within the
educational sector, «educational vouchers» are a burning issue and that most teachers’
organizations are strongly against the voucher program as implemented in many

What are educational vouchers?

Theoretically, in an educational voucher or bonus program, the State provides parents

with grants to send their children to public or private schools of their choice. These grants
are tax-financed and can be given directly to parents or, indirectly, to the authorities of
the schools chosen by parents.
This double interpretation of the system has certainly led to confusion. If all the grants
given to a school on the basis of the number of students enrolled were to be considered as
vouchers –something that some authors systematically do- then the debate on vouchers
would be biased from the start. Why? As highlighted in Chapter 4, opposition to the
voucher system, especially in Europe, does not necessarily mean being against State-
supported private schools. Besides, in most countries where private education has been
financed by the State for a long time, there exists a financing system that is not
exclusively based on the number of students. Based on this double interpretation, Kasten
–Republican member of the US House of Representatives- and Fossedel claim that
contrary to American trade unions, almost all European trade unions are in favour of the
voucher system… because they are in favour of State-supported private schools!
Undoubtedly, the American debate on vouchers is highly politicized. Since most of the
available literature contains numerous references to the American context, and the reports
submitted to the World Bank and other international organizations and agencies are
elaborated in the US or reflecting on the US situation, this biased debate –which has
become an ideological one- is the only one influencing the antagonist opinions of both

Opposition to the voucher system –as promoted by the advocates of wild neoliberalism,
and as integrated in the policies of Reagan, Thatcher, Pinochet, the World Bank and the
IMF, among others- is based on the belief that this policy is mainly aimed at fostering the
privatization of education and that education would then be ruled by market laws.
Teachers’ trade unions strongly oppose this interpretation of the role of vouchers within

In order to prevent any further misunderstanding, this document will exclusively deal with
a voucher system aimed at granting financial aid to parents, for them to be able to send
their children to the school of their choice. In other words, we will focus on direct support
to students (comments on the various State’s private school financing systems will be
made in other Chapters of this document).

The advocates of this system put forward the following arguments:

1) Vouchers increase the choice of parents, who can then choose which school they
would like their children to attend;
2) They give low-income families access to private schools;
3) They foster competition, thus improving educational quality among schools.

This third argument shows that the advocates of this system do not defend a choice
among pedagogical projects, but rather a choice among schools working in a competition
and market-oriented context.

Several developing countries such as Bangladesh, Belize, Chile, Colombia and Guatemala,
as well as developed countries such as Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the
United States have already implemented different voucher programs. In most cases,
vouchers are used to finance –totally or partially- tuition fees in some schools.

In favor of…

Most of the advocates of this system claim that vouchers foster competition among public
and private schools, thus diversifying the education-related supply and improving
educational quality. The main objective of most voucher programs –to give families the
ability to choose, within a decentralized and competitive school system- is based on four
main principles:

1) The consumer’s right to choose: it is the parents’ right to choose. According to

this argument, parents are free to choose the kind of education they want for their
children. They are the true consumers of education. With a voucher plan, the government
–in place of the traditional education suppliers, that is, schools- would be directly
supplying a service to the main agents of education (parents).

2) Personal development: this argument is based on the belief that people shape
their own destiny. Therefore, the opportunity to choose and make a decision stimulates
interest, participation and work.

3) Promotion of competition: in this case, the idea is to put and end to the public
schools’ monopoly. The aim of vouchers is to foster competition among public schools and
among public and private schools by improving the quality of education, reducing costs
and fostering dynamic innovation, among others.

4) Equal opportunities: the idea would be to increase access to private schools. This
principle is mainly based on a system of “selective” vouchers. These vouchers give low-
income families increasing access to private education. Those who defend this idea claim
that students from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to gain the most from attending
private schools (PREAL, 1998).

The parents’ right to choose a school for their children, instead of just sending them to a
geographically-defined school, is one of the main arguments used by the advocates of the
market model, who try to legitimize this right. By fostering the parents’ free choice,
schools would gain more autonomy and parents would have more educational options than
those offered by neighbourhood schools and public schools -often considered to be less
efficient because they belong to the public sector.

Those who defend the free school choice believe that this kind of project will help poor
children get a better education. However, in practice, this is far from being true.

And against…

Opponents of the voucher systems argue that many of the principles upon which this
system relies are based on free-market mechanisms. The voucher system imposes a
consumption-oriented model that economists call “demand”. Besides, vouchers are
financed by the State, but in most cases the State has no control over the quality of the
service offered.

That is why this system may “undermine public education, increase social inequality and
foster racial and social segregation” (Pini, 2003). Authors against this system believe that
by replacing the “education for all” objective with the individual’s market-oriented choice,
vouchers will only benefit already privileged families, for they hold the necessary
knowledge and resources to properly use the elements that guide the choice. Furthermore,
instead of fostering sound competition among schools, this system would compel urban
and poor schools to reduce costs, while the resources of the schools receiving vouchers
would increase.

An issue that is worth considering…

To sum up, we must say that there are no sound arguments to claim that the voucher
system would certainly lead to the improvement of educational quality. On the contrary, it
would be worth noting that an educational model based on concessions and contracts
hides the privatizing strategy of other sectors such as health, pension funds and transport:
“For the advocates of the market model, education is a business. Efficiency, expansion
and benefits are their guiding principles. The notion of education as a business just like
any other runs counters to the idea of education as a public good. If the market-oriented
model of education prevails, then the instrumental or utilitarian approach to education will
increasingly gain ground and the notion of education as a value per se will be completely
forgotten” (Pini, 2003).


Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, Utrecht/Lemma.

Kasten, R.W.& Fossedel, G., Teacher unions and school choice in countries that have both,

PREAL/IDB, (1998), West, Edwin (1998), Un estudio sobre principios y prácticas de los vouchers

Pini, Mónica, (2003), Escuelas charter y empresas: un discurso que vende, Miño y Dávila, Buenos

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and
the trade in education services

The text below is a matter-of-fact description of GATS, its origin, scope and content. Our
intention is not to evaluate and explain all possible dangers and effects of this far-reaching
Agreement. We wish to briefly present GATS in this report because it fits perfectly in with
the trend to commercialise education in general and therefore also promotes and
advances the emergence and growth of commercial education initiatives, which are in
nature forms of private education. The fact that GATS mainly affects or can affect higher
education, and this even to a large extent, must not divert the attention from the reality
that its terms and conditions, and the rules by which it plays, basically apply to all levels
of education.
In position papers, manifestoes, congress resolutions and interventions with political
leaders, the international and national education unions have repeatedly warned against
the possible, in many cases dramatic, consequences of GATS, particularly in the
developing countries. They have also pointed out that GATS can seriously harm the basic
principle that every human being has a fundamental right to education. By way of
illustration we remind here of the resolutions WCT unanimously passed at its Kuala
Lumpur (1998) and Albena (2002) congresses.
WCT sticks to its viewpoint that the organisation and financing of education is and remains
a high-priority task of the public authorities in the first place. They can recognise and
support private initiatives to achieve the education goals of their community, provided
that these initiatives respect the justice, fairness and quality principles as defined by the
community. Each form of discrimination must be averted, and the education personnel
must be guaranteed decent salary and working conditions, with due respect for the
international conventions and standards as defined by the international community, as
well as a real right to participation in all fields of the education policy. This view
constitutes the very foundation of this.

Structure and purpose of GATS

The General Agreement on Trade in Services is the first multilateral agreement on the
world trade in services. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round (1986-1994) of the
World Trade Organisation (WTO) and came into effect in 1995. WTO, the only international
body that defines the trading rules between countries, is in charge of its application. In
essence it is all about the WTO agreements that have been concluded by most trading
countries and ratified by their parliaments. It is one of the international agreements that
have force of law and are therefore enforceable.

1. Field of application. The agreement bears upon four modes of supply: cross-
border supply, consumption abroad, commercial presence and presence of natural
persons. So, they concern services that are supplied on the territory of another state (e.g.
distance learning, e-learning), services to the consumers of another state (e.g. students
who study abroad), services by institutions that belong to another state than the one
where the service is supplied (e.g. partnerships, satellite campuses) and services supplied
by people on the territory of another state (e.g. teachers or research workers working
2. Categories of education services. GATS treat education as a tradable service.
On the basis of the United Nations Provisional Central Product Classification (CPC),

3. education is divided in five sectors: basic education (pre-school and primary),
secondary education, higher education, adult education and other education services. This
last sector comprises all the education services that do not come within the first four

4. The general framework includes obligations that apply to all the services to which
the countries concerned have specifically committed themselves. Excluded are the services
supplied under the responsibility of the government, particularly those supplied on a non-
commercial basis and not in competition with other suppliers. It is impossible to conclude
from the texts if the subsidised and/or recognised private education, in competition with
public education, falls under this regulation. According to the OECD among others, this is
not the case. If it were, this would cause a huge problem in many countries!

5. Basic regulations. Every WTO member must draw up a list of services it wishes to
open to foreign service suppliers. The Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) principle implies that
services are supplied reciprocally, as equal partners. If a country allows, under GATS,
foreign competition on its territory, the foreign service supplies must be enabled to
operate under the same conditions as the domestic service suppliers. Exceptions can be
allowed for only a ten-year period and must be taken up in the addendum to the mutual
agreement. Advocates of GATS contend that ‘access to the market’ and ‘equal treatment’
secure the national education system against undesired competition from abroad because
the national authorities can define a number of restrictions. It remains one of the basic
aims of GATS to reduce or remove the barriers against the trade in (education services)
and to let the market have its way. Restrictions are, for instance, untransparent
regulations, national laws or subsidy systems, prejudicial tax regulations…

6. GATS is formally presented as an agreement that can be freely signed because the
countries themselves can determine what sectors fall under the GATS regulations. There
remains, of course, the aforementioned problem of interpretation of the exception for
(non-competitive) public services. What is understood by ‘not in competition’? And what
happens in countries that have a mixed system of public and private education some of
which are subsidised and others are not? During each negotiation round, basically every
five years, new questions and problems threaten to arise and the pressure threatens to
rise to enter upon external competition anyway, with all the possible consequences for the
domestic education system.

GATS talks on education

During the Uruguay Round, 44 out of the then 145 WTO member states made
commitments with regard to the trade in education services in opening up (part of) their
education. Save a few restrictions also the European Community committed all its then
member states. This caused quite a stir when those in charge of education in the member
states realised this which, incidentally, they did in many cases only after interventions by
the education unions.

During the Doha Round (2001-2005), four countries proposed negotiations in the field of
education: the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. It is no coincidence that
precisely these countries are already taking large-scale commercial education initiatives.
They did so mainly at the level of higher education, yet not exclusively in developing
countries. However, they all four confirmed that education remains a task of the

government, even if the United States advocated the unlimited opening of higher and
adult education. New Zealand, too, believes in the coexistence of public and private
education, yet pleads for further liberalisation and asks to clarify the ‘other education
services’ concept with regard to the commercial supply they have already realised. Also
Australia starts from the thesis that the government must continue to play an important
role in the financing, supply and regulation of education, either alone or in consultation
with private and non-governmental organisations. It adds, however, that through
agreements with other countries the best possible education must be pursued, with due
respect for the policy and political goals of each country. Japan, too, advocates a further
liberalisation, though it does not question the importance of the public authorities,
particularly in basic and secondary education.

As said above, the impact of GATS is felt in higher education in the first place. In the
meantime, quite a lot of commercial players have entered the ‘education market’:
alternative corporate training institutions of multinationals, for-profit learning and
education systems, commercially organised distance education… Computer applications
offer the opportunity to digitally cross all the borders with a commercial supply, to create
virtual campuses that promote training courses recognised at the company level…
In brief, the national (public) monopoly on several aspects of education and training has
been broken in all the countries. As has been demonstrated at several places in this
report, external financing is being increasingly called on at all education levels, also in
order to pay the expenses of public education. Commercialisation is stealing into education
through enrolment fees and through the sponsoring and conditional equipment of
infrastructures with materials thanks to the intervention of third parties. This does not fall
under the GATS regulations but is equally threatening for the equal access and training
opportunities. Strengthening the differences between schools and institutions by granting
one a relative commercial advantage that is denied the other, all this on the basis of
location and social environment, paves the way for discrimination. This jeopardises the
basic principles and goals of EFA. This commercialisation, too, is considered potentially
very dangerous by the education unions.


Knight, J., (202), Trade in Higher Education Services: The Implications of Gats, The Observatory on
borderless Higher education, March 2002.

OECD, (2002), Education Policy Analysis, Chapter 4, The growth of Cross-Border education, OECD,

Verhoeven, J., Kelchtermans, G. & Michielsen, K., (2005), Mc Onderwijs in Vlaanderen, Wolters-
Plantijn, Mechelen.

WCT, Resolutions concerning the commercialisation of education, Kuala Lumpur, 1998 en Albena,

WTO, The General Agreement in Trade in Services – objectives, coverage and disciplines. Prepared
by the WTO secretariat.

Part II



Chapter 5


A necessary retrospective view

The developments in and the situation of education in Africa cannot be

interpreted unless we place them in a historical perspective. This is the truer if
we want to shed light on this situation from the perspective of private education.

(References for this part: Le Thenk Koi, 1971; Novoa, Depaepe &
Johanningmeier, 1993; ADEA, 2000)

Long before the colonisation wave of the nineteenth and the first half of the
twentieth century thoroughly redrew the map of Africa and introduced an
education system according to the Western pattern, Africa already had a long
and rich tradition of education and training that leaves traces to this day and, as
will be demonstrated below, still provides (partial) solutions for the enormous
challenges confronting Africa in the field of education. Traditional education
within the tribe, differing according to ethnic group and language, has always
been the pre-eminent way to transfer the cultural identity of the group. Children
were imparted insight and skills, carriers of cultural values, systematically taught
through rituals and oral tradition. They were prepared for their tasks and
responsibilities for the welfare of the community.

Before the introduction of an education system according to the Western pattern,

during the colonial period of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth
century, there were two other traditions that left and still leave deep traces.
Christianity has flourished for around 1500 years already in the North East and in
the Nile valley. As early as in 450 after Christ, the Christian Church of Ethiopia
was a centre of cultural, literary, scientific and artistic life. As from the 16th
century, the Arab language and culture has gradually spread over large parts of
North Africa up to the Sahel and along the east coast up to the horn of Africa. A
variety of education structures, oriented towards the teaching of the Koran,
spread literacy, moral viewpoints, skills … based on the Islam. None of these
education traditions got any formal support, but they became financially feasible
thanks to the contributions from the faithful (4th pillar of the Islam) (Adea,
Also during the colonial time, it was chiefly Catholic and Protestant missionaries
who took up the responsibility for this and raised the necessary funds. But the

distribution of the administrative and financial responsibilities between the States
and the Churches differed according to the colonial powers and their home
traditions. France advocated an assimilation model after the metropolitan
example. That is why the secular non-religious education was promoted,
particularly in the coastal regions, even if cooperation with the recognised
missions was accepted, especially in the interior regions. England wanted to
respect also local traditions, supported private initiatives but controlled them.
The Portuguese organised government schools for the Portuguese and those
assimilated, left the work in the cities to the Catholic missions and in the bush
schools to the autochthonous population. Education expanded chiefly through
private initiative.

Whereas the expansion of primary education slowed down in the 1950s,

secondary education remained predominantly private. In that period, the
recognised private education in the countries colonized by France accounted for
41 to 70% in Benin, Togo, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Madagascar and
Cameroon; for 21 to 40% in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso; less in Mali,
Chad, Niger and Mauritania; it is no coincidence that these are predominantly
Muslim countries.
Need it be said that there were strong differences in financing? In regions under
British government, much more than in regions under French government, a
financial contribution was expected from the parents and the local communities.
In the English-speaking countries secondary education was very expensive,
because it was almost exclusively organised according to the boarding system.
As from 1957 (Ghana) and – except for South Africa in 1994 - before 1980
(Zimbabwe), all the African countries have gradually gained their independence.
The situation of education was anything but splendid in most cases. In the
registered schools (see below) school attendance in primary education amount to
a mere 36% in sub-Saharan Africa. (In the English-speaking region 40%; in the
French colonies 31%; in former Belgian Congo 50%). Countries like Ivory Coast,
Gambia, Senegal, Tanzania faced a 90% illiteracy rate at the time of their
independence (UNESCO, 1982).

What has changed after the independence?

The new states had to make an important choice in the matter of education.
Which organisation model should they choose?
Most countries, particularly the former British colonies, opted for further support
of the mission schools and for the promotion of public education initiatives.
Others left the initiative simply to the mission schools which had to take care of
the funding themselves, which caused the disappearance of many schools.
Countries like Benin, Guinea, the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville,
Ethiopia and Nigeria opted for the nationalisation of the entire education system.
Guinea even prohibited denominational initiatives in this respect. It is no
coincidence that, except for Ethiopia and Nigeria, these countries had been
colonized by France. Where private schools remained ‘accepted’, they were
placed under stricter government control. Unfortunately, this resulted in a hardly
consistent policy because political, in many cases ideologically inspired, decisions
were made without really assessing the consequences. Particularly in suburban
and rural areas the population realised that education was the key to a better
future and therefore developed initiatives to satisfy a real social need. This
resulted in the fast development of local community schools, a kind of self-help

initiatives. The Harambee schools (Harambee in Kiswhahili means ‘Let’s all pull
together’) in Kenya, local initiatives in Ivory Coast, Botswana, Ghana …, though
initially not supported by the government and in many cases of a questionable
quality, gradually got recognition. Quantitatively a huge leap forward, but
qualitatively a huge problem because public funding was not feasible. Even if one
considers a situation of limited support – which is often the case – to be a
transitional stage towards full integration into the public education system, it is
obvious that these initiatives can hardly be regarded as public initiatives.

Since the end of the 1980’s decentralization has become a policy priority in
many States. The diversity of decentralisation policies arises from the historical
circumstances of the different countries in their pre colonial background, their
colonial legacy, and their history of decolonisation. The colonial legacy is often
observable in the political culture but especially in legal and administrative
cultures where the influence of British, French or Portuguese colonial
management is still visible (OECD, 2003).
This allowed John Daniël to state at a Commonwealth conference in 2002:
“With a common working language and similar systems of law, public
administration and education, the Commonwealth has built on its shared history
to become a vibrant and growing association of states in tune with the modern
world. (…) As regards access to school, enrolment rates are higher in the
Commonwealth group than in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. From 1990 to
1998, the median net enrolment ratios rose from 78% to 87% in the region’s
Commonwealth countries. The rise in the remaining countries was from 51% to
56% “.


In practice, some countries in East and Southern Africa which restricted private
education after independence have more recently reviewed these policies. For
example, the 1973 nationalisation decree of private primary schools in Tanzania
was revoked in 1990, within two years of which 32 private institutions were
operating some of which were private institutions, owned by the Catholic Church
prior to the nationalisation decree. Private secondary schools, which where
initially discouraged but tolerated, began to be encouraged after 1986 due to
pressures of students completing the primary cycle, although formal regulations
continued to prohibit profit-making and individually run private schools. Following
the nationalisation of private institutions, school fees were introduced in primary
and secondary schools in Tanzania, implying a contradiction in the policy since
private financing continued to be encouraged (Rose, 2002).

A second development was based on fully private initiative, with schools in

Uganda attracting even pupils from other countries like Tanzania and Central
Africa, where private education is treated much more strictly by the authorities.
Kitaev (1999) noticed in Africa the emergence of a situation that is also
undeniable elsewhere in the world: (cf chapter 4). The modern conditions across
the world, when education is increasingly considered a quasi-market, requiring
families and communities to pay for education – directly or indirectly – as a
social service, make it difficult to differentiate between public and private

In the 1980s and 1990s, there was also in Africa an obvious growing influence
of the market in all the sectors of public activity, including education. This was
clearly connected with the fact that institutions like the World Bank made
structural adjustment programmes expressly conditional upon a reduction of
public expenditure. This had a tragic effect on the quality of public education.
This changed in the 1990s (OECD, 2003 and Péano, 1999). As from then a
policy has been advocated that is aimed at the involvement of all potential actors
and sources, including private education.
The concept of decentralisation was renewed in the 1990’s as a result of
Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) for social development.
Decentralisation remains a process financed, for the most part, by foreign
donors. For donors, decentralisation concerns NGOs as much as it does local
governments. The States rally around the idea to gain back the confidence of
international donors. The meaning of decentralisation varies between different
cooperation agencies, making it difficult to develop an overarching perspective
on the forms of support offered by the donor community. For some donors,
support for decentralisation constitutes a distinct area of cooperation (Canada,
France), whereas for others it represents a cross-sectoral objective to be
approached by way of several different programmes (Germany and, in part, the
EU). There is some difference between the European and North American
approaches. The cooperation of European donors is based on a more positive
perception of the mandate and the role of the State in providing support for
decentralisation, whereas the North Americans place the accent on direct
cooperation with local governments and on building the capacities of the actors
in civil society with a view to developing a new system of local governance. A
change that caused the borderline between public and private education to
increasingly fade. It indeed appeared that there was a strong need for a public
policy that was supported and promoted by the participation of the civil society in
the largest sense of the word, because proper primary education for all children
would not be feasible with the strong involvement of all the partners, local
communities, religious organisations, NGOs…, also in view of the demographic
growth. The resulting growth of private education was very concrete but has not
yet been fully mapped out, as we will demonstrate below.

In his letter dd 17 June 2005 on this study, the Secretary General of FEPASE,
Lala Mansourou, characterises, from a trade union point of view, the last two
decades of the 20th century as follows:
“In the 1980s and 1990s, the wind of democracy that blew in Africa favoured
economic liberalism, which resulted in a flowering of private schools in the
African countries. This flowering was also caused by the reduced performance at
the level of the school results in public education owing to the fact that the state
did not comply with the demands of the teachers. We also noticed a gradual
disengagement of the state in dealing with the problems related to the
functioning of public schools. Those in power contributed to a lesser extent to the
efforts of the communities to deal with the development problems, particularly in
the field of education. This clearly indicates that education is gradually being
privatised in all the African countries.”

It is therefore no surprise that the 7th Conference of African Ministers of

Education (MINEDAF VII) stated in 2002 that public education was no longer a
matter for the State alone and that also private education, including the market-
oriented one, had to make a contribution. So, the African political leaders
adjusted their policy under external pressure, but also out of internal necessity.

The principal long-standing difference between public and private education,
regarding their funding arrangements – that while public education should be
free, private education requires tuition and user fees – has become less evident
with the many cases of dramatically increased community and family financing of
public education, together with their contributions in kind (maintenance, repair,
school meals, purchase of school equipment, etc.) and teachers recruited by the
community. Nowadays the real difference between public and private education
is mostly in the actual amount of fees and other community and family
contributions (Péano, 1999).
In the current circumstances the role of the State is seen differently. The general
principle remains: Governments have the principal responsibility for ensuring the
adequate financing of basic education. But to this is now added: Included in this
responsibility is the leadership that government provides in facilitating
partnership at all levels with civil society, agencies, the private sector, non-
governmental organisations, religious groups, communities, parent-teachers
associations, teachers’ trade unions and families. The role of the government is
changing from that of the provider tot that of the facilitator or creator of the
enabling environment. Partnerships need to involve more than just cost-sharing
and governments have to accept that responsibility, decision-making and power
must also be shared with civil originations. Finally, the development of regional
and sub regional cooperation, which has greatly contributed to development of
analysis and to strengthening of institutions in the countries concerned, may be a
determining factor of success or failure of education in the new millennium (Tung
& Pearce, 2000).

Although internationally-reported figures are ambiguous about change in the

private sector’s role in education, country reports suggest both encouragement
and expansion of the sector at all levels. (Rose, 2002) The difference between a
public school and a private school can only be measured by the level of the
contributions from non-public sources. As a result, private education is very
heterogeneous and hard to be placed within tradition definitions, let alone to be
catalogued adequately in statistics.


The universalisation of primary education, the aim of Education for All, confronts
most African countries with huge problems on account of the stagnating or
decreasing public resources. State initiatives in the matter of education are
obviously deficient; all kinds of private education are indispensable to close the
gap. In exchange for their efforts they receive allowances or contributions that
are by far insufficient to cover all the expenses. The quality of these initiatives is
very divergent: from the best to the worst schools. The way of subsidizing
private school can take various shapes. In some cases the State pays (part of)
the salaries of the teachers, in others there is a system of tax exemptions or the
infrastructure is made available…

What forms of private education do exist in Africa?

Kitaev (1999) distinguishes the following types: (see also Tooley, 2001)

1. community schools or self-help initiatives (according to the English

pattern, in which the local community takes the initiative, and not the

‘écoles communautaires’ according to the French pattern, in which official
local bodies take the initiative). This type of school accounts for the largest
number in English-speaking countries; they are either former mission
schools or initiatives like the harambee schools in Kenya (see above).
Normally they get subsidies and other support from the State; their
teachers are paid by the central government.
2. religious schools, predominantly mission schools. They constitute the
largest group in French-speaking Africa and existed long before there was
a public education system. Most of them are Catholic, Protestant or Islam
schools. They are usually recognized and regulated by the State; in many
cases they can count on government funding and support.
3. spontaneously organized bush schools, particular in rural or nomadic
areas. In most cases they are not recognised, and their quality is
questionable. It is important that they are far more numerous than the
officially registered private schools. They are not taken up in the official
statistics, so that each attempt at quantifying private education initiatives
in the African countries is inevitably incorrect, even more, remains far
under the reality. Of course, there is no question of public funding or
4. for-profit education initiatives, which are found chiefly in the main cities
and are in many cases of an international nature. Because school fees are
their main source of income, they are usually very elite and expensive, but
of good quality.
5. schools for refugees, expatriates, specific ethnic groups. In some cases
they can be counted among the for-profit group and attract children from
the financially strong sections of the local population. The (foreign)
languages is the decisive factor in some cases. Such schools are rather
small in number.

All this leads to huge differences in status, resources, curricula, language,

composition and quality of the teaching staff… The larger the autonomy the less
possibility for the State to steer and regulate.

Also Easton et al. (2001), in their study on strengthening local capacities in the
Sahel countries, make a distinction that is very interesting as it nicely maps out
the education needs in countries under a strong Islam influence. Indeed, in these
countries there is a wide local variety of education or training initiatives that
should be taken into consideration in the promotion of future education
They distinguish:
1. local initiatives in rural areas, which distrust each form education supply
according to the Western pattern on religious grounds in the context of the
Islam. This leads to a strong rise in dropouts at the local level.
2. religious Koran or Bible schools. Where the Islam is strongly represented,
there has been a very close network of Koran schools for a thousand years
already. This network is much more extensive than the formal education
system. Writing African languages in Arabic script is a very current matter.
It is even so that 80% of the adult population has been made literate on
this basis. Also the Bible translations into African languages have been
largely conducive to the literacy.
3. for seasonal migrations there are tradition training initiatives for skills and
trades that are useful in their changing environment.

4. informal education is widely spread; it is not expensive, very flexible, and
it uses African languages.
5. ‘extension offerings’: short-term trainings that are deemed necessary in all
the communities.
6. traditional education in the manners and customs of the community.

All these kinds of private initiative are aimed at learning and training. The
question today is how this potential can be put to use and developed to satisfy
the education and training needs of the young.

The demand of the local communities to a proper education supply is obviously

growing. The population realizes that education can be a key to a better future.
Adjustment, adaptation and gradual integration of the existing education and
training initiatives will make it necessary to promote the knowledge of the
national language without neglecting the indigenous languages as such. As said
above, it is precisely through the indigenous languages that a high rate of
literacy was acquired, even if this offered no prospects outside the own
communities. Cooperation between the State and a variety of private initiatives
is indicated.

Realities by way of illustration

It is noticeable from the UNESCO source that a number of countries do not report
any data on private enrolment. The data which are available indicate variations
within regions with some countries, such as Mozambique and Tanzania,
registering no enrolment in private primary schools to those, such as Lesotho
registering 100% enrolment in these schools. These differences are partly
attributes to the fact that private schooling was officially banned in Mozambique
and Tanzania until recently, while Lesotho, as mentioned, all schools are officially
owned by the church. Similarly, at the secondary level Botswana and Zimbabwe
show high proportions of private enrolment, while those in Mozambique and
South Africa are extremely low. On average, private enrolment is most prevalent
at the pre-primary level where there has been a strong tradition of private sector
involvement in many countries (Rose, 2002).

Interestingly enough, some innovative financing schemes have been put in place
in a number of low-income West African countries. Referring to a study of
Laroque and Vawda, 1999,”Private Sector Development in Education in West
Africa” Patrinos gives the following examples of new developments (Patrinos,

The number of places available in public institutions in Côte d’Ivoire is insufficient

to meet student demand. Gross and net enrolment ratios are low, even by sub-
Saharan standards. To help bridge some of the gap in the supply of places, the
Government has introduced a program of sponsoring public students to attend
private institutions. Under the program, private schools receive a payment for
each public student placed in their institution. The Government sponsors
students in lower and upper secondary and also in technical and professional
training. Students can be sponsored to attend both religious and secular schools.
The payment amount varies with the student’s education level: $US 200 per
year for lower secondary students and $US 233 per year for upper secondary
students. The placement of students depends in part on the educational

performance of the school. Only those schools who are “chartered” are eligible to
take on sponsored students. In 1997, the government paid some $US 103 million
to sponsor over 162,000 students in private primary and secondary schools.

The Communauté Urbaine de Dakar (CUD), Senegal, is an agglomeration of five

municipalities. The CUD offers scholarships to students studying in both the
public and private education sectors. Annual funding for the scholarships is
almost $US 750, 000. Half of the money is spent on those studying outside
Senegal. Allocation decisions are made by a local government committee, on
the recommendation of officials.

A new project in The Gambia will see the introduction of a scholarship for girls at
the upper basic and secondary levels. Key elements of the scheme are: full
scholarships for tuition, books and examination fees will be awarded to one-third
of girls in upper basic and secondary schools with low enrolment in the most
deprived regions of the Gambia, and full scholarships for tuition, and examination
fees will be awarded to ten percent of girls in upper basic and secondary schools
in less deprived regions who are excelling in science, mathematics and

Private technical schools in some countries are established to provide

qualifications in areas such as business studies, secretarial skills, computer
classes, legal studies, etc. In Kenya, for example, students in technical schools
surveyed in Nairobi take examinations administered by examining bodies in the
UK or elsewhere. These schools charge high fees, particularly when the
examination fee requires receiving certification from international bodies is
included, meaning that those enrolled are mostly from middle-and high-income
In Zimbabwe it is reported that there has been an explosive growth in private
sector training provisions following economic liberalisation, an important reason
for which is the demand readily available.
Given the high costs involved, access to international qualifications is limited to
those who can afford them, so this aspect of growth of the non-state sector
cannot be expected to serve the needs of the poor directly (Rose, 2002).

The influence of the global education industry is also evident at lower levels of
the system. In countries here there have been recent moves in government
primary schools towards the use of local languages, parents preferring their
children to learn in English may choose to send them to private schools. This has
been reported in KwaZulu Natal, for example. Similarly, in Tanzania in English
rather than Kiswahili in primary and secondary schools, as well as the
opportunity to taking an equivalent of the Cambridge, rather than national
examinations, is also considered to be advantageous (Rose, 2002).

The provision of low quality private education for the poor is not serving their
needs, but rather using up their scarce resources with limited benefits. The
recent evidence implies that there is a need for tightening of regulation of the
private sector, whose motives are not always obvious, to ensure that education
provided is of an acceptable standard. Furthermore, the promotion of community
involvement is often placing an increased burden on the poorest areas, and on
the most disadvantaged within those areas. Although community involvement
might be desirable this should not be used to abdicate the responsibility of the
state of its role in providing education for the poor. While it is undeniable that

the non-state sector has played and will continue to play a role in education, this
should not be seen as an alternative to the state’s role in providing for social
needs. There is a need to strengthen the role of the state in financing, provision
as well as regulation if the poor are to have access to schooling of acceptable
quality at different levels, and be protected from the poor quality private
provision which is becoming increasingly prevalent (Rose, 2002).

In almost every country there is more information available on public educational

expenditure than on private funding. Although is most countries there is no
information available on the total amount of private expenditure, there is no
doubt that families and non-governmental organisations are assuming a large
and growing share of the financial burden of education in many parts of Africa.
Such private expenditure is estimated at about 23 percent of the national
educational expenditure between 1990 and 197 in Tanzania, 31 percent in
Zimbabwe, 48 percent in Sierra Leone and 53 percent in Ghana.

In some African countries in the past a great part of European style education
was provided- and in a large part, financed – by missionary organisations that
often gave a large role to local initiatives. In the period following independence
the state took on responsibility for this kind of education in almost all African
countries. Taxes levied on education, where they existed, were often reduced or
completely cancelled. But, for some time now, as a result of budgetary pressures
and demographic increases, African leaders have come to tolerate their
reintroduction. By way of participation, pupils, their families and communities are
asked to assume an ever-increasing share of the costs of education. Often, to
avoid giving the impression of levying a tax, other terms, such as contributions
to a school development fund, or payments for service rendered, are used. To
the education tax are added quite high costs, which, as they do not pass trough
the state coffers, are difficult to calculate. These include most of the costs of
education levied by private educational establishments: transport, uniforms,
textbooks, contribution for the construction or repair of public school buildings
(Tung & Pearce, 2000).

And in the Maghreb?

Almost the same development is perceptible in the Maghreb countries. In these

countries, too, the importance of private education is growing, especially in de
pre-school sector, as the States are lacking the resources to satisfy all the
education needs. Algeria, for instance, issued on 24 March 2004 a decree on the
integration of private education for the realization of the community’s education
task, at all the education levels. Tunisia did the same by a law dd 23 July 2002
(We have elucidated the situation in Morocco in a separate chapter 11).

Nevertheless, according to Al-Ahran (2-8.09.2004), the part of private education

in most Arab countries remains rather limited, except in Lebanon, where it
accounts for 60% of the pupils in primary education and for 53% in secondary
education. In the United Arab Emirates this is 45% and 32% respectively. These
countries do not lie in Africa, of course.

(For the evolutions in the Arab states in generally, see chapter 7).

The challenge

At the first regional conference on secondary education in Africa, which

assembled in Kampala (Uganda) in 2003, the importance of education for the
developments in the private sector was expressly highlighted. Education is
absolutely essential for sustainable development, says the basic text of this
conference. So, it cannot be left to the teachers and the Ministry of Education
only. Investments must come for the whole community, including the private
sector. Also those who are in favour of partnerships in education must realize
that a certain amount of duality of the goals is natural. Even if the State aims at
accessibility, equality and quality, the first aim of the private sector is to increase
its market share and to raise the profits. Yet, their interests are convergent in
they both have an interest in a stable environment (Derryck, 2003). It becomes
a great challenge, particularly in most African countries, to keep pursuing the
training of responsible, equal citizens and not to yield to the siren song – the
diktat – of generous sponsors who aim mainly at their own direct needs and seek
their own profit.

A real problem is that the State seeks solutions for needs that continue to exist
in the long run; it is therefore very important to develop the human potential of
the community. However, the priorities and the financial situation of private
partners cannot guarantee a permanent involvement. Do the priorities of the
private partners always serve the purposes the community sets itself? To what
extent do they influence the content and development of curricula and therefore
the future of the students? Questions of paramount importance for the future of
the African countries.

Freedom of education, proclaimed by the United Nations and their specialised

organisations, plays a very important role in guaranteeing the right to
development, which is also one of the basic provisions included in the African
human rights charter. It is in fact an all-embracing programme whose aim is to
provide human beings with complete protection. The right to development has
far reaching consequences insofar it contains a requirement to promote
cooperation between African states and calls on all countries to strive to attain an
appropriate level of development.
The West African proverb, an adage that has survived for century, remains true
to this day: “La sagesse est comme le baobab : une personne seule ne peut
l’entourer de ses bras” (Wisdom is like the baobab: one person alone cannot put
his arms around it).


ADEA, (2000), Assessment of Basic Education in sub-Saharan Africa 1990-2000, sub-Saharan EFA
Secretariat, Adea Working Group on Education Statistics.

Derryck, V.L., (2003), Le développement de partenariats. Le rôle du secteur privé dans l’éducation
secondaire, Conférence régionale SEIA, 9-13 juin 2003, Kampala, Ouganda.

Daniël. J., (2002), Education for All in the Commonwealth: What are the issues?, Council for
Education in the Commonwealth, London 14 March 2002.

Easton, P. et al., (2001) Strategies for Building and Mobilizing New Local Capacities in the Sahel,
in Decentralisation of Education Systems, IICBA Newsletter December 2001; Vol.3 No. 4

Kitaev, I., (1999) Private education in sub-Saharan Africa, IIEP/Unesco, Paris.

Lala, M.., (2005), Lettre du 17.06.2005 au secrétariat de la CSME.

Le Thenk Khoi (ed), (1971), L’enseignement en Afrique tropical, Presse Universitaire de France,

Minedaf, (1998), Minedaf VII – Lifelong Education, Strategies and Perspectives in the Twenty-first
Century, Final Report, Durban (SA) – April 1998

Minedaf, (2002), Statistical Document Minedaf VIII, Universal primary education: goal for all,
ED.02/Minedaf/4 – Dar- es-Salaam, 2-6 December 2002

Novoa, A., Depaepe, M. & Johanningmeier, V., (eds) (1993), The Colonial Experience in Education,
Historical Issues and Perspectives, Paedagogioca Historica. International Journal of the history of
Education, supplem. Series, Vol. I

OECD, (2003), Policies of cooperation institutions and decentralisation in Africa, Africities 3 –

Yaoundé, 1-6 December 2003.

Patrinos, H.A., (1999), Market Forces in Education, seminar paper “Education; the Point of View of
the Economists”, Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain), July 22-24, 1999.

Péano, S., (ed.) (1999) Financing and financial management of education, Report Pan African
seminar, Dakar, Senegal, 12-14 October 1997, IIEP/UNESCO, Paris.

Rose, P., (2002), Is the Non-state Education Sector serving the needs of the poor?: Evidence from
East and Southern, World Development Work for Poor People, WDR Workshop, Oxford, 4-5
November 2002.

Tooley, J., (2001), Serving the Needs of the Poor: the Private Education Sector in Developing
Countries, in Can the Market Save Our Schools?, Hepburn C.R. (ed.) Vancouver: Fraser Institute.

Tung, K.Ch. & Pearce, C. (ed), (2000), Assessment of Basic Education in sub-Saharan Africa,
1990-2000, Sub-Saharan Africa EFA secretariat, NESI Regional Centre, ADEA/UNESCO

UNESCO, (1982), L’éducation et le développement endogène en Afrique; évolution, problèmes,

perspectives, Unesco, Paris.

Chapter 6


A Close Look to History

As a background presentation on the current state of affairs of the private
education in the Americas, it is worth making some brief comments on
education in general in the region, highlighting certain historical data that will
allow us to understand the situation of private education in the continent.

In general terms, we can say that in this highly diverse space we call the
Americas -multicultural and heterogeneous territory- private education has a
privileged place, which has been growing with time.

The American continent before the Spanish conquest experienced education in

different ways: al least three cultures with systematic education –two of them
with writing-, a wide sector of peoples with what we could call “tribal
education”, and a third sector, which focused its education in the family
context. We can affirm that this education was a “type” prior to what we call
today private education: in our continent, the concepts of private property and
State were not –and in many cases, are still not– similar to the European notion
that was later imposed.

Tribal education was developed based on a tradition that induced students from
practice to theory. Perhaps that is why Guaranis, who had a well-developed
tribal education, were able to give an admirable response to the Jesuit system.
The original peoples of the Americas, which had developed –due to the
characteristics of their nomadic or almost nomadic lifestyle– a family-centred
form of education, have had the most difficulties to adapt themselves to the
”European” educational system.

According to the available records, the first school in the continent was founded
in 1526, in Mexico City, in a Franciscan convent. This was the beginning, not
knowingly by their founders, of the history of European-style private education
in the Americas. At the same time, missioners and conquerors used the
structures previously organized by the locals for both evangelization and

In the framework of the Spanish domination, education followed the processes

of the metropolis: generally, controlled by the Church, since the generalized

basic education, until the gradual incorporation of the early equivalents of
middle schools, and the foundation of universities1 in the Americas.

In the context of the Anglo-Saxon domination, the concept of Protestant Reform

was commonplace. The community of the colony was in charge of education,
and the independent state, the heir of such notion, took over the diffusion of
this system with plenty of freedom regarding content and methods, but without
financial contributions to the private management. Regarding the trend of
French colonization, we witnessed a gradual imposition of a notion of modern
State, as a continuation of the French Revolution, with strong secular ideas.

The long path of Independence, especially in Hispanic-American lands, entailed

European models, slightly influenced by local ideas. The continent was not only
separating itself from Spain “and all foreign domination,” but also it was starting
to separate the functions of the State and the Church: hospitals, attention to
the neediest, education, were gradually taken over by the new states, which
strongly promoted free-of-charge basic education.

In the late 19th century, virtually all young nations in the Americas had
organized the basis of their educational systems, ensuring as part of the
mandatory, secular, free-of-charge education, at least the basic level. These
were the origins of the middle levels, and universities emerged following the
European system. At the same time, the privately managed education took a
new impulse: in the case of the Catholic Church, the new congregations, both
local and European, met demands that the State could not fulfill. The other
Christian churches and other religions –the Jewish community in Argentina, for
example, or the immigrant communities, such as the English, Irish and German2
found their way into the management of education.

In some countries, the discussion with the Catholic Church on education reached
highly turbulent levels (Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina), with periods of
tension and reconstruction of mutual relations and management of religious
education. This discussion is still open, and, to certain extent, allowed the
development of the non-religious private education, in some cases with the
approval of the State (Chile, Brazil).

The last twenty years, marked by the so-called “knowledge and information
society” spurred great changes in education in the Americas and the world. But
technology is not the main difficulty faced by our peoples: bilingualism; the
identity of the native peoples, the need for the foundation of the South
American unity, the difference between North and South, including the issue of
“foreign debt,” the impact of the IMF and the World Bank “collaborating” and
imposing educational conditions or the consequences that the new electronic
revolution entails for the means of production and the workers, are some of the
issues that have affected both private and state-managed education.

The Indiana University was created as a need to train the clergy locally, although the Orders had
their own study system. These institutions were later provided with law schools, and, in some cases,
the “Protomedicato”, the origin of medical studies.
This process did not stop: the arrival of the new communities and religions allows for the opening
of institutions of the Greek Orthodox community, the Armenia Church, the Islamic community, the
Korean community, the Japanese community, etc.

During the 80s and 90s nearly all countries in Latin America promoted
transformations in their educational system, which produced major
improvements compared to previous decades. However, very often, public
policies regarding the formation of teachers were not related to educational
reforms nor did they have an articulated and systematic character. The reforms
were characterized by the introduction of institutional changes that affected the
teachers’ population of the private and the public sector. One of the main
challenges of the new policies was how to improve the teachers’ performance in
the region. Working conditions, the initial formation and in-service training, and
the institutional management are some of the references of the complex
panorama faced by reforms.

One Viewpoint

The first look to private education in the Americas makes us wonder whether
the available statistical data actually transcend intuitions and lead us to a valid
analysis. In fact, we do not possess the entire data: the official information is
different in each country, private education includes numerous unregistered
institutions, especially in the context of pre-school education programs, where
in many cases there are schools that are regulated and not regulated by the
system, different types of training institutions and centres for special students.

Let us begin with the table showing, except for the aforementioned cases, the
enrolment percentages of private education in the region (PREAL, 2004).

Table 6.A The enrolment percentages in private education

Country Pre- Primary Secondary Higher

1990 1996 1990 1996 1990 1996 1994

Argentina ---- 29 --- 20 ---- --- 21
Bahamas ---- 57 --- 25 ---- --- 21
Belize ---- 85 --- --- 47 --- ---
Bolivia 10 10 --- 47 --- ---
Brazil 26 22 14 11 ---- --- 58
Chile 48 51 39 42 42 45 54
Colombia 52 51 15 19 39 --- 64
Costa Rica 11 10 5 5 10 11 24
Dominican Rep. --- 41 --- 16 --- 33 71
Ecuador --- 38 18 --- --- 23
El Salvador 37 25 15 13 61 --- 69
Guatemala 31 32 16 17 --- --- 29
Haiti 86 --- 61 --- 82 --- ---
Honduras 18 21 5 --- --- --- 12
Jamaica 84 --- 5 --- --- --- ---
Mexico 9 8 6 6 12 12 25
Nicaragua 24 22 13 16 19 32 34
Panama 27 26 8 10 13 --- 8
Paraguay 55 28 15 14 22 27 47
Peru 18 22 13 12 15 16 36
Uruguay 30 26 16 16 17 16 6
Venezuela 15 19 14 18 29 --- 35
average 34.2 32.3 15.9 16.4 31.4 23.8 34.7

The first analysis we can make based on the available data is that the criteria to
consider pre-school education as part of the systematic education, in spite of
the recommendations made by UNESCO, are not similar in all countries. The
enrolment rate at pre-school level in the entire region is remarkable. However,
in countries where privately-managed education is subsidized, initiatives for
promotion of pre-school education are not encouraged. In Belize and Grenada,
100 percent of pre-school education is managed privately, compared to 100
percent of state-managed education in Cuba. The growth in enrolment rates is
not accompanied by growth in the private sector; in general, the ratio
decreased, but not the amounts.

Insufficient data, in some cases (Argentina, Colombia) is due to the changes

produced by the new education laws enacted since 1990 throughout the
continent. In other cases, such as Haiti, the lack of data is accompanied by the
difficult institutional situation still affecting the country.

In primary education (basic education) there is a low average of private

management: it would seem that the State has, in general, criteria of “minimum
education.” In Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil, the State-management tradition
regarding education is clearly noticeable: 6.5 and 11 percent: the lowest
private-management averages in the region.

On the contrary, Chile, with a neoliberal State policy launched during Pinochet’s
dictatorship and still valid today, depicts a model of financing of the private
sector in order to promote enrolment, not only at the primary level, but also in
secondary education.

A second look leads us to analyze the relation State-private management as a

form of assistance to the diffusion of tasks that allow a complementary work:
the administration of public funds for private entities. Cooperatives, teachers or
parents’ organizations, as in the cases of Manutara in Bolivia, Educo in El
Salvador, cooperatives in Guatemala, teachers in some communities in Chile.
“Fe and Alegría” schools, which ever since their origin in Venezuela (1956) have
spread throughout the continent, are a clear example thereof. As a condition for
installation, they receive from the State the payment of teachers’ salaries, and
they are considered “public schools with private management.” Currently, these
schools have over 850,000 students.

There are more concrete variations given through concessions, such as the case
of Colombia, and “charter schools” in United States, or corporations of technical
education in Chile and Brazil.

Regarding the financial support given by the State to private education, the
funds reached the schools in different ways: teachers hired by the State
(Paraguay), total or partial payment of the teachers salaries (Argentina), food
bonus, textbooks, transportation bonus, grants, family assistance (United
States, Colombia, Chile). Another form of compensation is given through tax
laws that favor donations to private education or tax exemptions of different

The third look refers to the different requirements demanded by the State to the
private education: concurrence of plans with the official system, in some cases
special evaluations, public intervention in case of management problems,

recognition or non-recognition of the authorities of the institute, etc. In the
framework of the progress of education, the State can consider private
education as a strong complement to fulfil their objectives in the area or, on the
contrary, consider it an invasion to an area that is traditionally controlled by the

Some interesting details we find in Brazil, starting since the 80s, with the
decrease of private-managed education, especially in the pre-school and
primary sector. On the contrary, Chile and Argentina, at a different pace, have
made progress in the participation of private management at this level (42%
and 21%, respectively).

The “Other Americas”: The Case of United States and Canada

One particular case is the United States, which does not subsidize private
education. Public and private schools are different in administration and
management as well as in source of financing. Private schools are managed and
financed exclusively by private authorities. The assistance of the United States
government to these schools is negligible. In some states the students receive
transportation free of charge or their parents receive tax credits similar to the
amount they would pay in enrolment fees.

The so-called denominational schools are most common. Eleven religions control
around 2,200 secondary schools and 6,225 elementary schools. Catholic schools
rank first in this type of education. Private schools in the United States –unlike
similar institutions in other countries of the continent- have plenty of freedom in
fund-management, curricula provisions, etc. There is no curricular requirement
other than teaching subjects “that are usually taught public schools” and
students who attend these schools are allowed to participate in social programs
financed by the government. Thus, for example, 27 states and the Virgin
Islands guarantee public transportation for students, most of them have tax
exemptions and receive health care assistance (Morduchowicz, 1999).
Regarding charter schools and education vouchers - regular practices in United
States - are widely referred to in chapters 3 and 4 of this study.

In turn, Canada finances denominational education with taxes managed by the

government. The law of private education provides the general regulations for
the opening of privately or independently managed institutions. The permit for
such institutions does not give the right to government subsidies. Similarly, the
Ministry controls these institutions in educational issues, but it does not decide
over the facilities, safety practices or staff. In order to request subsidies, the
Ministry will make some of the following requirements: the quality of pedagogic
organization and their criteria to select administrative and teaching staff; the
importance of the need that the institution is supposedly meeting, the support
and participation of the community, the specific contribution of the institution in
education diversity, the participation of parents in the functioning of the
institution, compliance with the objectives of the policies of the ministry or the
government, etc.

Gender, Multicultural Education and Teacher Quality:

Miscegenation, the process of unification of cultures and different origins, has a
strong presence in the continent. With different degrees of influence, but full of
surprises when research discloses the roots, many realities gradually become
present, realities often forsaken and that affect greatly our education.

The mandatory application of certain languages over others transcending -or

not- the well-intentioned initiatives that originated them, resulted in high
illiteracy rates among locals. Today, when we are just starting to respect first-
level education in the children’s mother tongue, many original languages of the
continent are increasingly gaining importance: from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego,
allowing access to education for those who, due to deficient command of the
initial language, were never educated beyond first level.

Bilingual education is conceived in educational policies as a tool of integration

and it is not limited to indigenous communities. As an example, it is note-
worthy the case of United States, which must take into account a growing
population that learns Spanish as a first language before English. Canada is a
clear example of the recognition of multilinguism, because apart from their
traditional languages (English and French) they include aboriginal languages. As
particular cases in South America, Paraguay recognizes as official languages in
equal conditions, Guarani and Spanish. Similarly, Bolivia and Peru recognize the
Quechua language (although not equal to Spanish).

In the Americas, there are over 400 ethnolinguistic groups, with an estimated
population of at least 40,000,000 people, and only 12 with over 250,000. In this
view, we must acknowledge two recent events that entailed a greater attention
to the situation of our indigenous brothers and sisters: the bilingual experiences
in Mexico in 20s, and the Declaration of UNESCO of 1953 on the use of
vernacular languages3. The future of this trend is not uniform or unitary;
valuable initiatives in Peru and Argentina in the 70s experienced backwardness
and suspensions due to ideological reasons difficult to explain.

Since the 90s, we witnessed a new impulse that includes legal modifications
regarding bilinguism in American countries. The drafting of new proposals,
applied very late by the State gave a new momentum to private education,
which in many cases took bilingual education as their own task in places where
they were fulfilling other tasks, especially, non-governmental organizations and
different religions4.

The current national constitutions of Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia and

Argentina recognize bilinguism. More implicitly, also, Panama and Nicaragua,
and very especially, Paraguay, which considers Guarani the official language
(along with Spanish on equal footing) allowing ethnic minorities to choose either
official language for their education5. Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, Costa Rica

Additionally, we must mention the self-managed projects of schools of Chimborazo in Ecuador, the
“ayllu” school of Warisata in Bolivia, the attempts in the Puno, in the Peruvian
Altiplano, and the experiences of bilingual schools of the Franciscans in Oran and Laishí, Argentina.
We must highlight that Mexico, since the 1920s, made staunch efforts to increase literacy: in 1940,
the 1st International Indigenist Congress paved the way for the creation of the National Indigenist
Institute, which generated methods and proposals for the application of bilingual education, applied
by the Secretariat of Public Education in 1963. The “Spanishing” trend changed its criteria during the
In its 1992 constitutional amendment.

and United States have sought a solution to multiculturalism their countries
through the legislation.

Regarding the issue of gender in education, as we all know, the Millennium

Goals (2000) establish equity between genders regarding equality of
opportunities in the area of education. In urban areas or with indigenous
population the difference between genders is highly significant and goes in
detriment of women. As to the performance of each sex in the educational
system, in general terms, the reports show an improved participation and
performance of girls than boys. With regard to access to education, figures show
that pre-primary education is the most equal level gender-wise and that the
most noticeable differences are seen at the level of secondary education.
In the Andean region and Central America we witness the greatest gender
disparity, especially in the poor rural indigenous communities, which generally
do not speak Spanish. Undoubtedly, solving this situation requires State policies
that guarantee a fair distribution of wealth, the early attention to the
improvement of nutrition and health of women and girls.

Table 6B Gender parity in education in American countries

GPI in Primary GPI in Secondary

Countries GPI in Pre-
Education (acc. to the Education
Primary TBE)

Argentina 1.02 1.00 1.06

Brazil 1.00 0.94 1.10
Chile 1.00 0.98 0.92
Costa Rica 1.01 1.00 1.03
Honduras 1.05 1.02 …
Paraguay 1.02 O.96 1.02
Peru 1.02 1.00 0.98
Dominican 1.02 0.98 1.14
Uruguay 1.01 0.98 1.14
Venezuela 1.01 … 1.16
Haiti … 0.99 1.03

Regarding teachers training in Latin America and the Caribbean the limitations
abound: the reluctance of many universities to recognize studies made in
tertiary institutes, the lack of intermediate degrees in the case of university
studies, and the lack of a proper planning of teacher curricula that include
distance education. Additionally, in most countries educational reforms have
presumed that the teacher’s condition is an obstacle to their development and
success: “Teachers policies, in general, are biased, insufficient and lack

GPI (Gender Parity Index). Acronym used by UNESCO to show the relation between
women and men values. An IPS that equals 1 shows parity between both genders. An IPS
ranging from 0 to 1 shows disparity favoring the male gender, and an IPS over 1 shows
disparity favoring women or girls.

continuity. They dwell separately on formation, careers and regulations of
teaching and the salary dimension” (PREAL, 2004).

The management of teaching and the evaluation systems have been often
deficient and with few objective foundations and realistic indicators. The
evaluation mechanisms are a key tool in the management of teaching if they
are to guide and strengthen the profession; otherwise, they are merely punitive
instances lacking a real and constructive significance.

Regarding labour conditions between private and public teachers, we can

mention that unlike public-managed schools –which are legally bound to accept
appointed teachers- private schools can select teachers according to the
institutional profile of the school. Studies show that managers of private schools
generally hire teachers according to their adaptability to the institutional project
of the school. The owners can even determine the composition of the salary
through benefits. In other words, they can choose to deduct sick leaves, for
instance, from the teacher’s salary, or to create other forms of compensation,
which is not possible in the case of state teachers.

As to the participation in professional training courses, seminars or workshops,

private teachers are not compelled to attend courses taught by local authorities
in each region. Most of the times, the manager of each school defines and
organizes the teacher training offer according to the objectives they deem
relevant for the school.

Open Conclusions

Lastly, we must mention some emerging issues affecting the American continent
that must be dealt with. On the one hand, it is concerning to see the increasing
presence of “Enterprise-Schools,” which promote mercantilism of education.
United States is the paradigm of such a model.

On the other hand, the increase on the enrolment rates throughout the
continent is likely more related to the pauperization of the middle classes -the
need of retaining teenagers in a society that makes rich sectors richer but also
poor sectors poorer, and that, with its staunch process of technification, leads
increasingly more workers towards freelancing and the sharpest boundaries of
society-, than to the progress towards the so-called “knowledge society.”

Similarly, we cannot neglect four affecting aspects for schools today: violence,
taken from society to the family and the school with few transitions; drugs in
different forms; the painful presence of endemics: from AIDS to Chagas-Mazza
disease, the dengue fever or cholera and finally, the painful reality of hunger.

On the other hand, economic policies of budgetary adjustment and decrease of

the State, common throughout the continent as part of the conservative agenda
of the 80s, were aimed at budget cuts to public spending, deregulation and
privatization, leading to highly negative effects on education.

Also noteworthy is that private and public teachers suffer, throughout the
continent, a highly unfair treatment, expressed in different ways. The principle
“equal work, equal salary” is not complied with. Similarly, the processes of

educational decentralization implemented in most Latin American countries
often entail corporate and privatizing policies when shifting the authority and
responsibility of the educational management.

The scenario of trade union negotiation, based on reforms, has been

fragmented. Trade unions have not had an active participation in implemented
reforms, nor have the teachers in general. The reforms have been implemented
with a top-down approach disregarding the reality and needs of the teachers.
However, in spite of being denied participation in educational reforms, trade
unions in Latin America have played a leading role in the process of
institutionalization and establishment of the educational systems of the region:
they regulated the sector when it broadened and decentralized and, in many
cases, supported the State in this task and even substituted it, deploying
strategies of articulation between the teachers and the national governments.

To sum up, we can venture to say that privately managed education has not
proven more efficient, of better quality or cooperated towards a greater equity.
We can assert, however, that, in the cases where both types of education
complemented each other (and there are many), the effects were highly


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privadas. Estudio comparativo.

Liang, X. (2003), Remuneración de los docentes en 12 países latinoamericanos: Quiénes son los
docentes, factores que determinan su remuneración y comparación con otras profesiones, in
Documentos de Trabajo Nº 27, Santiago de Chile, PREAL, on

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de trabajo Nº 23, Santiago de Chile, PREAL, on

Moya, Ruth (1998), Reformas educativas e interculturalidad en América Latina, Revista

Iberoamericana de Educación, Nº 17.

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alternativas de políticas, in Evaluar las evaluaciones, Buenos Aires, IIPE-UNESCO.

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Independencia (S. XIX y XX), Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, Nº 1.

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PREAL (2004, a), Las reformas Educativas en la década de 1990. Un estudio comparado de
Argentina, Chile y Uruguay, Santiago de Chile, Ministerios de educación de Argentina, Chile y

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en Documentos de trabajo Nº 19, Santiago de Chile, PREAL, on

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Latina y el Caribe, Santiago de Chile, 2005.

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debates, in Documentos de trabajo No. 31, Santiago de Chile, PREAL, on

Chapter 7

An enormous diversity


It is not easy to summarize in a few pages the developments that affect the
(private) education in Asia and the Pacific. There is such a great diversity of
countries, cultures and political regimes, often characterized by a strong colonial
influence or by the integration in complex community of states, that only a small
number of tendencies can be defined as guidelines to evaluate the situation in
these countries.
First, we have Russia, an enormous country covering a great part of Asia.
Nowadays, Asian Russia still follows Moscow’s centralist policies, although
regionalization is one of the core topics in the agenda. The countries of Central
and Southeast Asia, which in the early 90’s were part of the Soviet Union,
continue with their own highly centralized education policy, although we witness
private initiatives (merchandised) and official application of regionalized policies.
Not only Arab countries, but also countries with strong Islamic influence
(Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh,…) have a wide network of madrasas,
Koranic schools, which highly determine the educational landscape. India itself is
a complex subcontinent with an enormous diversity of educational realities. The
Philippines and Indonesia, formed by thousands of islands, have an educational
system marked by their colonial history. Lately, China has been experiencing a
spectacular evolution regarding private education initiatives. Japan's highly
competitive character keeps education clearly at the pace of society’s evolution,
in which the private sector plays therefore a major role in education. Australia
and New Zealand have become the leaders in exports of merchandised
educational products. Also in the realm of education, Israel is still the exception
compared to the rest of the countries of the region. Briefly said: diversity
We wish hereby to outline several tendencies and summarize evolution in some
representative countries.

The situation in India, Pakistan, and the Philippines will be discussed in detail in
separate chapters.

Countries of the Former Soviet Union

In the chapter about Europe, we include a separate paragraph on the situation of

the Russian Federation. Needless to say, what we state therein is also valid for
the Asian regions of this huge country. The reforms that enabled the educational
act of 1992 aimed at political decentralization and supply diversification. From
that moment on, schools were able to decide to a great extent their own

curricula and emphasize subjects and topics they deemed necessary. For the first
time, regional differences were allowed, including the use of regional languages.
The possibility of organizing private education resulted in a great number of
commercial initiatives, often in cooperation with Western partners. In the
privileged sectors, the permanent under-funding could be mitigated through
different forms of external financing and extra compensation for teachers.
However, most schools lack the financial resources and sometimes teacher
shortage, because the profession is no longer attractive.
The 2003 World Bank report highlights that especially in remote, rural areas, the
problems are quite serious. Of all secondary schools, 70% are located in rural
areas; they employ 41% of the teachers, but only attract 29% of the students.
The quality of education in these schools in generally considered poor because of
the lack of resources and material. For teachers who work in these rural areas,
there are few opportunities for personal development and meagre educational
resources or possibilities to learn. A large number of schools in remote areas of
Russia will not have trained teachers or the resources to teach or learn, and will
not take advantage of the improvements in the official agenda of reforms. In
many of these areas, private initiatives are scarce due to low renewal capacity
(World Bank, 2003).

The transition led to dramatic changes in the education system of many countries
of the former USSR. In countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan and Tadzhikistan,
the education of thousands of children suffered due to ethnic conflicts, wars, and
political unrest. In many countries the number of students dropped, as well as
public spending in education. In Azerbaijan and Russia, for example, public
spending decreased faster than Gross Domestic Product. The decreased
investment on educational material, the small number of teachers, the delayed
payment of salaries, and the lack of heating and maintenance in schools, has
deteriorated the quality of education. Meanwhile, the costs of both formal and
informal education have increased, without entailing any proportional
advantages, for example, higher salaries. Universal primary education is still far
from application in countries such Armenia, Georgia and Tadzhikistan. None of
the former Soviet republics in Asia can assure that they will achieve the
Millennium Development Goals in generalized primary education by 2015 (World
Bank, EFA).

Former Soviet countries in Central Asia and Mongolia were economically less
developed than other regions of the USSR and other planned economies. There
was no private education in the former USSR and the state authorities strongly
subsidized free public education and other social sectors, which were monopoly
of the state. Up to 1992, there were no foreign-funded projects, but even
gigantic state investments were not enough to comply with planned norms and
political objectives. Teachers usually earned lower salaries than other civil
servants did. The construction of schools was also in crisis, and students needed
to attend school in shifts; there were not enough manuals, low maintenance;
even under the old regime, the republics in Central Asia did not receive the best
Furthermore, public financing started to falter when central planning mechanisms
in the entire Soviet Union suffered a crisis in the 80’s. A raging inflation
devaluated teachers’ salaries, stopped the construction of schools, and
interrupted the supply of manuals, furniture and other school infrastructure.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was no longer feasible to
combine a socialist educational system with the transition to a market economy.

The economic recession that came with this transition in the 90’s had dramatic
Since 1991, all countries of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia had somehow
to copy the Western approaches regarding organization and management of
educational systems. Public education cannot be totally free of charge. Instead of
depending on the state supply, education should be focused on demand, while
the state limits its intervention and financing to basic levels, allowing the market
to regulate pre-school, higher, professional, and technical education. Public
education will lose its monopoly over the educational system, even at basic
levels, and this will allow private education to meet the demand of specific
quality and types of education (Davlatov & Mullaev, 2000).
The following is an illustrative example of the case of Tadzhikistan


In 1991, Tadzhikistan’s educational system started at the same place as the

other countries in Central Asia, but the transition to a market economy and the
devastating civil war represented a major obstacle to reforms. In fact, many
educational facilities were left in ruins and many teachers left their profession or
sought refuge elsewhere. At least 50% of schools function with systems of two
teams, and many with three teams. In 2000, the teachers’ deficit reached
20,000 positions. At the same time, at the local level, the secular curriculum was
often replaced by religious studies, and primary and secondary schools were
replaced by medersas (madrasas or Koranic schools) in some regions.
Nevertheless, Tadzhikistan is an impoverished country –whose frontiers were set
by Stalin against all geographical, historical or ethnic realities– that could
previously survive only because of the support received directly from Moscow.
Today, old political traditions have not been entirely abandoned and there is still
lack of a legal framework. Since 2001, institutions of higher education no longer
receive state subsidies, and they must be financed by tuition fees and other
enrolment charges. Legally, primary and secondary schools cannot be privatized.
This is a delicate issue because of the possible consequences of changes for
secular or religious education in schools.
The result was that in all remote highland regions, educational initiatives ended
up in the hands of religious groups and foundations financed by foreign actors,
who intend to extend the influence of their interpretation of the Koran. Thus, the
Aga Khan Foundation and Islamic groups from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other
countries of the region exert a greater influence. (We also observe that public
authorities give special treatment to new wealthy –people who amassed a
fortune in a short period thanks to illegitimate practices- because they (re)install
a school individually and determine the operational rules, including teachers’
salaries and working conditions. Needless to say, the teachers are glad because
they earn two or three times more than the regular salary in a public school ($5
a month). Some colleagues in other schools received - with a huge delay - their
last payment from broke authorities, … some time ago. Although they receive a
“free” house and a small plot of land to grow vegetables (which their children
later try to sell in the market).

The result of this unguided reform is that today 20% of the population in school
age no longer receive formal education. Nonetheless, Tadzhikistan has –
compared to the rest of the countries of the region– a great intellectual potential,
with an important number of people with higher education certificate. Higher

education, however, must be self-financed, and many institutions are quite
expensive. With no control whatsoever from public authorities, private initiatives
reproduce widely. In 1991, the capital Dushanbe had 9 higher education
institutions; in 2000, there were 24. Not surprisingly, this situation leads to a
certain concern about the quality offered by these institutions, as well as the
(enormous) foreign influence and the limited character of many professions.
According to public authorities, which initiatives must result in positive financial
- The age of mandatory schooling was cut from 9 to 7;
- The introduction of “contract” educational services, that is, pay services;
- An increase in the number of pay services;
- The development of private education institutions; the development of
international (joint) education institutions with other countries (Tadzhik-
Russian University, high schools, etc.) (Davlatov & Mullaev, 2000).

Public basic and secondary schools are severely deteriorated, as they are
increasingly replaced by Koranic schools or other uncontrollable private
initiatives. Therefore, this situation causes great concern about the future. Not
surprisingly, the teacher’s profession under these conditions is greatly
devaluated. While in private schools teachers receive a somewhat better
treatment than in public schools, they are still at the mercy of uncontrolled and
arbitrary direction of private schools, which are not obliged to account for their
management procedures.

Another troubled region, also regarding education, is the region of Arab states.

Arab Countries

Private schools play a major role in pre-primary education in the Arab region:
79% of enrolled students attend these schools, although the percentage varies
greatly from one country to another. In one third of the countries of the region
(Djibouti, Morocco, Oman, Jordan, The Autonomous Palestine Territories, Qatar
and Bahrain), the private sector offers exclusively pre-primary education, while
in Algeria and Iraq this type of education is provided by public institutions.
In 1990-2000, over 35 million students in the Arab region were enrolled in
primary education, among them 54% males. 94% of the total enrolled
students were in public schools, but private education is quite successful in
Lebanon (66% of all students), the United Arab Emirates (45%), Kuwait (31%),
Jordan (30%) and Bahrain (19%).
In the Arab states, like primary education, a great part of the secondary
education is provided by the public sector: 93% of the enrolled students attend
public schools. However, in several countries, private secondary schools form an
important part of the educational landscape: Lebanon (53% of all students) and,
to a smaller extent, the United Arab Emirates (32%), Kuwait (27%), Jordan
(16%) and Bahrain (13%) (UNESCO, 2000).

These figures hide an alarming reality: officially, 80% of the children in school
age attend school, but in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, and Lebanon, this
percentage is much lower and many children only know alternative forms of
education (based on Koranic education). The progress of schooling will be most
likely insufficient for these countries to achieve by 2015 the Millennium goals for
generalized primary education. In Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates,

Bahrain and Syria, the situation in the past decade actually deteriorated (UNDP,
But the problem of these countries is much more complex.
The processes of spreading basic knowledge in Arab countries (socialization and
education, mass media and translation) face deep social, institutional, economic,
and political obstacles. Noteworthy among these obstacles are the meagre
resources available for individuals, families and institutions and the restrictions
they are imposed. The result of this situation is that these processes often fail to
prepare the necessary social environment.
Arab families usually raise their children in a very authoritarian and
overprotective manner, which reduces independence, confidence, and social
efficiency; it passive attitudes and reduces decision-making capacities in
children. This method of raising children affects their way of thinking, their
curiosity and initiative.
The so-called “impressive progress” in Arab countries in the second half of the
20th century are quite modest compared to other countries regarding human
development. There are high illiteracy rates among women, especially in the
least developed Arab countries. Many children have still no access to basic
education. Higher education is characterized by a reduced enrolment rate and
public spending for education has been in steady decrease since 1985. The
biggest challenge for Arab education, however, is its deficient quality (UNDP,
Local or ethnic education, especially based on religious aspects, will not be a
short-term solution. The great difficulty is that teaching Arabic cannot be done
separate from classic Arabic, which is not spoken, but written and read. Classic
Arabic is not the language through which people express daily, spontaneous
emotions or ordinary conversations. However, this classic Arabic is taught in
many religious schools, with the Koran as manual, and sometimes it is the only
education possibility for many young people.

Privatization: a widely spread phenomenon in Asia

Privatization is a form of decentralization that is taking place in almost all Asian

countries. One of the causes of this phenomenon is the obvious need for
decentralization of educational policies; additionally, there is pressure also on the
budgets and in some cases, we witness a general conviction that private schools
offer better quality than public schools, although sometimes the former use
fewer resources. (Chapman, 2002; Bajracharya et al., 1997, Kyrgyz Research

There are more private initiatives in secondary and higher education than in
basic education.

Privately funded schooling is one way in which governments can keep public
spending on education in check, yet focus on certain levels for education or
certain groups of children. It is important to differentiate amongst the forms of
privately funded education. For example, Pakistan has a relatively high
proportion of students in private primary and secondary schools, but universities
are almost entirely publicly funded. This is a classic case of using public funds to
subsidize successful students (and those from a higher socioeconomic
background) more than lower-income students. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia,
Korea, Nepal and Philippines have a relatively high percentage of private

enrolment in both secondary and higher education, suggesting a policy of relying
more on family contributions and less on taxes to fund education. Since capital
markets are highly imperfect for individuals to make education investment, such
a policy that relies heavily on private contributions to fund secondary and higher
education is bound to be inequitable, but probably not much so as high private
enrolment at lower levels and total public funding at university level.
(ADB, 2003)

More affluent parents become increasingly conscious of where their children

attend school, what those schools are like, and whether they provide access to
higher levels of education. The result is, therefore, that schooling becomes more
stratified at lower levels rather than less stratified, especially under conditions of
scarce public resources. National economic competition on a global scale is
translated into sub national competition among socioeconomic groups for access
to education resources (ADB, 2003). So, it is no surprise that the economic crisis
in the years 1997-1999, which affected the countries in the region (particularly
Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia) so strongly, had a considerable impact on the
resources for private education, which suffered greater losses than public
education. The decrease in buying power compelled parents to send their
children to (free) public education. This phenomenon has become manifest in the
Philippines (Ablett & Slangesol, 2001).

If private education at primary and secondary schools or “cram schools”

performs the function of improving access to university, parents who can afford it
are more likely to move to regions with better public schooling, while private
school enrolment expands relative to public school enrolment. In countries such
as Japan and Korea, parents spend tens of thousand of dollars on additional,
specialised, private after-school courses so that their children can pass university
entrance exams. Even in the public system, wherever possible, parents with
more motivation and resources will seek selective public schools that serve
pupils, willing to spend on the best (often private) primary and secondary
schools for their children, then end up fighting for places at high-quality,
essentially free, public universities. (ADB, 2003)

The great motivation to keep up, through education, with the rapid evolution of
the world economy –the driving force of many reforms–, has also disadvantages.
Modernization causes drastic changes in the indigenous cultures in Asia,
especially the developing countries. Modernisation, industrialisation and
development are three different concepts representing three distinct processes of
social change. Modernisation can be political, social or economic. Modernisation
mean also an emphasis on science, increased specialisation and
interdependence, materialistic, ethics, objective recruitment, bureaucracy, etc.
Therefore there is a great tendency for modernisation in the less developed
countries to mean westernisation, whereas modernisation in industrial societies is
just another stage of development. Some may experience modernisation without
industrialisation, others may experience industrialisation with minimum
modernisation. Still, there are those newly industrialised countries that are highly
modernized, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. In fact, few
Asian countries are still untouched.
Modernisation requires a social system that can constantly innovate without
falling apart, supported by differentiated, flexible social structures and a social
framework, which provides the skills and knowledge necessary for living in a
technologically advanced world.

The goal of modernisation is not geographically specific; it sees qualitative
improvement in societies all over the world, and in all groups and individuals
within those societies. It includes the idealistic vision of the modern man and the
modern society. Different Asian cultures will have their own definitions of the
‘good’ society, there concept of man, as well as of ‘good’ knowledge. Therefore,
the impact of the changes on Asian societies will largely depend not only on the
country’s adaptability in terms of political, economic and social structure, but
also on the extent to which these innovations can be effectively adopted into the
cultural norms and patterns of each nation. (Wielemans & Chan, 1992) The role
of education and training cannot be underestimated in this context. The boom of
private education as a major factor is the result of –among other things- the
policies implemented by countries like China and Japan, but also New Zealand
and Australia. Therefore, we will dwell on the situation of some of those countries
as examples.


Under the reign of Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regarded
education as a means to indoctrinate people with socialist ideas, thus the state
exerted a tight control over educational provision. After 1956, all private schools
originally established during the republican period were converted into public
schools under the leadership of the ministry of Education of the State Council.
With the introduction of economic reform in 1978, China was entered a new
stage of development. Economic modernisation has not only fostered the growth
of a market economy but also caused a structural change in the educational
sphere. In the post-Mao era, the CCP has deliberately initiated a decentralisation
policy in the educational realm to allow local governments, local communities,
individual and even non-state actors to create more educational opportunities. A
policy paper entitled ‘The Decision of Reform of the Educational System’ issued
by the Central Committee of the CCP made it crystal clear that the state has
attempted to diversify educational services by ‘encouraging all democratic
parties, people bodies, social organisations, retired cadres and intellectuals,
collective economic organisations and individuals subject to the party’s and
governmental policies, actively and voluntarily contribute to developing
education by varied forms and methods’. (Wei and Zheng, 1995,quoted in Mok &
Wat, 1997) The ‘Provisional Regulations on the Establishments of Schools by
Societal Forces’ gave further detail and more concrete legal guidelines on the
establishment and management of non-state schools.
The Fourteenth Congress of the CCP, held in 1992 endorsed ‘Introducing the
socialist market economy’, thereafter creating a favourable environment for the
emergence of private education.

In 2000, there were already more than 60,000 non-governmental educational

institutions in China, including 44,000 kindergartens, 4,300 primary schools,
7,316 ordinary high schools, 999 vocational high schools. Though the state-
funded public schools dominate, China now has, according to the latest statistics
of the Ministry of Education, more than 70,000 private schools ranging from
preliminary to higher education attended by over 14 million students.
Encouraging the development of private schools will be necessary to meet the
country’s growing educational demands said minister of Education Zhou Ji in an
interview March 25, 2004. The Law of promoting Non-state Educational
Institutions went into effect on September 1 2003 and a new regulation kick off

on April 1, 2004. Both the law and the regulation are designed to better guide
private schools towards a legal and healthy track so as to provide people with
qualified educational resources, the minister added. Public and private schools
should be put an equal footing; regional governments should give preferential
policies to private schools that want to use land to build schools. Private schools
should not be discriminated against public and governmental institutions.
(People’s Daily online, 2002 and 2004) In 2002, an act was passed to guarantee
equal conditions for private and public institutions.
Non-governmental educational institutions enjoy now the same preferential
policies in taxation, financial loans, land purchase, and school renovations as
public institutions.
Teachers and students of non-governmental educational institutions enjoy the
same legal status, rights and treatment as their counterparts in government-
funded schools. The owners of these schools are allowed to make a “reasonable
profit”. Of course, the non-governmental educational institutions have strictly to
abide by all the other legal documents on education, including the education law,
compulsory education law, teacher’ law, etc. However, in the words of the vice-
chair of the education committee in the National People’s Congress in 2002,
Wang Jialiu: “Private education has become an indispensable part of the national
educational system” in China.

The more competition is introduced in education, the more difficult it is for the
disadvantaged groups in the societies to access quality education. This kind of
user-pays rationale has dominated not only capitalist governments, but also the
largest communist country, China. Chinese universities have started to charge
tuition fees in the 1990s changing the system form a “social institution” to an
“enterprise” under the influence of the market-oriented economy. The example
of China is the ubiquitous influence of marketisation, even a communist country
cannot avoid adapting to it because marketised education is conceived as the
gateway to economic growth. (Sullivan, 1998)

To keep pace with the new market context, schools in China adopt a more
flexible approach in developing more practical and ‘market driven’ courses and
thus the curricula are practically oriented. On top of those areas of study, which
the state has stipulated that they follow, the school curricula of the private and
non-state run schools tend to emphasize foreign languages and computer
training, as well as artistic and practical subjects. All these courses will help
students to be better equipped with the skills and knowledge that are in demand
in the free labour market.
Students who want to enrol in these schools should pay tuition fees, some of
these private schools even ask for large sums of money.
More significantly, the public and the state run schools are starting to look
private. A fee-charging system is not only operating in non-state run schools but
state run and even key-point schools are using similar strategies in financing
education. In this regard, a discussion of the marketisation of education in China
would seem to include not only schools that call themselves private but also
public schools that in many ways appear increasingly to be private, thus making
the distinction between private and public more problematic (Mok Ka Lo & Wat
King-yee, 1997).

The present dynamic development of China is closely linked to education and to

opportunities available to the nation’s youth. While the government supports the
contribution of private schools to the nation’s educational needs, the underlying

demand and driving force for an alternative to public schools comes from parents
and from their ambitions and expectations for their child. They spend in some
cases the equivalent of several thousand dollars per year, often a major part of
the family budget, on private school tuition, and boarding expenses.

China has had a very diverse experience in expanding access to secondary

schools. Liberalisation and the development of a socialist market economy since
the mid 1980s have resulted in a great range of financing mechanisms to support
growth in enrolment. Conditions vary widely across this vast country, but
common arrangements include; earmarked local taxation for education lobbied
on business turnover and payrolls; allocation of a share of the profits of school-
run business, and different forms of collective work-unit support for school based
in the community (in cash from fund-raising and in kind from labour, etc.)
It is common to find that financing of school development is achieved from
entrepreneurial use of school assets. A significant proportion of urban schools
generate substantial income from fee-paying students from outlying areas. It is
also true that teachers’ (publicly funded) salaries and teachers’ total income have
diverged widely as a result of non-budget contributions from local fun-raising
(Lewin & Caillods, 1991).


The growth and development of private schools since 1952 is unprecedented in

the history of Japanese education. The rapid expansion of upper secondary
schools since 1963 and of universities and junior colleges since 1966 as the post-
war baby boom moved through the school system elevated the private school
system to a position of importance within the Japanese educational spectrum. To
overcome the most serious problem, the lack of adequate financing, the national
government has acted in three ways to alleviate this problem –loans, direct
subsidies and tax reductions or exemptions.
Statistics published in the official website of Japan’s Ministry of Education show
Out of the 14,279 nursery schools, 8410 are private; out of the 108,057 staff
members, 81,863 work in private institutions.
Regarding mandatory schooling, we see the same effect as in many other
countries: basic education is above all official education, but representativeness
of private education is larger in secondary education and even larger in higher
Out of the 23,808 basic schools, only 175 are private.
Regarding junior high schools, there are 691 private schools out of a total of
11,159, but in upper high schools this figure is 1,321 schools of a total of 5,472.
Out of the 541 junior colleges, 475 are in private hands, and of the 686
universities, 512 are private.
Since 1970, private schools have access to subsidies from public authorities for
functioning and staff expenses, and these authorities can impose quality
requisites to these institutions. This measure was adopted to keep a good level of
education, because the number of private institutions was growing rapidly.

New Zealand

The New Zealand government threatened the professionalism of teachers after

they had put education into the market place since the marketised education

system places teachers under surveillance, ands jeopardizes the co-operation
between teachers and other members of the society (Sullivan, 1998).
New Zealand has attracted considerable attention in public policy circles because
of its abrupt shift from 1989 on, to a market approach in government as well in
economic policy. In education, this involved moving from a centralized system
with mandatory school attendance zoned to an open structure in which the board
of each individual school has the opportunity –indeed the necessity of competing
with other schools to maintain or increase enrolment and thus the resources
generated by per-pupil funding. The operational budget (including salaries of
non-teaching staff) is provided to each school in a lump sum to be used at the
discretion pf the trustees. School fees have become increasingly important since
New Zealand switched to a choice-based system. The growing role of school fees
reflects the shift to self-management in a more competitive environment. Fees
allow also being more selective. Fees are charged by state schools as well as
integrated and private schools.
New Zealand allows indeed private schools to join the publicly funded system
while retaining their distinctive religious or pedagogical character. About 15
percent of all schools are private, and about 90 percent of the private schools in
the country have joined the public system. In addition, the government started a
small voucher program in 1996 for children from low-income families in low-
achieving schools whose families were unable to afford private schools.
As of March 2000, there were 713,932 students attending New Zealand’s 2,729
schools; 86.4% of all students attended state schools. Students attending more
than 300 ‘integrated’ private schools represented 10.2% of all students, while
3.3 % attended private schools not receiving public funding.
Under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act (1975), schools that have
chosen integration into the state system are provided with full public funding of
teacher salaries as well as some operating and capital expenses. Most state
schools ask for (voluntary’ fees to cover various costs. Integrated schools are
also permitted to charge fees to cover mortgage and other facilities cists.
Independent private schools that have not chosen to integrate into the state
system (about 120 schools and 3.5 percent of total enrolment) may receive a
partial public subsidy of their costs. In 1971, it began with public funding of 20
percent of teacher salaries. The subsidy of teacher salaries rose as high as 50
percent in 1976, then dropped gradually to 20 percent in 1989 and was
abolished altogether in 1990. Restored to 17 percent in 1991, it continued to rise
again subsequently. There are a handful of “fiercely independent” schools that do
not seek state support and resist state oversight; they serve a few hundred
In New Zealand’s deregulated labour market the teacher unions have maintained
a strong position, and national contracts for all basic scale teachers. Wage
bargaining rounds have been robustly negotiated in most years.
Integrated schools are free to use religious criteria in appointing key staff; the
principal, the director of religious studies, and up to 50 percent of the staff in
elementary and 40 percent in secondary schools.
Teachers in the compulsory school sector are required to be registered, which
includes a satisfactory police clearance for the protection of children (Glenn & De
Groof, 2002b).

The historical heritage

The following examples show that present education of any country is the result
of its history, also in the public education-private education relations.

In Israel, the education system reflects the diverse nature of Israeli society. Most
students attend state schools but many attend state religious schools, which
emphasize Jewish studies and observances. Arab and Druze schools provide
instruction in Arabic and special focus on the religion, history and culture of the
Arab and Druze populations. Finally, private schools of various types are also
available to Israeli students.

Since independence in 1948 the government of Sri Lanka has made education
one the highest priorities. Within a period of less than 40 years, the number of
schools increased by over 50 percent, the number of students more than 300
percent and the number of teachers by more than 400 percent.
Because private institutions no longer receive grants from the government, they
are forced to charge fee while competing with free state-run schools. The
percentage of students in the state system has grown constantly, and by the
1980s, 99 percent of female students and 93 percent of male students at the
primary level were being trained in government-run schools. The government did
not have a monopoly over education because Buddhist pansala (temple schools)
and pirivena (monks education), Muslim schools and Christian schools still
thrived (the Roman Catholic Church alone operated several hundred institutions
from kindergarten to secondary level, teaching over 80,000 children). The
education system of the state, however, had an overwhelming influence on the
majority of the population, especially the Sinhalese (
While most Sri Lankans agree that the country’s education system deserved a
failing grade for being outdated and inefficient, there is disagreement among
decision makers about exactly what education reforms should be undertaken.
One area of dispute is a move to change the country’s free education for all
students enrolled for undergraduate degrees, to one that permits the entrance of
private, fee-levying universities as well. “The state cannot do it alone. We have
to prove the opportunities for others to come in,” said Education minister
Karusaena Kodithuwake at a conference on national education in 2002. Leftwing
People’s Liberation Front criticised and disagreed.
Sri Lanka’s secondary education system is equally beset by shortcomings, a fact
best illustrated by the amount of money parents cough up to pay for the extra
classes their children attend after school. The system is a potpourri of state and
semi-state schools and a recent category of private ‘international’ schools
(Samath, 2002).

A temporary conclusion

From everything mentioned above, we can conclude that also in Asian countries
there are strong tendencies of decentralisation and privatisation of education.
The main reasons of this phenomenon are often budget-related. The concern
about losing the world market train and modern information society is clearly
demonstrated by the acceptance (by any means) and even the promotion of
private education, often commercial, and the openness of public education to
private initiatives, through external funding. This means that, also in Asia and
the Pacific, the statutes and teachers’ working conditions suffer great changes,
based on the rules of private companies rather than those of the public regime.
These developments increase the marginalisation in agricultural and remote
areas, also regarding education.

It has been illustratively demonstrated in the several paragraphs of this chapter
that in a lot of Asian countries the achievement of the EFA objectives becomes a
particularly cumbersome task that, without the aid and the support for the
international community, is simply likely to become impossible. In the separate
chapters concerning India, Pakistan and the Philippines this is still more clearly
put forward. In chapter 25 concerning the relationship between private education
and these objectives the situation in Asian countries does of course not remain
untouched. Obviously the observation remains intact that without the input of
private education the achievement of these objectives would entirely remain a
dream also in most of the Asian


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Asian Development Bank, (2003), Education for Global Participation, ADB, World Bank.

Carnoy, M., (1999), Globalisation and educational reform: what planners need to know, Unesco,
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Chapman, D., (2002), Management and Efficiency in Education: Goals and Strategies. Manila:
Asian Development Bank.

Davlatov, J.D.K. & Mullaev, S.M., (2000), Educational financing and budgeting in Tajikistan,
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Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, New Zealand, pp. 438-441,Utrecht/Lemma.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, Russian Federation, pp. 453-457, Utrecht/Lemma.

Göttelman-Duret, G., (2000), The management of primary teachers in South Asia; a synthesis
report, Unesco, IIEP, Paris.

Holsinger, D.B. & Cowell, R.N., (2000), Positioning secondary school education in developing
countries, Unesco, IIEP, Paris.

James, E. (1987), The political economy of private education in developed and developing
countries, EDT Series 71, World Bank, Washington DC

Japan, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japans Modern Educational
System, Chapter VII 7, The Promotion of Private Schools

Lannert, J., Munbodh, S. & Verma, M.C., (1999), Getting the stakeholders involved, Unesco, IIEP,

Mok Ka-Lo & Wat King-yee, (1997), The Merging of the Public and Private Boundary: Education
and the Market Place in China, Depart. of ¨Public and Social Administration, City University of Hong

People’s Daily online, (2004), China has more than 70,000 private schools, March 26, 2004

People’s Daily online, (2002), China to Give Equal Rights to Private, Public Schools, June 24, 2002

Samath, F., (2002), Sri Lanka fails the education test, Asia Times, May 18, 2002

Sullivan, K. (ed.) (1998), Education and Change in the Pacific Rim: Meeting the Challenges.
Oxford: Triangle. Series Title: Oxford Studies in Comparative Education.

Unesco, (2002), Arab States, Regional report, Unesco Institute for Statistics, Montreal, Canada.

Wielemans, W. & Choi-Ping Chan P. (ed), (1992), Education and Culture in Industrializing Asia,
Leuven University Press.

Wilson, J.D., (2001), Snapshots of Primary and Secondary Education in Asia-Pacific, Unesco,
APEID, Bangkok

World Bank, (2003), Project: Russian Federation – Education III, approved July 15, 2003

World Bank, (2004), The Millennium Development Goals in Europe and Central Asia, The World
Bank, Washington DC, USA

Chapter 8


Reference yesterday but also tomorrow?


Europe has a variety of approaches to educational policy that do not easily give
up their historical roots despite great convergence and evident common
The British researcher Guy Neave distinguishes in (Western) Europe three
historical policy models that still have their influence today (cited in Wielemans,
2003). Private education policy too is imbedded in these national traditions.
He distinguishes:
- The centralising (sometimes also called Jacobin) model that is historically
visible in France, Spain, Sweden and Italy;
- The mixed model in which the state recognises and controls a variety of
educational initiatives and ideologies, is found ao in Belgium, the
Netherlands and Ireland;
- The non-interventionist facilitating model that existed in the UK.

Today none of these models still exists in its original form. A study of recent
developments shows that the Jacobin model has lost ground, that the second
model gives rise to many questions in relation with secularisation of society and
the resulting developments towards internal pluralism; the changing concepts of
the role of the state,…; in recent years the English model too has developed
under more state control.
Decentralisation, greater autonomy, deregulation, market autonomy,… are
today’s slogans that are promoted particularly by international organisations
such as the OECD and the EU for the sake of a better adjustment to the
requirements of the global world market and the developments towards
tomorrow’s knowledge society.
After the collapse in 1989-90 countries in Eastern-Europe that for sixty years
have had to organise their education according to a centrally planned economy
orientated towards the official state ideology, underwent a radical reform, of
education too. The impact of their idealised developments in Western Europe
and the US, encouraged ao by the World Bank and the IMF and through various
initiatives supported by the OECD and the EU and through bilateral agreements
should not be underestimated. In recent years there has been a spectacular
development of various forms of private education also in this part of Europe.

Against this background we will try to briefly describe the situation of private
education and its teachers by first amplifying the countries of the European
Union and then Eastern Europe in a separate chapter. Because of the impact they

have had and still have on developments in other regions and continents it does
not seem unnecessary to enter at length into the situation of private education in
England, France and Russia.
Separate chapters will be devoted to the situation in the Netherlands, Spain and
Hungary. We hope that the different models will thus be clearly illustrated.

Western Europe: diversity in unity

In its publication “Private Education in the European Union”, in 2000, Eurydice
indicated that the 15 member countries of the European Union at that moment –
being before the enlargement in 2004 - can be divided into three groups
according to the relationship private education has with the public authorities.

- In Greece and the United Kingdom (except for City Technical colleges –
CTC and City Colleges for the technology of the arts -CCTA), private
schools receive no public funding. However, this absence of funding does
not prevent the State from exercising control over private education
institutions. In the United Kingdom, like we will see further on, most
denominational and other schools owned by churches or trustees are
considered to form part of the public sector education.
- In the second group of countries: France, Italy, Portugal, different types of
contracts exist which create a link between private schools and the public
authorities. Depending on the type of contract, the school receives grants
of a more or less significant amount and is freer to a greater or lesser
extent with regard to conditions of teaching teacher recruitment, etc,
imposed by the public authorities.
- Finally, within the last group of countries which comprises the majority of
countries, grant-aided private schools appear to have much in common
with public sector schools. In Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Ireland,
Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, and Sweden, private education is grant-
aided, either partially or fully, but operates under more or less the same
conditions as public sector education. In the Netherlands, financial equality
between public and grant-aided private institutions is a constitutional
right. (Eurydice, 2000)

In all the EU Member States, the law allows for establishment of private schools
offering compulsory education. In most of the countries considered, the right to
set up private schools is either explicitly stated in the Constitution or implied by
it trough its affirmation of the right to choice and freedom of education. This is
with the exception of Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom (the last of
which does not have a written Constitution).
In Spain, France, Ireland and the Netherlands, the State’s obligation to provide
funding to private education institutions offering education to pupils of
compulsory school age and which comply with certain basic legal requirements is
a constitutional principle. In Italy, the Constitution, expressly states that those
setting up probate schools must do so (without imposing burdens on the State’.
This has blocked legislation relating to granting private schools equal status to
state schools and consequently affected the awarding of budgetary assistance to
them. Law No 62 (Marc 2000) formally recognizes that the scuole paritarie are
part of the national education system and specifies a new formula for financing.
In the other countries, the possibilities for public funding of private sector schools

are not rooted in constitutional law but are set out under different legal
provisions. These possibilities are very limited in Greece and the UK.
Leaving aside constitutional principles, the basis legal framework for the
operation of private schools is set out under laws common to the public and
private sector in Belgium, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland
and the United Kingdom although, certain provisions in the laws are specific to
the private sector or else a combination of common and separate legislation:
Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden. In the other countries, Greece, Austria and
Portugal, the basic legislative framework is dictated by private sector specific
legislation. In the case of Germany, the Länder regulate private education, either
in specific laws or in laws common to the public and private sector.

Requirements regarding teaching staff in private schools.

The most common area in which regulatory standards are laid down across EU
countries relates to the teaching body. The vast majority of countries specify that
teachers must hold academic and teaching qualifications relevant tot the
particular educational level and subject. These are equivalent or similar to those
for the public sector in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, Ireland (for state
recognised schools), Italy (scuole private autorizzate, scuole parificate and
scuole paritarie), the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland and for the
CTCs/CCTAs in England. In addition in Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands
and Austria, legal stipulations regarding teachers’ suitability extend to the
morality or fitness of their character with respect to good/law-abiding conduct.
Denmark and Sweden are the only countries which leave private schools offering
education to pupils of compulsory school age completely free as to standards for
their teaching body.
Provisions on staffing standards apply regarding the head/senior teachers in
France, Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal. In ten countries, the qualifications
and characteristics (moral/professional/economic) of those involved in the
founding or administration of the school come under scrutiny: Germany, Greece,
France, Italy, Luxembourg (secondary), the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal,
Finland and the United Kingdom. The minority of countries have specifications
with regard to the nationality or citizenship of these persons: Greece, France,
Ireland, and Austria. In the United Kingdom, for non-grant-aided private schools,
legislation regulates only the fitness of character of both teaching staff and
proprietors. (Eurydice, 2000, p.18)

State control

In all EU countries, the operation of private educational institutions at

compulsory level is subject to government control trough legislation, compliance
with which is, in the large majority of cases, followed up through inspection.

Public funding of grant-aided private education.

Three broad categories of expenditure are generally distinguished: costs linked to
teaching staff, operational costs and those linked to capital (purchase, rental and
maintenance of buildings).
In, Greece, Italy (excluding schools which are parificate) and the United Kingdom
(excluding CTCs/CCTAs), there are no private schools at the level of compulsory
education which enjoy the financial support of the public authorities. Most
denominational and other schools or trustees in England, Wales and Northern
Ireland are publicly funded as part of the public sector education.
In the other countries of the European Union, funding awarded to grant-aided
private institutions is most frequently separately allocated to the different
categories of expenditure, but in some countries, the local authorities or schools
receive a global grant which covers different –categories. In Sweden, the local
authority awards a global subsidy of which the amount is decided with reference
to the school agreement and the needs pf pupils using the same basis as the
public sector schools. In Denmark private schools receive a grant according
which covers 80 to 85 % of expenditure; they are free to determine the
allocation of this grant to the different categories of expenditure. In Italy,
primary schools which are parificate receive an annual grant which covers less
than 50 % of the three expenditure categories; they are free to determine the
distribution of this grant across the different categories.
In half of the countries of the European Union: Belgium, Spain, Ireland, the
Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, for schools with a contrato de associação, and
Finland, staff costs (most frequently covering staff salaries) are paid in full by the
public authorities.
Operational costs are also frequently met by the public authorities or financed as
for public sector schools: Belgium, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal,
for schools with an contrato de associação, and Finland. In Ireland, schools
receive an award from the State to cover significant proportion of operational
costs. In contrast, in Austria, the public authorities do not award a grant for
operational costs; instead, parents contribute tot these costs on a monthly or
annual basis.
In Luxembourg and Portugal (for schools under a contrato de patrocínio), the
public authorities only partially contribute to the payment of teacher’s salaries
and operational costs.
Of the three categories of expenditure, those related to capital are the least
frequently and least fully met by the public authorities. Only the Netherlands is
the exception in this: grant-aided private schools receive grants (from the
municipality authority) which cover the expenses represented by the purchase,
construction, rental and maintenance of buildings. Elsewhere, in Belgium,
Germany, France, for lower secondary school alone, Ireland and Finland, the
expenses are met in part. In the other countries, grants received by private
grant-aided institutions do not cover capital expenditure. There are specific
provisions for this type of expenditure, however. Thus, in France, the local
authorities can guarantee loans taken out by private schools and colleges for the
purchase, construction and equipping of teaching premises. In Austria, buildings
are loaned on the basis of contracts which are valid for a maximum duration of
40 years. In Portugal, it is possible, under certain conditions, to obtain subsidies
up to the level of 50 % of expenditure (Eurydice, 2000).

In private institutions, which receive no (or little) funding from the public
authorities, the payment of fees is common and the amount parents are charged
may sometimes be very high.

Equivalence of Teachers’ status

Although sometimes recruitment procedures differ according to the education

sector of the institution, the qualifications required for employment are the same
in the public sector as in the private sector in almost all countries.
In Denmark and Sweden, there are no requirements set by the minister of
Education regarding the qualifications of the teaching staff at private schools. In
the United Kingdom, teachers in non-grant-aided independent schools are not
necessarily required to have the same qualifications as those required in the
public sector, although they often do. However, grant-aided private schools
(CTCs/CCTAs in England) are normally expected to employ fully-qualified
Given the similarity between qualifications required for employment. In both
education sectors, teachers have the opportunity to transfer from one sector to
the other in certain countries, while maintaining their level of seniority and the
rights they have acquired during their career. This is the case in Germany,
Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland and the United Kingdom
(subject to recruitment procedures). In Denmark if the teacher holds a teacher
training qualification from one of the colleges of education which train teachers
for the Folkeskole, movement across education sectors is possible. In Greece, no
such a transfer from the public to the private sector is possible, but it is possible
from private to public. In Spain, teachers who wish to become civil servants have
to pass a competitive examination, whatever their professional experience in the
public or private sector (Eurydice, 2000).

Eastern Europe
The definition of what is to be understood by Central and Eastern Europe differs
according to the perspective. The consequence of Europe’s division into two
power blocs after World War II was that countries that were previously regarded
as belonging to Central or Eastern Europe were now only historically referred to
as such. Integrated in that part of Europe that was entirely under Soviet control
they were characterised by a very centrally controlled regime under the
leadership of the communist party that strictly regulated all societal domains
education included. Tamas Kozma points out that in countries historically
regarded as Central European already in the 1960s and 1970s a “third-way”-
movement emerged that sought political solutions between market and planned
economy, capitalism and communism, parliamentary democracy and party-state.
Forms of direct democracy as antidote for the corruption of the ruling
bureaucracy were tried out in education. Criticism of the regime turned into
criticism of educational policy. Striking illustrations are the ideas for self-
government, participation of parents in the school system, directors elected by
teachers, establishment of school cooperatives. According to Kozma this ‘third
way–approach’ has strongly characterised the transition after the turn of
1989/90. Radical decentralisation proposals, extreme privatisation of higher
education provisions, particularly in the field of university education, growing
movements for autonomy of national minorities fighting for their own
independent educational institutions, … illustrate the impact of the ‘third way’
(Kozma, 2003). They explain the developments in private education in most of
the countries concerned.

With 8 of the 10 new member states having joined the European Union on May
1st 2004 and knowing that in a few years other countries of the former Soviet
bloc will be waiting at the EU-door it is far from unimportant to enter at length
into the situation of education in the eastern part of Europe as a whole. What is
understood today by Eastern Europe inevitably differs from what was understood
by it before the implosion of the Soviet bloc. The borders of the European Union
with the countries of the former USSR that have not joined the EU will prove a
decisive factor.

In all countries of the former Soviet bloc education policies have undeniably been
subject to considerable changes. People under communist rule had free access to
education of good quality in general. Nearly the entire population was literate
and scientific information from centrally controlled sources was amply available.
However, after 1990 these acquisitions were lost, mentions also the World Bank
(World Bank, 2000; Malfliet,1995). If no adjustments are made in time, the
situation might still worsen. Countries that were applying for EU-membership
were compelled to adjust their policies to Western European education policy.
The impact of the European programmes and the (financial) support coupled to it
should certainly not be underestimated. Bilateral programmes with countries in
Western Europe and the USA and private foundations (e.g. the Soros
Foundation) led to adjustment of education policies to the market economy
requirements, resulting in the development of several alternative forms of
private education. Apart from commercially orientated joint ventures with foreign
institutions also religious authorities for instance took the initiative of starting
their own schools. Business schools and language training sprung up like
Cerych points out four characteristics of educational change in Eastern Europe:
1. depolarisation of education (i.e. the end of the ‘communist” ideological
control of the system);
2. breaking down of the state monopoly in education by allowing private and
denominational schools to be established;
3. increased choices in school options;
4. decentralisation in the management and administration of the education
system (in particular, the emergence of school autonomy)
(Cerych, 1997)

The need for appropriate curricula and textbooks that have been cleared from
the previously self-evident ideological references resulted in the emergence of a
private textbook industry. The impact on teacher training (and further training or
retraining?) was obvious. Their working conditions and wages came under great
pressure. Teacher pay scales systematically paled before the wage increases in
industry and the services sectors. Enormous budgetary constraints made it still
more difficult to raise their slender income. The result was a social deterioration
of teaching staff; the logical consequence was a crisis of the teaching profession.
Lack of funding resulted in shortage of teaching materials, and modern
equipment, degradation of facilities and a shortage and demotivation of teachers.
In countries where wages of teaching staff in subsidised private schools are
partly or entirely paid by public authorities (e.g. in Czech Rep., Hungary,
Poland , Slovakia,…) budgetary constraints have a negative impact too. The
situation in independent private schools differs from country to country and from
initiative to initiative. By offering better remuneration conditions these schools
attract the best teachers from other schools, which inevitably leads to frustration
among those who ‘stay’.

It goes without saying that legislation on education had to change too. To that
end, foreign experts from Western countries were called in. They obviously
interpreted the possible recognition of private education as a contribution to the
better market orientation that was deemed necessary. Restoration of property
rights to the patrimony proved a necessity too as well as a redefinition of the
local financial and administrative control (Heyneman, 1998). A consequence ao
was the restarting of private initiatives that existed before communist rule.

Eastern European countries continue to implement their reforms at a brisk pace

and at a time of economic and social instability. Consequently, the emerging
educational systems are confronted with grave new problems. Many families
have now to cope with a devastating and mounting deterioration in their material
conditions. Rising unemployment and poverty have put enormous burdens on
families who often have limited resources to devote to their children’s education,
whereas the number of New Rich is growing. Unequal access to existing
educational provision has become a major source of concern for all Eastern
European countries. It is therefore not surprising that many people are filled with
nostalgia for the Soviet time as they do not expect better perspectives for
themselves and for their children.

Countries that have recently acceded to the European Union have better
conditions for adapting their education systems to the challenges of tomorrow.
Yet, even if they will be involved in bilateral programmes with Western European
countries, people involved in education in countries that do not belong and will
not belong to the EU fear that they will continue to be marginalized and will not
have the possibility to gear their education to the future. Private education
institutions that seem to keep up with developments thanks to high enrolment
fees and foreign support, are just unaffordable for most people, thus widening
the already existing social gap and tending to become a growing source of
tensions. The outcome of educational reform in Eastern European countries
remains therefore unpredictable (Wolfgang Mitter, 1992). It is not just about
means and possibilities but also about traditions and mentalities. On the one
hand there is great aversion towards excessive centralism of the past, but on the
other hang they are not enough prepared to the acquisitions of Western
civilization that continue to exercise great force of attraction.

England, France and Russia: reference countries for

many others
Both England and France have undeniably had strongly influenced developments
in many of their former colonies. Education was organised according to the
Western models introduced in these countries. Even today their impact on these
countries should not be underestimated as we will show in the chapters on the
other continents. This is partly due to the fact that these countries are
proceeding along their heritage of the past and partly because England and
France themselves continue to invest these important means in their former
colonies for both political and cultural reasons.
Apart from a smaller area in Europe, Russia covers an enormous area in Asia and
the developments in this country are for this reason alone of special importance
for further developments in another continent. It is abundantly clear that
Moscow’s influence in the other countries of the CIS both in Europe and

particularly in Central Asia remains great. Because of these realities it seems
appropriate to have a closer look at the situation of private education in these
three reference countries.


An usual – though not unique- feature of education in England and Wales is that
a measure of school choice on the basis of religion is exercised within the state
system; it has even been asserted the ‘we do not have a secular system of public
education”. Compromises made a hundred years ago to preserve the extensive
provision of schooling by denominational groups while greatly expanding
provision by local government have continued in effect, with some 7,000
publicly-funded religious schools (Glenn & De Groof, 2002b).

This religiously pluralistic system has not gone unchallenged. In the 1980s for
instance Margaret Thatcher wanted to wipe the floor with the existing system.
She had obviously underestimated the opposition of the local educational
authorities (LEAs). Notwithstanding a few adaptations in the course of years, the
basis of the system remained intact. As already mentioned before, the impact of
the English system on developments in numerous developing countries, not in
the least in the Commonwealth states, has been very great and remains very
important to this day.

The 1988 reform proved principally very important because it brought essentially
the creation of a quasi-market in education on a large scale. Moreover, it opened
the door to commercially oriented activities in, by and for the school, in the field
of staff policy too. This requires some explanation.
In 1988, the Education Reform Act gave all families in England and Wales the
right to choose any state (government-run) school they wished, even if this
school was located outside their tax community or district. Like we remembered
before in England the term ‘public school’ refers to a set of traditional private,
independent schools. Schools were funded according to the number of students
enrolled; the funding amounts were decided centrally, with only minimal
discretion at the local district level (for example to offer special services), and
the located directly to the school site. The Act therefore established a
comprehensive state school choice programme for families, creating a
competitive market in stet schooling, and tied school budgets directly to the
enrolment decisions of parents (Belfield & Levin, 2002).

Within the maintained (state) sector, schools in which are established and wholly
maintained by the local education authority in which they are located are known
as county schools; they account for the vast majority of maintained schools.
Schools which are established and partly funded by voluntary authorities
(normally by churches) are known as voluntary controlled of voluntary aided
schools. Voluntary controlled schools receive rather mote state funding than
voluntary aided schools and accordingly enjoy less freedom from local authority
control. There are many Anglican controlled and aided schools. Roman Catholic
schools generally have aided status. There is also a small number of aided Jewish
schools. The Muslim community has recently attempted to attain aided status for
some of its schools, currently operating on an independent basis, but this has so
far been denied by the Secretary of State, thus generating a considerable
controversy. An important category of state school first introduces under the
Education Reform Act 1988 (but whose legal position is now largely regulated

under the Education Act 1993), is grant-maintained schools: they are funded by
the central government, the funds being channelled through a government –
appointed agency, the funding Agency for Schools. It is possible for schools in
the local authority sector - county, controlled or aided – to seek grant maintained
status by opting-put of LEA control; under the Education Act 1993, new
categories of grant-maintained school have been introduced; it is now possible
for new grant-maintained schools to be established by the Funding Agency or by
independent promoters who could be minority religious groups or even the
governing body of an existing independent school. There is also a substantial
independent sector with many independent schools, but still subject to inspection
and requirements as to registration by the Department foe Education (Meredith,

Concretely nowadays schooling in England and Wales is provided in several

categories of school. These categories have recently been revised by the School
Standards and Framework Act 1989 and from 1 September 1999 are as follows:
• community schools;
• foundation schools;
• voluntary schools comprising
- voluntary aided and
- voluntary controlled schools;
• community special schools;
• foundation special schools;
• independent schools (some times referred to as non-maintained schools)

Only independent schools are considered to be private schools. Although the

ownership and management of schools in the other categories vary, they are all
considered to form part of the state education sector and are collectively known
as ‘maintained schools’.
Community schools, formerly county schools, were mostly set up by local
education authorities: the schools premises are owned by the local education
authority (LEA) and they are fully funded by LEAs for both revenue and capital
expenditure. Foundation schools (formerly grant-maintained schools) are owned
either by the school governing body or by trustees of the school, but hey are
funded by LEAs in a similar way to community schools. Voluntary controlled
schools and voluntary aided schools are owned either by school trustees or by
founding body of the school (such as the Church of England or the Catholic
Church). Both types of school receive full funding for revenue expenditure but
voluntary aided schools are expected to contribute 15% of capital costs.
All categories of maintained schools enjoy a high level of autonomy but the
governing bodies of voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools have a
greater number of responsibilities than community and voluntary controlled
schools. The composition of the governing bodies varies between the different
categories of school but voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and foundation
schools (where relevant) must include representatives of the school’s founding
body –‘foundation governors’. Foundation governors are appointed to make sure
that the character of the school is preserved and developed. For voluntary aided
schools, foundation governors must outnumber the rest of the governors in the
governing body (Eurydice, 2000; CEEC, 2003, and Glenn & De Groof, 2002b).

Decisions about staff.

Under the Education Act 1944 the boards of denominational ‘aided’ schools
retained authority for the appointment of staff, as a guarantee for the
maintenance of the school’s distinctive character. More recently, the authority
has been extended to other state-funded schools. Thus the boards of governors
of the various categories of state-funded schools have the authority to appoint,
discipline and dismiss staff, though within the legal requirements for employment
matters and national norms for teacher pay and working conditions. Boards of
schools with a denominational character may use religious criteria in deciding
upon staff appointments.
Recently the government accepted to give successful schools more control over
teachers’ pay and conditions, building of a successful experiment with this
approach in the 46 Education Action Zones (areas with low-performing schools),
authorised by section 10 of the 1998 legislation.
Independent schools, even partially funded under the Assisted Places Scheme,
had complete control over the appointment of staff, subject to the non-
discrimination and far treatment protections required of all employers. Typically,
the head teacher and the bursar are appointed by the board, and the other staff
by the head teacher (Glenn & De Groof, 2002b).


In no other country of the world has the debate on freedom of education and on
the relation between church and state stirred up so much passion than in France.
The right of the Catholic Church to set up its own schools has been questioned
since the revolution of 1792 and afterwards affirmed. The establishment of the
unitary school under Minister Jules Ferry around 1880, the “école de la
république”, by definition neutral, has determined the pattern for generations on.
It was a strongly centralised and regulated education policy from the outset. The
state claimed the right to education for all children as its indisputable right on
the basis of the principles of “freedom, equality and brotherhood”. Letter and
spirit of the Ferry act and of the institutions set up by virtue of this act were and
remained of anticlerical nature. Catholic schools did not receive any form of state
subvention. This was also the spirit of education policies developed by France in
its former colonies – although later as minister for the colonies Ferry was not
really a great defender of fundamental human rights. Yet, religiously orientated
schools were tolerated, particularly in rural areas (for lack of possibilities to set
up official initiatives everywhere). However, official neutral schools prevailed in
urban areas. In the chapter on Africa we will inform about this pattern that still
has an impact in former French colonies.

Since 1996, however, France has managed to live with, and support, a dual
system, though the controversies have by no means disappeared.
Today, a government that is officially secular manages a centralized public
educational system that is officially and vigilantly secular while also funding a
system of Catholic schools that serves more than two out of six pupils at a given
time. Sociologists estimate that 35.3 percent of French pupils are enrolled in
Catholic schools at some point in their education (Glenn & De Groof, 2002b).
Because the system is so highly centralized and regulated, despite recent moves
toward decentralisation and even school-based management) this has inevitably
caused tensions and legal conflict.


In its decision of 23 November 1977, the Conseil constitutionel (Constitutional
council) determined that the freedom of education was one of the fundamental
principles recognised by the laws of the Republic, reaffirmed in the preamble of
the 1946 Constitution and given Constitutional status in the 1958 Constitution.
Freedom of education justifies the coexistence of public and private
establishments within the French education system and the provision for state
aid to private education on the terms define by law.
At present, private education primarily includes schools under contract to the
State in the context of the Debré law of 31.12.1959. Private individuals organise
and finance the other schools.
Private schools may conclude either a contrat simple (‘simple contract’, for
primary or special education schools) or a contrat d’association (‘association
contract’, for primary or secondary education schools) with the State for a
portion or all of their classes on condition that they respect the terms imposed by
the Debré law and the decrees that implement it (Eurydice, 2000).


The principles defined by the Debré law concerning running costs are the
- payment by the state of the salaries of the teaching staff members (except
for costs related to allowance for retirement and foresight);
- participation of the State and territorial authorities in running costs of
secondary schools, by means of the day school package; the State paying
the part related to the salaries of non teaching staff members and the
territorial authorities (Departments for colleges, Regions for lyceums)
paying the part related to material working;
- compulsory participation of the Communes in the running costs linked to
the schooling of children domiciled in the commune where the school is
located and going to elementary schools with an association contract.
Participation is also compulsory for pupils domiciled in the commune and
going to nursery schools with an association contract, subject to the
agreement of the contract by the commune. The participation is optional
for pupils going to schools with a single contract and for pupils domiciled
outside the commune where the school is located.

So far as the financing of capital expenditures is concerned it is absolutely

forbidden for local authorities to give direct financial support to private schools in
primary education. Secondary schools may obtain existing premises and
subvention from local authorities or from the State but the subvention may not
exceed one tenth of the school’s annual expenses that are not covered by public
funds. In technical secondary education territorial authorities are allowed to give
subventions (CEEC, 2002).

Professional situation of the staff

The situation of staff in French schools –including private schools under contract
– cannot be understood apart from the very high regard for la fonction public
(very inadequately translated as ‘public employment’ or ‘public service’) in
France, in contrast with some other countries.

Employees of the Ministry of National Education are considered to exercise a
‘public function in the general interest” and are appointed and assigned trough a
highly-regulated process which provides little opportunity to create distinctive
schools; their responsibilities and working conditions are similarly specified, in
large part trough a process in which the teacher and other unions play a large
part. (Glenn & De Groof, 2002b)
Teachers in private schools under contract with the State should be separated
into two categories: those in schools under a contrat simple and those in schools
under a contrat d’association.
In consultation with the school administration, the district school authority
appoints the teachers holding contracts in private schools under a contrat
d’association with the State. They are employed as temporary civil servants. By
contrast, positions in classes under contrat simple are filled by the private
authority, and the teachers they nominate are submitted to the school
authorities for approval. Approved teachers are thus private sector employees,
although the State pays their salaries.
Since the ‘Lang-Cloupet agreements’ came into effect in 1993, the same teacher
recruitment competition with the same demands and methods have been used to
recruit approved teachers holding contracts in private education as are used to
hire equivalent teachers in public education. These teachers are bound by the
same conditions of service and enjoy the same opportunities for promotion.

The teaching staff in non-contract private schools, by contrast, have the status of
private sector employees and their appointment, salaries, and social and job
security are regulated by the labour laws and any collective agreements to
which their employers may subscribe. They essentially maintain no contractual
link with the State (Eurydice, 2000; Glenn & De Groof, 2002b; OIDEL, 2002;
CEEC, 2003).


As a consequence of ‘new thinking’ in Russian society, the goals and strategies of

educational policy underwent a ‘Copernican revolution’ compared to the previous
period of real socialism. The educational system is no longer seen as a ‘white
elephant’ that should be fed for ideological purposes; it has to be seen as a
‘working elephant, capable of clearing the jungles of Marxist-Leninist thinking in
order to prepare for market economics and to bring in a new mentality’, as in
was worded in the national report of the Russian Federation submitted to the
1992 International Education Conference in Geneva.
Besides this element of discontinuity, one can, however, discover a line of
continuity in the reform effort as the Russian government is involved in a
renewed attempt to bring its country to modernity. As in previous periods, the
government currently must find a difficult balance between conservatism and
flexibility towards educational innovation (Malfliet, K. in De Groof, 1993).

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the transition toward democracy had
indeed a profound effect on national education policy and permitted families and
ethnic minorities a larger role in the provision of schooling. Educational reform
was already in the air. A communist Party Plenum in 1988, under Gorbatshov
leadership, had resolved on a variety of reforms, including promoting greater
diversity within the system, in curricula, methods, school types, methods of
finance, and administration, as well as language use, and encouraging schools to
develop distinctive curricular profiles.

In 1992 a reform philosophy was set forth in the Law on Education. The
fundamental principle of that law was the removal of state control from
education policy. In all regions, enactment of the law meant significant autonomy
for local authorities to choose education strategies most appropriate to the time
and place. But in a project report (World Bank, 2003) the World Bank states that
decentralisation and diversification is creating inequities and contributing to a
narrowing of choice of good quality education services and labour market
opportunities. In particular the breakdown of public revenue collection in many
areas has meant that even the most basic recurrent educational expenditures
such as salaries could not be met in a timely fashion, and the maintenance or
replacement of obsolete equipment, not to mention innovative capital
expenditure was out of the question. (Fretwell & Wheeler, 2001) The 1992 law
that re-introduced private schools as well as external fund-raising, combined with
far-reaching decentralisation and diversification therefore resulted in “une
transition la plus brutale” (Vinokur, 2001).

Private schools and preschools became centres of innovation with programs

rediscovering pre-Revolutionary pedagogy and freely borrowing teaching
methods from Western Europe and the United States. Private schools emphasize
learning English and other critical skills. Student-to-teacher ratios are very low,
and teacher salaries average about US$ 170 per month (about three times the
average for a public school teacher) (Glenn & De Groof, 2002b). In the project
proposal on education in Russia dd. 15th July 2003, the World Bank also states
that school teachers and directors continue to receive meagre salaries and the
teaching profession is now failing to attract new entrants (World Bank, 2003).
In the mid-1990s, Russia had five types of secondary school: regular schools
featuring a core curriculum; schools offering elective subjects; schools offering
intensive study in elective subjects; schools designed to prepare students fro
entrance examinations to an institution of higher education. And alternative
schools with experimental programs.
Visits to several secondary state schools in Moscow taught us that in better social
districts much emphasis is put on English, informatics and mathematics within
the curriculum as well as on payment in the form of extra courses whether or not
within school opening hours (In the visited schools appeal was also made to
parents to sponsor infrastructure improvement and purchase of modern
equipment. Art.45 of the Law on Education act provides that schools can freely
decide on the use of this extra revenue, they can even give it to staff as extra

In the post-Soviet era, business education has expanded dramatically because

the demand for competent managers far outstrips the supply. Three types of
institution offer business management education: state and private business
schools and private consulting firms. Many schools conclude agreements with
Western institutions or companies. Sponsored by their partners from trade and
industry, some of these schools resolutely engage in sheer commercial activities
(Vinokur, 2001).

Article 5 of the Law on Education provides State guarantees for the right of
citizens of the Russian Federation in the field of education and the possibility to
receive education in non-state educational institutions. The costs for paid
instruction in non-state accredited educational institutions which realize general
and vocational educational programs are compensated. The costs for paid
instruction in non-state, but state-accredited education institutions which realize

general and vocational educational programs, are compensated by the state to
the citizen within the extent of the state norms for the cost of education of the
corresponding form and type of state or municipal educational institution.
Article 50 of the Law on Education guarantees the right of choice of an
educational institution and the form of education.
Article 26 and article 43 of the Constitution guarantees the right to education and
vocational training, but does not contain direct guarantees for the right of private
individuals or bodies to set up schools, the freedom to establish educational
institutes and the freedom of organisation and orientation of educational
institutes, as well as the parents’ freedom of choice from which these rights flow.
These educational rights are only directly enshrined in the Russian Federation’s
Law on Education. The process to establish a non-state accredited educational
institution adds up to a serious impediment to the fundamental right to provide
education and to open schools for this purpose (De Groof, 1993).

What about the teaching staff ?

The Russian Constitution is not based on, and does not provide for, freedom of
education, but only for freedom of teaching. This freedom of teaching is an
important landmark and it is a clear expression of the rejection of the past, when
education was wholly set up on ideological basis and strictly controlled by the
Communist party. Yet this freedom of teaching is at the same time a serious
challenge for the development of forms of private education, specifically
education on religious basis. Article 19 of the Constitution and labour legislation
forbid discrimination on the basis of attitude to religion. The education act of
10th July 1992 provides further that the content of education should foster free
choice of opinion of students. This provision restricts schools in choosing their
methods and teaching aids (Glenn & De Groof, 2002b). The private schools that
have already been set up focus therefore on specific educational contents or
methods and, in view of societal developments, on foreign languages, trade and
business linked subjects, in short, they are strongly market-oriented.

Concerning the status of teaching staff it is to be noted that only detailed

provisions concerning the rights of staff contained in the Law are the regulations
concerning salaries, the arrangements for dismissals and the disciplinary system.
Some interesting details: Article 54,3 indicates that the minimum basic wages
and salaries are established: not below the average wage of employment in
industry of the Russian Federation. Par. 4 adds that within the limits of its
means, educational institutions freely decide on bonuses, wage increases, extra
allowances and other incentive payments.
Article 55, 8 says that for publications and scientific journals pedagogical
employees shall receive a monthly compensation in an amount equal to 10 % of
their basic salary.
Staff members, all of whom have been engaged on the basis of a fixed term
contract, will have their contract terminated before expiry date on the following
grounds (article 56):
a. non-compliance with the charter of the institution, committed for the
second time within one year, or
b. application (even for the first time) of pedagogical methods, entailing the
use of physical or mental violence against the person of the student or
pupil, or
c. appearance at work under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or toxic

The management may dismiss an employee on the above-mentioned
grounds without the consent of the trade union.

The difference between the status of teaching staff in official schools and in
private schools thus becomes very small. The fact that the education act applies
to everybody and the freedom given to school boards regarding pay, working
conditions, dismissal etc. make the difference between one regime and the other
very relative. However, as we have already stated above, remuneration in
private schools is generally considerably higher than in state schools, and private
schools exercise therefore great force of attraction to teachers.


Belfield, Cl.R. and Levin, H.M., Education privatization: causes, consequences and planning
implementation, IIEP/UNESCO, 2002.

CEEC, (2003), The Financing of Catholic Education, European Committee for Catholic Education,

Cerych, L. (1997), Educational reforms in Central and Eastern Europe: Processes and outcomes,
European Journal of Education, 32 (1)

De Groof, J., (ed.) (1993), Comments on the Law on Education of the Russian Federation, Acco,

De Groof, J., (ed.) (1995), The Legal Status of Teachers in Europe, Acco, Leuven/Amersfoort.

European Commission, Key data on Education in Europe 2002, Brussels

Eurydice, (2000), Private Education in the European Union, Organisation, administration and the
public authorities’ role, Eurydice European Unit, Brussels

Fernández, A. & Nordmann, J.D., (ed) (2002), El estado de las libertades educativas en el mundo,
OIDEL, Madrid, Santillana.

Fretwell, D.H. &Wheeler, A., (2001), Russia: Secondary Education and Training, World Bank,
Secondary education Series.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002a), Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. I, Utrecht/Lemma.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b,) Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, Utrecht/Lemma.

Heyneman, S. (1998), The transition from Party/State to open democracy. The role of education.
International Educational Development, 187, pp. 21-40

Kozma, T., (2003), Understanding Education in Europe-East. Frames of interpretation and

comparison, University Debrezen, Hungary

Malfliet, K., (1995), De ex-Communistische landen, Nieuwe spelregels, Davidsfonds/Leuven

Meredith, P., (1995), Legal Status and Mobility of Teachers in England and Wales, in De Groof, J.,
The Legal Status of Teachers in Europe, Acco, Leuven/Amersfoort, pp. 217-222

Mitter, W. (1992), Education and economic change in Eastern Europe ands the Former Soviet
Union in D. Philips, Oxford Studies in Comparative Education, 2(1) Oxford ,UK, Triangle Books

OIDEL, (2003), Libertad, igualdad y pluralismo en educación, Madrid/Comunidad de Madrid.

Vinokur, A., (2001), Les transformations du système éducatif de la Fédération de Russie,

Unesco,IIEP, Paris

Wielemans, W. (2003), Globalisering en onderwijsverandering., TORB, Brugge, maart-april 2003.

World Bank, (2000), Improving education and reforming education systems in Central and Eastern
Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, World Bank, Washington, USA.

World Bank, (2003), Project: Russian Federation – Education III, approved July 15, 2003

World Bank, (2004), The Millennium Development Goals in Europe and Central Asia, The World
Bank, Washington DC, USA

The Financing of Private Education in Europe


• The two charts under the heading “The Financing of Private Education in Europe”
are based on research work of ECCE (European Committee for Catholic
Education), carried out in the countries where it has members. This study, entitled
‘The financing of Catholic Education’, was privately edited and updated in April

Explanation of the marked data:

(a) Government in charge of public education

(b) Municipalities, provinces, etc
(c) Church, congregation, families, companies, etc
(d) Percentage of the real cost
(e) Except for manual workers and maintenance staff, part of whose salaries can be
paid from resources provided by the families, the Church or some congregations
(f) In case the governing body has obtained a guaranteed loan (otherwise 0%)
(g) The remaining 30% (40% sec. ed.) can be paid from working subsidies or from
own resources. A loan can also be taken out and reimbursed with working
subsidies. Various combinations are possible
(h) AC = association contract; SC = single contract
(i) All the expenses (salaries, running costs, buildings) of private schools in Greece
are paid by the owners of the schools. Their income comes from school fees paid
by the parents of the pupils. There are two categories of private schools: profit
making associations, and (particularly in the case of Catholic schools) non-profit
making institutions.
(j) Not for all primary schools, only for the ‘parificate’ schools who are obliged to give
free-of-charge education. The indicated percentage is not fixed but depends on
the annual financial law. In the past few years, there was a constant increase.
(k) Only for single congregations in case of construction of a new building.
(l) 16-18 years : financed by the families and the owners of the schools.
(m) Concerns only the Senior High schools since Norway has no Catholic
secondary schools.
Part III


Chapter 9


The heavy burden of the past

Previous history
The education system in Benin, like in almost all the former colonised African
countries, still bears the hallmark of the education policy of the former coloniser.
The effects of this on the financing and salary policy, on the relation between
authorities, churches and other private initiators in education remain remarkable
to this day. Elsewhere in this study (cf chapter 5 - Africa) we have explained the
differences that still exist between the countries under former British, French or
Portuguese colonial rule. Certainly in the first years of independence, the new
authorities build on the then existing supply. To this day there remain many links
with the former “mother country” that have influenced more recent

Also in Benin, forms of old culturalisation and education within the ethnic group
or tribe, completed later on with education and schooling initiatives of religious
or missioning bodies, largely continued to exist at the time of the French
colonisation. Indeed, in the French colonies the focus was on the schooling of
civil servants and of employees of companies that supported the colonisation.
This happened predominantly in the urban areas. The education provided was
organised on metropolitan lines: the dissemination of the republican values,
rights and freedoms through a single school on a lay basis. Because of the
insufficient initiatives, the mission schools – private schools – were tolerated
particularly in more rural areas. (By decree of the French Governor, Roume, of
1903) (WCT/Benin, 2004). This pattern is also found in other French colonies.
There was no question of any support. In many cases, there were major
differences in treatment of all the parties concerned according as one was
employed in public or private education. (Usuambele, s.d.; ADEA, 2000) (The
context described below will show that in the case of Benin the term ‘private
schools’ refers in reality to ‘independent private schools’).

After the independence, in 1960, education in Benin remained based on the

French system for a number of years, until 1972 to be precise.
Three years after the revolution of 1972, a thorough reform was carried through
on the basis of a Marxist-Leninist development model: L’école nouvelle (the New
School). This reform applied from 1975 up to 1989. The consequences were
considerable: the entire education system was nationalised, all private schools
were abolished. In higher education three types of training institutes for teachers
were created within the National University of Benin. The State wanted control
over all education initiatives; it took care of the teachers’ salaries but made the
local communities responsible for all the non-salary expenses: pedagogic-didactic
materials, building and equipment of classes… As from 1983, however, the
economic growth slowed down, an obvious consequence of the economic policy,
resulting in an increasingly strong reduction of the State budget and in the
financial strength of the local authorities and the population. The consequences
were bound to be felt: the local communities did not manage anymore to cover
more than 25 percent of the expenses they were supposed to cover. The
resulting growing inequality between the regions led to a sizeable drop in the
number of pupils. Particularly the number of female pupils fell dramatically. In
the end, primary education reached a mere 43 percent of the children, general
secondary education 12 percent and technical secondary education hardly 1
percent. The parents had lost their trust, and the teachers got dispirited and
demotivated (World Bank, 1994). To make things worse, the authorities simply
abolished the three aforementioned teachers’ training systems for budgetary
reasons. This resulted in an enormous shortage of trained teachers, which has
remained perceptible to this day as we will elucidate below (Guedegbe, 1999).

This tide, which had grown really awkward, had to be turned. In 1990, the
General Convention of Education (EGE) were convened. The subsequent audit by
the Ministry of Education exposed the dysfunctions and shortcomings of the
system. A new political framework was created to remedy this. Precedence was
given to basic education. Several international bodies (World Bank, USAID…)
offered help, which resulted in a set of projects aimed to improve the quality of
education through basic education, extra training and recurrent teacher training
initiatives. Private education, too, was involved in several of these projects.
Indeed, the authorities had recognised it again by then, albeit under a number of
conditions with regard to structure, curricula, requirements of teachers… (Weva
& Dewanou, 2003). In the database of the International Bureau of Education of
UNESCO, edition 1998, you can read in this respect that after the restoration of
democracy and of the basic human and citizens’ rights and freedoms private
education institutions “sprang up like mushrooms” at all levels of education, from
pre-school to higher secondary education. Implementing orders of 1989, 1996
and 2000, based on the old Private Education Act of Dahomey – the country’s
former name – of 1964, paved the way for this (WCT/Benin, 2004). The
Constitution dd 11 December 1990 even provides for the possibility of granting
private schools public subsidies. For the time being such subsidies are not being
granted, probably because of the scarce budgetary possibilities (IBE, 1998).
Before being recognised, private schools must meet a number of criteria imposed
by the authorities. Most of them are of an administrative nature. Since 2000,
they have been supposed to pay a non-reclaimable guarantee of FCFA
2,000,000. Once recognised, they are supposed to follow the curricula of the
public schools. The State organises the examinations and recognises the
diplomas. Pupils attending a recognised private school satisfy compulsory school
attendance. Parents have free choice of school. Teachers in private schools need
the same qualifications as their colleagues in public schools (WCT/Benin, 2004).
Their salary and working conditions will be dealt with further in this chapter.
Current situation of private schools in Benin

As from 1990 the private schools in Benin – nationalised under the socialist
regime – gradually got back their formerly confiscated buildings. The figures on
primary schools, which Benin presented at the World Forum of Education in
Dakar, in 2000, speak volumes:
in 1989/90 there were 418 private schools
in 1990/91 388
in 1991/92 464
in 1992/93 1021
in 1993/94 667
in 1994/95 895
in 1995/96 1056
in 1996/97 1264
in 1997/98 1856

In the same period the number of teachers in public primary education went up
from 13,275 to 14,185, which boils down to an average annual increase by 0.83
In private education their number went up from 418 to 1,858, an average annual
increase by no less than 20.50 percent.

Another remarkable observation in the same report:

In public education the pupils/teacher ratio rose constantly, except in 1997; in
private education the opposite occurred. (We will come back to this in the
chapter on the working conditions).

Table 9A: Evolution of the average class size in public and private primary
education in Benin

1989/90 1990/91 1991/92 1992/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 1997/98

Publ.+ pri 31 36 40 45 48 50 52 50 53

Publ 30 36 40 46 49 51 53 51 55

Priv 50 43 44 30 40 36 37 36 35

Source: WFE, 2000

After 1990 the Catholic and the Protestant private schools each grouped
themselves in a separate network. They did not relinquish their autonomy, but
wanted to protect their common interests against the authorities. Also the
private lay schools, predominantly in urban areas, rose in number. They did not
group themselves in a network but in representative associations, for the same
reason (Oulaï & Péano, 2000).
At the Ministry of Education there is a Direction in charge of the interests of
private primary and secondary education institutions. This Direction is in charge
of conceiving, monitoring, implementing and controlling the implementation of
the government policy in private schools (INFRE, 2004).
Both private and public schools follow the same curriculum in Benin. But as a
result of the circumstances in which private schools work, and of the stronger
support they get from the parents, they achieve better learning results,
particularly as far as the knowledge of French is concerned. This appears from
recent comparative studies and from testimonies of the parents concerned
(World Bank, 2004; USAID, 2003).

Secondary private education in Benin is less developed than in many other

African countries. The World Bank report (2004) says about this that in the
present circumstances private education seems to be no alternative to public
education for satisfying the growing educational needs, particularly in secondary
education. The high cost is a decisive factor in this respect. Nevertheless, the
report goes on to say, if the private secondary schools or the families received
government subsidies so that such schools become affordable – and provided
that the continue to work more efficiently than public schools –, this can even
result in a real saving for the public treasury (!), because private education is
cheaper in that, proportionally, it achieves better for less money. (This, too, can
do with a comment in relation to the teachers.)

Current figures

Table 9B: Overall statistics on primary education – school - year 1999 - 2000

Number of pupils Number of teachers Infrastructure Ratio

M F in all M F in all Classes Schools pup. per. pup. per

class teacher
+ Priv. 557802 374622 932424 13834 3875 17710 19823 4178 47 52.6
Public 507151 331288 838439 11610 3389 15000 17364 3750 48.3 55.9
Private 50651 43334 93985 224( ?) 486 2710 2459 428 38.2 34.7


The figures provided by the Beninese teachers’ federations in their answers to

the survey of WCT differ from those published by the Ministry of Education. This
confirms the statement in the database of IBE (1998) that it remains very
difficult to find accurate figures. We mention them nevertheless, because they
clearly reflect the trend of recent years.

Table 9C: Number of schools

Private schools Public schools In all

Primary education 4,788 4,642 9,430 (?)

Sec. ed. 1st cycle 335 4,184 4,519

Sec. ed. 2nd cycle 140 984 1,124

Source: WCT/Benin, 2004

Table 9D: Number of pupils/students

Private schools Public schools In all

Primary education 149,011 1,148,402 1,297,513

Sec. ed. 1st cycle 27,414 220,234 247,648

Sec. ed. 2nd cycle 10,652 45,570 56,222

Source : WCT/Benin, 2004

Table 9E: Number of teachers

Private schools Public schools In all

Primary education 4,776 21,982 26,758

Sec. ed. 1st cycle 3,200 8,145 11,345

Sec. ed. 2nd cycle 1,167 1,701 2,868

Source: WCT/Benin, 2004

Financing of private education

As said before, private schools in Benin are responsible for their financial policy.
They receive no public subsidies (yet?) and must fund everything from resources
that are acquired chiefly from school fees. A limited number of these schools,
especially those under the direction of foreign missions, can count on support
from outside. In some cases, they can count on support from NGOs or from
individual benefactors. Private schools need not answer to anybody for their
financial policy.

A comparison between the budgets of public and private schools exposes the
differences in policy and explains the differences in treatment of pupils and
teachers. The figures date back from 1996, yet clearly show the differences as a
result of the different ways of funding (Oulaï & Péano, 2000).

Table 9F: Expenses of public schools in 1996

Kindergarten Elem. General Techn. and Vocat. Higher

(in percent)

Salaries teaching 83.0 67.5 69.1 24.9 30.4


Salaries non-teaching 3.1 0.2 14.7 13.0 25.8


Kindergarten Elem. General Techn. and Vocat. Higher

(in percent)
School materials 2.5 7.2 3.9 4.1 3.0

Working expenses 2.5 1.1 4.3 12.4 19.0

canteen, boarding - 5.8 - - 18.8

Investments 8.9 18.2 8.0 45.3 3.0

Total expenses
(in million 547 18828 5415 1759 4385
Table 9G: Expenses of private schools in 1996

Kindergarten Elem. General Techn. and Vocat. Higher

(in percent)

Salaries teaching 33.8 22.5 36.8 39.3 23.9


Salaries non-teaching 9.4 9.9 11.1 18.9 8.4


School materials 2.3 3.5 1.6 5.7 13.4

Working expenses 35.3 22.7 20.1 22.4 31.5

Canteen, boarding 2.8 6.9 17.1 3.2 0.3

Investments 16.3 31.5 13.3 10.5 22.5

Total expenses
(in million 129 2285 1930 589 367
F CFA=100%)

A few important conclusions: in 1996, a pupil in private primary education cost F

CFA 37,000, a pupil in public education F CFA 25,000.

Each staff member cost F CFA 17,000 on average in public education and mere F
CFA 9,500 in private primary education. The underlying reason for this is that the
salaries are considerably lower in private education and that public schools have
a less favourable pupil/teacher ratio (cf table 9A).Private primary schools spend
more on non-teaching staff. Parents of pupils in private schools bear more extra
expenses for school materials than in public schools (F CFA 8,000 against F CFA

In secondary education, a pupil in public education costs F CFA 43,900, to which

have to be added F CFA 12,800 for various purchases. In private secondary
education these expenses are much higher: F CFA 106,800 on average for the
schools and F CFA 27,200 additional expenses for the families.
In 1996, from the point of view of the families, a pupil in secondary education
cost F CFA 19,400 on average in a public school and F CFA 121,200 in a private
school. In primary education these costs amounted to F CFA 5,200 and F CFA
37,100 respectively.
It is therefore no surprise that private education recruited chiefly in the better-off
circles from the southern urban areas. A further development of private
secondary education is not affordable without public support. The difference in
expense pattern between private and public schools may be a decisive factor
when the future education policy is outlined in accordance with the analyses and
suggestions of the World Bank (Oulaï & Péano, 1999 and 2000).

A big staff problem

The staff policy in the past period has had serious consequences for education in
Benin. In 1987 a recruitment stop was promulgated for the entire public sector,
including education. In combination with the abolition of the teachers’ training
(see above), this resulted in a enormous shortage of trained teachers. The
government tried to meet this by introducing, in the period 1995-1997, a
preparatory training formula and to allow, as from 1997-1998, the recruitment of
contractual servants. In fact this boils down to the introduction of non-statutory
public offices, which affects the characteristics of the public-office status, of
All these efforts failed to solve the problem of the enormous shortage of
teachers. Their number was an estimated 5814 for the school year 2003-2004.
In order to fill the vacancies anyway, the government allowed the recruitment of
community teachers, who require no qualification whatsoever. That way, three
kinds of teachers are being employed, whose recruitment requirements, status
and salaries differ strongly:
- the permanent civil servants, employed for a unlimited duration under a civil
servant status (50% of the teachers in public primary education in 2004)
- the contractual civil servants, employed for a limited duration without a civil
servant status, yet covered by the budget (24%)
- the community teachers, contracted at the local level but subsidised by the
State; more than 20% since 2001 (26% of the total staff in primary education).

A permanent civil servant costs the government four times more (!) than a
community teacher. This means concretely that 50% of the teachers in public
education are working under a status that applies to the private sector (ADEA,
2004). It appears in addition that the official weekly working hours, fixed at 28
hours for primary education, are hardly respected in practice (Göttelmann-Duret,

It remains to be seen what the future will bring. But according to the prognoses
of the UNESCO pool in Dakar (Amelewonou and others) an annual increase in
staff by 4.4% on average is necessary to be able to ensure by 2015 primary
education for all the children. In 1987, 14,067 teachers were employed in public
primary education in Benin; in 2001, they were 17,266. In 2015, 36,036
teachers will be necessary to satisfy the real education needs. This will be a huge
task in view of today’s deficit.

Below we will explain how to interpret all this in relation to private education.

Status and working conditions in private education

The data processed in the following paragraphs are based on the joint reaction of
the teachers’ federations SYNESP, SNIA-EP, SYNPROLYC and SYNTRA-MESRS to
the WCT survey of 2004.

By decree dd 1 October 1964, private school got 60% of the gross salaries for
corresponding jobs in public schools whose staff are subsidised by the
government. From 1976 to this day, the salaries have been borne by the
employers themselves. This was the consequence of the structural adjustment
programmes that were imposed on the government.
Teachers in private schools must have the same qualifications as their colleagues
in public schools. In practice this means that they must be in possession of a
pedagogic higher education diploma. The nationality and language criteria apply.
As has already been explained in previous paragraphs, however, many people
are allowed to teach on the basis of a secondary education diploma. This is true
both in public and in private education. As a rule, the salaries are scaled
according to age and seniority. As yet, the boards and directions of private
schools are not compelled to apply the existing salary scales. Collective
bargaining agreements in private education have not yet been concluded, even if
the teachers’ unions strongly insist on this.

What is the annual salary of teachers in private education?

(1 US$= 600 F CFA)

Commencing salary in private primary education: 384,000 F CFA (640$) or 94%

of the commencing salary in public education.

Salary after 15 years in private primary education: 720,000 F CFA (1200$) or

56% of the corresponding salary in public education.

Commencing salary in the 1st cycle of sec. ed.: 528,000 F CFA (880$) or 94% of
the commencing salary in public education

Salary after 15 years in 1st cycle of sec. ed.: 900,000 F CFA (1500$) or 50% of
the corresponding salary in public education.

Commencing salary in the 2nd cycle of sec. ed.: 819,000 F CFA (1365$) or 91%
of the corresponding salary in public education.

Salary after 15 years in 2nd cycle of sec. ed.: 1,440,000 F CFA (2400$) or 48%
of the corresponding salary in public education.

Taxes and social security contributions are deducted from the salaries.
As compared to public education there is no fundamental difference, except that
the private sector contributes to the Benin social security office OBSS and the
public sector to a national pension fund.
After the aforementioned deductions the teachers still keep 95% of their gross
The minimum age for teaching is 18 in primary education and 21 in secondary
education. Some groups of teachers reach the maximum of the salary scale after
15 years’ seniority. In public education this is after 24 to 25 years’ seniority.
To be entitled to a pension, one must be 55 years old and have 30 years of
seniority. These criteria apply to everyone in education. Retirement is not
compulsory, but it is recommended.
As teachers in private education come under the Code générale du Travail
(general labour code), their contract can be terminated (suspended) at any
The pension is in proportion to the supplied services, provided that at least 15
years of seniority have been reached.
Teachers in secondary education are allowed to combine their teaching job with
other paid activities. Teachers in primary education are not allowed this. Retired
teachers, too, can combine their pensions with unlimited paid activities. The
pensions are paid by the Caisse nationale de Sécurité Sociale (national social
security fund) and amount to 66.66% of the last salaries.
Working conditions

Like in public education, the weekly assignment in private education is 28 hours

in primary education, 20 in the first cycle of secondary education and 16 in
higher education, and this during 35 weeks a year. Part-time work and
combinations of assignments in several schools are allowed.

Trade union rights in private education

Trade union rights in private education in Benin are respected to a rather limited
extent. The rate of unionisation in public education is 80%, but in private
education a mere 10%.
Only SYBESP (1,200 members) recruits its members exclusively in private
education. The other unions are active in public education.
The representatives of the teachers’ unions have been formally recognised at all
the political levels; their rights and freedoms are protected by an internal status.
They can also operate at all the political levels.
Also in private education it is legally possible to conclude collective bargaining
agreements on a variety of topics such as salary and working conditions, class
size and pedagogic and structural reforms. Bargaining is possible at the national,
the regional as well as the school level.
In reality, however, this has come to nothing in private education as no collective
agreements have yet been concluded.
Disputes are settled as much as possible amicably in an ad hoc committee. If no
settlement is reached, the case is brought before the labour inspectorate and, in
the last instance, before the court.


The turbulent history of private education in Benin – tolerated during the colonial
time, nationalised after the independence, then gradually restored and expanded
without government support – has had strong and as yet unsolved negative
effects for the status and the working conditions of the teachers.
Their salaries remain far below the salaries paid in public education, despite the
fact that they must meet the same diploma requirements, follow the same
curricula and satisfy the same achievement standards. And as staff problems are
legion in public education, too, these problems largely extend over private
The efforts the government has made (or has been able to make) so far, whether
or not with strong support from intergovernmental and non-governmental
bodies, have proved to insufficient to repair the situation. This is also true for
aspects that are specifically related to the organisation of private education. The
fact that no collective bargaining agreement for private education has yet been
concluded despite the formal possibility to do so, illustrates this.
The teachers’ unions are obviously facing a difficult and lengthy task to give the
situation of the staff a favourable turn. The substandard rate of unionisation in
private education has to be urgently raised, if the trade unions want to weigh on
the decision-making as representative organisations. The further growth of
private education in Benin makes this a priority.

ADEA, (2000), Assessment of Basic Education in sub-Saharan Africa 1990-2000, sub-Saharan EFA
Secretariat, Adea Working Group on Education Statistics.

ADEA e.o., (2004), Bénin. Document de Contribution, Conférence sur les Enseignants Non-
Fonctionnaires, 21 au 23 novembre 2004, Bamako, Mali.

Amelewonou, K., Brossard, M ., Gacougnolle, L.C., (s.d.), The issue of Teaching Staff and Universal
Primary Enrolment in 2015 in the ECOWAS, CEMAC, and PALOPs countries, UNESCO, Pôle de

Banque Mondiale, (2004), Bénin. Pour une plus grande efficacité de la dépense publique : Examen
de trois secteurs-clés, Développement humain II, Département pays 13, Région Africaine, Banque
Mondiale, Washington DC, USA.

Bennell, (1997), Privatization in Sub Saharan Africa : progress and prospects during the 1990s, in
World Development, Vol. 25 n° 11, pp. 1785-1804.

CSME/Bénin, (2004), Enquête enseignement privé: réponses des organisations membres.

Debourou, D.M., (1996), The Case of Benin, in ADEA, Formulating education policy: lessons and
experiences from Sub-Saharan Africa, ADEA, Paris, pp. 39-61.

FME, (2000), L’évaluation de l’éducation pou trous à l’an 2000: Rapports des pays, Bénin, Forum
Mondiale de l’éducation, Dakar, Sénégal.

Göttemann-Duret, G., (1998), La gestion des enseignants de premier cycle au Bénin, Burkina Faso,
Mali et Sénégal, IIEP/UNESCO.

Guedegbe, C.M., (1999), Higher Education Reform in Benin in a Context of Growing Privatization,
CIHE, Boston College.

INFRE, (2004), Rapport national sur le développement de l’éducation, (47e session CIE) Institut
National pour la Formation et le Recherche en Education, Porto-Novo, Bénin.

Le Thenk Khoi (ed), (1971), L’enseignement en Afrique tropical, Presse Universitaire de France,

Mingat, A. & Winter, C., (2002), L’éducation pour tous en 2015, Finances & Développement/Mars
2002, pp. 32-35.

Oulaï, D. & Péano, S., (1999), Benin: an information system on educational expenditure, in IIEP
Newsletter, vol. XVII, n° 1, January-March, 1999.

Oulaï, D. & Péano, S., (2000), La dépense d’éducation au Bénin (1993-1996), IIPE/UNESCO, Paris.

Obanya, P., (1998), Patterns of educational reform in Africa, in: Prospects, Vol. XXVIII, n° 4 (Dec.
1998), pp. 619-628.

US Aid Benin, (2003a), Interview of the former Minister of primary and secondary education, May

US Aid Benin, (2003b), Interview on the New Study Program (NPE) and the Education System
Reform in Benin, December 7, 2003.

Usuanlele, U., (s.d.), Colonial State and Education in Benin, Division 1897-1959, Edo Nation

Weva, K. & Dewanou, H., (2003), Les conditions d’apprentissage pour une éducation de qualité au
Bénin: l’application des normes EQF, Ministère de l’Enseignement primaire et secondaire, ADEA.
World Bank, (1994), Education Development Program, Republic of Benin (Third Education Project),
Staff Appraisal Report, WB, Washington DC, USA.

World Bank, (1998), World Development Indicators, World Bank, Washington DC, USA.

Chapter 10


Pluricultural and free education

Mauritius, consisting of three main islands and some smaller islands in the Indian
Ocean, became independent in 1968 and a Republic in 1992. Mauritius is a
multiracial, multilingual, and pluricultural country. It is a country where the
official language is English, the general spoken is French, the common lingua
franca is Creole, and the language at home can be Bhojpuri, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil,
Telegu, or Mandarin, among others. The teaching of these different languages
and the level at which they should be introduced into the school curriculum have
always been controversial issues. Children study English and French in primary
school and some of them also study an Asian language. Education is compulsory
from the ages 5 to 12 years. Education is free at all levels, although there are
some fee-paying schools. For most schools the formal school structure is 6 years
of compulsory primary school, +5 years of lower secondary school +2 years of
upper secondary school (Kulpoo, 1998).

A few figures

In March 2004, there were 1070 schools providing pre-primary services. Of

these schools 77% were privately run institutions; 17% were administrated by
the Pre-School Trust Fund (PSTF) on primary school premises and the remaining
6% by the Roman Catholic Education Authority (RCEA) and Municipal and Village
On the same date, Mauritius had 289 primary schools with a total school
population of 126,226 pupils. 220 of these schools were public schools, 51 aided
schools dependent on the Roman Catholic Education Authority (RCEA), 2 aided
schools governed by the Hindu Education Authority, and 16 non-aided private
schools. 75% of the total school population is in primary education.

In secondary education the situation is completely different. In March 2004,

there were in Mauritius 189 secondary schools, including public schools,
denominational schools and other private schools. 63 of them provide only
secondary academic education, 13 pre-vocational education and 113 both
secondary academic and pre-vocational education. Of the 176 institutions
providing secondary education 67 were public schools and 109 denominational,
private aided and non-aided schools. Of the 126 institutions providing pre-
vocational education 57 were public institutions and 69 private institutions. 32%
of the pupils attended school in public secondary schools, 68% in private schools.
As compared to the situation in 1990, the situation has slightly changed. In the
then 124 secondary schools only 20% attended school in public schools and 80%
in private schools. These figures are not unimportant if one wants to interpret
the evolution of the education policy of Mauritius in general and the situation of
private education in particular (CSO, 2004).

Historical background

Initial efforts to provide education in Mauritius started with the work of

missionaries as was the case in many former colonies. Despite the actions of
dedicated people education remained outside the reach of the masses for many
years. In the 1940s with the rise of the political emancipation movement, claims
for education increased. In 1941 there were 50 government primary schools and
75 grant-aided schools. From 1947 on the new political class became committed
to expand education on the principle that a literate and intelligent population is
the best guarantee of future economic wisdom.
In 1956 the Education Act gave wide powers to ensure that education facilities
were available in all regions. Government had also established a grant in aid
system to support those schools run by Education Authorities. One precondition
for this grant was that grant aided schools should be open to all children
irrespective of race and religion. The enrolment in primary schools in creased
After independence, in 1968, the Government invested in expanding school
facilities and improving the school infrastructure.
In 1981 the enrolment rate in primary education had reached already around
95%. But some fundamental aspects of education were overlooked. In a White
paper of 1984 was stated e.o. that the system was not relevant to the changing
needs of the economy; there was a low internal efficiency and a lack of equity in
access, the quality was poor; the competitive nature of the Certificate for Private
Education and the number of children who pass the examination were causes of
concern; the level of dropouts from the primary cycle was too high,...
At the same time the country faced a heavy recession with rising inflation,
unemployment and budget deficits. Structural adjustment plans of the IMF and
the World Bank proposed a number of conditions that focussed on the reduction
of expenditures on education.
In 1982 the Government started to implement a severe serious of measures. It
closed 21 private secondary schools on the eve of the new year without any prior
consultation and dialogue with those concerned and more particularly, without
any provision to compensate the staff who were seriously affected by this
decision. The severe reaction from the people concerned and from the general
public was predictable. After that the government was in no circumstances
prepared to move ahead with the structural adjustment conditions and decided
that it would not implement the conditions that applied to education.
Trough a prudent policy of combining educational improvement with structural
adjustment the educational sector moved a step further between 1985 and 1991.
Some new primary schools were constructed and some more extended and
refurnished; private tuition was banned as a measure to control abuse; teacher
training was intensified; textbooks, free of charge, were distributed to all primary
school children …
Secondary education was fee paying until 1976 when Government decided to
make secondary education free. Despite structural adjustment problems in the
1980s, Governments investment in education is not reduced and free secondary
education was maintained (Persumaran, 2001).

Since 1991 a review and proposed reform of the education system know as the
Education Master Plan has been under way. A substantial progression as far as
enrolment, performance, equity and quality were concerned resulted from it. The
Master Plan advocated three main objectives for the future of the Mauritian
education system:
(a) To broaden access and the broaden equity.
(b) To improve the quality of education
(c) To strengthen management skills in education.

The historical overview of the evolution of education in Mauritius indicated that

education reform and policy have often been result of political and economic
circumstances and crises that prevailed at different times of history. They had
rarely been the outcome of careful planning. The Master Plan aimed to change
the unplanned policy and proposed ‘the formulation of policies that would be in
the interest of the nation’. The shortcomings of the education system would
seriously impede economic development. And, since Mauritius had achieved
remarkable economic growth, the moment was propitious to develop a broad
strategy for the education sector (MEAC, 1991; Persumaran, 1997; Pillay, 1997).

The situation of private education in recent years

In view of the important role private education has always played and continues
to play in Mauritius, particularly at the level of secondary education, the political
leaders have to take proper account of this reality when defining their policy.
Quality improvement and update initiatives therefore always have to include
sufficient impetuses to involve also the private sector. Since also the salary cost
of teachers in private education is chargeable to the State budget, each reform
affecting the training and working conditions of teachers also has great
repercussions on the policy of the recognised private schools.
Until a few years ago, there were strong differences between schools. Generally
speaking, the non-governmental schools employed less academically trained
teachers that the public schools; they were marked by a higher student/teacher
ratio; many of them were poorly equipped and accommodated. Some public and
denominational schools of high repute attracted the best pupils and therefore
achieved the best results. On the other hand, a limited number of schools were
an absolute disgrace for the system. There were also strong regional disparities.
The best schools were found in Port Louis and Plaines Wilhems, whereas some
southern regions were almost entirely destitute of secondary schools.
According to estimates of the Private Secondary School Authority, less than 20%
of the pupils went to private schools that were comparable to the public
institutions. Others attended school in institutions of strongly varying quality,
dependent on the teachers, the infrastructure and the quality of the inflow. The
Master Plan was aimed to change this.

First, let us have a look at the evolution of the financing system.

In “Private education in Sub-Saharan Africa” (Kitaev, 1999) the evolution is

summarised as follows:
Since 1983, there has been a process of reform of government grants to private
schools with the intention of:
(a) making them more reflective of actual costs,
(b) incorporating incentives for improvements,
(c) providing financial resources for infrastructure development.

Before 1986, the system of grants provided for payments of teachers’ salaries
plus 25 per cent, and a further 10 per cent to meet other costs. But this system
provided no incentives for the school to improve their standards. A new formula
was introduced in 1986, based on a per capita grant, and including incentive
grants for laboratories, libraries, etc.
This formula was replaced in 1989 by a “comprehensive grant formula”. This
included an ‘Operation grant’ to meet teaching and non-teaching costs and to
provide incentives for operational improvements; and a “Management grant” to
stimulate improvements in management and capital expenditure.
The Comprehensive grant formula has been subject to revision to allow for
changes in policy orientations, cost structure and education development. The
latest revision provides enhanced incentives for science and technical subjects,
computer education, sports and extra-curricular activities. In addition to grants,
various loans may also be given by the government to private secondary schools
for infrastructure and transportation. The allocation of financial resources was
obviously also made dependent on quality requirements.

The impact of the measures contained in the Master Plan.

In the past decades, the expansion of primary education, particularly in public

education, has gone hand in hand with a rise in private secondary schools. In
1996, private education still accounted for 80% of the school population in
secondary education (Parsuramen, 1997), even though secondary education was
free everywhere. The public/private education relation remained largely
unchanged, but the stronger efforts of the State to erect its own institutions
where the supply was insufficient – a strong pillar of the Master Plan – had
consequences for the private institutions, of course.
The stronger need for secondary schools was created, further by the abolition of
ranking in primary education and a new mode of admission to secondary schools.
It is generally agreed that the major dysfunction of the Mauritian system of
education has been the bottleneck situation created by the element of Ranking at
the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) examination, reads the National
Report 2004 from the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (MESR,
2004). This had a major stumbling block to equity promotion as well as having
had a deleterious effect on the quality dimension since
- it became an instrument of selection in the context of a dramatic
mismatch between demand and supply for Form I places in a few highly
regarded secondary schools;
- it was blind to the residential factor, admission to secondary schools for
the ranked candidates being carried out on a national basis; end
- it perverted the very aims and objectives of primary education by giving
rise to a lopsided education focused on examinable subjects rather than
emphasising the holistic development of the child.

Since 2002 a new strategy has been adopted, the Grade System, whereby a
new alphabetical Grade System has replaced the ranking system such that all
children obtaining the minimum pass grades now join the secondary mainstream
while those who do not achieve these after two attempts at CPE join the
secondary Pre-vocational Stream.
The abolition of ranking (CPE) has necessitated the implementation of two
important measures in addition to the regionalisation of admission to lower
secondary school, namely
- the construction of New State Secondary Schools (from 34 to 67 in 2004)
- transformation of high demand Secondary Schools into Sixth From Colleges.


In the past year 2004, still other reforms affecting the various education
initiators were carried out in addition to the aforementioned increase in the
number of public secondary schools, particularly in remote areas where no
private schools had yet been erected (Business Magazine, 2005).
The creation of Priority Education Zones (PEZs) is aimed at better education
opportunities in regions with strong education needs. They concern around 30
schools and 11,000 pupils. It is important to point out that also private
companies are involved in this project, and this not only in the form of financial
patronage. They monitor the policies of the schools concerned, which has
important fundamental consequences, of course. That way also Mauritius is being
confronted with forms of privatisation of public schools. A trend that has cropped
up in many countries, as we explained in the introductory chapters.
For the first time, also the oriental languages were recognised for the final
examinations in primary education. During two years, the abolition of ranking
and the introduction of grading had a negative impact on the overall results.
Another important factor was the increase of the legal compulsory education age
to 16 years. As far as pre-vocational education is concerned, the preparation and
administration of this form of education was revitalised by means of
public/private partnerships. Again the already mentioned trend to privatise public

Of course this new situation affects the private secondary education in many
respects. A number of private secondary schools sounded the alarm. According
to the secretary of the Federation of Managers of Private Schools, most private
secondary schools of his Federation (around 80) would not attain the standard
imposed by the Private Secondary School Authority (PSSA) for organising a class
in Form I. This would not be the case in the Catholic schools, however. The
Federation condemns that the erection of new public schools has a negative
effect on the enrolments in its schools. Its great concern is that an insufficient
number of pupils enrol for the pre-vocational education supplied by its schools.
The Ministry of Education and the PSSA doubt this, yet admit that the institutions
of the least repute threaten to fail to enrol a sufficient number of pupils entitling
them to subsidies.
That way the tone is set: not only the public/private initiative relation, but also
the quality dimension has become an important factor in the debate. And
speaking of quality automatically places the matter of the qualifications and
professional status of the personnel of public and private education high on the

Concerning the present evolutions the UPSEE formulated the following position
(Soondress, 2005):
Despite several revisions of the comprehensive grant formula to stimulate
owners of the private secondary schools to invest and improve, quite a number
of schools are still eyesores and a disgrace for the system. The PSSA has never
been able to monitor the funding of private schools in a professional manner thus
giving managers full liberty of investing their grant into other private enterprises.
Parent Teachers’ Associations with their matching grant have also been an
important source of revenue for most managers who make use of PTA funds
where grants from the PSSA ought to have been utilized.
It would incorrect to say that “all high demand schools are transformed to Form
VI colleges” knowing fully well that confessional schools have opted to keep their
Form I to Form VI structure.
Inviting private companies to be involved in the education of the Mauritian child
is a very laudable venture, writes Soondress. If it is true that certain zones need
a particular attention as matters of education of our child, it is also stark reality
that many Mauritian children not belonging to the PEZ (Priority Education Zones)
are needy students and require a positive discrimination irrespective of their
race, religion or zone. It would be therefore highly recommended that private
enterprises extend their help to such needy case instead of PEZ which are
already being catering for.
Following the erection of new public schools, managers and employees of the
private sector expressed their deep concern about the negative impact on
enrolment of mainstream students in private secondary schools. Has it not been
for the intake of prevocational students in small private secondary schools, many
would have had to close down by now.

Status and working conditions of personnel in private education

Teachers in private schools need to have the same qualifications as in

government schools. The criteria for recruitment are established by the PRB (Pay
Research Bureau) in conformity of the Education Act.
The manager of the private school has the authority to hire and fire staff
members. A manager can dismiss a member of staff for negligence, ineffective
teaching or unprofessional behaviour if charges are established before a
disciplinary Board set up the de authorities, in case of secondary schools the
PSSA, the Private Secondary Schools Authority; the PPSA, the Private Primary
Schools Authority for primary schools .
It is important to mention that most private schools are family business.

Trade union rights and freedoms.

The Constitution explicitly protects the right of workers to associate in trade

unions, and there is an active trade union movement in all sectors. Wage setting
by the government in the state sector undermines free collective bargaining. The
trade union right of industrial action is recognised in Mauritius. But the Industrial
Relations Act (IRA) imposes a 21-day cooling of period before any strike can
begin, and the Labour Ministry may order that the case betaken before the
industrial court for binding arbitration. Furthermore, the IRA permits the
government to declare any strike illegal, if, in its opinion, it ‘imperils the
economy’. In 2002, to make a strong united challenge to the government, five
organisations of teachers, head teachers and inspectors formed the Common
front of Education. The government had refused to make public the Sewraz
Report recommending improvements to teachers’ salaries ands conditions and
relatively between primary and secondary teachers (EI-barometer, 2004).

Employees (teachers) very often suffer the whims and caprices of employers who
function as feudal kings with public funds in some private schools. Teachers are
even not allowed to join their union. However in many others, teachers are free
to join but have still to bear the arrogance and opaque management of the

Teacher unions’ representatives are formally recognised to represent the

teachers in consultations and negotiations on national but also on school level.
Labour laws provide the safeguard of their own professional rights when acting
on behalf of the union. There are no specific regulations for teachers.

Teacher unions’ are informed and consulted on national level and on regional
level. The representatives of the government and of the organisations of
organisers of schools are there partners on the national level, the representatives
of the authorities on regional level. On school level they are not recognised to be
informed and consulted. Agreements which are signed by the government and
the unions are respected.
The right to collective bargaining, following the rules and practises of both the
public sector and the private sector in general is legally protected. Educational
plans and reforms are discussed at national level but not negotiated. The unions
can voice together a common opinion.
Collective bargaining is possible on salaries, working conditions and curricula, not
on class size, pedagogical and structural reforms. Up to now trade unions have
bargaining separately. Hopefully with a common federation collective bargaining
could become possible at least on matters like salaries and working conditions.
On national level exist a committee, operating as a advisory and consultative
body, organising the participation of the different stakeholders in education.
On school level there is some exchange and consultation possible between the
union and the parents association.

For individual disputes a disciplinary board, comprising representatives of trade

unions, management and the PSSA is set up. It is chaired by a lawyer. Otherwise
the trade union, once having registered complaints may refer the cases to the
labour office for conciliation meetings before seeking redress in a court of law.
So far as labour disputes are concerned, the complaints are directed to the
labour office by the trade union. If conciliation meetings are not successful, the
office will take the matter before the Industrial court or at the TCSB.

Mauritius and the EFA objectives

In his study for the Unesco, Achieving Education for All, Persuraman (2001)
points out
that the achievement of basic education was a long term process which spreads
over several decades. Without the participation of all the partners in the
education sector, it would not be possible to achieve basic education, he writes.
The teachers are the most important components of the education sector, they
have to be involved, to be given the opportunity to give their views and take part
in the decision making process. They must be active partners. In the previous
paragraphs we have pointed out that a lot remains to be done in this respect,
particularly in private education. Parents and the community cannot be ignored
in the exercise. Without their support and their participation, education reforms
would never succeed. We have to build up the partnership that would give
effective results, concludes Persuraman. The aforementioned evolutions go to
show that private education is a very important partner in this respect.
Teachers have persistently asked for a review of their status which they consider
has been downgraded over the years in terms of salary scales and relatively with
other grades. The Master Plan could not address this problem because the whole
issue of salaries and conditions of service were not within its jurisdiction.
So far as the languages are concerned, in a multi-cultural environment, the
government choose the middle of the road policies in a spirit of compromise,
rather than policy on sound pedagogical and social considerations. The language
issue, which is highly complex in Mauritius, is an example where no consensus
has been reached. It remains a subject of debate. The consequences for the EFA
objectives are obvious.
The reports on the question of Oriental languages and the report concerning the
problems of confessional schools, both from 1991, defended as a compromise
that the Asian languages should count for ranking as from 1996 and the
confessional secondary schools could reserve 50% of their seats for admission on
their own criteria. Both reports were contested in court. The two have given
cause for frustration and discontent among different communities in the island.
they were both considered as unjust and unfair.
Private tuition is seen as a big problem because it is increasingly being run in a
commercial basis and there is an abuse of private tuition by students.
These examples show that also in Mauritius established practices and institutions
are so deeply entrenched in the way of life that it was not possible to change
them. Changing attitudes is a long term process. The consequence is that private
education is not always the most willing partner for the implementation of the
EFA goals. Any policy or decision that appears offensive to one or more groups
might create unnecessary tension and unrest, says Persuraman.
The problem of marginalization on social or economic grounds is another
important issue. Our schools and our teachers were not equipped to face the
related problems, admits Persuraman. As a result the problem increased in
intensity and became a burning political issue.
A lot of things changed in Mauritius during the last decade. But a lot of
challenges remain. The private education sector has an important role to play in
this respect. The teachers involved need to be respected in their individual and
collective rights to make them the committed and motivated, the indispensable
partners to reach the common objectives.


Business Magazine, (2005), 2004, une année riche pour le ministère de l’Education, Business Mag-, January 24, 2005

CSO, (2004), Education Statistics 2004, Central Statistics Office, Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development, Port Louis.

EI, (2004), EI-barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights in the Education Sector, Education
International, Brussels.

Kitaev, Igor, (1999), Private education in Sub-Saharan Africa, IIEP/Unesco, Paris.

Kulpoo, Dh., (1998), The Quality of education: some policy suggestions based on a survey of
schools. Mauritius, SACMEQ Policy Research: report no. 1, IIEP/Unesco, Paris & MEHRD, Port Louis

MEAC, (1991), Education Master Plan for the year 2000, Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture,
Port Louis

MES, (1994), Highlights on education budget 1994-1995, Ministry of Education and Science, Port
MESR, (2004), The Development of Education. National Report of Mauritius, Ministry of Education
and Scientific Research, Port Louis.

Persuraman, A., (1997), Master Plan for education for the year 2000: the Mauritian experiences,
Paris, Unesco/IIEP

Persuraman, A., (2001), Achieving Education for All. The experience of Mauritius, Int. Inst. for
Capacity Building in Africa, Adis Ababa, Unesco

Pillay, K. R. Ch., (1997), White Paper, Pre-primary, primary and secondary education, MEHRD, Port

Soondress, S.,(UPSEE), (2005), Letter to the WCT office dd. May, 17, 2005.

WCT/Mauritius, (2004), Questionnaire on the status and working conditions in private schools.
Contribution of UPSEE.

X., (2004), Perspectives économique en Afrique. Maurice, pp. 278-289, BAID/OCDE

Chapter 11


Did you say “integration”?

Statistics are unequivocal: despite the efforts made over the past years in Arab
countries, the progress made in the education field is still low when compared to
the performance of other developing regions in the world. Illiteracy among
women remains a widespread problem. Enrolment ratios in primary education
are low, although official sources may deny it. Observers confirm it: this is the
case of Morocco too. Despite the progress achieved in Morocco over the past
years, much still remains to be done (UNDP, 2003a; UNDP, 2003b; UIS-
UNESCO, 2004).

Has private education contributed to the progress achieved? In general terms, it

can be said that private education institutions remain on the fringes of the formal
education sector acknowledged by the State in most Arab countries (Kirchberger,
2002). However, it is a fact that the governments’ attitude regarding private
education initiatives has considerably changed over the past years. If this change
concerns vocational training and higher education –especially for financial
reasons and the need to keep pace with the evolution of today’s society- then
private education is likely to be fully integrated into the educational system.
Morocco is a perfect example of this.

National Charter on Education - Training

The education-related policies implemented after Morocco’s independence were

mainly aimed at improving access to and the quality of the training and
education system. These objectives were based on the principles of
«morocconization», unification, Arabization and generalization.
However, this system failed to achieve the results expected. Illiteracy and
enrolment rates slightly improved, while drop-out rates continue being high,
especially in rural areas, where access to education is very limited.
In the early 90s, the Government adopted a new educational approach mainly
based on the promotion of efficiency, rationalization of resources,
decentralization and the participation of new partners.

In 1999, the «Commission Spéciale d’Education – Formation (COSEF)», an

advisory group within Morocco’s Ministry of Education, was entrusted with the
task of elaborating a project on the reform of the system. A National Charter on
Education – Training, ratified by the King, was adopted in January 2000 (MEFPT,
2002; COSEF, 2000).

This Charter provides for the objectives of the educational system as a whole
(guidelines, aims, rights and duties of the different partners and the national
actions needed to guarantee a successful reform). It also defines new guidelines
for the different educational levels, the action levers and the activities to be
carried out (Jarousse, 2004; MEFPT, 2002). One of the levers identified concerns
the role of private education and financing.

Lever 18 states a clear aim:

to encourage private education and training, as well as to monitor its standards
and functioning.

What about the relationship between private education and the State?
Article 163 is unequivocal:
The private education and training sector is considered to be a key partner,
which will work together with the State in order to promote the education
and training system, widen its scope and improve its quality.
In order for the private sector to assume its role, it shall commit itself to
considering education and training as a public service.
Consequently, the main actors of the sector shall respect the standards
regarding equipment, guidance, programs and methods that are in force within
the public education sector. Otherwise, they shall submit a project providing for
a curriculum in compliance with the guidelines set by the education and training
sector, provided that they prepare students for the same Moroccan diplomas,
and upon approval of the competent national authorities.
Article 164 states that:
Education and training-related authorities shall implement a systematic and
transparent process aimed at:
• Standardizing quality, assessing and monitoring schools and validating
training programs;
• Recognizing training diplomas or directly awarding State’s diplomas to the
graduates of the private education sector, provided that the curriculum
has been validated;
• Raising public awareness on the performance of private schools.

In order to encourage the active participation of the private sector in the

secondary and higher education sector, the decision was made to create
appropriate tax incentives; to promote the creation of public interest educational
institutions; to award grants at the preschool education level; to train teachers
and managers, etc.

The Charter also provided for several bills, such as the Projet de Loi n° 06-00
formant statut de l’enseignement scolaire privé.
According to the third chapter of this Bill, at least 80% of the private institutions’
staff must be hired on a permanent basis (unless otherwise stated by the
regional education and training authority).
All private institutions’ principals and teachers must be Moroccan and over 18
years old (25 for principals). They must also provide an official medical certificate
certifying their psychological and physical capacity to work; be able to exercise
their civil and political rights, and meet the educational qualification
requirements set by the Law. However, the regional education authority can
decide to authorize a foreign citizen to occupy a position as teacher or principal.
Article 15 states that private institutions’ staff can have free access to all
counseling, initial and continuous professional training programs created for
public education staff, in compliance with the conventions subscribed by both the
regional education authorities and the private institutions concerned.
In short, the promotion of private education is one of the key elements of the

Before dealing with the progress recently achieved and the current situation of
private education, it would be worth analyzing the historical background of this
sector, with a view to fully understanding certain facts lying behind the
government’s policy and the role granted to private education in Morocco.

Background and evolution

Private education in Morocco, as in other Arab countries, originated with the first
Medersas –Koranic schools- and with the great universities. This kind of
education truly blossomed during the 1830’s, thanks to the initiatives of
nationalist movements struggling to protect national identity (Wazzani, 2001).

Historically, private education takes three different forms:

1. Pre-colonial private education: this kind of education is rooted in the

traditional education system created during the 8th Century. Such system
mainly relied upon Koranic schools and zaouias. The education provided
was mainly of a religious character. Schools were private and exclusively
reserved for boys.
2. Private education under the French protectorate: from the beginning,
this system opposed the French occupation and schools. It followed the
zaouias and msids tradition and was aimed at protecting the religious
and cultural values of the country, as well as the Arabic language. Given
the Salafist influence, the Arabic renaissance and the creation of the first
schools for foreign communities, the system started being referred to as
“free education”. During World War II, such system developed beyond
the French control.
3. Private education after the independence: the first stage (1956-1966)
is characterized by the transition from free education to private
education. The sector blossoms and the number of enrolled students
swung from 23,000 in 1956 to 49,000 in 1966. New institutions –with
new methodologies- are created. In 1959, a primary education system
unified in both sectors, public and private, is implemented.
During the second stage (1966-1993), Arabization is challenged, thus
leading to the return to bilingual education. Some private schools found
themselves in an awkward position regarding this doctrine. This fact
marks the beginning of a new generation of institutions of both an
educational and commercial character, that is, for-profit institutions, with
no standards or regulations regarding construction or equipment. During
the 80’s, the private sector blossoms both at the quantitative and
qualitative levels. High school failure rates in public education institutions
led to the emergence of a new type of private secondary education
institutions embracing the public institutions’ students who have failed.
However, the implementation of a fundamental education system
hindered the development of private education. Consequently, the
number of private institutions fell from 592 in 1988 to 541 in 1991. But
after the adoption of Law No. 16/ 86, the sector began to recover.
Finally, in 2000, a reform –mentioned above- was implemented. This
reform was aimed at integrating the different forms of private education
into a unified system under the State’s control (Dinia, 2002).

One example of the consequences of this newly-implemented policy can be

found in the preschool sector. According to the General Private Education
Law of 2000, the government leaves the provision of pre-school education in
the hands of private sector. Almost 53% of the children between 4 and 5
years old are registered in such schools. About 80% of the enrolments are
in Koranic pre-schools attended by middle class children and the other 20%
is divided between Traditional Koranic pre-schools or Massaid catering for
poor children in remote areas, and Modern pre-schools for upper middle-
class children in urban areas. It would be worth noting that although
traditional Koranic pre-schools focus mainly on religious teachings, they also
incorporate other subjects including language and maths. Physical and
pedagogical conditions are better in Koranic pre-school institutions.
The government encourages families, communities, NGOs, etc., to open
pre-school institutions, by granting tax benefits, subsidies or other forms of
support. This kind of benefits is mainly granted to Koranic and Modern pre-
schools. Institutions are free to set the tuition fees parents must pay (Choi,
2004). It would be worth saying that most of the initiatives taken are of an
Islamic nature.
Obviously, this situation could be detrimental to the poor in remote areas if
the resources granted by Islamic or external institutions are insufficient.
Besides, this situation clearly shows the role of Islam in the education of the
youth in Morocco. We will deal with this point later in this document.

The current situation

According to the report on Morocco’s education system –submitted to the

International Education Conference in July 2004 (MENESFC, 2004) - in 2003-
2004, there exist some 1,530 private education institutions (including pre-school
and high-school education).
The number of student enrolled increased from 138,727 in 1991-1992 to
280,148 in 2003-2004, that is, a 6% annual average increase. However, the
private education enrolment rate represents only 4.8% of the total amount of
students enrolled in both the public and private sectors. It would be worth noting
here that despite the regular progress registered in the primary education sector,
the enrolment rates in secondary and professional secondary education have
progressed in an irregular way over the period mentioned above.

Taking into account the 20% expected by 2010 -reform implemented in 2000
(Wazzani, 2001) - much still remains to be done.
As regards private primary education, there was a 2.5-fold increase in enrolment
rates, which swung from 93,532 to 223,232 between 1991-1992 and 2003-2004,
that is, a 7.5% annual average increase. The Casablanca – Rabat - Kénitra axis
represents 70% of the students enrolled in private institutions.
Regarding secondary education, enrolment rates remain quite low: a 2% average
during the same period. However, despite the fall registered between 1991-1992
and 1995-1996, private enrolment rates in this sector have increased over the
past 5 years, going from 13,405 students in 1999-2000 to 27,167 in 2003-2004,
that is, an 18.7% annual average increase.
Enrolment rates in professional secondary education stagnated from 1991-1992
to 2003-2004. Professional secondary education institutions are mainly located in
urban areas, and embrace students who have quit the public sector. The total
number of students enrolled represented 29,749 in 2003-2004, that is, 5% of
the total enrolment rate within the professional secondary education sector.

It would be worth noting that foreign missions - despite their low enrolment rate
- provide a system of pre-school, primary and secondary education similar to the
one used in their countries of origin, but in Arabic. According to the report
submitted, Arab-Muslim civilization is part of the curriculum.
There exist 4 American schools, 11 institutions managed and controlled by the
Embassy of Spain, an Italian school, and some institutions created by cultural
delegations from Arab countries, such as Libya, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. There are
also 4 Israeli schools, 13 Catholic schools and 33 institutions of the Agency for
French Education, and 4 AEFE schools under the auspices of the Office Scolaire
et Universitaire International (OSUI). Besides, there exist five institutions of a
mission type. All this information is useful to understand the relationship
between the Moroccan State and the private education institutions not
contemplated in 2000’s Charter. Actually, some of the problems posed by these
schools illustrate the relationship between the State and the private sector.
Obviously, private education is part of the national education system. Nowadays,
it contributes to the increase in enrolment rates in pre-school and primary
education, especially in urban areas. However, measures aimed at promoting the
development of secondary and professional secondary schools need to be taken,
and regulations must be updated. Any governmental strategy for the promotion
of private education must be composed of several axes. Otherwise, the
governmental development objective will not be met, and for most of the schools
mentioned above, it will be very difficult or even impossible to be integrated into
the unified system promoted by the State.

The private education problem

According to Wazzani, in the 90’s a significant number of private investors

expressed their will to invest in education, mainly in order to create private
institutions with the “Mission universitaire et culturelle” label.
By then, these investors were told that such a proposal was contrary to the
private education law in force, given that education should be based on a “unified
school” principle, and its main objective should be preparing students to the
Moroccan baccalaureate.
As a result, the private sector was supposed to foster the same values as the
public sector, but with the possibility of new pedagogic notions being adapted or
incorporated, in compliance with the private education law.

Given the discontentment of foreigners living in Morocco, that of Moroccans who

used to live abroad and decided to go back to their country, and that of the
parents of the students enrolled in the Mission institutions, the decision was
made to authorize five of these institutions to provide this kind of education only
to those students unable to complete the curricula imposed by the Ministry of
Education. According to investors, the governmental decision fostered unfair
competition. Many institutions decided then to express their will to officially
prepare students to the French baccalaureate.

Wazzini (2001) stated that the private education sector, despite its development,
may have serious problems to adapt itself to the reforms concerning public
education. Given the deep economic and social changes taking place nowadays,
private education can no longer play a «secondary» role vis-à-vis public
According to her, private education must play a “competitor” role, thus fostering
the students’ emancipation, abilities, skills and faculties, so as to promote their
social integration. Therefore, it is necessary to find a “niche” within the sector, so
as to optimize its potential and development, and to set it up as a full-fledged
partner of the public education sector. In other words, governmental regulations
must be more flexible.
Consequently, it is necessary to elaborate a strategy in order to promote private
education. Measures likely to instill a new dynamic into the private sector are
essential. We must not forget that the author of the article mentioned before,
Touhamia Wazzini, is the Director of the Private Cooperation and Education
department of the Moroccan Ministry of Education.
According to Wazzini, private education needs to promote the value of human
resources through its contribution to the increase in enrolment rates, for
government expenditure in this field is quite high and it will necessarily exceed
the financial resources allocated within the State’s budget. That is why the
Ministry of Education has elaborated two projects in order to foster the
participation of social-oriented associations (mainly Muslim communities’
initiatives?) and the private sector as partners in the field of education:

- To create charter schools that can benefit from the advantages negotiated
and provided for by a specification. Although they must not exceed the
threshold established for tuition fees, they will be provided grants in the
form of staff and equipment.
- The creation of associated schools making it possible for non-profit
associations to manage the institutions and therefore, to participate in the
efforts made to increase enrolment rates and guarantee the best possible
use of human and material resources.

Private education is a promising opportunity to reduce government expenditure

in education. Besides, it represents a potential field for employment, she says.

We must admit that this new approach of the State-private education

relationship implies the commercialization of education. The global aim of the
National Charter on Education and Training seems to be the local implementation
of a commercialization process (applied to the entire system or to just some
aspects), says Kerckhofs, after the debates held within the framework of Morocco
Social Forum, from December 20th to 22nd 2002. The Bouznika Declaration,
which resulted from the debates organized during this Social Forum (gathering
the representatives of trade union organizations and human rights, women’s,
youth, development and environment associations, etc.) is quite clear:

«The so-called ‘National Charter on Education and Training’ in Morocco, is

nothing but the result of the local implementation of the recommendations made
by the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World
Trade Organization (WTO). It provides for:
• The State’s disengagement from education, from the financial point of
view, to the detriment of citizens: no more scholarships for students, high
tuition fees within professional secondary and higher education, tuition
fees imposed to employees wanting to follow a vocational training
program, etc.)
• The promotion of the privatization of education through tax incentives to
private institutions, partial or total tax exemption for some institutions or
even grants
• The infringement of the teachers’ right to labour stability, through the
implementation of fixed-term contracts, salary redistribution, the
substitution of seniority for profitability regarding the teachers’ promotions
• The neglect of the cultural dimension and knowledge, and the promotion
of market-oriented training and skills».

It is worth highlighting that the measures concerning the teachers’ status may
result in the homogenization of the status of public and private teaching staff,
the latter being completely subject to the labour legislation applied to the private
sector in general.

Morocco’s schools and Islam

In Morocco, Islam certainly is a major determinant of the State-education

relationship, both at the private and public levels.
According to Dominique Borne, the influence of Islam on education is quite
significant. The aim is to Islamize society. The Arabization of education -the
refusal of the language of the colonial power during the first years of
independence- was parallel to its Islamization. As in other Arab countries,
prozelytization in a religion other than Islam is banned. The Moroccan example
shows the hesitation of the State; the country’s elites send their children to
French and/or private schools.
Religion has been considered to be a means to avoid political and social dissent.
The rise in Islamism - together with the recent attacks of Casablanca - has led to
a consciousness-raising trend (Borne, 2004). The fact is that by integrating the
private sector into a unified system - in order to protect its Moroccan and Islamic
character - the Moroccan State wants to control the private sector, without
preventing it from adopting a trade-oriented vision, mainly for budgetary
reasons. Within this approach, the promotion of private education is the
mainstay of the educational policy of Morocco.
Bernard Cubertafond provides a clear example of the obstacles to this policy.
According to 2000’s Charter on Education, the same language should be used to
teach in faculties of Sciences, high schools and higher education institutions.
However, within these faculties, lessons are given in French, while the poor
quality of secondary education is attributed to the Arabization. Besides, although
Moroccan elites say to support such Arabization, they keep their children away
from the Moroccan Arabized system, thus sending them to French schools
(and/or private schools). A deep education reform should solve this problem, by
taking into account history, Islam, national identity, bilingualism, and even
multilingualism (Arab, French and English) (Cubertafond, 2000). Given the
evolution described above, we can even add another element: the relationship
between the State and the private education sector.

The situation is quite serious. In a memorandum sent to the government in

October 1999, the Istiqlal political party condemned Arabization in general, but
not the Arabization of education, given the stands of the COSEF, which is
supported by the King: «Item No. 12: to impose the full respect of the
Constitution, by observing the values of Islam and preserving the role of the
Arab language within the day-to-day life and the Administration. An awareness
raising campaign must be launched to this end».
Undoubtedly, Islamism is somehow the «omnipresent absentee» of the Moroccan
political system: «always think of it; never talk about it, and often act bearing
this threat in mind», concludes Cubertafond. The King must also face the
apparently denied arguments according to which all Moroccans are Muslims, and
even Islamists, and that the King is their leader. Within this hidden conflict, the
King can count not only on his popularity and image (the «King of the poor», «a
close sovereign»), which he must keep alive by promoting social actions, but also
on his repulsive counter-image: the barbaric intolerance of many Islamists, or at
least, of those presumed to be so.

Whether public or private, the structures of religious education in Morocco are

multiple. The recent creation of a Department of Traditional Education within the
Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs (2004) aims at extending the State’s
control to the network of archaic sites of apprenticeship in traditional religious
knowledge, says Professor Mohammed El Ayadi, from the University of
Casablanca. In addition, religious brotherhoods and other private structures for
the dissemination of religious learning are developing. Teachers in the public
sector play a major role in these new centers of religious training. Today, the
Moroccan authorities are determined to extend the State’s control to this private
sector, within the framework of a policy implemented following the development
of radical Islamism and the emergence of religious terrorism in the country. This
new religious policy also concerns religious education in the public schools.
Moroccan youth of the 60’s and 70’s were accused of being too interested in
secular and modernistic ideologies; the generation that succeeded them in the
80’s and 90’s is, today, reproached for being too eager to embrace Islamism as a
new form of a political Islam (El Ayadi, 2004).

It is within this context that the future of private education in Morocco will be
drawn. The provisions of 2000’s Charter, the measures already implemented and
the objectives set for the next decade, all of them supported and promoted by
the King and the government, are living proof of this fact.

Morocco’s private education and the EFA objectives.

As we have mentioned in the introduction to this chapter and as is made clear in

the tables n° XI, pages 363-364, the Moroccan government has made serious
efforts in recent years to achieve the education aims of the international
community. The figures UNESCO, UNDP, the World Bank… have published in this
respect, also make it clear that further great efforts are still necessary. We have
said that the Moroccan government is counting expressly on private initiative to
attain these aims. It is a significant fact that the strongly developed pre-school
education has been almost entirely left to the care of religious communities. At
the beginning of primary education high enrolment figures are recorded (up to
91% in 2001-2002, according to the World Bank), but the number of drop-outs
in the following years remains strong, as do the religious differences. According
to the agency Maghreb Arab Press (12 June 2005), still 600,000 Moroccan
children at school age are already brought in the labour process. Still a great
leeway is recorded in rural areas and among the Berber population in the Rif
Mountains. We have noticed that the country’s political, religious and socio-
economic context makes it difficult to integrate private education into the general
education policy. The stringent requirement the government imposes are rather
an obstacle than an impetus.
External aid remains called for, critics contend, but the impact of the
international institutions forces Morocco to opt for the commercialisation of
education and training. Many people do not really appreciate this kind of
privatisation, as appeared at the Social Forum of Bouznika, in 2002. The last
word has not yet been said about the place and role of private initiative in
Moroccan education.


Borne, D., (2004), Ecole et religion, Revue Internationale d’Education- Sèvres, No. 36, July 2004

Choi, S.H, (2004), “Encourage private sector “: Pre-school education reform in Morocco, UNESCO
Policy Briefs on Early Childhood, n° 20/February 2004, Paris, France.

COSEF, (2000), Charte Nationale d’éducation et de formation, Commission Spéciale pour

l’Education et de la Formation, Rabat, Morocco

Cubertafond, B., (2000), Mohamed VI: Quel changement?, Etudes et recherches sur les relations
internationales en France, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris

Dinia, H., (2002), L’Enseignement privé au Maroc, Commission Spéciale pour l’Education et la
Formation (COSEF), Rabat, Morocco

El Ayadi, M., (2004), Entre l’islam et l’islamisme. La religion dans l’école publique marocaine,
Revue Internationale d’Education – Sèvres, No. 36, July 2004

Jarousse, J.P., (2004), La société interroge son école, Tanmia, Rabat, Morocco

Kerckhofs, J.P., (2003), Forum Social du Maroc. Pour un enseignement gratuit, public et de qualité,
L’école démocratique, APED.

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selected examples, World Bank, Washington D.C., USA

MEFPT, (2002), Les politiques sociales au Maroc. Etat des lieux. Document de travail n° 80,,
Ministère de l’Economie, des Finances, de la Privatisation et du Tourisme, Direction de la Politique
Economique Générale, September 2002, Rabat, Morocco

MENESFC, (2004), Aperçu sur le système éducatif Marocain, Ministère de l’Education Nationale, de
l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Formation des Cadres et de la Recherche Scientifique, Rabat,

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Royaume du Maroc, Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Jeunesse, Rabat, Morocco

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Achievements and aspirations, UNDP, New York, USA

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l’Education et le Formation (COSEF), Rabat, Morocco
Chapter 12


Searching for the right balance.

Why the term ‘Independent’ ?

In South Africa the term independent derives from the South African Schools
Act (SASA) of 1996, which created two broad categories of schools: public and
independent. All state-owned schools constitute public schools, and all privately-
owned schools constitute independent schools. In this chapter we will use
therefore the term ‘independent’ although he is not in all cases completely
coherent with the definition on which we agreed on in the first chapter of this
study (differentiating private and independent private schools). Why? Since up
until now recent research has shown that it as not been possible to produce
exact figures on the real representativeness of independent (private) schools in
South Africa because not all of them are registered, therefore an exact reading
of the available date is difficult. (Du Toit, 2004) Moreover, there are different
types of private/independent schools who are not differentiated as such in the
(official) statistics. To avoid misunderstandings when comparing South African
sources we like to indicate in this first paragraph which types of schools can be
covered by the term ‘independent’.

Based on the study of Donahue, H. (1997), Schools in South Africa: the context
for school based change in Smith,W.J. (1997), Supporting educational
management in South Africa; International perspectives,
(Montreal/Johannesburg: The Canada-South Africa Education Management
Programme, pp. 210-211), Kitaev (1999) mentions in the annexe of his study
the different types of schools in South Africa which can receive various
percentages of state funds but are not owned by the state. The models of state-
aided schools are: Farm schools, Community schools, Model C schools and
private (or independent schools).

Farm schools
Farm schools are found on private farm (or mine) land and are owned by the
farmer (or mine). They were originally built for the children of the farmer’s (or
mine’s) own black farm workers, but at present children from neighbouring farms
often attend these schools. The state pays for teacher salaries, textbooks,
furniture and stationary and may subsidize building costs (up to 100 per cent).
Farm schools are controlled by the farmer or manager or by a governing body
consisting of the farmer or manager and four elected parents. The farm or
governing body can hire, promote and fire teachers, supervise the principal and
teachers, decide who can attend the school, upgrade the school or not, control
subsidies etc. The farmer, however, is not obliged to establish a governing body
and can abolish it at any time. Thus, the farmer or manager has considerable
control over both the management and educational functions of the school. Most
farm schools are small, multigrade primary schools. They are among the poorest
and least well-resourced schools in the country with the most inadequate
buildings, least qualified teachers and are dependent on the farmer’s generosity
to provide basics such as water, electricity, etc. teachers cannot live on the farm
if they wish to receive a housing subsidy. Farm schools are by definition rural
and are often in remote areas. Since not all farms have schools (only about 10
per cent), children often have to walk long distances to attend school.

Community schools
Community schools are built and maintained by the community on community
land in rural areas especially in the former homelands or in urban townships.
They may receive subsidies for construction, but this depends on whether extra
funds are available. The state is responsible for paying teacher salaries,
textbooks and stationery, while the community is responsible for all other
expenses. Most community schools are poorly resourced in terms of buildings,
educational materials and such basic facilities as water and electricity, because
most of these communities are very poor and do not have the resources to
adequately support a school. Community schools are supposed to be run by an
elected school committee made up of parents. However, in some communities,
traditional leaders exert considerable influence over the school. Children often
have to walk long distances to attend school and class sizes are often very large.
As is the case with farm schools, many children who should attend the school do
not, and the drop-out rate is high. Approximately one-third of South African
pupils are enrolled in community schools.

Model C schools
Model C schools were established in 1992 by the previous apartheid government.
At that time 94 per cent of the former state schools for whites, the best
resourced and staffed, were semi-privatized and each turned over to an elected
body of parents. The state continues to pay teacher salaries according to an
agreed-upon student/teacher ratio (about 80 percent of their operating costs).
An elected governing body is responsible for collecting additional money for
operating costs which include additional teachers. The governing body has wide-
ranging powers and can determine school policy and admission criteria, set
tuition fees, hire, promote and dismiss staff, make changes in curriculum, raise
additional funds, make decisions on other capital expenditure and generally
manage the school.

Private (or independent) schools

Independent schools are owned by individuals, companies, churches, trusts or
other bodies and are governed by them. These schools seek to meet the
linguistic, cultural, religious and other needs of various groups. Although they
raise most of their own funds, usually through school fees, they may receive
some subsidies (up to 50 per cent of an estimate of the cost of replacing fixed
assets) from provincial authorities. In the past, some church schools received
funds from NGOs or from religious organisations outside the country.
Independent schools must be registered with the provincial education
department and must comply with certain minimum conditions concerning
teacher qualifications, curriculum, standards, length of school day and the school
calendar, as well as school building standards. The school enrolment must meet
a minimum standard. Independent schools vary from well-funded elite schools
charging high tuition fees to poorly resourced inner city and township schools for
children whose parents have given up on underfunded and chaotic state and
state-aided schools.

It is important to note that private schools in South Africa must be registered

with the Provincial Department of Education in the province where they operate.

Private schools are, in the true sense of the word, “independent schools”,
follow their own distinctive missions (including their particular ethics, faiths or
- determine their own learner admission and promotion policies;
- choose their curriculum and exit examinations;
- determine how they will be governed, financed and staffed; and
- manage their operation.

Prior to 2001, a national consultative body for all the private (independent)
school associations, known as the National Joint Liaison Committee (JLC),
existed. At the end of 2000, the JLC drew up a constitution to cement the good
working relationships between the associations and to facilitate interaction with
government. The new body is known as the National Alliance of Independent
School Associations of South Africa (NAISA).

The NAISA however, is not represented in the Education Labour Relations

Council (ELRC), where unions representing teachers in the public schools sector
negotiate for teachers’ conditions of service and related matters.
(Hendricks, 2005)

Historical overview

The first independent schools date back to the mid-nineteenth century, and were
mainly traditional private schools based on English prototypes and followed what
was known as a ‘liberal education’. Church schools were also the first to emerge
and consisted largely of Catholic, Anglican and Methodist schools. In addition,
some churches provided schooling to African learners in the form of mission
schools. The earliest mission schools aimed to inculcate literacy and new social
and religious values. Schools for European immigrants aimed to preserve the
value of previous generations.
In the twentieth century, no other social institution reflected the governments’
racial philosophy of apartheid more clearly than the education system. The
education system of the 1950s tot the mid-1990s prepared young Africans for
low-wage labour and protected the privileged white minority from competition.
The schools were required both to teach and to practice apartheid. In fact, in
1949, only 30% of black children from the ages of six to eleven attended school
(Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

Under the apartheid system, the racial groups received even different forms of
education to help develop their separate cultural identities. The Bantu Education
Act of 1953 was the first effort on behalf of the government to give funding for
schools with attendance of non-white children. In 1974, around 75% of Bantu
children enrolled in the school systems. Although this was a high amount, there
were still high dropout rates after primary school (Brayfield, 2000).

Many young people during the 1980s were committed to destroying the school
system because of its identification with apartheid. Student strikes, vandalism
and violence seriously undermined the schools’ ability to function. By the early
1990s, shortages of teachers, classrooms, and equipment had taken a further
toll on education (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).
So-called new independent schools mushroomed after 1980 in response to
conditions in black schools under apartheid. Many of these schools were
established in inner cities and were known as ‘street academies’ and ‘fly-by-

When South Africa was abandoning its apartheid past and embarked on the
difficult process of restructuring its education system to serve the needs of the
new democracy, policy makers had to grapple with how best to balance reliance
on public and private resources. Consistent with his progressive constitution,
which identified basic education as a right for all citizens, the new government
abolished the racially defined departments of education, established a single
education system and made nine years of education compulsory, the first time
that any education had been compulsory for black Africans. At that same time,
the post-apartheid government made an explicit decision to encourage public
schools to supplement public funds with school fee. A major issue facing
education policy makers in South Africa since 1994 has been the appropriate
balance between reliance on public and private funds. This mixed funding
arrangement reflects political compromises during the transition period before
1994, fiscal constraints, and political economy concerns such as the desire to
maintain support for public education among middle class South Africans.

A problem of principles is undoubtedly present here. User fees, indeed, reflect

the deregulation of educational provision and are operative on the grounds of
ensuring that the quality of educational ‘goods’ is correlative of the prize (value)
that is paid. The worth of the educational product is thus secured in the value of
the exchange. User fees secure market logic by engendering commitment to
monetary transaction as a basis for the determination of quality ands worth. In
this case, not every citizen is therefore able to maintain the same level of
financial investment and consequently, the level of substantive equal social
entitlement depends on a citizen’s wealth. The long-term tendency of such an
approach is the creation of a two-tier system of public schooling stratified into
well-resourced schools and a majority of marginalised, state-reliant schools. User
fees were justified on the grounds that monies raised in this way would effect
savings that could be expended on equity and redress projects. This was a
persuasive argument on the surface. It presumes that schools could be
motivated to collect monies for the benefit of the state. (…) Put cynically, user
fees thus can be read simply as a cost-cutting exercise (Sayed, 2001).

There is no indication in the SASA (1996 South African Schools Act) or any other
government policy text that savings affected from user fees will be used for
equity concerns. Mindful of the possibility of schisms in public education, the
state intervened in educational governance in an attempt to regulate the
operation of the market. Thus, the Parliamentary Committee inserted a clause in
the final act that states that the minister would, after consultation, set ‘equitable
criteria for the total, partial, conditional exemption of parents unable to pay
school fees’. Thus, an attempt was made to curb the possible excesses of the
What the SASA proposes is the operation of the market by removing regulatory
control over the raising of additional funds. It introduces notions of private in
public education and consequently redefines the private versus public boundary
in South African education (Sayed, 2001).

In the new South Africa, post-Apartheid, unification was accomplished in part by

establishing a single national education system and by defining only two types of
schools, public and independent. The wording of the 1996 South African Schools
Act (SASA) with respect to independent, or private, schools specifies that any
person may establish and maintain such a school albeit “at his or her own cost”.
In fact the independent schools receive some public subsidies. Before 2000, all
registered independent schools received a provincial subsidy on a sliding scale
with the poorest schools obtaining the most and the well-endowed schools the
least. Since 2000, the wealthier schools receive no subsidy. If an independent
school’s fees are more than 2.5 times the average provincial per capita norms
and standards expenditure on public pupils, then it receives no subsidy. Schools
with fees below that level continue to obtain a subsidy with the poorest schools
obtaining the maximum amount of 60 percent of average provincial per capita
(non teacher) spending on public schools (Fiske & Ladd, 2003; SACG, 2003).

After 1990 there was significant growth in independent schooling. Two groups,
in particular, were responsible for heightened differentiated demand:
- Afrikaner households, which were concerned that the democratic
government would not protect cultural and religious ethos in respect of
- Those African households that could afford better quality schooling as a
result of increasing social and economic mobility.
Much of this alleged growth was in fact the formalisation of what had preciously
been unregulated growth during the late apartheid era of the 1980s. Many
private schools were, like we said before, founded in this period in opposition to
apartheid education policies and because of political unrest in black schools, but
they remained unregistered. With the enactment of the 1996 South African
Schools Act many of these school, which had been operating for several years,
then registered (Du Toit, 2004).

Dieltiens (2002) highlights growth of independent (private) secondary schooling

in South Africa, rising from one percent of schools in 1985, to two percent in
1995 to seven percent by 2000. The increase is a result of a large increase in the
number of independent secondary schools, with an estimated fourfold increase
between 1994 and 2000. A large proportion (38 percent) of independent schools
are situated in Gauteng province, which caters for 50 percent of those enrolled in
those schools (Rose, 2002).

For profit?

Voices from the world of enterprises and business are propagating for-profit
education in South Africa. (In higher education the number of the private
universities and higher institutions on profit basis are already numerous.)
Private education is good as well as affordable, said P. Govender, echoing a
report of the International Finance Co-operation, a division of the World Bank, in
a press article. (Govender, 2003) Far from being fly-by-nights, private education
companies defend their brands and market share by maintaining quality.
Referring to the same report, A. Bernstein of the Centre for Development and
Enterprise, in another article, (Bernstein, 2003) stresses that for-profit
companies are generally the products of entrepreneurial talent responding to a
public education system that is widely understood to be inadequate. (!)
We shouldn’t forget, it reads, that public education is seldom free. If school fees
and other costs (uniforms and transport) are properly accounted for, the gap
between costs for public and private schools narrows considerably. Moreover,
education companies can also play a significant role in public education trough
public-private partnerships, she adds.
Clegg, in his report on a sub-regional workshop, in Windhoek in 2003, concluded
that enabling legislation will be needed for the private sector to play a greater
and more integrated role. The South African Schools ACT of 1996 provides a
useful model, he wrote. A key element of any legislation must be the devolution
of management and budgetary control to school board level (Clegg, 2003).
The private providers already make a significant contribution to training
provision. It is also hoped that, in addition to relieving public finances, private-
sector growth can promote useful competition within the private sector but also
with public institutions, eventually leading to cost reduction and better quality
and labour market responsiveness. In a study by the World Bank with the UniCity
of Johannesburg (the local government authority) it was found that there is
generally distrust of government institutions (except the technikons) by the
private sector. Over 70 % of large firms indicated a strong preference for private
training institutions, with only 35 % indicating government training institutions
as being important or moderately important (Atchoarena & Esquieu, 2002).

This way of thinking and the recent evolutions in the sector of for-profit
education initiatives constitute a major challenge for both the public and the
subsidized independent sectors, especially but not exclusively for the technical
and vocational institutions.

The present situation in figures

Only recently (Erasmus 2002) there was a research on the real size of the
independent schooling sector today. This research resulted in the construction of
a detailed database of registered and formal independent schools in South Africa.
The figures mentioned in this chapter refer to that research but, most probably,
don’t cover fully the whole range of independent schools. They are estimates. In
fact, the total number of private schools, including unregistered schools, could be
twice as large at the total reported by the Department of Education. Because
unregistered schools are likely to be smaller than registered schools, however,
the proportion of students in all independent schools reported most likely
underestimates the number of students in independent schools by a smaller
proportion than for the number of schools (Fiske & Ladd, 2003). Rose (2000)
goes even further: It is reported that up to 3000 schools (three times the official
number) are unregistered, particularly those referred to as ‘fly by night’ schools
set up in urban centres and informal settlements. These target black over-age
pupils in particular, with schools closed as soon as fees have been received in
advance of any learning. Although it is true that the private sector has played an
increased role in schooling in South African, it still caters for only a small
proportion of the total schooling system overall, and growth is heavily skewed
towards poor quality education in one province. (See the figures in the tables
Another reality: Most independent schools arise out of a community need and
have strong links this community of origin. Over 64% of independent schools,
both well- and poorly-resourced, have community development programmes.
These programmes reach more learners than the total number educated in all
independent schools (ISASA, 2005).
For the interpretation of the following tables it is imported to indicate the
meaning of the different key factors included:

- Small schools: 1 to 300 learners

- Large schools: more than 300 learners
- Schools classified according to the majority population group
enrolled (i.e. the population group of learners with the largest number of
enrolments, regardless of whether or not these enrolments constitute
more than 50 percent of total enrolment. A school with 40 percent
Africans, 20 percent coloured, 20 percent Indian and 20 percent white
enrolments is classified as a predominantly ‘African’ school).
- Annual school-fee- category of schools (i.e.- in South African Rand,
6,5 R= 1 US$ - R 0-6,000, R 6,001- 12,000, R 12,001-18,000 and R

Table 12A: School-fee categories by school size, 2002

School size Total

School-fee Small schools Large schools

categories No. % No. % No. %

R 0 - 6,000 360 54.8 279 50.7 639 52.9

R 6,001 – 12,000 191 29.1 70 12.7 261 21.6

R 12,001 – 18,000 58 8.8 83 15.1 141 11.7

R 18,001+ 48 7.3 118 21.5 166 13.8

No information 48 31 79

Total 706 100.0 581 100.0 1287 100.0

Source: HSRC Survey if Independent Schools (2002)

Table 12B: Independent schools classified by predominant population group

enrolled by school-fee categories, 2002

Schools classified by School-fee categories No info. Total

predominant population Low-to-average- High-fee

fee schools schools
group enrolment
No. % No. % No. No. %

‘African’ schools 414 68.9 112 22.3 38 563 47.9

‘Coloured’ schools 29 4.8 13 2.7 0 42 3.6

‘Indian’ schools 54 9.0 15 3.0 3 72 6.1

‘White’ schools 104 17.3 361 72.0 33 498 42.4

No information 40 67 6 112

Total 640 100.0 568 100.0 79 1287 100.0

Source: HSRC Survey of Independent Schools (2002)

Table 12C: Typology of independent schools by school-fee categories, 2002

School-fee categories

Typologies R 0 -6000 R 6001 – 12,000 R 12,001 – 18,000 18,000+ No info Total

No. % No. % No. % No. % No. No. %

Community 214 34.0 51 20.1 32 24.1 41 27.1 10 348 28.4

Religious 291 46.3 145 57.0 56 21.9 35 22.8 38 565 46.1

For profit 31 4.9 5 2.1 13 9.6 11 7.3 0 60 4.9

Non-profit 4 0.6 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 4 0.3

Informal 12 1.9 4 1.6 0 0.0 4 2.8 0 20 1.7
Source: HSRC Survey of Independent Schools (2002)

Table 12D: Number of learners, educators and institutions in ordinary public

and independent sectors(*)

Learners Educators Institutions

Public Schools Primary 6 222 110 176 433 16 784

16 400*

Secondary 3 438 745 109 316 5 539

4 966*

Combined 21 601 648 41

4 021*

Intermediate & middle 77 284 2 099 122

Total (Public) 11 492 976 339 344 26 474

Independent Primary 64 613 3 396 400


Secondary 36 673 2 207 131


Combined 136 127 9029 431


Intermediate & Middle 5 737 226 22

Total (Independent) 245 150 14 857 984

391 248* 24 453*
Total (Public & independent) 11 738 126 354 201 27 458

(*) not included : Other Educational Institutions/centres

• given the huge differences in the available statistics we reproduce the figures provided by Naptosa
(WCT/South Africa, 2004) marked with an asterisk * with the figures published by the Department of
Education of SA for the year 2001 (Department of Education, 2003). The figures provided by Naptosa
are coherent with the figures reproduced in the previous tables coming from the HSRC Survey of
Independent Schools (2002).

At the end of his HSRC survey (Human Sciences Research Council), J. du Toit
formulated the following interesting conclusions:
• Independent schools are concentrated in the three largest urban centres,
but there are numerous independent schools in rural areas, especially on
the borders of former self-governing states.
• Sectoral growth has been significant over the past decade, with 61.1 % of
all independent school registering after 1990. More low-to-average-fee
schools than, high-fee schools.
• The sector has diversified noticeably and is currently segmented with
smaller, predominantly African low-average-fee schools at the one and
larger, predominantly white high-fee schools at the other. The first type is
dominating, as more than half of all independent schools have lo-to-
average-fees and more than half have historically disadvantaged learners
as the largest group enrolled. There are also a larger percentage of
predominantly African schools in the top-fee category than in the
preceding category.
• Religious schools still constitute the largest subgroup of schools.
• African learners make up almost 60 % of all learners in the sector.
• White female educators constitute the majority of educators in the sector.
There are a larger percentage of African educators in the top-fee category
than in the next lower category. The majority of educators in the sector
are qualified, full-time employed and registered with the SACE. (South
African Council for Educators). Educators make up 66 percent of all staff in
the sector, which employs just over 37,000 people.

What about the quality?

In both the public and independent school sectors, schools range from the very
best to the very worst. While the independent sector has world-class schools that
increasingly attract international pupils, it is plagued by unregistered “fly-by-
night” schools that provide very poor education, exploit parents and pupils, and
appear and disappear at will. Within the public sector there are also excellent ex-
white suburban schools that are now racially integrated, but there are also
dysfunctional township schools, which only achieve 0 – 20 percent pass rates and
where the culture of teaching and learning has broken down as a result of years
of resistance to apartheid. Education in South Africa faces significant future
challenges. A considerable effort of public and independent institutions will be
needed to implement new policies to reach the objectives of complete good
quality education for all (Hofmeyr, 2004).
Private education is, like we indicated before, regulated by the 1996 SASA and
the legal rules and requirements based on it. But private education is also
influenced by legislation beyond ministries of education, for example of
departments of trade and industry. As Dieltiens (2002) points out, independent
schools in South Africa are not only governed by legislation within the education
sector, but also in relation to taxation and labour. For example, independent
schools employing mote than 50 members of staff have to submit employment
equity plan according to the Employment Equity Act. The complexity of the
variety of legislation, rather than a single statement, can result in considerable
time spent ensuring that regulations are complied with, and may also curb the
autonomy of independent schools.
Furthermore, this means that independent schools are subject to greater
legislation than government schools. In addition, government regulations
discourage competition between public and independent schools, refusing
subsidisation of new independent schools near existing public schools which are
not full. (Rose, 2002)

Rights, equal treatment and autonomy of independent schools.

(Sources: Glenn & De Groof, 2002a; WCT/South Africa, 2004; Hendricks, 2005)

According to the South African Schools Act, (SASA) 1996, clause 45 reads:
“Subject to this Act and any provincial law, any person may at his or her own
cost, establish and maintain an independent private school. These institutions
may not discriminate on the basis of race, must be registered with the state, and
must maintain standards not inferior to those of comparable public institutions.
State subsidies to private schools are permitted but not guaranteed”.

It is expected of private schools to follow the basic curriculum requirements as

prescribed by the National Department of Education. Additional Grade 12
subjects not offered in public schools may be offered with the approval of
National Department of Education. Religion Instruction with (a) specific
dogmatic philosophy may be taught in private schools, but not in public schools.

Parents’ freedom of choice regarding religious matters has been covered to an

extent by providing voluntary religious observances in public institutions.
Although the general principle of school choice is not constitutionally recognised,
the right to choose between private and public schools is provided for, as well as
the right to be educated in a preferred language.
Independent schools whose school fees in January 1998 were less than 0.5 times
(50 %) the provincial average public cost per learner in ordinary public schools
the previous fiscal year, will receive 60 % of the provincial average cost per
learner in an ordinary public school.
Independent schools have authority to expenditure decisions for all aspects of
the school budget, including staff, within a lump-sum allocation.

The Ministry of Education bases its subsidy policy on the fiscal argument, and on
social grounds. The fixed argument is a follows: The state has a constitutional
and statutory responsibility to provide school education to all learners. However
the right of reputable, registered public schools to exist is protected by the
Constitution, and the payment of subsidies to their learners that would otherwise
have to be performed by the provincial education departments. Public subsidies
to such schools cost the state considerably less per learner that the same
learners enrolled in public schools. It is, therefore, cost efficient for the state to
provide a subsidy. Private schools who qualify for government subsidy (funding)
are not subjected to any religious criteria or norms by the government
(Hendricks, 2005).

To a degree, depending on the outcomes achieved in outcomes-based education

(OBE) and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) independent schools can
determine the core subjects that will be taught and the specific content of it.
They can choose the textbooks and the methods of instruction they prefer.
Schools can however supplement the core curriculum, for example with –
religious education for those affiliated with religious organisations (Rose, 2002;
Hendricks, 2005).

Private schools are expected to keep attendance registers of learners as a

method of monitoring attendance. Certificates and diplomas are issued by
private schools, with the exception of the Grade 12 Certificate which is issued by
the South African certification body UMALUSI, as an exit certificate from the
schooling system.
Private schools are allowed to choose textbooks and other materials as long as
the content of the chosen learning materials does not impinge on the
constitutional rights of the learner or teacher (Hendricks, 2005).

Can they decide which pupils to admit?

The situation is unclear. However, in terms of section 29(3) of the Constitution,

no discrimination in admission on basis of race, religion, culture,… is allowed.
While public schools may have a distinctive character, and even a religious one,
the law stipulates that applicants may not be denied admission on the grounds
that his of her parents do not subscribe to the mission statement of the school.
This prohibition reflects seriously on the ability of the governing body to manage
the school according to the needs of the democratically/traditionally accepted
ethos of the school. It is not clear whether these requirements apply to a
subsidized independent school.

Anyhow, private schools’ rules with regard to enrolment of learners are less
stringent than those of public schools. A major criterium would be affordability
by parents to enrol learners at private schools due to the fact that private
schools’ fees are on average higher than that of public schools (Hendricks,

A school may determine the language policy of the school subject to the
Constitution, the SASA and any applicable provincial law. Only official languages
(there are 11 official languages!) may be used fore instruction and language may
not be used as a barrier to admission.
A private school may be considered for subsidy if it:

(a) is registered by the Provincial Education Department (PED),

(b) has made an application to the PED in the prescribed manner,
(c) has been operational for one full school year,
(d) is not operated for profit,
(e) is managed successfully according to a management checklist
determined by the PED,
(f) agrees to unannounced inspection visits by officials of the PED, and
(h) has not been established in direct competition with a nearby uncrowded
public school of equivalent quality.

In addition to the conditions in the previous paragraph, the following conditions

apply to private secondary schools. A secondary school may be considered for
subsidy if:-

(a) its grade 12 pass rate is 50% or more of full-time candidates writing
the examination in the prior year;

(b) the repetition rate in grades 11 or 12 is not more than 20%; and

(c) it does not engage in practices that are calculated to artificially increase
the schools’ grade 12 pass rate (Hendricks, 2005).

Teachers in independent schools.

(Sources: WCT/South Africa, 2004; Hendricks, 2005; Glenn & De Groof, 2002a)

Salaries and working conditions of teachers in government schools are

determined through negotiations in the Education Labour Relations Council
(ELRC). The Council is comprised of, four teacher unions that represent teachers
in public schools and officials representing the National Department of Education.

Teachers in private schools are not represented in the ELRC. The salaries and
working conditions of teachers in the more prominent private schools compare
favourably to those of the public schools.

The majority of teachers mentioned in the previous paragraph are members of

the Independent Schools Association in Southern Africa (ISASA), which works
closely with some of the teacher unions that are members of the ELRC.

ISASA uses the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 and the Basic Conditions of
Employment Act, 1997 as guideline documents to determine the salaries and
working conditions for teachers at private schools.
The salaries and conditions of service of teachers in government-recognised
independent schools are determined by this Basic Conditions of Employment Act
75 of 1997 and general, overarching labour legislation and are therefore not
equivalent to those in public schools. Salaries are on the discretion of the
governing board where public school teachers are paid on a salary scale.
Qualifications and seniority are determining factors, anyhow.

Smaller private schools and, especially those not affiliated to ISASA, have a wide
variance of scales and conditions of service applicable to their teachers. This
could differ from school to school. It is obvious. The salaries paid to teachers
depend on the financial strength of the school. Schools that are financially
strong, pay their teachers on the same scale as in public schools or in some
instances better. Salaries are paid on the basis of contractual agreements
between the school and the teacher (Hendricks, 2005).

What is the amount of the salary on annual basis in independent schools and in
public schools?
(1 US dollar = 6.5 South African Rand)
In WCT/South Africa, 2004 we found the following example. For a primary school
teacher the starting salary is R 96,762 in private schools and R 90,372 in public
schools. But in public schools is added 20% for other benefits.
After 15 years of service the salary of a private school primary teacher is R
157,740; in a public school R 103893 + 20%.
His/her maximum salary is R 208,584 in the private sector and R 130,311 +
20% in the public sector.
For a teacher in private secondary education the starting salary is R 104,580.
After 15 years of service R 176,280 and the maximum of the scale in R 234,326.

There are additional bonuses possible for participating in improvements projects,

for excellence in teaching performance and for family allowances. Fees are often
subsidized by schools for children of staff. Science and math teachers often
receive bonuses, as do exceptional teachers. Most schools now operate on a
package system for non-salary compensations.
The minimum age to be appointed is 21/22 years, the same as in the public
sector. The legal minimum age for retirement is 55 years; at 65 they can be
obliged to retire. When they retire before the minimum age the pension will be
reduced accordingly. After retirement the pension is paid by the public
authorities from the government pension scheme. Where schools are in an
association the teacher’s pension is from a pension scheme. The amount of the
pension depends on the length of services: x/40 of the last salary. A pension can
be combined with a salary in or out the education sector without restrictions.

Only universities are allowed to deliver recognised pedagogical diplomas. Until

recently designated teacher training colleges were also recognised. They have
no been incorporated in the universities. So teachers on all levels now normally
have a university degree. Staff without a pedagogical degree can be recruited
under the condition that they are studying for a pedagogical qualification.
An amendment adopted in 1997 expanded the powers of school governing
boards by allowing them to employ professional and non-professional staff with
significant conditions: The staff… must be employed in compliance with the basic
values and principles referred to in section 195 of the Constitution. The factors to
be taken into account when making appointments include, but are not limited to:
the ability if the candidate; the principle of equity; the need to redress past
injustices and the need for representativeness. Anyhow, school governing boards
of independent schools can take specific factors into account when making
appointments in addition to those stated in the law.

The minimum qualification for an individual to be registered as a teacher is Grade

12 plus a three-year teacher training course. In addition to the basic
qualification, all teachers must be registered with the South African Council for
Educators (SACE) – Act no 31, 2000 before the appointment can be effective.

According to the SACE Act,

(1) A person who qualifies for registration in terms of this Act, must register
with the Council prior to being appointed as an educator.
(2) No person may be employed as an educator by an employer unless the
person is registered with the Council.

Application of the SACE Act

Clause (3) This act applies to all educators appointed:-

(a) in terms of the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act no 76 of 1998)

(b) in terms of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996),
(c) at an independent (private) school (…) (Hendricks, 2005).

Most private schools have a code of conduct for their educators. Contravention
of the code of conduct would result in disciplinary actions against the teacher.The
SACE has a Code of Professional Ethics to which teachers ascribe when they
register as teachers.

It is however the prerogative of the governing body of the private school to

dismiss a teacher within the parameters of Basic Conditions of Employment Act
and other relevant legislation.

So far as the working conditions are concerned, it is worthy to remember that

they can range from much worse than in government schools to much better
than them.

Generally the weekly working time of a full-time teacher in primary schools is 25

periods and the non-teaching obligation 15 periods. In secondary schools
respectively 20 periods for the teaching time and 20 periods for non-teaching
duties, all periods of 60 minutes. Part-time teaching is allowed. Per year there
are 200 school days. In the holiday periods some schools, a very limited number,
expect participation in school tours or initiatives for professional development. In
public schools some professional development programmes are compulsory.

Trade union rights and freedoms in independent schools.

(Source: WCT/South Africa, 2004; Hendricks, 2005)

Union participation in independent schools in South Africa is recognized but many

schools discourage it. Most private school teachers do not belong to a union: only
20% is unionized. In the public sector 90% of the staff is unionized
Two major teacher unions have membership in the private sector. NAPTOSA
counts 69,000 members in the public sector but also 9,000 in the independent
sector. SAOU is grouping 28,000 members from which 7,000 are teaching in
independent schools. Teacher unions have no recognized statute for information,
consultation or negotiation on employment and working conditions in the
independent sector, on what ever level of decision.

The four teacher unions: NAPTOSA, SADTU. SAOU/SATU and NATU, representing
teachers in the public school sector, together with the National Department of
Education, constitute the “Educators Labour Relations Council (ELRC)”. All four
unions are recognised at national, regional and school levels. The professional
rights of union representatives are safeguarded by the Resolutions adopted by
the ELRC. None of rights on participation in the decision making process,
accorded to the unions represented in the ELRC, are applicable to private
schools, as they do not have representation on the ELRC.

Labour disputes are settled within the private school sector. Disputes that
cannot be resolved internally are referred to the Council for Conciliation,
Mediation and Arbitration (Hendricks, 2005).

The EFA and the Millennium Objectives and South Africa

The Government of National Unity inherited an education system, which was

fragmented and divided along racial lines. It was revealed, for instance, that
while the rate of illiteracy among Africans was 76.6%, the comparable figures for
coloureds, Asians and whites were 91.1 %, 95.5 % and 99.52 %. Most schools in
previously disadvantaged areas lack adequate access to basic services such as
water, toilets, electricity and telecommunications. In the mean time a lot is been
done but a lot remains to be done.
To redress the situation, the government adopted an Education for All program
Today the country’s main indicators for the education sector are generally better
than the average for Africa and the developing countries as a whole (see
In the present chapter we commented on the situation and the role private
schools, partners in the efforts to realise the EFA objectives, play in this respect.
In the same time we underlined the impact of the mixed financing system that
the government introduced to make the generalisation of primary education
affordable and the expansion of secondary education possible. No doubt that the
maintenance of this system will determine to a large extend the future
developments in the independent education sector in South Africa.

But the country is facing a still more dangerous evolution. To redress it the
participation and the involvement of all partners in education and in society as a
whole is indispensable. It concerns the struggle against the consequences of the
HIV/AIDS pandemic. According to the UNAIDS/UNDP Human Development
Report, South Africa is currently experiencing one of the most rapidly spreading
pandemic in teh world. A recent study estimated that the number of South
Africans carrying HIV/AIDS virus in 2000 was about 4.4 millions, a figure that in
the mean time as increased still drastically. The challenge for the education
sector is huge in this respect and all schools have to take their part of the
responsibility. The independent schools have to be integrated in all the efforts
the country and the international community are initiating to combat this
enormous plague.

Moreover a government report from 1998 revealed that about 65 % of all South
Africans live under the poverty line and 46 % of the population remain trapped in
poverty. That poverty is mainly a rural phenomenon. Woman and children are
most of all affected by malnutrition, destitution and poverty. The consequences
for schools and pupils are huge. To redress the social inequity and to alleviate
poverty, all the partners of the education sector, both in the government and the
independent system have also a key role to play to create more justice and
equity for all in the future (ADBG, 2004).


African Development Bank Group, (2004), Country Strategy paper for South Africa 2004 -2008,
ONCB Department.

Atchoarena, D., & Esquieu, P., (2002), Private technical and vocational education in sub-Saharan

Bernstein, A., (2003), Valuable lessons for South Africa in report on private schools, Pretoria news,
September 11, 2003.

Brayfield, A., (2000), Children’s education,

file://D:\Education of Children in South Africa.htm

Clegg, A., (2003), Partnerships for relevant science and technology education, Report of a sub-
regional workshop, Windhoek, 28-30 July 2003, UNESCO, Windhoek, Namibia.

Department of Education, (2003), Education Statistics in South Africa at a Glance in 2001,


Dieltiens, V., (2002), Private education in South Africa: A literature review. Johannesburg,
Education Policy Unit, University of the Witwatersrand

Du Toit, J.L., (2004), Independent Schooling in Post-Apartheid South Africa. A Quantitative

Overview, HSRC/Publishers.

Fiske E.B. & Ladd, H.F., (2003), Balancing Public and Private Resources for Basic Education: School
Fees in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke, Working Papers
Series SAN03-03.

Garson, P., (2005), Education in South Africa,, The official Gateway.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002a) Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. I, Utrecht/Lemma.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b) Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, Utrecht/Lemma.

Govender, P., (2003), Private schools are good value for money, The Star, September 2, 2003.

Hendricks, H., (2005), Letter to the WCT secretariat dd. 21.06.2005, with annexe.

Hofmeyr, J., (2005), Where is South African Education?, ISASA

ISASA, (2005), The South African Independent School Sector, Independent Schools Association of
Southern Africa.

Kitaev (1999) Private education in Sub-Saharan Africa, IIEP/Unesco, Paris

Rose, P., (2002), Is the Non-state Education Sector serving the needs of the poor?: Evidence from
East and Southern, World Development Work for Poor People, WDR Workshop, Oxford, 4-5
November 2002.
Sayed,Y., (2001) Discourses on the Policy of Educational Decentralisation in South Africa since
1994: an Examination on the South African Schools Act, IICBA-Newsletter. December 2001, Vol.3,
No. 4

SACG, (2003), Education, South African Consulate General, New York.

WCT/SOUTH AFRICA, (2004), Questionnaire on the status and working conditions in private
schools. Contribution of NAPTOSA/SA.

Chapter 13


Private management of public schools: A long

way towards equality

Historical background

During the Spanish colonial period (from the 16th to the beginning of the 19th
Century), education was monopolized by religious congregations, especially by
the Jesuits, who wanted to found a “new Jerusalem in the Americas”. This
congregation followed the provisions of the Council of Trent and supported the
Church’s confrontation with other emerging Christian churches. By then, there
were also some State initiatives –although fewer and less successful than the
religious ones- in order to create King’s Schools (using the goods confiscated
from Jesuits after their eviction by the Bourbons), and after the independence,
the Cabildo Schools. These religious and State initiatives were accompanied by
individuals’ free choice to provide private educational services.
The main feature of the three centuries mentioned above is the key role of the
private education services provided by religious congregations and individuals.
After the independence, the State control over education considerably
increased and the economic situation of the teaching staff of private and “Cabildo
(public) Schools” was homogenized.

After some debates on the form of government and the adoption of the National
Constitution (May 1, 1853), provincial governments were compelled to guarantee
access to primary education (Art. 5ª). Furthermore, Article 14 of the Constitution
provides for the right to teach and learn. So, this period was characterized by the
private and religious entities’ freedom to teach. By then, the Buenos Aires
University –after its re-organization- decided not to acknowledge the validity of
the high school diplomas issued by private schools, thus preventing their
students from enrolling in higher education. After this decision, special clauses
were created (if the same curriculum and textbooks had been used) and a
system of examinations by State schools was implemented.

The status of private schools is regulated thanks to Law 934, passed in 1878, on
the “freedom of teaching”. This Law provides for the right of private schools’
students to take annual examinations before the examination councils of State
schools. However, in order to take such examination, students must have worked
with the same curricula and textbooks used in public schools, and must provide a
certificate signed by their teachers. This Law highlights the need to incorporate
private education into the public system and therefore, the need to create a
monitoring mechanism. Likewise, it implicitly acknowledges the State’s
impossibility of covering the entire education-related demand.

Within the context of the “Modern Argentina” and under the influence of
positivism, a series of legal tools clearly drawing the line between the State and
the Church were created. One of the main debates of that time dealt with the
Common Education Law (1420/1884). This Law provides for the requirements to
be met in order to create private schools and to obtain the relevant
authorizations, as well as the requirements to be met by teachers in order to
practice the teaching profession. It would be worth noting that from 1886 to
1896, the number of private schools and students enrolled in these schools
significantly increased within the city of Buenos Aires.

The implementation of these initiatives resulted in a primary education system

for the peoples (“peoples’ education”) and a secondary and higher education
sector exclusively reserved for national and provincial elites1.

During the 20s and 30s, it was necessary for the educational system to follow
the trends imposed by the production system, in order to pass from an
agricultural-based economy to the industrialized model resulting from World War
I. Besides, it was necessary to unify education through a universal law, thus
casting aside the other “ad hoc” laws created to deal with the specific problems
identified in the different educational levels (primary and higher education).

The Justicialista government (1946-1955) follows this State-leadership trend,

by introducing a new pedagogical proposal within the framework of a national

Business and industrial schools of that time were created with this aim.
project different from the one promoted by the ideologues of the modern and
civilized Argentina. In 1947, Law 13.047 is passed, providing for employment
security for private schools’ teachers, the creation of the Private School
Teachers’ Council, and the allocation of State funds to private schools. This Law
will determine the transition from a period characterized by the State’s mistrust
of private education –translated into a series of laws restricting its supply- to a
period characterized by the freedom of teaching. This paved the way for the
quantitative expansion of private schools in our country.

The 1930’s military interventions that put an end to democracy started

becoming more frequent from 1955 to 1976. Military dictatorships forge new
alliances with private education sectors, especially with the Catholic Church. A
new relationship between the State and the private sector regarding educational
policy was born by then. One of the most important consequences of this policy
was the mass political and trade union demobilization of all the education-related
actors, given the implementation of strong repressive and political freezing

1980’s democratic transition required the democratization of education

throughout the country. The Pedagogical Congress, launched in 1984 and closed
in 1988, was in charge of analyzing the situation of education and its future, so
as to create the necessary legal tools and take concrete actions.

The victory of former President Carlos Saúl Menem in 1989’s elections fostered a
strong alliance with the neoconservative and neoliberal groups of powerful
countries (the United States and England) and with some international agencies
(WB, IMF, IDB, etc.), thus creating a new relationship between the State and the
private sector. By that time, the private education sector started growing –in
terms of number of schools and enrollment rates- given the low-quality
education provided by public schools.

1993’s Federal Law on Education contains a whole section on the private

education issue. According to it, education in Argentina is one and only, and only
one difference related to the type of management (state and private) shall exist.
The articles included in such section deal with the following issues:
• Previous acknowledgement and supervision of official educational
authorities (art. 36).
• Rights and duties (art. 36).
• State contribution to teachers’ salaries (art. 37).
• Private management school teachers’ right to earn the same salary as
public management school teachers (art. 38).
• Private management school teachers’ duty to have diplomas complying
with the legal requirements in force in each jurisdiction (art. 38).

Prior to this Law, a Transfer Law (24.049/1992) was enacted in order to transfer
high schools and non-university higher education institutions from the national
government’s sphere of action to that of the provinces. This resulted in the need
to create supervising agencies for private management schools in all the
provinces. These agencies reproduced the organizational matrix of the
correspondent national agency.
Taking into account the new relationship between national and provincial
governments, the Menem’s Administration decided to control the management of
the international credit network, the curriculum-related proposals, teachers’
training, the “welfarism” reflected in social plans, the “think tanks”, hegemonic
bibliography, etc. This Administration gave a differential treatment to private
management education: the implementation of the educational reform was
considerably faster in state management schools than in private ones, the
training of teachers working in that sector was quite limited, and the training-
related information and convocations were poorly disseminated within private
management education. This systemic educational reform took place in a
contradictory and adverse context marked by the implementation of economic
policies having a strong impact on the unequal redistribution of wealth. The table
below shows the relationship between both education sub-systems from 1998
onwards (MORDUCHOWICZ, 1999, data: Federal Network of Information of
Argentina’s Ministry of Education):

Table 13A : Relation private and state management in Argentina


Pre-school 28.9 % 71.1%
Primary 21.1 % 78.9 %
Secondary 28 % 72 %
Non-university higher 39.2 % 60.8 %

The economic crisis of 2000-2001 generated a transfer of enrollment rates from

the private management education sector to the State one.

Main characteristics of the private management education system

From the historical background presented above, it can be concluded that there
exist many different stages, with particular features, that can be used to describe
the private management education system.

First, we can identify the leading role of the private sector through the work of
religious orders. This initial stage is characterized by the reproduction of
European educational models tailored to fit the local needs imposed by the Latin
American context. This is a period of great freedom of action for this sub-sector,
especially taking into account the government’s passiveness in the educational

The second stage is characterized by the national government’s leading role in

education. Here, we witness both the increasing public management education
supply, and supervision of the private education sector. Such supervision was
carried out by the State, and embraced all aspects of school life (authorization to
operate, curricula, textbooks, examinations, accreditation of teaching staff in
order to work in the private sector, authentication of diplomas, etc.). To sum up,
the State played a key role in education, while trying to exert strict control over
the private sector.

The third stage is characterized by the quantitative and qualitative growth of the
private sector after 1950. The private management education sub-system
started presenting specific features that were maintained until the transfer
process of the 90s and had an impact on today’s system:

• Legal structure of the sub-system and of labor relationships among the

different actors involved.
• A set of regulations common to all schools throughout the country and
implemented through a legal tool referred to as “Provisions”. Thanks to
this tool, all school activities and actions (school entry rituals, patriotic
acts, description of work positions, authorizations for changes or transfers,
etc.) were controlled.
• Accounting and pedagogical-didactic controls of schools, as well as the
creation of registers containing all the elements supervised.
• Systematization of the documents to be submitted to the authorities as
sworn statements.
• Elaboration of pilot plans and programs thanks to the technical assistance
of an ad-hoc agency.
• Implementation of pilot projects for the creation and follow-up of new
evaluation and support methods for secondary education.
• Development of the Private School Teachers’ Council.

These characteristics were shaped by an agency specially created for such

purposes, which was also entrusted with the follow-up of all the country’s private
institutions. The features mentioned above generated some kind of dynamism
within the sub-system. On the contrary, the public management sector was
bogged down in passiveness and quietism, as a result of the State’s bureaucracy
and the quantitative growth of secondary education2.

The first effects of such dynamism were felt within the pre-school sector. The
official acknowledgment of the pedagogical status of this level –thus casting
aside the traditional “day-care center” approach- together with the influence of
certain psychological trends, resulted in the quantitative and qualitative growth
of the sector. As time passed by, the programs implemented were crowned with
success and therefore, a “headlong rush” phenomenon appeared with the
creation of primary education courses within the same institutions providing pre-
school education. The ability to define their own institutional education project,
to appoint their managers and to recruit their staff, generated such dynamism
and fostered consistency between the pedagogical-didactic ideas and the day-to-
day life of schools. Consequently, there was a clear difference between those
schools providing pre-school education –characterized by pedagogical-didactic
innovations- and those that did not –characterized by their traditionalism.

Tedesco talks about the Radical party’s inability, in 1916, to modify the traditional guidelines of
secondary education in order to meet the new challenges of the economic and labor worlds. The
decision was made to provide the secondary education sector with the same training that had been
previously denied.
One of the main differences was the link between the five-year classrooms and
the first levels, for problems started appearing, going from the furniture and
icons to the strategies used to teach reading, writing and calculation.

After 1970, the transfer of the teachers’ training from the secondary to the non-
university higher education level resulted in a considerable increase in the
private sector’s provision of this kind of education. This generated important
changes in the secondary level, given the elaboration of new curricula for private
management schools. The changing process ended in 1991, prior to the approval
of the Transfer Law, when the last curriculum was created within this sub-sector.
The implementation of the Federal Law on Education, within the framework of
the “educational reform”, put an end to such changes and fostered the
standardization of all curriculum proposals. During the 70s, the sector also
witnessed the participation of female teachers within private management
confessional schools exclusively working with boys.

The fourth stage corresponds to the implementation of 1993’s Federal Law on

Education. The privatization-oriented discourse of the Executive Power paved the
way for a positive view of private management schools and some high-quality
state institutions. Consequently, enrollment rates exploded, especially in higher
education. The systemic logics of the changes promoted by the Ministry of
Education, together with the public sector-oriented experience and opinions of
ministerial actors, were contrary to the proposals on the implementation of a
neoliberal economic model and a neoconservative political project. This explains
why in practice, private management education was given a secondary role:

• Lack of participative consultation processes

• Information and documentation blocking
• Impossibility of participating in the compulsory training programs

The fifth stage corresponds to the present time. It is characterized by integration

and a certain degree of consistency with the state management sector, while
respecting the differences specific to them. The educational Reform of the 90s
paved the way for a series of pedagogical-didactic devices -among other
desirable and undesirable consequences- that standardized the different levels of
education at the provincial level.

The first results of the National Census of Teachers, in 2004, show the following:

• 70.7% of teachers work in the public sector and 22.1 of them in the
private one. 7.2 (56,000 teachers) work simultaneously in both sectors.
• There was a steady increase in the number of state and public education
teachers during the 90s: 25 % and 26 % respectively.
• There is no great difference between the number of students per teacher
within the private and public sector. However, in the Autonomous City of
Buenos Aires, there are fewer students per teacher within the public sector
(an average of 21 students per classroom, and more in private schools).

Throughout the country, the private management education sector embraces

2,500,000 students, while public schools embrace 8,200,000.
Types of institutions

The private management education sector supply embraces all educational levels
and branches. Most private management institutions depend on the
Catholic Church, religious congregations and different vicarships
(“parish schools”). 50% of the private management education sector
belongs to the Catholic Church, higher education excepted. According to
article 36 of the Federal Law on Education, schools can be founded by
religious communities (Jewish, Evangelical, etc.) “registered in the
National Worship Registry, or by partnerships, associations, foundations
and companies with legal personality, as well as individuals”.

The entire Catholic education sector is grouped around the Superior Council of
Catholic Education (CONSUDEC). All Catholic schools participate in the Catholic
Education Councils (CEC) of the different dioceses of the country. The other
private schools are grouped around COORDIEP (Coordination Council for Private
Education Institutions).

The private management education institutions that belong to religious

congregations work both with boys and girls. The coeducational system was
gradually implemented during the 90s, for the following reasons:
 The increase in enrolment rates, in order to prevent some sections
from closing down.
 The pressure exerted by parents who wanted to send their sons and
daughters to the same school.
 The religious congregations’ view on the complementarity of boys
and girls in a contemporary world.

This situation generated deep changes in schools, going from day-to-day things
as bathrooms, to attitudes that had been never seen in those spaces. An
important issue among private management schools is the admission of students
and by extension, of their families. This issue is at the very core of a debate and
is being reconsidered, given its discriminatory character.


Private management education may be financed by provincial government or

not. State-supported schools represent one third of the total number of private
management schools. The financial aid received is only used for the payment of
officially recognized teachers, provided that the teaching staff be duly accredited
by the relevant authorities. Grants are given according to the social role the
school plays within the community, and can be divided into four categories:
100%, 80%, 60% and 40%. The other expenses of schools must be
proportionally covered by the fees paid by students. Such expenses include
payment to teaching and non-teaching staff not included within the school staff,
infrastructure maintenance, cleaning, taxes, social security contributions, power,
gas and water supply services, furniture, new information and communication
technologies, etc.
Since 1991 there exist some restrictions on the fees charged by State-supported
schools. It is worth noting that private universities receive neither State nor
provincial financial support.

Legal Framework

In Argentina, private labour relationships are governed by the provisions of the

Labour Public Policy, namely the National Constitution, international human
rights treaties with a constitutional character, in accordance with Art. 75 sub-
section 22 of the National Constitution; Employment Contract Law No. 20.744;
Federal Law on Education No. 24.195; Higher Education Law No. 24.521 and the
Private School Teachers’ Regulations, Law No. 13.047.

The subordinate labour relationship of private school teachers, both in State-

supported and independent schools deeply defers from that of public school
teachers or civil servants. First of all, private school teachers depend,
economically and legally, on their employer –both in State-supported and
independent schools- and are subordinated to the powers of decision-making,
organization and discipline granted by the law to private employers. Besides,
from the constitutional and legal point of view, labour relationships are only
composed of two parties: private employers (holder or owner of a private
management education institution) and private school teachers (dependent

With regard to the legal nature of the State’s grants or subsidies allocated to the
payment of private school teachers’ salaries and wages, there exist substantially
different duties, according to the nature and the legal regime applied. Certainly,
States’ grants are an economic tool proper to the Administrative Law (Public
Law) that may be used by private employers providing services to public
education. These grants have the legal status of subsidies. As to the duties,
provinces have the duty –within the limits established by the Law- to support the
beneficiaries-creditors, which are the owners of private management schools,
and who have the duty to fulfil certain requirements in order to be granted the
subsidy or financial aid.

The remuneration of private school teachers is the main duty of the owners-
holders of the school, which can be a non-profit or profit-making institution. In
order to remunerate teachers, employers must find the necessary financial
resources, whether it be through the fees paid by students, State’s subsidies or
grants, donations, etc.

With regard to the private teachers’ remuneration system, Federal Law on

Education No. 24.195/1993, states, in art. 38, that: “The teaching staff of
accredited private management education institutions shall be entitled to the
same minimum remuneration as their colleagues in state management
institutions...”. Monthly salaries are composed of allowances for the position to
be held, seniority bonus, geographical area allowance, post allowance and over
time premium pay. From the private teachers’ gross salary, taxes, and pension
fund, insurance and social security contributions are deducted. Furthermore,
there exist some other bonuses, such as: remote area, family and educational
material allowances, attendance and production bonuses, etc., and non-salary
benefits, such as health care services, and maternity, sick and industrial accident
leave, in compliance with the Law on Occupational Risks for both the public and
private sectors.

As to the teaching profession, there exist important differences between the

public and private sectors, mainly regarding admission requirements (age
limitations, for instance), tests, evaluation of previous experience, incompatibility
regime, etc.

The minimum retirement age for female teachers is 60 years old, and 65 for
male teachers, although this may vary according to the educational jurisdiction.
Retirement allowances are paid by the State, private insurance companies or
both, according to the retirement plan selected by the teacher.

It is worth noting that the transfer of the management of schools from the
national to the provincial authorities, provided by Law No. 24.049/1992, had no
impact on the private nature of the labour relationships of teachers. Article 1 of
such Law explicitly provides for the transfer of the Federal State’s authority and
responsibility regarding private management schools to the provinces, without
generating any changes in the private labour relationship of the teaching staff of
such schools.

Article 11 of Law 13.047 provides for equality between the public and private
sector: “The administrative and teaching staff of institutions “accredited by the
State” shall have the same duties, be subject to the same incompatibilities, and
be entitled to the same rights as public institutions’ staff”.

As to the right to collective bargaining, private school teachers do have the right
to bargain collectively, as provided by Article 14 bis of the National Constitution
and Law No. 14.250, in compliance with the Labour Law No. 25.877, and
conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organization.

Labour conditions

The systematic refusal by private education employers in Argentina to negotiate

the collective labour agreement has deeply affected the labour conditions of the
teaching staff. As a matter of fact, there are no collective tools validated for the
entire sector. The employers’ attitude has deteriorated the labour environment
(conditions) within schools, for on the one hand they preach justice and on the
other, they fail to enforce fundamental rights.

SADOP has submitted several complaints before the ILO (International Labour
Organization) through FLATEC (Latin American Federation of Education and
Culture Workers) on the employers’ attitude, and has already asked the
Argentinean government to summon employers to bargain collectively.

It would be worth noting here that the following educational institutions do exist
in Argentina:

• Institutions that demand other diplomas different from the one officially
• Institutions supplying educational material, different training programs,
uniforms for the staff, etc.
• Institutions paying wage supplements to directors and teachers.
• Institutions that pay the time spent in meetings and activities (camps,
graduates’ trips, solidarity-based activities, championships, etc.) organized
outside normal working hours.
• Institutions where there is a true concern about the teachers’ working
environment: teachers’ rooms with the necessary furniture and supplies
(coffee, snacks, computers, etc.).
• Institutions promoting the enforcement of safety and environmental health

Certainly, the contrary also exists in private management institutions. Some of

the most alarming cases, which constitute true “indecent work” situations, are:

 Recruitment of staff with no diplomas.

 Lack of information on the workers’ status upon recruitment (teacher,
substitute teacher, date of admission and dismissal, reason why a teacher
is being substituted, part of the school staff or not, etc.).
 Illegal workers
 Institutional abuse, by asking teachers to work outside their working hours
arguing service, commitment or engagement reasons.
 Arbitrary dismissals.
 Lack of infrastructure for teachers to gather.

There are also some wage-related differences between private and public school
teachers, such as: educational material, institutional hours, etc. Thanks to
SADOP struggle, we have been able to identify dismissal, suspension,
discrimination and repressive acts against private school teachers.

This “reign of terror” directly affects the educational environment and its effects
are contrary to what employers expect: teachers fight for their dignity. As part of
its strategy, SADOP –together with the National Supervisory Agency for
Occupational Risks- has developed a Training Program on Occupational Risks
with a view to identifying the main problems faced by teachers and promoting
occupational safety.


In compliance with the National Constitution, private school teachers have the
right to organize. Within the private education sector, teachers are represented
by the Argentinean Union of Private Teachers (SADOP), founded in the late 40s.
This Union is nationwide, which is a guarantee of unity against the fragmentation
of the educational system of the country. It is worth noting here that SADOP is
the only private teachers’ trade union with legal and professional status and
therefore, it is empowered to act at the national level with full political

The presence of union stewards within private management institutions is not

always welcomed. In some sectors, schools are still seen as a conflict-free space
independent from any political logics. Union stewards are therefore seen as a
vehicle of conflict and politics within schools. With regard to the right to strike,
also embodied in the National Constitution, SADOP has carried out some actions
against any attempt to consider education as an “essential service” thus
excluding any possibility of organizing strikes.

SADOP, as representative of private teachers, has the right to freely organize

strikes. According to the country’s Supreme Court, private education is not an
essential service and that is why Resolution 480/01 of the Ministry of Labour
and Decree 843/00 of the Executive Power have been declared unconstitutional.
Likewise, private education teachers have the right to conciliation (granted by
Law 14.786) and therefore, to the creation of a conflict resolution procedure in
which the parties (SADOP and employers) shall be compelled to make all the
necessary efforts to compromise, while the Ministry of Labour shall be compelled
to propose solutions, thus playing an active role in the settlement of the conflict.
Consequently, the employers of private teachers must respect the right to
conciliation and continue working as they used to before the conflict. Otherwise,
they shall be subject to sanctions.

The teachers’ unionization process in Argentina is deeply marked by the

consequences of the normal school training, characterized by a paradigm based
on the existence of highly trained and cultivated teachers, but with an
independent work tradition. The view of teachers as education and culture
workers is quite recent in Argentina.


Nowadays, Argentina is facing an economic upturn. After 2001’s crisis, enrolment

rates fell and therefore, some private management schools, sections and shifts
were closed.

In order to improve education, the educational policy of the Argentinean State

must necessarily deal with the following aspects:

 Fragmentation of the country’s educational system.

 Deterioration of the quality of education.
 The need to close the educational gap through the elimination of the
differential circuits of education.
 The need to compromise –with the different actors involved- on optimum
material and working conditions for teachers.
 The need to forge new links between education and work.
 The need to shape education as a nation-wide and scientific and
technological project in line with regional and world needs.

Finally, we can say that most teachers see themselves as workers, although the
independent worker vision still exists. It is the trade unions’ task to make the
work perspective attractive and fight for more and better professionalism in the
exercise of the teaching profession.

*This paper has been elaborated by Fabián Otero, from INCAPE (National Institute of Educational
Training) of the Argentinean Union of Private Teachers (SADOP).

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desarrollo e integración, Bs.As., Troquel-OEI.

BRASLAVSKY,C. (1999); Re-haciendo escuelas. Hacia un nuevo paradigma en la educación

latinoamericana, Bs.As., Santillana-Convenio Andrés Bello.

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HUBERMAN, S (1995); “La significatividad de la calidad en educación y el rol de maestros,

profesores y directivos en su promoción”, en Revista La Tiza Nº 15 SADOP. Bs. As.

KESSLER,G. (2002); La experiencia escolar fragmentada. Estudiantes y docentes en la escuela

media en Buenos Aires, Bs.As., IIPE-UNESCO.

MORDUCHOWICZ, A.(comp.1999); La educación privada en la Argentina: historia, regulaciones y

asignación de recursos públicos, M.C.y E., mimeo.

NASSIF,R.(1984); “Las tendencias pedagógicas en América Latina (1960-1980)” en El Sistema

Educativo en América Latina, Bs. As., Kapelusz.

OTERO, F. (2002); “Hacia los diez años de sanción de la Ley Federal de Educación” en Revista La
Tiza, Bs.As., SADOP/ (2000); “La transformación educativa para el nuevo siglo” en Cuadernos La
Tiza, Bs.As., SADOP/ (1997); Animadores Curriculares. Proyecto Curricular Institucional.
SADOP. Plus Ultra. Bs. As.

TERIGI, F. (1996/7); “Aportes para el debate curricular” en Revista Novedades Educativas Nº 64,
66, 78, 79, 80, 81 y 82. Bs. As.
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Bs.As., FLACSO-Temas.

WCT/IPLAC (2004) Encuesta sobre situación y condiciones laborales de los docentes en las
escuelas privadas. Estudio Comparativo. Respuestas de SADOP- INCAPE/ ARGENTINA.

Chapter 14


A growing tendency

Historical background of education in Chile: decentralization of

education and the market

As most Latin American countries, Chile reorganized its education system after
the return of a democratic government on March 11th 1990. In the early 80s, the
structural reforms made to the Chilean education system were aimed at granting
a more important role to the private sector in the field of education, multiplying
the families’ choices and fostering competition among schools.

With the democratic transition government (from 1990 to date), governmental

policies seek to improve and transform education. The main objective of these
policies is to provide high-quality education for all, by placing great emphasis on
the recovery of and increase in the resources allocated to the social sectors in
general, and the educational sector in particular. Besides, in 1991, the
Professional Code for Teachers was passed and the teachers’ conditions of
employment became then part of the legislation.

For most of its history, Chile’s school system has followed a highly centralized
model of state-provided education that dates back to the mid–19th century. The
only time it veered from this course was during the 1980s, when the military
regime introduced radical reforms aimed at decentralizing and privatizing the
system. In terms of management and financing of schools, such reform was
focused on three main actions (which evidence the close relationship between
such reform and the privatization of education):

1) The government transferred the management of all schools from the

Ministry of Education to the country’s 325 municipalities (there are now
334); the municipalities were thus empowered to make their own
decisions regarding staff and infrastructure, while the Ministry of
Education was entrusted with normative tasks, curriculum
development, supervision and evaluation, etc.

2) Change in the way of allocating resources to schools. First, a subsidy

per enrolled student was established. Then, the subsidy granted to
tuition-free municipal and private schools was evened. So, the country
moved from a model based on the schools’ enormous budgets to a
system based on a subsidy granted per enrolled student. This subsidy
was intended to operate as a financial incentive to foster the
participation of private entrepreneurs willing to create new elementary
schools and high schools.

3) The reform transferred the management of a number of public

institutions offering secondary-level vocational education from the
Ministry of Education to corporations established for this purpose by
major business associations.

The reform fostered by the military regime during the 80’s followed a
decentralization and privatization-oriented policy of education that is still in force
today. The transfer of the administrative tasks from the Ministry of Education to
the local authorities of each municipality, the low collective bargaining power of
teachers, the greater participation of the private sector in the provision of
education, and the increasing competition among schools are some of the
objectives set by the reform as a strategy to optimize the management of the
resources available.

One of the most outstanding results of 1980’s reform was the mass transfer of
students from municipal to grant-aided private schools. In a ten-year period, the
enrolment rates of this sector passed from 15% of the total amount of students
to 33%. The different municipalities were entrusted with the management of
education-related matters and the parents’ demands were modified: they were
now free to choose a school for their children, regardless of the geographical
area where they live. As a product of the privatization of education, supply also
boosted the free competition among public and private schools. The program to
foster the participation of private companies and corporations in the
management of technical and professional schools is a clue to the hidden
privatization of the school system.

The 90s started with a second wave of educational reforms. The increasing gaps
in terms of social distribution and access to education resulted in a reform
focused on the structural aspects of the system and its content. The reform took
a pedagogical shape, with great emphasis on participative democracy, in order to
promote equal access to education. Despite all the efforts made, the organization
of education continues being market-oriented and therefore, social inequality
continues growing.

Nowadays, the Chilean school system is dual, for public elementary schools and
high schools have a double dependency: in administrative terms, they depend on
municipalities, and in terms of curriculum, pedagogy, evaluation, etc., they
depend on the Ministry of Education. Likewise, private schools –both grant-aided
and independent- are subject to the curriculum and evaluation-related guidelines
set by the Ministry at the national level.

Main characteristics of the Chilean school system:

Chile’s school system is organized as follows: eight years of compulsory primary

education, for children from 6 to 13 years old, and four years of secondary
education (compulsory since 2003) for students from 14 to 17 years old. After
2003, the compulsory education cycle was extended to 12 years. Secondary
education is divided into two distinct branches (defined according to the content
of the curriculum): the humanist-scientific branch and technical-professional
branch. Pre-school education embraces children from 0 to 5 years of age, it is
not compulsory and registration centres on the 4 to 5 year old age group (in
1995, 24% of school age children attended pre-school education institutions).

The education system is organized through a network of public and private

schools. Elementary schools and high schools are subject to a decentralized
system: their management is in the hands of local authorities or private

Besides the tuition-free forms of education, there exists an “officially

acknowledged” private system that follows the curriculum-related guidelines
issued by the State. 43% of primary and secondary education students and 50%
of higher education students attend these schools.

There exist two types of private institutions: those financed by the students’
families and those financed by the State (grant-aided private schools). The State
grants subsidies to tuition-free private schools. Since 1980, such subsidies are
also granted to municipal schools and high schools.

Table 14A: Enrollment and coverage of the Chilean Education System (1990-
2002). Primary, secondary and higher education

Year Enrollment Coverage

Primary* Secondary Higher Primary Secondary Higher

1990 2,022,924 719,819 249,482 91,3 80,0 14,4
2002 2,341,519 896,470 501,162 97,0 87,0 28,0

Source: Chilean Ministry of Education, 2003. (*)Primary education: eight years; secondary
education: four years; higher education: it is divided into three modes (technical training centers
providing a two-year program; professional institutes offering a four-year program; and
universities offering a five-year program).

Table 14B: Number of schools:

Administrative dependency
Total Municipal Grant-aided Private Corporations
Total 10,879 6,177 3,640 991 71
Pre-school 641 47 272 322 0
Special 509 141 363 5 0
Primary 3,768 2,823 897 48 0
Secondary 479 211 196 7 65
Adults 257 125 89 43 0

Table 14C: Number of students

Gender Administrative dependency

Total Municipal Grant-aided Private Corporations
Total 3,601,214 1,875,362 1,361,944 306,029 57,879
Male 1,843,202 963,629 688,435 158,246 32,892
Female 1,758,012 911,733 673,509 147,783 24,987

Table 14D: Number of teachers

Gender Administrative dependency

Total Municipal Grant-aided Private Corporations
Total 140,774 78,982 41,256 18,182 2,354
Male 42,144 24,204 11,805 4,839 1,296
Female 98,630 54,778 29,451 13,343 1,058

Source: Answers to a WCT survey on labor, salary and social security-related conditions of
teachers in private education, National Confederation of Chilean Teachers (CONATECH, 2004).

Type of schools

1) Municipal schools (8177 in 2002), which are managed by the 341

municipalities of the country.
2) Grant-aided private schools (3640 in 2002), which are financed by a State
grant or subsidy calculated per enrolled student.

3) Private schools (991 in 2002), which receive no State subsidy and are totally
financed by parents.

4) Corporations (71 in 2002), institutions providing technical and professional

secondary education, managed by corporations and financed through taxes (no
subsidy per enrolled student).

Table 14E: Enrollment according to the institutions’ administrative category.

Primary and Secondary Education (1990-2003)

1990 1995 2002

% % %
Municipal schools 58.0 56.8 52.8
Grant-aided private schools 32.4 32.5 37.3
Private schools // 9.2 8.0
Corporations 1.9 1.6 1.8
Total enrollment in the school system 2 742 743 2 833 250 3 237 989

Source: Chilean Ministry of Education (2002), Statistics on Education 2002, Chart 2.6 (MINEDUC/ UNESCO,

Education and the market: the voucher system

Chilean government financing to schools is established on the basis of the

payment of a subsidy per student attending the school (it is calculated taking
into account students’ attendance rates over the last three months). After 1993,
a system of “shared financing” was established, with a view to increasing private
financing to grant-aided schools. Thanks to this system, schools receive funds
not only from the State but also from parents, who pay a monthly fee for the
education of their children. While grant-aided private schools can subscribe to
this system for all educational levels, municipal schools can only do so for
secondary education. In 1998, 72% of grant-aided private schools subscribed to
this shared financing system.

The financing system implemented by the Chilean State and characterized by the
use of educational bonuses or vouchers has been useful to increase the
participation of the private sector in the education sector. The implementation of
this system resulted in an increase in the number of grant-aided private schools
and a reduction in the number of students enrolled in municipal schools (3.2%
per year) (Montt Leiva, 1995).

This model –different from the traditional centralizing-effective paradigm

fostered by the Ministry of Education- is the market decentralized model in which
the State allocates resources through a voucher or subsidy in order for families
to “buy” educational services in the private schools they have chosen. This is the
subsidy system used in Chile. The most common method is the “funds following
the children” voucher, that varies according to the school level and the
geographical location of the school (rural areas), but that remains the same for
students in municipal and private schools, regardless of the type of dependency
or social and economic levels of students.

Given its financing-related characteristics, it is evident that Chile’s education

system is similar to a market model. Although there exist several international
voucher programs, the Chilean case in this field is unique in Latin America, for it
has been implemented throughout the country for a long time; it relies on the
increasing participation of the private sector and embraces a significant number
of private schools.

Competition among schools and the redistribution of students among public and
private schools are some of the results of the implementation of the voucher
program. However, the equality promised by the advocates of the reform and the
use of the vouchers is yet to be achieved. Wealthy and poor students continue
being sent to different schools, just as before the implementation of the voucher

Legal framework of Chile’s school system: free choice of schooling

Chile’s national Constitution was adopted on September 11th 1980 and amended
in November 1991. It ensures the right to education for all and provides for the
freedom of teaching as the cornerstone of the education system (art. 19, No. 10,
11). Besides, the Constitution grants parents the right and duty to educate their
children and compels the State to provide special protection for the exercise of
this right. The State must also finance a free system of primary and secondary

Article 13 of the Constitution states that: “The State of Chile is unitary. Its
territory is divided into regions. The law shall provide that administration thereof
be functional and territorially decentralized”. This article provides a framework
for the decentralization of the school system and the deconcentration of the
Ministry of Education.

Article 19, section 10, states: ”The objective of education is the complete
development of the individual in the various stages of his/her life”. Section 11 of
the same article highlights the principle of freedom of teaching, which “includes
the right to open, organize and maintain educational institutions”. The State shall
therefore guarantee that “freedom of education has no other limitations but
those imposed by morals, good customs, public order and national security”.
Finally, “a constitutional basic law shall establish the minimum requirements for
each of the levels of primary and secondary education and shall provide for
objective standards of general application that may enable the State to watch
over compliance therewith. Such law shall also establish the requirements for
obtaining official recognition of educational institutions at all levels”.

To sum up, the Chilean Constitution and the Constitutional Basic Law on
Education (passed in 1990) provide for the following guidelines:

• Right to education
• Freedom of teaching
• Permanent character of education
• Right of parents to educate their children and their free choice of schooling
• Primary education is compulsory
• The State must finance a tuition-free system designed to ensure access to
compulsory education by the entire population
• Officially recognized education cannot be directed towards disseminating
any type of political-partisan tendency.

The Professional Code for Teachers (Law No. 19.070- June 1991) provides for
labour and professional rules for teachers in pre-school, primary and secondary
education, both in the public and private sectors. It ensures their right to
training, participation and professional autonomy. According to this Code,
teachers in the private sector have the right to collective bargaining and to the
national minimum base salary of teachers in municipal institutions. They have
the same rights and duties as workers in the public sector (access to the
profession through a public examination and employment security). Likewise, the
Code sets the value of the weekly – monthly work hours and compels the State
to finance their salary increase.

Labour conditions of Chilean teachers

As a result of the reforms implemented during the military regime, trade unions
were dissolved and teachers became private sector employees having to
negotiate their contracts individually. Between 1981 and 1987, contracts were
regulated by the market. This strategy caused serious damages to the teaching

In 1991 the government restructured teachers’ labour regulations and

transferred them from the Labour Code governing private activities to a special
Professional Code (Estatuto Docente – Law 19.070, 1991) that sets forth national
labour standards (e.g., number of days, maximum number of hours, holiday
benefits, etc.) and an improved nationwide salary structure. It also provides
bonuses for further training, professional experience, and working in difficult
conditions, as well as high employment security.

The professional provisions embodied in the Code apply to both public school and
private school teachers. However, the first are legally considered as civil
servants, while the latter are seen as private sector employees. So, an access-
through-appointment system was created for the public sector, while a teaching
contract was created for the private one, thus fostering great flexibility in the
recruitment and dismissal of teachers.

The Code also regulates access to the teaching profession through a public
examination that, although nationwide, is promoted by each Municipality. In the
private sector, teachers enter the profession through a contract between the
employer and the candidate.

Teachers’ workdays can not exceed 44 hours per week for the same employer.
The same applies to teachers in grant-aided private schools. Independent private
schools must comply fully with the regulations embodied in the Labour Code,
which establishes that a teacher can not work more than 48 hours per week for
the same employer. However, a teacher can work simultaneously for a municipal
and a private school and therefore, there is no full-time employment limitations.
Regarding salaries, before July 1st 1991 (when the Professional Code was
passed) there was no related legislation other than the Labour Code, which
applied to all workers of the private sector. Nowadays, the Code provides for a
remuneration system and has set different minimum values for work hours.
Employers can increase these values at will or through collective bargaining
(authorized in the private sector).

The Code stipulates an “additional minimum base salary” for employees in

municipal and grant-aided private schools. A remuneration scheme has been set
for teachers in the pre-school, primary and special education sectors, and for
teachers in the secondary education sector. As for salaries in the private sector,
the Code establishes that besides the additional minimum base salary, grant-
aided schools can apply to the “working in difficult conditions” status and
therefore, set a different remuneration system for their teachers. Besides, the
Code ensures the private school teachers’ right to collective bargaining and
authorizes the exclusion from this process of employers remunerating their
employees according to the municipal remuneration system. That is why a
mechanism has been created in order to apply –upon agreement between the
parties- the same remuneration system both to the public and private sectors.

The pension system has been organized according to an Individual Capitalization

Fund. Pensions are paid by a private insurance company previously selected by


There exists a long-standing unionization tradition among Chilean teachers,

especially in the public sector. However, the Chilean legislation authorizes neither
unionization nor collective bargaining per se among civil servants. Unionization in
the public sector represents 56%, while in the private sector it accounts for 9%.
Although the private school teachers’ right to strike is authorized within the
framework of a Collective Bargaining Process, this right is not respected de facto.
The main Chilean teachers’ trade union (SUTE) was dissolved during the military
regime. In 1974, the government replaced this trade union with a professional
organization whose affiliation was compulsory for all teachers: the Chilean
Teachers’ Association, whose directors were appointed by the military regime. In
1981, a law on “professional associations” was passed. It provided for rights such
as the freedom of association and the free foundation of other trade unions.

The Chilean legislation provides for the right to organize of teachers in the
private sector and acknowledges their right to collective bargaining in the field of
remuneration, and other employment and labour conditions. In 1988 this sector
was legally granted the right to strike.

According to the Ministry of Labour (1990), in public pre-school, primary and

secondary education sectors, there exist 382 trade unions with 18,019 members.
In the private education sector there exist only 53 trade unions.

Gender problems, social exclusion and teacher training

The actions of the Chilean Ministry of Education seek to incorporate contents and
practices that tend to foster values and attitudes that promote gender equality.
The curriculum contains regulation guidelines to train teachers and raise their
awareness so they can introduce the gender topic into their classrooms.

The Ministry has implemented an educational module called “Sexuality, gender

and affection” that targets preschoolers in several regions. In addition, there are
several programs for responsible sexuality that seek to promote the development
of sex education in the school.

Regarding the protection of women’s rights, the Congress has passed several
legal initiatives: the no-discrimination of women in case of pregnancy and
maternity and their permanence in educational establishments (law No. 19,688),
the no-discrimination of HIV- (AIDS) positive workers in the public and private
sectors, etc.

In Chile, teaching has an important degree of feminization. Among the 134,389

active teachers in pre-basic, basic and middle education in 1989, 67.7% were
women. In pre-basic education, women constituted 92%, in basic education,
72.5%, in special education, 85.5% and in middle education, 53.3%.

Same as in several countries in the region, there is not enough research in

gender discrimination in teaching in Chile. Regarding salaries, the studies carried
out by the Ministry for Education show that in 1990 there were no significant
differences based on gender. Monthly salaries for women are slightly lower in the
administrative sector, according to the same study. In private grant-aided
establishments, salaries for women are inferior, with the single exception of
education for adults. Regarding the access of women to administrative positions
or technical-pedagogical responsibilities, there exist discrimination against them.
The proportion of women in 1989 in the whole of the administrative and
technical-pedagogical personnel was 52.7%.

There is no disposition in the Professional Code for Teachers that discriminates

for or against women. Nevertheless, the Code has as an additional normative the
Labour Code, Law No. 18,620, of 1987. This means that all women who are
professional educators benefit from the common labour law that affects all
women who work. Besides, article 180 of the Labour Code extends the chapter
pertaining to the protection of maternity to all women working in public services.
On the matter of the welfare system, the law discriminates in favour of women
regarding the minimum age for retirement—60 years for women, 65 for men.

Strengthening fairness in education

- The 900 school program. A program for improving the quality of schools in
poor sectors, “P-900” is an effort focused on attending the 10% of free
schools in the country where the lowest learning levels and the highest
poverty have been detected, applying the principle of positive
discrimination. It concentrates on improving students’ learning, and for
this objective it acts at the teacher and student level, and also promotes
the improvement of school management.
- Program for improving the quality of education in rural multilevel schools.
Incomplete rural multilevel schools (those that do not offer the 8 levels of
primary education), staffed by one, two or three teachers are attended by
this program. It includes an adequate perfecting for the teachers, in the
areas of knowledge and pedagogic skills, so that they are capable of
generating the necessary innovations in the curriculum that will allow
students to develop their thought structures, aptitudes and skills for
action, which, in turn, will facilitate further learning relative to agro-rural
life and full social integration.
- Welfare programs. Several actions are carried out to compensate for
family, socio-economic, geographic and other difficulties and limitations
that have clear incidence on learning; these are channeled through the
Board for School Assistance and Scholarships. Benefits include: food in the
school, boarding schools, student homes, scholarships, health in the
school, distribution of free school supplies and text books in primary and
secondary education levels.

General assessment of Chile’s educational policy

Enrolment rates in Chilean schools –both public and private- significantly

changed between 1980 and 1986. In 1980, 78.6% of students attended
municipal schools, 14% grant-aided private schools, and 7.4% independent
schools. In 1986, these percentages significantly changed: 63.1%, 30.8% and
6.1%, respectively. In the late 90s, there were 9073 schools in Chile: 69.75% of
them were municipal schools and 30.25% grant-aided private schools. These
figures highlight the increasing privatization of Chilean education.

One of the particularities of the Chilean system is that there exist private schools
financed by the State (these schools were legally recognized in the 60s). So far,
no policy has been issued to change this situation, which has been widely
criticized by teachers, who think that the enrichment of private schools through
the financial aid of the State is unethical.

Besides the municipalization, privatization and the creation of a subsidy system

within public schools, a market-oriented mechanism was fostered in terms of
enrolment and the control on the quality of education. All these policies have
been implemented in order to promote a highly competitive system and
therefore, improve the quality of education. So, schools with the highest
enrolment rates are supposed to be the best and are granted more financial
resources. Everything suggested that the quality of education was to be
improved. Nevertheless, “the results of the educational reform undertaken in
Chile show that no improvement has been made in the field of equal access to
education, efficiency of public administration, the students’ performance, or the
participation of local actors” (Candia, 2004).

To sum up, the structure of Chile’s educational system has significantly changed:
it moved from a highly State-controlled system, to a system controlled by
municipalities (59%), private entrepreneurs (33%) and private institutions
financed by the parents’ contributions (8%). The private sector is definitely
growing stronger.

It would be worth noting that, despite all these changes, inequality still exists
between private and municipal schools. Grant-aided private schools usually have
an opportunistic behaviour. “In terms of industrial organization, we are
witnessing the emergence of a hybrid system embracing an on-demand subsidy
system and a centralized system of allocation of resources, together with other
subsidies granted to the municipal sector. This scheme may however foster and
institutionalize a corporativist trend in which the interests of each group prevail,
given the poor performance of the market” (PREAL/IDB, 2004).

Finally, it would be worthwhile to carefully analyze the ideology of the advocates

of private schools: grant-aided private schools perform better than municipal
ones. But no educational quality test proves this right. We should prevent this
from becoming a slogan promoting education as merchandise.


Candia, Alejandra (2004), Razones y estrategias de la descentralización educativa: un análisis

comparado de Argentina y Chile, OIS journal, No. 34, Madrid.

CEA (2002), Recursos diferenciados a la educación subvencionada en Chile, Universidad de Chile,


Cox, Cristian (1997), La reforma de la educación chilena: Contexto, contenidos, implementación,


WCT/IPLAC (2004), Encuesta sobre situación y condiciones laborales de los docentes en las
escuelas privadas. Estudio Comparativo. Respuestas de CONATECH, Chile.

MINEDUC/Argentina (2000), Reformas educativas en el cono sur 1998-2000, Unidad de

Investigaciones Educativas, Argentina.

Mourduchowicz, Alejandro (1999), La educación privada en la Argentina: historia, regulaciones y

asignación de recursos públicos, Ministerio de Educación Argentina, Buenos Aires.

OIS (1993), Sistema educativo Nacional de Chile, Ministry of Education of Chile and Organization
of Ibero-American States, Chile.

PREAL/IDB (2002), Educación privada y política pública en América Latina, Partnership for
Educational Revitalization in the Americas / Inter-American Development Bank, Chile.

Web site of the National Confederation of Chilean Teachers:

Web site of the Chilean Ministry of Education:

Web site of the Regional Office of Education, Chile:

UNESCO/IBE (2004) La educación chilena en el cambio de siglo: política, resultados y desafíos,

Informe Nacional de Chile, International Bureau of Education, UNESCO, Ministry of Education of
Chile, Chile.
Chapter 15

A new step forward


Costa Rica is considered to be –from a historical point of view- the country that
has done the most for education in Central America (and maybe Latin America
too). Bordered by the Republic of Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the
north, Costa Rica was settled by different groups with Chibcha (settlers)
origins. These groups had no state structures similar to the ones developed by
the greatest empires of the Americas (Inca, Aztec or Maya), but their complex
agriculture-based civilization and alloy techniques for metals such as gold or
copper were quite advanced.

The first contact with Spaniards dates back to the fourth voyage of Christopher
Columbus, upon his arrival to the current province of Limón on September 25th
1502. In November 1540, the Real Cédula provided for the creation of the
province of Cartago –what would later on become the territorial jurisdiction of
Costa Rica. In 1560, the first evangelist of the Caribbean coast, Juan Estrada
Rávago, from the Franciscan mission, arrived to Costa Rica, followed by other
members of the same Mission who arrived to the country afterwards.

The development of different municipalities, the presence of religious orders

and the enforcement of the legislación de Indias, which provided for the
creation of schools within the territory whenever necessary, paved the way for
the emergence of teachers in charge of the education of children (teachers’
payment certificates, in compliance with the decisions of the Cabildo de
Cartago, between 1714 and 1788). In 1782, the first primary school was
created in Cartago1, and other municipalities started following this example,
thus shaping Costa Rica’s education system.

On the eve of the National Independence, the entire territory was under the
control of the Capitanía General de Guatemala. On October 21st 1821, it
adhered to the independentist project aimed at creating the “United Provinces
of Central America”, until its dissolution in 18392.

In 1869, education became “free, mandatory and public”. Schools started being
developed thanks to the municipalities’ actions. It is worth noting here that in
the meanwhile, private schools with no State support were created. The
greatest educational reform took place under the Bernardo Soto administration
(1886-1890), and the leadership of Mauro Fernández, who not only fostered
the centralization of education –so as to unify educational criteria- but also
created a training program for teachers, by inaugurating the Normal School.

In 1948, this deeply republican and democratic nation was bogged down in the
civil war quagmire, as a result of what could be called a “liberal period” that
ended up as a fraud attempt. Once the war was over, the country was ruled by
a series of social-democratic governments. They abolished the army (1949)
and granted special attention to education, as in the past.

With the promulgation of the new Constitution, private education at all levels
was officially authorized. In 1953, the Consejo Superior de Educación was
created, and in 1957 the Basic Law on Education was enacted. This Law will be
the cornerstone of all the educational reforms undertaken later on.

Between 1950 and 1973, the demographic growth registered in Costa Rica3 was
accompanied by a considerable development of education. In 1959, there were
33 high schools and one university. By the late 70s, there were 235 high
schools and 5 higher education institutions4.

In 1792, the Governor’s Office orders “on pain of fine” to send children to school.
According to the Junta Superior Gubernativa, “Public instruction is the cornerstone and mainstay
of human happiness and common prosperity”. Between 1827 and 1850, 50 schools –accepting
female students- are opened. According to 1850’s census, only 10% of the population is literate.
Comparative data: in 1980, Costa Rica had a population of 2,284,000 inhabitants. In 2000, they
are 4,923,000. Most of the immigrants coming to Costa Rica come from Central America: more
than half of them are Nicaraguan and mostly women.
In the 70s, three State universities are created: the Universidad Nacional (1973), the Instituto
Tecnológico de Costa Rica (1972) and the Universidad Estatal a Distancia (1977). A private
university is also founded.
The economic crisis faced during the 80s was reflected in the complex state of
education: highly-centralized administration, inequality of opportunities and of
access to quality education and other problems related to regional disparities.

Among the strategies employed to solve this problem, it would be worth

mentioning three of them. The first was of an administrative nature,
implemented at the beginning of the 1980s, and aimed at granting greater
regional participation in planning and administration. The second strategy, in
the middle of the 1980s, was concentrated on technology, emphasizing the
incorporation of computer technology in the education system, both in the
modernization of the administration of the Ministry of Public Education and in
introducing computers into schools. Finally, at the beginning of the 1990s,
theoretical and philosophical discussions produced a curricular reform aimed at
developing education according to the demands of the times.

Between 1990 and 1994, the constructivist approach emerges. Between 1994
and 1998, the education policy placed great emphasis on human dignity, on the
importance for the learner to construct his or her own knowledge through
participatory learning methods. From 1998 on, efforts were concentrated on
the implementation an educational system with a solid training in values and
true equality of opportunities, permanence, and success for students in
receiving quality education5. In 1990, 1994 and 1998, the control of the
presidency alternated between the social-democratic party and the opposition.

Today’s educational system

Costa Rica’s educational system is basically structured as follows: ten years of

compulsory education –in 1997 an additional year of pre-school education was
integrated into the three module-cycles lasting three years each and in force
before the reform6. These ten years are divided as follows: pre-school
education (4 years) and two cycles of primary education (EGB I and EGB II),
which give access to EGB III (first cycle of high school education, both
academic and technical). Besides the compulsory education program, there is
the diversified education one, which can be academic or technical. Academic
education is aimed at giving students access to higher education.

It would be worth highlighting that in 1999, an additional year of pre-school

education was officially incorporated to the system. This initiative was warmly
welcomed by the population (400% growth during the first two years of

Another important point is the evolution of enrolment rates in cycles I and II

(within cycle II we include both cycle III, which is mandatory, and the
diversified one). According to statistics, secondary education enrolment rates
fell as a result of the 1980’s crisis, which had devastating effects on the poorest
sectors. Enrolment rates started increasing by the end of the decade.

Table 15A: Primary and secondary Education. Students and Gross Enrolment

UNESCO_OREALC (2001) The State of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1980-2000,
Santiago de Chile.
Reform of Art. 78 of Costa Rica’s Constitution.
Cycle III and
Year Cycles I and II Gross Rate Diversified Gross Rate
Total Education
1980 354,657 107% 173,176 70%
1985 362,877 97% 139,825 56%
1990 435,205 101% 154,331 56%
1995 507,037 107% 207,231 58%
1998 529,637 107.4% 227,328 59.6%
1999 551,735 111.3% 253,552 65.9%
2000 563,878 112.8% 277,266 70.94%

Source: Ministry of Public Education, Costa Rica, Department of Statistics.

It would be worth noting here that the Costa Rican education system has
directed its efforts towards the achievement of the goals proposed by the
Action Plan of Education For All. Within this framework, the following policies
have been carried out:

- Curricular Policy, 1990-1994: directed at developing human skills and

values and at satisfying society’s demand for education;

- The General Education Plan: that emphasized the development of -

individuals who are biologically and intellectually well-integrated;

- Education Policy Toward the XXI Century: concerning education

emphasizing sustainability in a globalized world;

- Reform of Article 78 of the Constitution in 1997: decreeing compulsory

and free pre-school education, and the incorporation of a second year in

- The Constitution finally provides for a minimal financing of 6% of the

annual GNP for public education at all levels and modalities.

- Approval of Law No. 77600 (Equal Opportunities Act for the Disabled), that
provides for greater participation by people with disabilities;

- Approval of the “Child and Adolescent Act” that seeks to guarantee

education, protection, and equity for its beneficiaries.

Over the past 20 years (1980 – 2000) and as a result of the policies
implemented, the number of schools has almost doubled. However, the sectors
that registered the highest growth were the pre-school and high school ones
(especially the pre-school sector, for the reasons mentioned above).

Table 15B: Evolution number of schools 1980-2000 in Costa Rica

Variables 1980 1987 1991 1995 1998 1999 2000

Pre-school 370 630 845 1,048 1,646 1,821 2,035
Primary 2,936 3,170 3,317 3,544 3,711 3,768 3,801
Secondary 242 243 259 323 425 454 518
Total 3,548 4,069 4,439 4,933 5,794 6,043 6,354


Let us go back to the 1980’s crisis that struck Costa Rica. For the year 1980,
public spending on education equated 7.8 % of GNP. During the following four
years, this figure reached 4%, with the following consequences: great progress
in terms of allocation of financial resources, thanks to the reform of Article 78
of the Constitution (1997) that establishes a minimum financing of 6% of the
annual GNP as a reference for financing education at all levels and modalities.
This decision had a great impact on subsequent budgets and the allocation of
resources to education. Approximately 97% of the education budget is for the
payment of personnel. The rest is for improving quality and for infrastructure.

The Costa Rican State does not finance private education, which represents
approximately 13% of the education sector, mainly concentrated within higher
education (34 private universities vs. four public ones, and more than 500
institutions of pre-school, primary, secondary, secondary technical and
academic, and special education).

Private education is fully integrated into the education system and it was
officially recognized in 1949. Since 1992, it has its own monitoring body, which
depends on the Ministry of Public Education (Department of Private Schools) for
pre-school, primary and secondary education.

Private and State universities are in charge of the teachers’ training: 15 out of
Costa Rica’s 34 private universities propose education-related programs in all
areas of specialization and academic levels.

Legal Framework

Education in Costa Rica relies on the ideological framework provided in the

National Constitution, which promotes notions such as the freedom of
education (Art. 79), the financing of education at all levels (Art.78) or its free,
mandatory and State character. In 1957, the “Basic Law on Education”
provided for a set of educational guidelines, which are flexible enough to
embrace the variants emerging with time.

The main authority within the education sector is the Executive Council for
Education, presided by the Ministry of Education. In 1980, a decentralization
process was launched, but is yet to be finished (the municipalization project
resulted in several strikes and conflicts between the government and trade

Decentralization-related reforms were aimed at strengthening the 20 Regional

Administration Centres, transferring administrative responsibilities to the
Education and Administrative Commissions, and issuing the Executive Decrees
on Main Offices and the Regionalization of Education.

The Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Law was enacted in 1995. The legal
framework of education is increasingly strengthened thanks to the participation
of society in education-related matters. In this sense, it is worth highlighting
the importance of the National Consultation Process implemented in Costa Rica
in order to define 1990-1994 Curricular Policy and the “National Education as a
State Policy towards 2005” project.

Equality of opportunities


Historically, within the region, women have not been active participants in
many areas, including education. In order to overcome this situation, strategies
have been implemented since the 1990s designed to promote equality of
education opportunities, giving priority to the female population in rural and
poor urban areas. In addition, the National Development Plan, 1994-1998, and
the education policy encouraged the adoption of policies aimed at promoting
gender equality.

Indigenous population

The indigenous population of Costa Rica includes approximately 40,000 people,

distributed among 22 reservations and belonging to 8 ethnic groups with their
own languages and customs (Chorotegas, Malekus, Térrabas, Huetares,
Brunkas, Bribris, Cabécares, and Guaymíes). The Indigenous Education
Program includes 5 regions, in which 77% of the total national indigenous
population is located. There are 128 primary schools, most of which have a
single teacher for the various grades. The Bilingual Education Program is trying
to be thoroughly implemented.

Special Education

Special Education is part of formal education. Its objectives include both

prevention and rehabilitation. Currently, there are 22 Special Schools, 35
Integrated Classes for deaf children, and 525 Integrated Classes for mentally
retarded children. This program, which depends on the Department of Special
Education within the Ministry of Public Education, is being successfully


On October 24th 1942, Costa Rican teachers, aware of the need to create a
national association, gathered in the Escuela del Atlántico, in the city of San
José, and founded the National Teachers’ Association (ANDE). The Association’s
Statutes were passed that same year, and its Act of Incorporation was
approved the following year. Today, it embraces some 45,000 affiliates.

Taking into account the significant increase in the number of secondary

education institutions, which was a result of the tuition-free character provided
by 1949’s Constitution, a group of teachers decided to gather on July 15th-16th
1955, in the Colegio Superior de Señoritas to found the Secondary School
Teachers’ Association (APSE). Today, this Association embraces some 14,000
Later on, new teachers’ associations were founded: SEC (Costa Rican Education
Workers’ Union), UCEP (National Caretakers’ Union), SINAPRO (National Union
of Vocational Teachers) and ADEP (Association of Teachers-Pensioners).

During the 90s, conflicts between the government and trade unions were
almost exclusively focused on the economic-corporate sphere. It would be
worth noting here the twelve day-strike over salary demand organized in April
1990, and 1993 and 1995’s strikes organized as a result of the consequences
the amendments to the Pension Law had on the teachers’ pension programs. In
2003, another conflict takes place, given the arrears of payments to the
teachers and the “municipalization” law.


Over the past years, much progress has been made in the educational sector in
Costa Rica. Costa Ricans -with deep republican and democratic values, a very
specific view of the Latin American unity, and aware of the fact that education
is the mainstay of the development and progress of the peoples- know we are
undergoing an era of deep changes, not only at the national or continental
levels, but also worldwide.

For Costa Ricans, this new “knowledge civilization” is a great challenge. Much
has been done already: the incorporation of pre-school education, the thorough
implementation of the equality of opportunities principle, the will to welcome
immigrants and give them access to education, and the will to accept the
support of the international agencies that respect and support the cultural
values of the country.

But much remains to be done: the Costa Rican State –that used to have a
monopoly of knowledge- is witnessing the successful development of private
education in areas where its action has been insufficient: secondary and higher
education. Efforts need to be made in order for the system to integrate both
State and private education institutions, to be able to listen to trade unions’
claims and the teachers’ extensive experience, and to fulfil the needs of our
first settlers, that is, the indigenous communities.

As most Latin American and Caribbean countries, Costa Rica still wonders how
to successfully face changes in production facilities, which demand upgrading
and the development of new skills, and have an impact on different educational
areas. However, we must say that much has been done since Costa Ricans
understood that fighting for a nation meant fighting for the education of its
peoples. Costa Rica is living proof of this.


UNESCO/OREALC (2001), The State of education in Latin America and the Caribbean, Santiago
de Chile.
UNESCO/OREALC (2002), Educational Panorama of the Americas, Santiago de Chile.

UNESCO (2004), Education For All Global Monitoring Report, Paris.

UNPD (2002), Human Development Report, Madrid.

Palamidessi, Mariano (2003) “Sindicatos docentes y gobiernos: Conflictos y diálogos en torno a la

reforma educativa en América Latina”, en Documento de trabajo PREAL,

OEI (1997) Sistema Educativo Nacional de Costa Rica, OEI-MEP, en

Viquez Salazar, Marlene (2000) Mitos y realidades de la Educación a la Distancia Costarricense,

Chapter 16


The increasing power of the State and the

possible decline of private education

Historical background of Venezuela’s educational system:

Venezuela’s educational system is characterized by the strong intervention and

presence of the State. After a period of military dictatorships that came to an end
in 1958, the educational system –deeply affected by the policies implemented by
the military regime- started being organized according to the population’s needs.
The consolidation of democracy between 1960 and 1970 was accompanied by
the almost hegemonic intervention of the State in the educational sector. In
1986, the General Rules of the Basic Law on Education (Ley Orgánica de la
Educación), providing for education-related rules and additional guidelines, was

During 1990-94, the Ministry of Education focused on the overall decentralization

of education. The educational system started being adapted to fulfill the social
and economic needs of the population: vocational training was promoted, so as
to fulfill the labor market demands, and several laws were passed with a view to
protecting the teaching personnel (signature of collective labor agreements,
agreements between the Ministry and the administrative staff, creation of
guidelines for the access to the teaching profession, elaboration of a bill on the
creation of a pension fund, etc.). The process launched by the Ministry was
orientated to the modernization, deconcentration and decentralization of
educational areas, so as to:

• Improve the quality of education and its social results, by trusting in the
regional and local agencies’ capacity to identify the needs of their
communities and making them consistent with those of the overall
• Foster an educational reform taking into account the diversity
characterizing the national reality.
• Reengineer the State’s management authority, by being hand in glove
with the national administrative agencies, so as to optimize the use of
• Empower academic institutions in the field of human resources and budget
allocation, and considering them as key managers of the education sector.
• Consider teachers as the cornerstone of a successful educational system.

In 1999, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías took office. By then, he

decided to put an end to the decentralization process, and education started
being restructured according to the principles of the Venezuelan Constitution
(1999), which provides for a National Project aimed at fostering radical changes
at the national level. According to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Constitution (1999),
education must be based on two principles:

1) Universal access to high-quality comprehensive education as a human right

and a fundamental social duty, based on equal conditions and opportunities for

2) The promotion of education from a humanist perspective, as a way to

eradicate poverty and create a work and production-oriented culture.

In general terms, the current organization of the public and private educational
system is strongly influenced by the State. This situation has been the target of
strong criticism by different social actors and representatives of the private
education sector, who believe that the Ministry oversteps the boundaries of its
authority and does not foster participative democracy, as stated in the national
Constitution and in several international treaties signed by the country. The
Government establishes the general policies of the system by having recourse to
state and municipal agencies. The educational system is ruled by a centralized
scheme characterized by the predominance of a single educational project and
the everlasting influence of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports

In compliance with the current legislation, there shall be one and only one School
Supervision System. Besides, the supervision of the educational process in all
public and private institutions shall be entrusted to National Itinerant
Supervisors. The access to and practice of the teaching profession shall be
regulated by the rules of Professional Practice for Teachers (REPD, 1991) in all
state agencies (at the state, national and municipal levels). The Government –
through the Ministry of Education and the National Qualifying Committee- shall
represent the highest authority for all state institutions.

Teachers in the public sector negotiate their collective labor agreements with
their respective administrative authorities (Ministry of Education, governor or
mayor’s offices) in an independent way. In most cases, the baseline for
negotiation is the collective labor agreement created for the teaching personnel
in the public sector. Within national schools, no community authority or member
is entitled to make decisions on the budget to be allocated to his/her school,
since this is the role of the MECD.

Venezuelan schools: differences between the public and private


In Venezuela, education is free and mandatory. The Venezuelan educational

system is composed of four levels: preschool education (mandatory), primary
education (mandatory, 9 years), secondary and professional education (2 years)
and higher education. The system embraces several branches: special education,
arts, military education, education for ministers of religion, adult education and
non-formal education. As to schools, there exist:

State schools, which are managed by governor’s offices.

Municipal schools, which are managed by municipalities or mayor’s offices.
Independent schools, managed by other State institutions (these are schools
created by state-run companies and institutions, as part of the social benefits
offered to workers).
Private schools, managed by private agencies.

The State, in accordance with the legislation, may grant financial aid to private
schools if they are tuition-free or if their fees are so low that the school is unable
to cover their operating expenses.

Table 16A: Enrolment, schools and teachers in pre-school, primary, secondary

and professional education, per type:

Type Schools % Enrolment % Teachers %

National 8,370 39.8 2,958,476 53.6 172,835 52.0

State 8,115 38.6 1,328,164 24.1 69,116 20.8
Municipal 478 2.2 58,517 1.1 2,847 0.9
Independent 495 2.3 117,828 2.1 8,110 2.4
Overall s 17,458 82.9 4,462,985 80.9 252,908 76.1
Private 3,588 17.1 1,053,200 19.1 79,284 23.9
TOTAL 21,046 100.0 5,516,185 100.0 332,192 100.0
Source: Ministry of Education, Statistics on Education, 1999.

In Venezuela, there exist two types of private schools: independent schools

(financed by their users) and grant-aided schools (whose operating expenses are
financed totally –mostly Catholic schools- or partially by the State).

Catholic schools totally financed by the State are part of AVEC1 (Venezuelan
Association of Catholic Education). Through an Agreement signed in 1990 with
the Ministry of Education, AVEC schools are granted financial aid to cover their
budget deficit. Not all AVEC schools reap the benefits of the agreement: schools
catering for wealthier socio-economic sectors are totally self-financed by tuition
fees. Likewise, the MECD-AVEC agreement protects schools founded by religious
organizations and groups (for instance, the Fe y Alegría schools).

It would be worth noting that the AVEC example has been used here because
this Association is a key player within the educational system: 573 schools
signed the aforementioned agreement with AVEC, while 176 private schools
receive no financial aid. In 2000, the State decided to grant financial aid to
private schools (total amount of 96,521,550,504 VEB). 83.3% of this grant was
allocated to Catholic schools affiliated to AVEC.

Table 16B: AVEC participation in Venezuela’s educational system: 40% of the

private sector, less than 10% of the state system, almost 8% of the
overall educational system.

State(1) Private(2) TOTAL(3) AVEC % on % on % on

(1) (2) (3)
Pre-school 613,765 145,607 759,372 42,309 6.9 29.1 5.6
Primary 3,597,282 770,575 4,367,857 344,506 9.6 4.7 7.9
Second. and
professional 251,938 137,018 388,956 44,158 17.5 32.2 11.4
TOTAL 4,462,985 1,053,200 5,516,185 430,973 9.7 40.9 7.8

Source: PREAL/IDB (2002).

The MECD-AVEC Agreement is based on Decree No. 722 (1990), which contains
a Regulation on the Provision of Grants to private institutions registered in the
Ministry of Education. The Ministry establishes the rules governing the State’s
financial contribution to private institutions through grants to non-profit legal
entities aimed at fostering education.
The MECD-AVEC Agreements is addressed to the following types of institutions:

Tuition-free schools: those operating without the financial contribution of

Public interest schools: institutions providing professional education in the
technical or agricultural fields, etc.
Low income schools: schools with revenues only are covering 85% of the
operating expenses. In this case, students make “voluntary contributions” to
cover the expenses the school can not afford.

AVEC was founded by a group of teachers in 1945. It defines itself as a non-profit “educational
and cultural association open to ecumenical dialogue, with no political affiliation, at the service of
the Church and the Venezuelan community” (Source:
Some of the requirements and rules applied in order for schools (subscribers of
the MECD-AVEC agreement) to receive a grant are the following:

• Grants shall not be awarded for the payment of services which are more
expensive than in public schools.
• Permanent grants shall be awarded to tuition-free, public interest and low-
income schools.
• The following documents shall be attached to the application forms:
income statement, budget, expenses, a certificate of up-to-date payments
of due contributions to the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security and an
income tax clearance certificate.
• The management and teaching staff of grant-aided schools shall be
supervised by the Ministry when considered appropriate.

There exists a clear difference between traditional public schools and grant-aided
Catholic schools, especially in terms of their relationship with the State. The
State’s financial support to public schools is unconditional: the funds allocated
are guaranteed as long as the Ministry receives the budget appropriations
authorized by the State, with no need to give any “collateral security” for the
management of funds. Conversely, the relationship between the State and grant-
aided schools is conditional. Private schools are compelled to account for the use
of resources. Otherwise, the State can decide to withdraw the grants: “To sum
up, financing of public schools is some sort of a “right”, while private schools
must constantly prove they do deserve such grants” (PREAL/IDB, 2002).

Venezuelan education financing

Venezuelan education financing is in the hands of the State. The Ministry of

Education is the agency in charge of managing the allocation of the annual
budget for the education sector. The total expenses of this sector are determined
on the basis of what the State allocates to this sector and the contributions of
other agencies. The Ministry, through the Office of Social and Educational Affairs,
award grants to private schools and social institutions contributing to the
development of education.

Table 16C: State’s financial aid to AVEC schools, from 1995 to 2000 (millions
of VEB).

Year State’s contribution %

1995 15,742 92.4
1996 23,262 92.2
1997 55,950 93.9
1998 76,946 94.2
1999 76,472 91.4
2000 80,912 84.1

Source: PREAL/IDB, 2002.

In compliance with the Basic Law on Education, the State shall financially support
private schools registered in the Ministry of Education, provided that they offer
and ensure high-quality education, that is, provided that they provide tuition-free
education or prove that they can no longer cover their operating expenses.
Likewise, the State shall grant occasional grants through technical support or
financial aid agreements, in order to contribute to the improvement of the quality
of education or to the implementation of scientific, technological or cultural
research or development programs for the State.

Legal framework of Venezuela’s educational system:

The new Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was adopted on

March 24th 2000. It was amended according to the guidelines of the National
Project devised by the Chávez Administration. According to the new Constitution,
education is a human right and a fundamental social duty. Access to it must be
democratic, free and mandatory. Besides, education is a public service, based on
the respect for all currents of thought. Education must follow and be consistent
with all social transformation processes, national identity values, and a Latin
American and universal perspective.
As to the right to create private schools, the law states that: “Any physical or
legal person having previously demonstrated his/her capability to do so and
permanently fulfilling the ethical, academic, scientific, economic and facility-
related requirements, as well as other requirements provided by the legislation,
shall be entitled to found and manage private institutions, under the thorough
inspection and supervision of the State, upon its prior acceptance”. As shown,
the State’s permanent pre-eminence is a fact.

The Basic Law on Education (1980) provides for the guidelines and main
principles of education as a comprehensive process. It determines the leaning,
planning and organization of the educational system, and it rules the functioning
of its related services. According to the legislation, a private school is an
institution founded, financed and managed by a private individual. Its
organization, operation and forms of financing shall be periodically assessed by
the Ministry of Education. Private schools, except for those governed by special
laws, are subject to the supervision and control of the Ministry of Education.
There are two types of private schools: those registered and those enrolled in the
Ministry. Registered private schools are those registered in the Ministry of
Education and which implement the educational regime established by the Basic
Law on Education. Enrolled private schools do not expect to be acknowledged by
the State, but they are compelled to follow the general guidelines established by
the law and to fulfill the provisions specifically established by the Ministry of

The Law on Professional Practice for Teachers (1980) stipulates the rules and
procedures governing the practice of the teaching profession: access,
reinstatement, dismissal, transfer, leaves, retirement, pensions, vacations, social
protection, etc. According to this law, in order to determine the teaching
personnel’s seniority -only for retirement and pension purposes- the years of
service in private schools or related services shall be calculated on a maximum
basis of six (6) years, provided that the teacher’s work in this sector and his/her
work in public schools or related services do not overlap. Besides, this Law
provides for a remuneration system for teachers, embracing: a base salary
established according to the academic category, a bonus calculated according to
the administrative status of Teacher-Coordinator, another bonus calculated
according to the administrative status of Teacher-Director, housing subsidies,
children allowances, benefits for work in indigenous, rural and frontier areas,
seniority, etc. As to social security, the Ministry of Education, together with trade
union organizations and associations embracing teachers, shall establish a social
security system fostering better living conditions for teachers and their families.
Teachers’ retirement and pension programs represent both an inalienable and
unlimited right and a State duty.

One of the legal provisions arousing a lot of controversy among the advocates of
private education –such as CAVEP (Venezuelan Chamber of Private Education),
directed by Octavio De Lamo– has been Decree 1.011 (amendment of the Law on
Professional Practice for Teachers, October 2000). Within the framework of this
Decree, the State perceives education as a strategic area within the social and
cultural changes of the country. In order for education to serve this purpose, the
State decided to change the former school supervision and control system, with a
view to improving their efficiency. The reform introduces new players within the
system: the National Itinerant Supervisors, who work for the Vice-minister of
Educational Affairs of the Ministry of Education. These Supervisors –together with
the Ministry- are the highest supervision authority within schools (both public
and private). According to this project: “In order to improve the quality of
Venezuela’s educational system and to widen its scope, the Ministry of
Education, Culture and Sports shall issue the necessary administrative
provisions. If a National Supervisor identifies irregularities in one of the schools
supervised, the decision can be made to suspend all or some of the members of
the school board and to appoint the corresponding provisional staff”.

Several sectors of the Venezuelan civil society – especially the managers of

private schools and representatives of the Church - believe that this Decree
jeopardizes participative democracy. The amended Basic Law centralizes almost
all the education-related decision making, and leaves everything in the hands of
civil servants appointed by the State. Besides, the State’s project would impose a
punitive vision of supervision, thus eliminating the apparent preventive
perspective it should have. The schools’ internal decision-making would then be
in the hands of itinerant supervisors, who can make decisions with neither the
approval of the Ministry nor the participation of the civil society, parents and

Article 14 of the Government’s Bill establishes that the general management of

the educational system shall be the responsibility of the Executive branch, which
shall exercise this power through the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.
CAVEP’s President has stated his discontentment as follows: “The State must
promote education, and stop trying to play the teachers’ role (...) the
implementation of a single national educational project would prevent citizens
from choosing the kind of education they want, thus compelling them to accept
the only choice left by the State” (El Universal, 03/13/05).

Contrary to the State’s current perspective on educational policy, several

representatives of the civil society, the Church and the private sector believe that
the work and management of public and private schools should be in the hands
of the political and administrative agencies integrating the Venezuelan State.
Such agencies should promote the active participation of associations,
foundations, parents and students in the pedagogical and administrative
management of each and every institution.
Working conditions of Venezuelan teachers:

The protection of Venezuela’s teaching personnel has been entrusted to the Office
of Trade Union Affairs, the Social Security Institute of Workers of the Ministry of
Education and its Legal Department. The agreements and collective labour
agreements signed after 1960 protect more than 200,000 workers. They provide
for some of the achievements of trade unions in terms of economic, social,
cultural and pedagogical rights, as well as working conditions and social security.
The right to strike is stipulated in Venezuela’s National Constitution, the Basic
Labour Law, the Basic Law on Education, and the rules on the Professional
Practice of Teachers. Teachers are even free to join different trade union
organizations. The parties involved in collective bargaining are representatives of
trade union organizations, secretaries of education working for mayor or
governor’s offices (for states and municipalities), and representatives of the
Ministry of Education (at the national level).

Trade union directives are registered in the Ministry of Labour and the National
and Regional Labour Inspectorate, in order to guarantee their acknowledgement
during collective bargaining processes. If a teacher faces a problem (as
individual), he/she can submit it to his/her trade union. Then, a trade union
representative acts as a mediator between the teacher and the school. In case of
labour-related problems affecting a group of teachers, the members of the
organization must submit the problem to the trade union. A trade union
representative acts as mediator between the teachers involved and the school,
and if no agreement is reached, the problem is submitted to the office of trade
union affairs of the administrative unit concerned.

2004’s IV Collective Labour Agreement provides for a minimum work load of

eighteen (18) to twenty-four (24) hours per week-month, depending on the
course. It also states that after 25 years’ service, a worker can retire, with a
salary calculated upon a given percentage calculated according to the years of
service and his/her monthly salary.

As to the contract of employment, there exists a competence-based system

(evaluation on merit) together with some promotion rules, a salary scale, and a
system of sanctions (disciplinary regime) for independent private schools. It
would be worth noting that in public schools, the system is highly focused on
wages, benefits and pensions, while in grant-aided private schools the situation
is of an intermediate type.

When facing labour-related problems, teachers in private schools usually contact

people from the school itself (principal, vice-principal, coordinator), while
teachers in public schools contact people from the school as well as other
external actors, such as the Board of the Educational Area, the supervisor of the
sector, or their union steward.

In most private schools, teachers are required to have a university diploma in

order to teach, especially at the secondary education level.

The Venezuelan Chamber of Private Education (CAVEP), with great

representativeness of the private education sector, requires that its affiliates
follow the provisions established in the collective labor agreement of teachers
attached to the Ministry of Education. However, schools are free to determine the
remuneration system applied to their teaching personnel.

Teacher training

In 2003, Venezuela launched the “Permanent Training Program to Dignify

Teachers”. The program incorporated some 25,000 teachers into its ranks
through an applications process and through an evaluation of performance. The
program focuses on the permanent training and updating of active Venezuelan
teachers. The process is centred on teaching mathematics, language and science,
training supervisory and managing personnel, bilingual intercultural training for
the teachers and the use of new technologies for teaching (ICT).

In June 2004, the “National Teacher Training Program” was started. The program
is centred on providing attention to the sectors that are most excluded from the
educational system. The program is structured in three areas: theoretical-
conceptual, empirical-operative and comparison. The permanent training that the
Venezuelan educational policies seek is focused on improving the quality of
education and targets the capacity for learning that every human being has. With
regard to equality in education, “the State has set as a priority attention for the
teachers, the students and the communities of the schools located in frontier and
indigenous areas (…) in the training of teachers for indigenous schools prevails
the respect for the culture of the ethnic group and it must be bilingual”

Intercultural Bilingual Education

At the present, intercultural bilingual education has a project promoted by the

Ministry for Education. Its main objectives are:

- Guarantee education within the context of the new information and

communication technologies, while at the same time respecting cultural
- Initial and permanent training of indigenous teachers within the context of
the education particular to indigenous peoples and intercultural bilingual
- Production and publication of printed and audiovisual educational material
in both indigenous languages and bilingual.
- The mandatory use of indigenous languages in all public and private
schools located in the habitats of indigenous people, including urban areas
where they live, and where Intercultural Bilingual Education will be

The State and the private sector: a tense atmosphere

The general policy of the current government headed by Hugo Chávez has
generated a tense atmosphere among some sectors of society –especially among
representatives of the Church, the media and private employers- who believe
that the government oversteps the boundaries of its authority and tries to
impose a single educational project that jeopardizes the participative democracy
it theoretically defends.
Today, the Venezuelan society is going through some rough patches, and
education is one of them. “One of the rough patches is precisely what the
democratic design of a school should be. This should be achieved through a
critical revision of the thesis of neo-conservative liberalism used in the first
generation of reforms, the return to the ideals of a single public school system,
and the rethinking of topics pertaining to justice (…) within the framework of
ideologies that give pre-eminence to the political mobilization role of education
and to the State’s role in regulating the functioning of the educational system
and in offering services” (Casanova, 2002).

Although no official decree has been issued, the Ministry has repeatedly stated
its discontentment regarding the functioning of some private schools and has
highlighted the need to exert more control on the private education sector. The
aforementioned Decree 1.011 seems to prove this point. The national
government has already reduced the financial aid once granted to some social
programs in which several religious organizations participate. Nevertheless, it
continues reasserting its support to AVEC and no definite measures have been
taken so far.

It would be worth noting that within a highly state-based and centralized system
such as the Venezuelan one, being afraid of witnessing the decline of private
education is totally genuine. The Government and the National Assembly have
repeatedly and publicly questioned the participation and performance of the
private sector: “This attitude has generated a tense atmosphere that inevitably
affects institutional relationships among grant-aided Catholic schools” (PREAL,

That is why people increasingly wonder whether the government will continue
respecting –as it has done so far- the MECD-AVEC agreement.

Besides, the new control system materialized in the person of itinerant

supervisors, together with the dissemination of a project aimed at transforming
education, have been interpreted by the private sector as an attack: “In
Venezuela, there has always been a distrust of private education, which
somehow subsidizes the State. When parents register their children in a private
school, they are discharging the State from its duty. And the entrepreneurs and
associations that participate in a given educational project are also subsidizing
the State, making it save on time and money. Therefore, private education is
beneficial to the State, something that is absolutely misunderstood, for private
education has always been accused of being money-oriented, and that is not
fair” (El Universal, 03/13/05).

All evidence points to a stronger presence of the Venezuelan State in the

education sector, thus weakening the role of the private sector. Besides, the
discontentment of some sectors of the Venezuelan society with the current
Administration could strongly deteriorate the relationship between the public and
private sectors, although such deterioration can already be seen.

The subordination of an educational project to the kind of country we wish should

necessarily imply the participation of all the sectors of society, in order for such
project to be consistent with the participative and pluralist democracy the
government is trying to promote.

Casanova, Ramón, ed. (1999), La reforma educativa. Estudio sobre el Estado de la

descentralización a fines de los años noventa, CENDES, Caracas.

Casanova (2002), “De administración y administradores educativos en Venezuela. Dinámicas de

institucionalización y profesionalización de una burocracia”, en Cuadernos del CENDES, Nº 49,

EL Universal (2005) , interview with Octavio De Lamo, En peligro la educación privada, Caracas,
March 13th 2005, in

Fernández Heres, R. (1983) Educación en democracia. Historia de la educación en Venezuela

1958-1983. Tomo I y II, Ediciones Congreso de la República, Caracas.

Fernández Heres, R. (1998) Referencias para el estudio de las ideas educativas en Venezuela,
Biblioteca de la Academia Nacional de la Historia, Caracas.

MECD (2004) Políticas, Programas y estrategias de la Educación. Informe Nacional de la República

Bolivariana de Venezuela, MECD, Caracas.

OIS (1996) SISTEMA EDUCATIVO Nacional de Venezuela, Ministry of Education of Venezuela and
Organization of Ibero-American States, Venezuela.

PREAL/IDB (2002) Educación privada y política pública en América Latina, Chile.

WCT/IPLAC (2004) Encuesta sobre situación y condiciones laborales de los docentes en las
escuelas privadas. Estudio Comparativo. Respuestas de federación Venezolana de Maestros,

Web site of the Venezuelan Association of Catholic Education:

Web site of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers:

Web site of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela:
Chapter 17


Multifaced diversity and consequence


Introductory note.

India is home to 17% of the World’s total population accommodated in an area

which is 2.4% of the World’s total area. As against 2820 languages in the entire
world, as many as 325 languages are effectively used in India alone. Local
dialects change in India almost every 8-10 km. The country has witnessed
phenomenal educational development – both in quantitative and qualitative
terms since independence. However, the national goals of universal elementary
education and total eradication of illiteracy have still remained elusive. The
Government is committed to achieving these national goals and has been
steadily increasing the budgetary allocation for education. India spent 4.02% of
its GDP on education during 2001-2002 but about 44% of its adult population
still remains to be made literate (Department of Education, 2004a).
An increasing budget, yes, but far from enough. It is a fact that the education
department comes only second to the police department and therefore it has not
used the meagre funds provided by the government.
Of 203 million children entitled to a basic education in 2002-03 only 120 million
were at school. Poverty and gender, as well as state and national government
policies contribute to why so many children are working and not at school.
Millions of those children are out of school due to want of teachers, school
buildings, etc. More amounts should be spend on education of the
underprivileged and neglected sections (WCT/India, 2004). But, India allocates
just 46 % of its (under-financed) education budget to primary education. For the
cost of educating one university student, it would be possible to educate 39
pupils in primary school (Watkins, 2000).
The availability of woman teachers in rural areas in India has been an area of
concern and debate since pre-independence days. Many consider that the
problem of universal elementary education in India is essentially a problem of
girls’ education. Gaps in participation in schooling persist between girls and boys;
this being generally more marked in rural areas. This gap is due to a mix of
cultural and economic constraints and it was felt that one measure to reduce this
gap could be trough making more female teachers available in rural areas
(UNESCO/INCCU, 2001a). There is another reality too: in recent years a higher
proportion of out-of-schools children in the cities are identified, in spite of
concentration of social and economic infrastructure in the cities. This indicates
large-scale disparities in the educational infrastructure among the social groups
in the cities. The problem of the uneducated youth is clearly not only a rural
social phenomenon. It is a country-wide plague, a complex problem
(UNESCO/INCCU, 2001b). The children of millions of Bangladeshis residing
illegally in India, for instance, have no access to education. The traditional cast
system, combined with differentiates of ethnicity, language and religion, deeply
divides Indian society (EI, 2004). Members of the 1091 scheduled castes and
573 scheduled tribes have historically suffered intense educational disadvantage.
Past discrimination is reflected in the fact that the literacy rate for scheduled
castes and tribes is more than 30 % lower than the national average (Watkins,

The Government has started Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All) but it has
become up to now a total failure. As in India only 10 paise (cents) out of every
Rupee is utilized, while the rest is siphoned by the corrupt machinery
(WCT/India, 2004). The Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2003-
044 considers India at a risk of not achieving either gender parity or universal
education by 2015. (EI, 2004) Of course the official national report published on
the occasion of the 47th session of the IBE in 2004, sings a nicer song, is more
optimistic and underlines the importance of initiatives already undertaken in this
respect (Department of Education, 2004b). All of them efficient initiatives? What
to think, for instance, of the fact that official planners insist on compulsory
teaching of English language from the 1st standard, driving the underprivileged
out of school (WCT/India, 2004)?

No doubt. The Indian education system is facing serious challenges especially at

the elementary education level. These include universal access to an
infrastructure of comparable quality, improving retention, efficiency and
effectiveness of the schools. While in the recent years, there has been a
considerable emphasis on decentralised management and involvement of
community in micro planning; the outcome is quite mixed one (Aggarwal, 2000).
Education in the Indian Constitution is an area that is considered to be on the
concurrent list. As such education comes under the purview both of the Central
and State Governments, either in tandem – as massive arrangements and other
incentives to promote education especially among the underprivileged sections –
or separately by each state, according to local compulsions: historical, socio-
economic, religio-cultural or political. These take the form of difference in
syllabus, working conditions, remuneration, etc. according to the stages of
academic, technical, professional, non-formal education and the different
authorities that are responsible: municipalities, District Administration,
Educational Boards and Ministries that fall under the Central and State
Governments. In fact, the State Governments play a very major role in the
development of education particularly in the primary and the secondary
education sectors.
Private education thus needs to be considered in the context of the predominant
role of the Government who has the prime responsibility in ensuring quality
education for all, in a democratic society. However, numerous constraints have
led the State, while retaining its control and discretion, to invite private bodies to
share/complement its responsibilities and outreach in providing education. Due
compliance with the norms, procedures and other requirements that are laid
down are mandatory for recognition or aid from the respective public authorities.
In this context, the Constitution also provides for minorities (linguistic, cultural,
religious) to run their own institutions with special legal privileges ensuing from
the minority status.
In recent years, private education, especially on the level of higher education,
has developed into big business that is very profitable. And so, many politicians
and businessmen have entered the fray. In fact, some institutions of professional
higher education are turning out to be important foreign exchange earners for
the country, by catering to non-resident-Indians, and foreign students.
Globalisation is having a tremendous impact on education, in this respect. The
Corporate Sector has entered into the field in a very significant way (WCT/India,

The system.

Given the complexity of the Indian educational system it seems necessary to

enumerate some important general data before describing the concrete realities
private education as to face in this enormous country.

The education system in India is divided in the following stages:

A. The Primary Stage consists of Classes I-V i.e., of five years duration, in 20
States/UTs. (UT = Union Territory). Minimum age of admission is generally
5+ or 6+ years.
B. The Middle Stage of education comprises Classes VI-VIII is as many as 18
C. The Secondary Stage consists of Classes IX-X in 19 States/UTs

Schools are classified into:

• Government schools
• Private Aided schools = government financed but privately managed
• Private Unaided schools (PUA) = recognised and regulated but not
government financed. A very large increase in the number of and
enrolment in PUA schools at the primary level has been noted in recent

Mother tongue or regional language is the medium of instruction at the primary

stage in most of the States/UTs. Apart form Hindi speaking States, teaching of
Hindi is compulsory in most of the non-Hindi speaking States/UTs, though the
classes from which the teaching of Hindi is compulsory differ from State to State.
Teaching of Hindi is not compulsory in 4 states/UTs. Teaching of English is
compulsory in all the States/UTs, except Bihar.

A majority of States and UTs have introduced free education in Classes I-XII of
their schools. In the States/UTs were education is not free for classes IX and
above, the annual fee varies considerably from the highest level of Rs. 360
(=app. 7.7 US$) (for classes XI and XII in the case of Magkalaya tot the lowest
at Rs. 48 (= app. 1 US$) in the case of Assam.

From 1968 onwards, goal has been to set apart 6% of National Income on
education. In spite of resource constraints as well as competing priorities, the
budgetary expenditure on education by Centre & States as percentage of GNP
has steadily increased from 0.8% in 1951-52 to 4.02% 2001-02.
Universal free and compulsory elementary education up to the age of 14 has
become a reality by 1960, but that constitutional deadline was repeatedly shifted
– first to 1970 and the to 1980, 1990 and 2000. Compulsory education has been
enforced now in four States and UTs at the primary stage of education while in
eight States/UTs there is compulsory education covering the entire elementary
stage. But as many as 20 States/UTs have not introduced any measure of
compulsion up to the year 1997-98.
The Supreme Court, in a 1993 judgment, expressed its anguish over the delay. It
said: “Its is noteworthy that among the several articles in Part IV (of the
Constitution) only Article 45 speaks of a time limit, no other article does. Has is
not significance? Is it mere pious wish, even after 44 years of the Constitution?”.
Although the Tenth Five-Year Plan envisages universal access to primary
education by 2007, Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar
Joshi announced that the ‘Magic year’ will now be 2010. Meanwhile the demand
for schooling has been growing (Surya, 2001).
It is important to understand the magnitude of out-of-school children because
this has implications for how much it would cost to educate all the children
including those that do not currently go to school. It is estimated that about 2
million classrooms are required to educate these 59 million uneducated children
(Singh & Sridhar, 2002).

The situation of private education in India

There is a fundamental democratic principle that should be respected and which

is also proclaimed in the 2000 Dakar Framework of Action. It was and is the
fundamental duty of the Central as well as the State Governments to provide
100% grant-in-aid to educational institutions at all levels. Previously the Indian
government was giving grants to all primary, secondary, higher secondary and
university education. But in the year 1981, initially, some medical and
engineering colleges were allowed to be opened by the private sector on a no
grant bases. They were permitted to charge fees and levy ‘donations’ from pupils
and parents to meet the yearly expenditure of the colleges.
While the policy of no grant was initiated as an experiment, it has now become
the general policy of the government. Colleges of all types, high schools and
even primary schools are permitted to open on a no-grant basis. Further,
additional sections and divisions are allotted to aided schools and colleges on a
no-grant condition. Half the primary education is in the hands of private
management. 90% or more of secondary, higher secondary and college
educations is performed by the private managements. Initially, the formula for
grant-in aid was 45% and 50% of total expenditure in urban and rural areas
respectively. In the year 1967 and 1973 the old formula was changed. Recently,
the government has issued the order of curtailment in non-salary grants from
12% to 9% or 6% of the total expenditure of the educational institutions.
Building development grants, schools development grants are totally abolished.
Recently the Government has issued an order that no-English medium schools
will receive any kind of grant-in-aid. These orders are applicable to the schools
who were already receiving grants (WCT/India, 2004).

Private schools can legally operate in India but they need to get registered
(recognised) by the competent government authority. They are required, when
duly recognised, to follow the curriculum laid down by the government but may
have some extra syllabus. Legally there are no constraints for parents to choose
the school they prefer for their children. Of course, medium of instruction,
religious, social and financial status, etc. remain real constraints. The school is
required to obtain the written assent of the parents for co-curricular or extra-
curricular activities when these involve religious, financial or personal

The entire costs of compulsory education, when realised in the given State, are
(should be!) paid in government-run schools. In government-aided minority
institutions, the situation varies from State to State and from government
education authority (municipality, district council, education board). The grant-
in-aid generally covers salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff, but does
not always cover the non-salary grant (rent for the premises, library, sports,
Private education providers range from community-run schools to schools run as
a commercial business. But service provision is only one dimension of
privatisation. Education financing is already privatised to a high degree, with
households increasingly covering gaps left by inadequate public provision. In
some case, the costs of supposedly ‘free’ public education make private
education a competitive option (Watkins, 2000).

While the goal of educational inequality among states and groups is addressed by
DPEP (District Primary Education Programme), launched in 1993, there are
growing differences in quality within the Indian states between government and
private schools, which has not received attention. In reality, there are substantial
disparities between private and government schools in various aspects. Inputs
like teaching infrastructure, student-teacher ratio, and performances measures
such as student attendance, graduation rates are substantially better in private
than in government schools. Naturally, rationality forces better-educated parents
to send their children to private rather than government schools. This is quite
curious in the light if the fact that teachers in private schools are paid
substantially lower than in government schools (WCT, 2004; Watkins, 2000).
James Tooley conducted fieldwork for the International Finance Corporation, (the
private finance arm of the World Bank) on a group of schools, operating under
the banner of the Federation of Private Schools’ Management based in
Hyderabad, and serving poor communities in slums and villages. He reported in
the UBESCO Courier of November 2000, that the he was impressed by both the
entrepreneurial spirit within the schools – they were run on commercial
principles, not dependent in hand-outs from state or philanthropy – but also by
the spirit of dedication within the schools for the poor communities served: not
for nothing were the leaders of the schools known as ‘social workers’. But these
schools suffer under restrictive an inappropriate regulations.
Given the fees charged in these schools ranged from Rs. 25 (60 cent) to Rs. 150
per month (about $3.50), with the most of the schools grouped near the lower
end of the range, such sums are completely prohibitive. Fees around $10 per
year are not affordable by everyone, but they are to a large number of poor
families. The great majority of the schools offer a significant number of free
places –up to 20 percent – for the poorest students, allocated on the basis of
claims of need check informally in the community.
His conclusion: The private sector has the potential to promote greater equity
and to influence education policy, provided it is encouraged and viewed as a
partner, not a treat to governments (Tooley, 2000a).

Are private aided schools autonomous?

Private aided schools, like non-aided schools, have the autonomy to make
expenditure decisions for all aspects of the school budget, including staff. A
significant ruling of the Supreme Court of India states the Minority Institutions
has the obligation to manage not to mis-manage.
Provided the official syllabus is respected, teachers may choose other material to
highlight the contents of their subjects. They can choose freely the methods of
instruction, decide whether to provide religious or moral instruction, decide who
to provide religious and moral instruction, can dismiss, after due process,
members of the staff, decide to admit which pupils to admit in terms of religious

Can they operate as a for-profit business?

The Supreme Court Judgement by a 11 member constitutional bench on October

31, 2002 raises some interesting questions on whether education could be run as
a trade or business for profit in India. The Court makes some observations in the
judgment relating to the charity vs profit issue: Education has so far not been
regarded as a trade or business where profit is the motive (par. 20). It is implied
that Education has been regarded as a charitable activity (without a profit
motive) so far leaving the door open for Education to be considered as a for-
profit activity in future. The reality today is that most educational institutions are
run in the name of charity but are means for the trustees to make money for
The Court held that private unaided recognised/affiliated educational institutions
running professional courses were entitled to charge a fee higher than that
charged by government institutions for similar courses, but that such a fee could
not exceed the maximum limit fixed by the state. It held that, commercialisation
of education was not permissible and “was opposed to public policy and Indian
tradition and therefore charging capitation fee was illegal”. With regard to private
aided recognised/affiliated educational institutions, the Court upheld the power of
the government to frame rules ands regulations in matters of admission and
fees, as well as in matters such as recruitment and conditions of service of
teachers and staff (Economic and Political Weekly, February 02, 2004).

In the Recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council

(2001) one can read: ‘The entire resources allocated for education do not have
to be spent by the Government in directly running schools. Private schools can
play a very important role in achieving our targets. To facilitate private
initiatives, education should be liberalised and all entry-exit restrictions on and
bureaucratic hurdles faced by schools and colleges should be abolished”. Some of
the regulations which presumably would need to be examined in this context
include the prohibition, of “commercialisation” of education, wrote James Tooley.
Why is the commercialisation such an important issue? The key point is that it
could ensure that much needed investment is attracted into education- for the
best way of doing this would be to allow a standard business structure, to ensure
that investors can get a suitable return on their investment. Many education
companies simply ignore the High Court judgment and use a variety of means, to
ensure that profits are siphoned away from the educational societies where
legally they should remain (Tooley, 2001).

In the state of Kerala a voucher system has been introduced. This gives the
citizens of Kerala wider effective choice in selecting primary schools for their
children, wrote Sabith Khan (Khan, 2004). The parents can send their children to
any school of their choice. The private schools must provide the best services to
attract students and retain them for the government grants and hence, this
competition in turn is a bonus to the students. The notion that only the
government can provide for the education of the poor children is erroneous, he
adds. Even State governments seem to be realising this. In Delhi itself, the State
Education Minister Rajkumar Chauhab privatised non-performing government
schools. The motive behind is to improve the quality of education through
private-public partnership. Education vouchers can be given away to students,
who may use them to choose which school to join. The ‘Education Voucher’
system is one of the means which could bring in quality in the education process
ands help the government schools compete with the private schools for quality
education, he concludes.

Without any doubt the ‘commercialisation’ of education is on the agenda in India.

How representative is the private school sector in India?

The review of official educational statistics reveals serious gaps in terms of

coverage, quality of data, comprehensiveness and their availability in the desired
form at the appropriate time. For instance: a large number of unrecognised
schools have come up in various parts of the country and no data is available in
their number and enrolment (Aggarwal, 2000).
Published statistics in India ignore ‘unrecognised’ private schools and include
only the ‘recognised’ private schools, though all government-funded schools are
included. Moreover, enrolments in government-funded schools are greatly over-
reported in educational data. Official education statistics are skewed, concludes
Geeta Gandhi Kingdom of the London School of Economics (Kingdom,…): they
exaggerate the size of the free, government-funded elementary school sector
and greatly understate the size of the private fee-charging elementary school
sector. While it may be expedient for the state to under-enumerate fee-charging
schools and exaggerate its own contribution to school education, the fats-
growing role of unregistered private elementary schools should not be ignored
because of important equity-related reasons: as system where fee-levying
institutions have a significant role in elementary education.

Is the precise number of private schools in the country not known, available
government date show they are mushrooming. While the number of private
unaided schools increased six-fold and private recognised schools three-fold
between 1970 and 2002, the number of government and local body schools felt
by over 10 percentage points during the same period. According to the latest
National Sample Survey Organisation data, the proportion of students attending
private unrecognised primary schools has increased in the last decade. While the
figure is 4.8 % for the country as a whole (a vastly underestimated figure), it is
18.7 % in Haryana, 15.5 % in Punjab, 10 % In Utar Pradesh and 9.2 % in Bihar
(WCT/India, 2004).

As a result of his research Aggarwal concluded that the number of unrecognised

schools is doubling every five years. If the trend continues, the number of
unrecognised schools would be roughly 1.5-2.5 times the number of
government/local body primary schools. In his study ’Public and Private
Partnership in Primary Education in India’ (Aggarwal, 2000) he notes that
between 1986 and 1993, the enrolment (to primary classes) in private aided
schools rose at a compounded annual growth rate of 9.5 % per annum, while the
corresponding figure for government/local body schools was 1.4 %.

Due to the lack of serious policy imperatives, the elementary education system
shows signs of a dual system – one set of schools meant for the poor and those
who are unable to pay for quality education, the other catering to the
requirements for quality education involving high user costs.
The situation has worsened further thanks to the unregulated mushrooming of
English-medium nursery and primary schools where classes are held all in one
room, on rooftops, and under thatched roofs as feeders to the ‘teaching shops’
(Krishnahumar, 2004).

According to a study by Anuradha De et al (Economic and Political Weekly,

December 28, 2002) in U.P, Bihar and Rajasthan, there has been a mushrooming
of private schools in the rural areas too. In the urban areas, most government
schools function in rented buildings, usually old, dilapidated and woefully
cramped. Worse, two to three schools function from the same building. Often,
children huddle in unprotected places. But, says De, the new private schools are
not better. For instance, most schools were set up in the house of the school
manager concerned, and children crowded in small rooms. Even if the school was
a recognised one, the classrooms ware cramped and dingy, and lacked teaching
aids and other facilities such as a library. If at all there was a playground, it was
the 10 feet by 10 feet courtyard of the house. Very few schools have trained
teachers. The state of the unregistered schools was even worse (Krisnakumar,

Private, unaided schools run commercially and by NGOs make up only 6 % of the
total number of schools in India. Most of them are in towns and cities. Given the
limited reach of private schools, it is government schools and government-aided
schools that have to be depended on to deliver elementary education to the
country as a whole (Surya, 2001).

The PROBE survey (Public Report on Basic Education in India) (Probe, 1999)
found that nearly 98 % of rural parents believe that it is important to send their
children to school. This burgeoning demand has led all those who can just about
afford to send their children to a private school – even if does not adhere to basic
safety considerations – to go for it… According to the PROBE survey, 63 % of the
schools had leaking roofs, 52 % had no playground, 58 % had no drinking water,
89 % had no functioning toilet, and 27 % had no blackboards. Only 2 % has all
the facilities while 8 % had none at all… This survey also broke the myth that
education was free in government schools. In the northern States, the study
pointed out, the annual cost of sending a child to a government school was Rs.
366; in Maharashtra it was Rs. 385; in Rajasthan Rs. 810; and in Karnayaka Rs.
1,200 (WCT/India, 2004; Krishnakumar, 2004).

Tooley(2001) highlights evidence from this Report that the quality of education is
higher because of the accountability of private schools to parents. The findings of
the PROBE survey suggest the following hypotheses, he writes (Tooley2000b):
poor parents are willing to pay for their children to attend unaided private
schools because they perceive the quality, the high level of teaching activity in
terms of time spend on teaching and the commitment and dedication of the
teachers, and, like already mentioned before: the accountability to the parents.
While it is undeniable that accountability is important, whether this can only be
attained through the private sector, or why it would be more apparent in a
situation where a properly functioning market is not evident, is debatable (Rose,

What options do people have other than private schools? Not many, considering
the appalling state of the public education system. Few schools in the public
stream have proper access to drinking water, electricity, toilets, playgrounds,
furniture or proper buildings. They also compromise on quality; with high rates of
teacher absenteeism, unfilled vacancies of teachers, absence of teaching material
and shortage of trained, motivated teachers, education becomes a farce in
government schools (Majumdar, M., s.d.). In terms of the availability of
infrastructure facilities, the unrecognised schools are better as far as student
classroom ratio, availability of drinking water and toilet facilities is concerned.
But in his research Aggarwal found that the private schools were ill equipped as
far as the availability of library book, reference book, charts teaching-learning
materials were concerned (Aggarwal, 2000).

This trend which gained momentum in the early 1990s, led to the proliferation of
private English-medium schools not just in the urban but also in the rural areas.
Thus, between, the elite private schools catering to the rich at one end of the
spectrum and the government schools serving the poor at the other, there has
now emerged an ever-expanding category of private schools –aided (by the
government but privately managed), unaided (run with private funds),
recognised and unrecognised – mainly targeted at the lower middle-class
segment which thinks that, warts and all, it is better than the public school
Ironically, such ‘teaching shops’ have been encouraged by the government itself
in an attempt to shed its responsibility of providing social good. It even
subsidised them as long as the medium of teaching was English. With the
increasing reliance of a vast segment of the population on these private schools,
public schools, regardless of how they performed, have become voiceless
monuments (Krishnakumar, 2004).
The study of De & al. (De, Majumdar & al, 2000) specifies that, in stark contrast
to earlier trends, where PUA schools were important only at the secondary level,
a very large increase in the number of and enrolment in PUA schools at primary
level has been noted in recent years. PUA schools emerged even in areas that
already had government or PA schools.
There are also, found to be enormous variations in PUA fees, which enables some
poor households to send at least one of their children to such schools. After
reviewing a number of aspects of school quality and finances, the paper
concludes that much more research is needed to determine whether, in fact, PUA
schools are, on net, more cost effective, operationally efficient, or qualitatively
better than in the public sector schools.
In fact, all the unaided private schools are run on commercial business principles
in the sense that they are self-financing, gathering all of their money from
student fees, commercial loans or sales of goods, and not as a charity.

Status and working conditions of teachers in private schools in


For all members of the teaching staff a university degree (Bachelor or Master) is
required along with a degree in Education (Bachelor/Master of Education for High
School and Higher Secondary schools and a Diploma in Education for Primary
Only trained teachers are eligible for teaching posts. However, non-duly-qualified
teachers may be recruited on mercy grounds. There are a lot!
In government schools and government-aided (non-minority institutions) there is
a reservation of 34% of all teaching posts for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes and other Backward Castes (OBC).
The salary scales for Higher Secondary and Secondary Education are revised and
determined by the Pay Commission appointed periodically by the Central
Government. Presently the Recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission
(1999) is implemented. However, pay scales for Primary education are
determined by the municipalities of the cities concerned or the District
Administration in rural area schools. (Salaries of teachers in pre-primary
institutions do not as yet come under the purview of the State authorities).
From the gross salary taxes are deducted. Teachers may voluntarily contribute
part of their salary towards their Provident Fund.
Are their additional bonuses to the basic salary? The government has
discontinued the practice of bonus payments since three years. Prior to that,
some ex gratia payments were made for the festivals of DIOWALI, PUJA and
A system of Housing Allowance (HRA) as applicable; there are 90 days of paid
Maternity leave possible but for two children only.
In some cases a Compensatory Local Allowance and Local Travel is attributed.
The minimum age of appointment is 18 years. It takes 33 years to attain the
maximum scheduled salary. Voluntary retirement after 20 years of qualified
service is possible. At 58 years teachers are obliged to retire. In case a teacher is
a recipient of State or Central Government Award for excellence, he/she may
continue in service up to a maximum of 60 tears of age. Given the magnitude of
the education problem India is still facing, and confronted with the necessity to
develop more opportunities of quality schooling for the most deprived
populations, Rajput pleads for the possibility that retired teachers should be
given the possibility to remain active in the system eventually under specific
conditions (Rajput, 2004). A teacher leaving employment before completion of
20 years of qualified service is not entitled to any benefits.
A salary can not be combined with other salary incomes in and/or out of the
After retirement the public authorities pay the pension. Some private unaided
educational institutions have their own retirement and pension schemes.
The retirement allowance is 50% of the basic salary at the time of retirement
plus DA (=cost of living index) as applicable.
The prescribed weekly working time on the level of primary and secondary
schools is 20 hours of teaching time and 10 hours of non-teaching time during 40
weeks a year. Part-time teaching is not allowed.
While every institution is obliged to honour the requirements (pay-scale and
other benefits) as laid down by the competent authorities, some private unaided
education institutions offer less salary and other benefits… and teachers do not
protest because of employment scarcity, and possibility of side income (private
tuitions, etc.). Elite private unaided educational institutions, belonging to
Corporate Houses and similar Agencies, offer higher salaries and other non salary
benefits, while demanding greater efficiency and heavier work-load
(WCT/India, 2004).

A few examples to concretise what is mentioned above.

In the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai the salary of a trained teacher in primary

education goes from Rs. 4050 at the beginning of the carrier to reach, after 21
years, the maximum of Rs. 6930. (48 Rupees = approx. 1 US$)
His consolidated monthly income is completed with:
- a Dearness Allowance: cost of Living approx. 60% of the Basic salary
- a House Rent Allowance = 10% of Basic Salary
- a Compensatory Local Allowance depending on the city (= Rs. 3000 for
- a local Travel Allowance ( = Rs. 100)

The Basic salary of a teacher in secondary education with a Bachelor of Education

degree is Rs. 5500 in scale 10; Rs. 6500 in scale 11 and Rs. 7450 in scale 12.
The maximum of the scale is respectively Rs. 9000, Rs. 105000 and Rs. 11500.
For the consolidated income the basic salary is augmented with:
- a Dearness Allowance of 61% of the Basic Salary;
- a House Rent Allowance of 30% of Basic Salary;
- a Compensatory Local Allowance depending on the city (Rs. 300 in
- a Local Travel Allowance (Rs. 100)

The next pay revision is scheduled for 2009; the present scale determined by the
Fifth Pay commission was agreed on in 1999, with retrospective effect from 1
January 1996.

What happens in reality?

As if to show that we can spend more on students by reducing the salary of

teachers, the Governments of the States of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan
have introduced the Contract Teachers System. This scheme does away with
security of service and resorts to appointments of teachers on a contract basis on
very low salaries. In Maharashtra, teachers in Basthi (rural/local) schools are to
be appointed on a lump-sum payment of Rs. 1,000 per month. This has divided
the teachers’ movement and has resulted in the decline of the standard of
teaching because there is no security of service and teachers under contract
have become slaves of corrupt management. Unfortunately the government is in
the hands of ministers who are also on the Board of Educational Institutions
(WCT/India, 2004).

In unrecognised schools the recruitment of large numbers of teachers at very low

wages is a reality. Many teachers are even unqualified an untrained. There is no
system of periodic teacher training for the teachers working in these schools
(Aggarwal, 2000).

Trade Union Rights and freedoms

(source: WCT/India, 2004)

In India’s private schools trade Unions and Associations of Teachers are tolerated
but not encouraged. Only 20% of them are unionised. In public education: 80%.
The major Teachers’ unions have membership in both government and private
All India Primary Teachers’ Federation (total membership: 500, 000)
All India Secondary Teachers’ Federation (total membership: 300,000)
All India Federation of College and University Teachers (total membership:

The unions are formally recognised to represent teachers on the level of the
States and UTs.
The professional rights of union representatives are formally safeguarded. While
regulations do exist, they are often not complied with. However, teachers’ unions
take up cases when they are reported. Often the teachers concerned, especially
in private institutions, hesitate to bring up such matters to the notice of the
association or union concerned.

There is no negotiating machinery nor is there a reconciliation procedure at the

State or Central levels. The Government has not ratified the ILO Conventions and
Recommendations. The Teachers’ Trade Unions are actively pressing for the
ratification of the relevant ILO standards.
At the State level, a teacher may, on an individual basis approach the school or
college tribunal which are created by the ‘Security of Service Act’. In this case,
the judge issues the order as appropriate. The Teacher can appeal to the High
Court of the State concerned or the Supreme Court of India, against the order of
the Tribunal. The Union may avail of the avenue of habeas corpus or other
provisions of the Constitutional provisions under section 226 of the Constitution,
as a legal remedy as there is a breach of fundamental rights of the teaching
fraternity. The union can finance such cases.

In private education teachers’ union representatives are not recognised to be

informed and consulted on all aspects which touch employment and working
conditions of teachers at what ever level. They have no right to collective
bargaining. No agreements have been entered into with Private School
Managements. However, the association/union of teachers takes up complaints
with the concerned authorities when these are backed by legal provisions.

In every State Legislatures (upper House/Legislative Council), there is a

representation of legislators from the ‘Teachers’ Constituency’. They express the
collective opinion of the teaching community at every level. Previously, their
election was not based on party affiliation. Presently, however, political parties
and interest groups managing a large number of educational institutions exert
great influence, financial and otherwise, to get their own nominees elected to the
post of Member of the State Legislative Council.
Furthermore, as indicated above, the respective Governments (Centre and State)
appoint committees to look into specific matter concerning teachers: wages and
working conditions, curriculum and syllabus, etc. However, neither
representatives of the Union, nor parents’ associations, nor students are invited
to as members. Accordingly, the only manner of influence is trough agitation or
political pressure.

What happens in the case of individual disputes?

A teacher approaches the management and the education department through

the school, as well as the trade union, in order to get his/her grievance
redressed. In most of the cases it is the pressure of the trade union that compels
the school management to reconcile. However, the managements that generally
have a conservative and un-democratic attitude resent the intervention of the
trade unions. Some politicians, likewise, do not like teachers approaching trade
unions for redressal of grievances. Sometimes, government officers in the
educational department take the school management to task.
Grievance redressal, due to the procedures involved, take a long period of time
to materialize. Thus, most often they are resolved through mutual consent,

What about industrial action?

The trade union right of industrial action in the education sector is not fully
recognised in India. According to a judgement of the Supreme Court of India,
the Industrial Disputes Act applicable to workers in general is not applicable to
teachers as they are not classified under the category of worker. In the
judgement of the Bangalore Water Works case, the Supreme Court accepted that
education is an industry. However, all the subsequent appeals to the High Courts
have categorically stated that a teacher is not a worker, so as to be able to claim
trade union rights as recourse to correct serious declines in living standards and
other working conditions.
Only recently the Supreme Court of India declared illegal the strike of the
teachers and government employees in Tamilnadu.

‘EFA’ in India.

In April 2000 the international community of education stakeholders met at the

World Education Forum in Senegal and adopted the Dakar Framework for Action.
One of the goals formulated in this plan is to ensure free, compulsory and quality
primary education for all children by 2015. In previous paragraphs we
remembered that in India this goal had to be a reality by 1960, but that
constitutional deadline was repeatedly shifted Union Human Resource
Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi announced that the ‘Magic year’ will
now be 2010.
UNESCO is aware that a large variety of initiatives exist worldwide that involve
the private sector “in the provision of educational services and goods.” More
over, the business community has become a major EFA stakeholder (Müller-
Wirth, 2004).

Undoubtedly, the situation we described before makes it crystal-clear that

without the participation of the stakeholders in private education, in a combined
effort with the public authorities, the 2015 objective will never been reached in
India, given the magnitude of the problems ahead.
The present situation of dissatisfaction with the performance of governments and
the spectacular growing of private unrecognised schools necessitates a new
policy towards the role of private sectors in the development of elementary
education, is also the conclusion Yash Aggarwal presents from his study of
unrecognised schools in Haryana (Aggarwal, 2000).
Consequently, this conclusion is important in relation with the EFA goals,
especially to goal to realise free, compulsory and quality primary education
before 2015.
So far, he writes, the government has controlled the entry/exit points for the
private sectors, but other options remain unexplored, particularly with a view to
develop partnership and not to promote the perpetuation of a dual system. This
calls for a perceptible change in the attitude and policy towards private
education, he adds. While it is recognised that commercialisation of education
should be discouraged, but at the same time, these institutions should be able to
generate some surplus which can be further invested to provide support to the
deserving learners. It is also important that the role of private sector should be
seen as a supplementary to that of the government and not as a substitute.
There are many options for the involvement of private sector, especially if the
focus shift to performance and output related indicators. Quality assurance is an
important dimension of primary education and is significant not only for the
private but also for the government schools. The dividing line should not be
drawn on the basis of school management but related to the school performance,
efficiency and effectiveness. If the real school choice is to be provided to be
parents/learners, it must be a choice that can be exercised effectively, he

The crucial role of teachers in the attainment of Education for All was underscore
at the World Conference (1990). However, it was emphasized in subsequent
meetings at the Education for All Summit of Nine High-Population Countries (in
New Delhi in 1993 and at Bali in 1995). The training of teachers was identified as
the most important strategy and the biggest challenge in the struggle to improve
the level and the quality of education. One of the priorities for action emphasized
in the Delhi Declaration (Meetings of E-9 Countries, 1997) concerns the
improvement of the quality and relevance of basic education, attributing a
special role to the teacher as the key to improving effective classroom teaching
and learning (UNESCO/INCC, 2001a). His/her status and working conditions
should be adapted accordingly in government schools and, given the realities,
even more in the private aided and unaided schools.
The present report makes it clear that in this respect a lot remains to be done in
India, by the public authorities, but, without any doubt, also by the managers of
the private sector, especially in the private unrecognised schools. An important
step would be, the full recognition of the professional and trade union rights of
the teachers and the educational personnel in general. The present situation is
not in conformity with the international standards the Indian authorities should
ratify and respect.


Aggarwal, Y., (2000), Public and private partnership in Primary Education in India, National
Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi.

Akumar, A.K., (2004), The decline of public education, Frontline, Jul. 31 – Aug. 13, 2004

De, A, Majumdar, M., Samson, M. & Noronha, C., (2000), Role of Private Schools in Basic
Education, Nat. Inst. Of Education Planning and Administration, Ministry of Human Resource
Development, Government of India: Year 2000 Assessment: Education for All.

Department of Education, (2004,a), Education Statistics, Ministry of Education of India, New Delhi.

Department of Education, (2004,b), India. National Report on the Development of Education, 47th
session of the International Conference on Education, Geneva, 8-11 September 2004.

EI, (2004), EI-barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights in the Education Sector, Education
International, Brussels.

Kingdon, G.G., (….), Private schooling in India: Size, nature, ands equity-effects, Journal of
Economic Literature Classification: 120,H42, H52

Khan, S., (2004), Private schools for poor?, Deccan Herald, March 04, 2004.

Krishnahumar, A., (2004), The decline of public education, in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.
21- Issue 16, 2004.
Majundar, M.,(…), Classes for the masses? - Social ambition, social distance and quality of the
government school system, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Working Paper, n° 158.

Müller-Wirth, Ph., (2004), Unesco’s frameworks for private sector participation in education,

Probe, (1999), Public Report on Basic Education in India, survey, Oxford University Press.

Rajput, J.S., (2004), The Elusive Goal. Can India Afford Good Quality Education?, National Council
of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi.

Rose, P., (2002), Is the Non-state Education Sector serving the needs of the poor?: Evidence from
East and Southern, World Development Work for Poor People, WDR Workshop, Oxford, 4-5
November 2002.
Singh, S. & Sridhar, S., (2002), Government and Private Schools: Trends in Enrolment and
Retention, Economic and Political Weekly, 12 Oct. 2002.

Surya, V., (2001), Of schooling for All, in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 18 – Issue 20, 2001.

Tooley, J., (2000a), Private education: the Poor’s best chance?, The Unesco Couruier, November
Tooley, J., (2000b), The Private Sector Serving the Educational Needs of the Poor: A case study
from India with policy recommendations, Public-Private Partnerships in Education Program, Tokyo,
May 29 – June 7, 2000.

Tooley, J., (2001), The Enterprise of Education. Opportunities and Challenges for India, Liberty
Institute, Occasional Paper 6, New Delhi.

UNESCO/INCCU, (2001a), Woman teachers in Rural India, Unesco, New Delhi & Indian National
Commission for Co-operation with Unesco, New Delhi.

UNESCO/INCCU, (2001b), For Street and Working Children in India, Unesco, New Delhi & Indian
National Commission for Co-operation with Unesco, New Delhi.

Watkins, K., (2000), The Oxfam Education Report, Oxfam GB.

WCT/India, (2004), Questionnaire on the status and working conditions in private schools.
Contribution of FIT (Rebello/Sirdesai)

Chapter 18


Indispensable partnerships

Introductory note: Severe problems.

Pakistan is a country with great extremes of wealth. The education system is

facing many difficulties in Pakistan. Generally poverty is cited as the key factor
responsible for defeating the government efforts to provide education to the
masses. But, neither the federal nor the provincial government demonstrates a
strong commitment to children’s rights and welfare. Pakistan’s Education for All
(EFA) Report states that compulsory education is a priority, but there is no
federal law on compulsory education and neither federal nor provincial
government provides anywhere near the resources needed to achieve this goal.
Reliable studies show that only 65% of children under the ages of 12 enrol in
school, less than half of whom complete primary education. The 2005 EFA
Global Monitoring Report mentioned even that the net enrolment ratio in
Pakistan is below 60%. The adult literacy rate is 41.5% (UNESCO, 2005).
Graduation from primary school does not assure that a child is able to read and
write. According to UNICEF figures in 2001, a nationwide sample of 5 th grade
children revealed that only 33% could read with understanding, while a mere
17% were able to write a simple letter.

In Pakistan, military spending is currently 25% higher than the health and
education budgets combined. 25% of government expenditure is directed
towards defence; primary education receives only 4% (Watkins, 2000).
The education sector is hampered by inefficiency and corruption at both federal
and provincial levels. Up to 50% of the education budget is said by one authority
to simply “disappear”. Surveys in recent years identified that school buildings
were misused on a massive scale. 10,000 schools have closed “due to a lack of
teachers” while during the same period large numbers of “ghost teachers” and
“ghost administrators” were not performing their duties or showing up for work.
These frauds have been clamped down on, although no charges have been laid
against the fraudsters. The use of unqualified teachers is also a serious problem.
In the Punjab, as recently as August 2001, a survey revealed that half of 3 rd
grade teachers did not know their basic multiplication tables. The government
refused to dismiss or educate unqualified teachers. The result of all this is that
the current system cannot provide quality education even to those fortunate
enough who have access to these education facilities.

Low national spending on education, absence of schools, non availability of

teachers, limited participation of parents, low support from local communities,
poor management of government schools, poor physical infrastructure (building,
water, toilets, etc.), high fees in private schools, high drop-out, diversion of
children to madrassahs and mushrooming of poor quality private schools, are
some of the main reasons for setback to the education.

Successive governments in Pakistan have failed to provide credible leadership on

education reform. Educational planning in the country has suffered from weak
institutional capacity, a lack of government commitment, and an unfavourable
macro-economic environment. Primary education has been a low priority in
public spending, and the country is marked be extreme regional and gender
inequalities (Watkins, 2000). The lack of carefully planning is indeed a major
issue. For example, over 3,000 new schools in rural areas of Pakistan have been
erected that are attended by les than 10 pupils. Another 2,000 schools that have
been built, have no enrolment at all.

During the last decades, the international community has made significant
contribution to improve the level of education through various educational
projects and programs. The biggest dilemma of these initiatives is its
sustainability, continuity and ownership.
The reason? A political climate not being to stable for improvement, and
evolutions not too trustworthy for tomorrow (Smith, 2002; EI, 2004). The
problems the Pakistani are facing have for different reasons also an intentional
character. An example: Despite the fact that more than 1.5 million Afghans
returned home from Pakistan in 2002, an estimated 1.8 million refugees remain.
Refugees who live outside camps have, with the assistance of NGOs, established
schools for Afghan children in Pakistan. UNHCR is responsible for education in the
camps (EI, 2004).

In Pakistan, as in many developing countries, education is not mandatory. Many

rural areas lack public schools. Islamic religious schools –madrassahs – on the
other hand, are located all over the country and provide not only free education,
but also free food, housing, and clothing. They appeal to poor parents for this
reason as well as to religious beliefs that support sending at least one child for
religious training. In the poor areas of southern Punjab madrassahs even pay
parents for sending them their children (Stern, 2000).
The proportion of girls in school in Pakistan fell about 10% during the forts half
of the 1990s, with enrolment-rate increases for girls lagging behind those of
boys. Had the gender ratio in primary education for Pakistan been, the same in
1995 as it was in 1990, an additional 1.5 million girls would have been in school
(Watkins, 2000).
The challenges are huge. What about the solutions? Solutions without the
involvement of the private sector can not be found. The Government of Pakistan
is aware of that and act accordingly. What about the situation of private school
in this country?

Private schools in Pakistan.

In some areas government schools are non-functioning or non existent in

Pakistan. Parents tend to send their children to low cost private schools where at
least basic facilities exist or to local madrassahs. Some private schools have
educated but untrained teachers; others have good, enthusiastic teachers who
could become a community resource for teacher training. Good private schools
often have a welfare outlook and already support, or would like to support
children and teachers in the government system. NGO schools tend to serve the
poorest communities and their often young, local teachers need training focused
on supporting demanding students in what is often a multi-grade and multi-
ability situation (Smith, 2002).

Analysis shows that even the poorest households use private schools extensively,
and that utilisation increases with income. Lowering private school fees or
distance or raising measured quality raises private school enrolments, partly by
transfers from government schools and partly from enrolments of children who
otherwise would not have gone to school. The strong demand for private schools
is consistent with evidence of greater mathematics and language achievement in
private schools than in government schools. These results strongly support an
increased role for private delivery of schooling services to poor households in
developing countries (Alderman et al, 1996; Andrabi et al, 2002).

The past…

In Pakistan during the 1970s, the government decided to take over all the
private-managed educational institutions. As a result, 19,432 educational
institutions were nationalised. These included 18,926 schools, 346 madrassahs,
155 colleges and 5 technical institutions. This operation severely restricted the
growth of this sector and its potential in educating young Pakistanis.
The National Policy of 1979 reviewed the consequences of nationalisation and
came to the conclusion that in view of the poor participation rates at all levels of
education, the government alone could not carry the burden of the whole
educational system. It was therefore considered necessary to encourage once
again the participation of the community in educational development. To do so,
the following policy measures were proposed:
private enterprises would be encouraged to open educational institutions,
particularly in rural areas. Permission to set up institutions will be granted.
Income tax relief allowed to the individuals and the organisations for their
donations to these schools (Ministry of Education, 2004b; Ministry of Education,
… and the present.

Fast forward twenty years tough and you’ll find private sector initiatives in the
area of education have re-emerged all over the country? This hasn’t happened in
a vacuum though. Rather, private schools are more in demand than ever before
at the time when Pakistan’s public school system is facing massive problems, like
we remembered before.
Although traditionally, private schools have been a luxury only the rich can
afford, this is not necessarily the case in the current re-emergence of the private
sector in Pakistan’s education system.

It is estimated that more or less 30,000 private institutions at all levels with
approximately 3 million students are actually functioning in the country. (see
table 1) Most of these are ‘English medium’ schools and impart education from
play-group to postgraduate level. Some schools have been established on
community basis, while the others are owned by individuals. The concentration of
these schools is in urban areas. (see table 18A) Of course, they charge fees,
some very heavy fees. The issue of fees has been the subject of severe criticism
by society, since not all of these schools are developing as institutions of equal
opportunities. Therefore the intention of government was to develop the fee
structure in consultation with the government. They shall be bound under law to
admit free of charge, at least 10% of the talented students belonging to the low-
income groups (Ministry of Education, 2004b; Ministry of Education, 2004a).

Facts and figures.

Nationally, overall private school primary enrolment, as a percentage of total

primary enrolment, is 13 %, reads the HDF text (HDF, 2002) But, in his Report,
prepared for the 2004 International Education Conference in Geneva, the
Pakistani ministry of education mentions that the enrolment in private primary
schools is now in the order of 28% of total enrolment, up from 14% in 1991.
At the secondary level private schools account for 17% of enrolment in 2002
compared to 8% in 1991. Enrolment in private schools has been on the increase
for girls as well as boys, in rural as well as urban areas and among all income
categories, but it is more predominant among urban middle and upper income

The extent of the expansion of private education in developing countries may be

under-appreciated, as we remembered in chapter 1 of this study. Data on the
extent and distribution of such schooling is seldom collected by statistical
agencies (Alderman et al, 1996).
With the restriction that official figures in governmental statistics are not
necessarily complete – not counting for instance the 40,000 to 45,000
madrassahs in Pakistan, indeed a form of private education like we will see
further on - the following figures have off course a relevance so far as the
formal education is concerned.

Table 18A : Number of schools (2002-03)

Private sector Public sector Total

Primary education 16,782 143,027 150,809

urban rural urban rural
8,640 8,142 12,583 12,144

Lower secondary 21,061 22,583 43,644

Higher secondary 496 781 1,277

Table 18B : Number of students (2002-03)

Private sector Public sector Total

Primary education 5,188,341 13,031,917 18,220,258

Lower secondary 1,005,172 4,154,607 6,831,119

High school 1,588,912 1,241,633 2,830,545

Higher secondary 144,235 90,584 234,619

Table 18C : Number of teachers (2002-03)

Private sector Public sector


Primary education 86,240 347,221 433,461

Lower secondary 120,830 115,444 236,274

High school 107,457 170,508 277,965

Higher secondary 15,808 25,126 402,934

Sources: WCT/Pakistan, 2004; Ministry of Education, 2002a

A recent survey in urban Pakistan found that 59% of households earning less
than Rs. 3,500 had children who were enrolled in private schools in the city of
Lahore. Similarly, in the low-income and economically-deprived Orangi district of
Karachi, a surprising 60% of all enrolled children went to private primary
schools. A 1996 study conducted in the urban areas of five districts in the
province of Punjab found that even among low-income households, there was a
private school enrolment rate of 50 %. Because of the realities of Pakistani public
schools, private schools have become an alternative for parents serious about
educating their children, despite personal financial constraints. Although
generally speaking, private schools have often been criticized for worsening the
problem of inequality in education, the available evidence clearly indicates that
the private education sector is very important in Pakistan. It is providing quality
education in a context of the government’s failure to impart good basic education
that is accessible to all (HDF, 2002).
The growing popularity of private schools suggests that they compare well and
indeed out-perform many government schools, the 2004 report of the Ministry of
Education, continues. Accountability for performance is central to the culture of
many private schools, and sets them apart from government schools where
quality of teaching is often poor. Fee structure in non-governmental schools vary
considerably, but a significant number of schools in poor and remote areas
charge less than Rs. 100 a month with many offering fee waivers/scholarships to
children from poor families. Starting in the mid-1990s, a major shift has occurred
in the Government of Pakistan’s approach to the country’s education sector. The
government has officially recognised that the public sector on its own lacks all
the necessary resources and expertise to effectively address and rectify low
education indicators. Moreover, it has taken the bold step to assert and involve
the private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) in the financing,
management and delivery of education services in Pakistan (Ministry of
Education, 2004a).

Madrassahs: key actors today and tomorrow

The division of education in Pakistan into secular and religious systems has
historical roots and is sustained by political and religious fundamentalism (Smith,
2002). In this respect madrassahs play a key role in the developments of society
and education in Pakistan and in the all region.

Madrassahs are Islamic religious schools, whose traditions date back almost a
thousand years. Within Pakistan, there has been a relative boom in their number
over the last two decades. For most of the Pakistani state’s history, they
numbered in the low hundreds for the entire country and focused on training the
next generation of religious leaders and functionaries.
During the 1980s, however, the madrassah system underwent a compete
change. The Zia regime in Pakistan, in an attempt to gain support from religious
groups, began to administer a formalized zakat (Islamic religious tithe of levy)
process. Money was now automatically deducted from bank balances and
dispersed at the local level to institutions deemed worthy of support by the
religious leaders, creating new incentives for opening religious schools. At the
same time, the war in Afghanistan brought from across the border millions of
refugees and the radicalism of a jihad movement. Thousands of madrassahs
were formed, now supported by foreign donations from rich individuals and
Islamic charities, mainly from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. The schools also
acted as orphanages for the many parentless victims of the war (Singer, 2001).
The general boom in the madrassah system indicates decay in governance that
may ultimately effect regional stability. The madrassahs expended inversely with
the retreat of the Pakistani state. That is, the religious schools are filling a void in
a basic area of social services where the government has failed. Extremist tend
to thrive in an environment where the state has retreated and has no program
for improvement.

With the exception of a few madrassahs managed by provincial government

departments, madrassah education in Pakistan is mainly in the private sector. In
the majority of cases, madrassah are personal enterprises of prominent ulema
(Islamic preachers) that own and manage the madrassahs and make
arrangements for their finances. Usually, the founders of the madrassahs are
ulema of good standing who have a degree of influence in the local community,
which enables them to acquire land, housing facilities, and financial resources for
the madrassahs. Most of the madrassahs are registered with the government as
charitable corporate bodies and have acquired tax-exempts status, thus receiving
an indirect subsidy from the public treasury. Some larger madrassahs have their
own board of trustees or executive committees, which consist of local business
elites, landed gentry, and prominent ulema. (Ahmad,…)

Today there are as many as 45,000 such schools in Pakistan (the exact number
has never been determined), ranging in size from a few students to several
thousands. Importantly, some of these new schools tend to teach more extreme
versions of Islam than what had been propagated before. They combine a mix of
Wahabism (a puritanical version of Islam originating in Saudi Arabia) with
Deobandism (a stand from the Indian subcontinent that is anti-Western, claiming
that the West is the source of corruption in contemporary Islamic states and thus
the laws of state are not legitimate). Education is the key to create a new
modern Islam. Deobandi are aiming to educate a new generation of developed
Muslim able to revive the Islamic values based on intellectual knowledge,
spiritual experience and sharia (Rashid, 2000).

The Madrassahs’ takeover is rooted in poverty and the pullback of the state. The
schools are not the preferred option of many parents, but rather draw students
from general desperation. Offering a paid-for seat in a private school to the
parent of a Madrassah-going child could be part of the solution.
The primary worry with the explosion of madrassa system is not with the schools
in general, but the implications of the radical minority of them. Around 10-15%
of the schools are affiliated with extreme religious/political groups, who have co-
opted education for their own end. These schools teach a distorted view of Islam.
They equate jihad – which most Islamic scholars interpret as the striving for
justice (and principally an inner striving to purify the self) – with guerrilla
warfare. Hatred is permissible; jihad allows the murder of innocent civilians
including other Muslim man, woman, and children. Many of the radical religious
schools also include weapons and physical training in the regimen, as well as
weekly lessons on political speechmaking.
These schools have become the new breeding ground for radical Islamic
militants. Their graduating classes form integral recruiting pool for transnational
terrorist and conflict networks. This yearly pipeline of recruits has dangerous
implications for security both inside Pakistan and abroad. As much as 10-50% of
the students in certain madrassahs are from abroad, coming from regions at war
such as Afghanistan, Chechnya, and the Philippines.
In 1996, for instance, thousands of recruits were inspired by Pakistani ulema
who even closed their schools for this purpose. (Rasjid, 2000) It is estimated
that 30% of Taliban fighters were supplied by the madrassahs in Pakistan
(Smith, 2002). Radical groups are following, in fact, the successful model of
replacing government institutions with ones linked to their own groups, as it was
the case in revolutions in China and Cuba.

With no state supervision, it is up to the individual schools to decide what to

teach and preach. Many provide only religious subjects to their subjects, focusing
on rote memorization of Arabic texts to the exclusion of basic skills such as
simple math, science, or geography. Students graduate unable to multiply, find
their nation on a map, and are ignorant of basic events in human history (Singer,
2001). The community is undemocratic, discipline may be harsh and obedience
is a total requirement. The ‘closed’ nature of the madrassah community isolates
both students and teachers from knowledge of the wider world. It is nevertheless
important to note that most madrassah leaders, whilst operating in an enclosed
and isolated community, do work for the betterment of the community in the
light of their religious beliefs (Smith, 2002).

How the Pakistani government reacted on this evolutions?

Recent government attempts to curb extreme militant political activity has been
accompanied by a sustained campaign to reform madrassahs.
So, for instance, Pakistan’s interior minister M. Haider, recognized openly the
problems. “The brand of Islam they are teaching is not good for Pakistan”, he
said, “Some, in the garb of religious training, are busy fanning sectarian
violence, poisoning people’s minds.” He announced a reform plan that would
require all madrassahs to register with the government, expand their curricula,
disclose their financial sources, seek permission for admitting foreign students,
and stop sending students to militant training camps (Stern, 2000). This was not
the first time the Pakistani government has announced such plans.
Haider’s reforms seem to have failed, whether because of the regime’s
negligence or the madrassahs’ refusal to be regulated, or both. Only 4,350 of the
estimated 40,000 to 45,000 madrassahs have registered with the government.
Some leading people objects to what was called the government’s attempt to
“destroy the spirit of the madrassahs under the cover of broadening their
curriculum. The reform was called a plan “against Islam”. As the state would
have control of madrassahs ‘the engine of jihad would be extinguished’ (Stern,

In June 2002 the government issued a new ordinance regulating madrassahs.

The proposed programme was voluntary and it was planned to set up model
schools, establish teacher training standards and standardise the curriculum for
madrassahs taking part in the programme. A Board was to oversee and enforce
the regulations in the participating schools. The Board was also to control all
internal and external funding to the madrassahs. As a result of opposition from
religious clerics –once again – the government withdrew most of the
requirements for education reform (EI, 2004).

In his Report to the International Education Conference in 2004 the Pakistan

Government announced again new initiatives in this respect. To bring the formal
education and Deeni madrassahs close to each other and to facilitate horizontal
mobility of students with the ultimate aim of integrating the two systems, reads
the text, madrassah reforms shall be undertaken. These envisage introduction of
formal education in 8,000 madrassahs (4,000 in primary, 3,000 in middle and
secondary education and 1,000 in intermediate education). Selection of
madrassahs will be made in consultation with the provincial Governments.
Madrassahs will be mainstreamed trough provision of grants, salaries of
teachers, cost of textbooks, teacher training and equipment. Formal subjects of
English, maths, social/Pak studies and general science would be introduced at
the primary, middle and secondary levels while English, economics, Pakistan
studies and computer science will be introduced in the intermediate level
(Ministry of education, 2004a).

There is, however, little evidence that this process will be either fast or
successful; it is a long term strategy and depends on the willing co-operation of
madrassahs leaders. Since a lot of them were accused of sexual harassment of
pupils, the international press referred recently to vigorous opposition from
Islamic parties, having the majority in some regional parliaments (Vuylsteke,
2005). The future will tel.

Status and working conditions of teachers in private schools:

highly problematic.

The profession is not one most Pakistanis aspire to. Obviously, with low wages
and minimal community support, it is a neglected vocation that must receive
more encouragement from society and parents, especially. While Pakistan needs
doctors and engineers, the two preferred professions amongst most Pakistanis,
there is also a very great need for good teachers to build the mind’s of the next
generation (HDF, 2002) This statement is true for teachers in public education,
but certainly not less for those how committed themselves for children and
youngsters in private institutions.

On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, 5 October 2003, the UNESCO office in

Islamabad published an interesting study on the status of teachers in Pakistan
(Sheikh & Iqbal, 2003). Concerning the economic status, the authors indicated
the following:
• Although the salary structure for various categories of public sector
teachers is commensurate with that of other professions the teachers, due
to their unique role and responsibilities in shaping Pakistani’s future,
deserve to be given a special consideration with regard to remuneration.
• There are reports that female teachers employed by small scale private
primary schools are notoriously under paid.
• The remuneration paid to teachers serving in Non-Basic Education (NFBE)
schools, Mosque Schools or Adult Literacy Centres is generally very low
and there is hardly any job security.
• Although many teachers living in the urban areas have to travel to and
work in rural areas, they are normally not offered any monetary incentive
or hardship allowance.

Primary school teachers must be given more respect and prestige financially and
This means increasing teacher salaries, improving working conditions and
creating better opportunities for advancement. Therefore, improving the quality
and motivation is not sufficient for reaching the goal of universal primary
education in Pakistan.

There is a critical need to increase the number of teachers, especially female

teachers. Currently, 75 % of primary school teachers are men. An increase of
144% in the number of female teachers is desirable. Teacher training institutions
graduate some 25,000 people each year. 47% of them are female. However the
current goal requires at least 36,000 new teachers each year. These numbers fall
in line with the pedagogically accepted level of 40 students per teacher (HDF,

Formally in primary education teachers need to have a Primary Teacher

certificate, issued on higher education level; in secondary they need a bachelor
of education degree; in higher secondary a master of education. Without a
diploma or certificate it should be not possible to have a function in government
schools. But, the reality is that in Pakistan, half of primary-school teachers have
only completed primary school themselves before undergoing four years of
residential training. It is difficult to recruit teachers who have been trough
secondary schools. Many teachers, specially those serving poor communities, do
not have sufficient mastery over their subjects to meet basic learning goals
(Watkins, 2000). In private schools too certificates or professional diploma’s are
not considered either. Anyhow, in terms of the country’s private schools, a
number of the major ones have their own teacher training program to try to fill
the gap.


There are many complaints about Pakistan’s primary schools. One of the main
concerns is the lack of proper teaching and teacher motivation.
In practical terms, a teacher’s poor motivation translates into absenteeism,
indifferent classroom practices and teachers leaving the profession. The first
reason is an inadequate salary. In Pakistan primary school teachers earn roughly
$32 to $65. This is less than what a cook, gardener or chauffeur often earns.
Good pay is one incentive to encourage people in any job to work harder and in a
more dedicated and enthusiastic manner. Financial security helps them
concentrate on their jobs without worrying about how to make ends meet every
month. Because many primary school teachers in Pakistan are forced to take on
extra jobs to supplement their incomes, they are often absent from the
classroom. In fact, the status of teachers, particularly male teachers, has
suffered so severely that men who part of Pakistan’s “educated unemployed”
become teachers only as a last resort. Even in this case though, teaching is seen
as a temporary job that will be left once a better opportunity comes along. Third,
the horrible working conditions many teachers must endure further lessen their
motivation. (According to the Human Development in South Asia’s 1998 report,
70 % of the schools in Pakistan had no toilets, 68% no drinking water, 92% no
playgrounds, 60% no boundary walls ands 16 % are without a building) (HDF,

So far as the salaries are concerned, in private schools they have their own
salary packages not directly oriented on the government salary scales; in
government schools increase is based on seniority.
The amounts of the salaries in private schools are sometimes only 1/3 of the
corresponding salary in government schools. Since they are not practising a/or
not a salary scale, comparisons remain difficult.

The WCT/Pakistan 2004 report mentioned the following data:

The amount of a starting salary in government schools is:

in primary schools Rs. 3000 = US$ 50 (1 US$= 60 Rs)
in lower sec. schools 5000 83
in higher sec. schools 7500 125
The amount after 15 years of experience:
in primary schools Rs. 6000 = US$ 100
in lower sec. schools 9650 160
in higher sec. schools 15150 252

The maximum annual salary:

in primary schools Rs.120,000 US$ 2000
in lower sec. schools 180,000 3000
in higher sec. schools 240,000 4000

In government schools this gross salary is deducted for taxes, contributions for
retirement and ev contracted reductions too. In private schools there is no
deduction. In government schools teachers working in remote areas receive a
bonus. For special activities and training there is a compensation too. The best
teacher award is compensated in terms of money.
In government schools a retirement program and maternity benefit is practised;
this not the case in most private schools.
The minimum age to enter in the profession is 28 years in both systems. The
minimum age of retirement in government schools is 60 years. Private schools
set their own criteria. In public education a teacher can be obliged to retire after
25 years of service.
Full time teaching can be combined with other salary incomes. Often there are
opportunities in coaching centres, tuition centre, etc.
On retirement, the allowance of pension is 60% of the last salary.

The working time of a full-time teacher is 5 hours daily during 28 weeks; in

private schools it can be 6 or 7 hours in 26 weeks. Non teaching time is not
Part-time teaching is allowed; for public school teachers even in private
institutions (WCT/Pakistan, 2004).

Rights and responsibilities

So far as the rights and responsibilities of primary and secondary teachers are
concerned the authors of the already mentioned UNESCO Islamabad study of
2003, quoted the most important rights and possibilities in a conditional way,
suggesting that all of them remain to be realised in Pakistan.

The enumeration of what is called “the problems of teachers in Pakistan” is very

illuminating for the situation teachers in Pakistan are confronted with:
• Lack of availability if transport, security and residential facilities in remote
rural areas. This has emerged as one of the important problems, especially
for female teachers.
• Non transparent appointment practices. It is often observed that
appointment of teachers are based on non-merit considerations.
• Poor management and evaluation practices. Performances reports are not
always based on actual performance.
• Politicisation: frequent transfers of teachers for subjective or political
considerations frustrate many teachers. This is of special concern and
hardship for female teachers and rural school teachers.
• Student-teachers ration: overcrowded classes as e high student-teacher
ratio, especially in the urban, schools, is a perennial problem. It is only
creates disciplinary problems but also affects the quality of education.
• Corruption in connection with retirement, pension payment and medical
bills. At times, teachers are subjected to undue tensions regarding the
disbursement against their claims for pensions or medical bills.
• Additional assignments. Duties on national tasks like census, elections,
etc. have emerged as a problem as they result in the loss of instructional
time for children.
• Contractual appointments. Teacher are being given contractual
appointments which lack job security.
• Schools without walls: teachers sometimes have to teach in schools
without walls and without rooms in extreme weather conditions in rural

Salaries and working conditions for teachers should be determined trough the
process of negotiation between teachers’ organisations and the employers of
teachers. Statutory or voluntary machinery should be established whereby the
right of teachers to negotiate through their organisations with their employers,
either public of private, is assured. Appropriate joint machinery should be set up
to deal with the settlement of disputes between teachers and their employers
arising out of terms and conditions of employment, wrote the authors of the
2003 UNESCO Islamabad report (Sheikh & Iqbal, 2003). “Should be”, but not
“are”. Teachers’ unions in Pakistan still have huge task ahead. The basic rights of
the ILO conventions 86 & 98 are not available (WCT/Pakistan, 2004).

Representatives of the teachers’ organisations have legally no possibilities to

represent their members; but by traditions they have to very limited extent.
Restrictions preclude collective bargaining by large sections of the labour market
and to strike is severely constrained. The ILO has stated repeatedly that the
country’s law and practice violate the government’s commitments under ILO
Convention 87. The ILO urged the government to lift prohibitions against union
activity by teachers, as well as to rescind the existing ban on strikes. In the
public sector, workers in most sectors may form unions. The right of teachers to
unionise is not provided for, as they are not defined as an ‘industry’. In
November 2001, the government introduced new laws on public sector workers,
preventing them from appealing to the courts against dismissal, and prohibiting
any court intervention in such matters. In September 2002, it introduced a “new
labour policy” to implement the recommendations of the National Tripartite
Labour Conference held the previous year. The new policy further restricts trade
union rights. The ILO also expressed concern about the practice of artificial
promotions that exclude workers from the enacting-clauses of Convention 111.
In response to a government request, the ILO has provided technical assistance
to help bring the country’s labour laws into conformity with the ILO conventions.
However, no legislative action has been taken (EI, 2004).

So, legally there are no tights conferred on teacher bodies to bargain collectively,
but due to street power and activism they have acquired by practice to be
consulted in major cases. Private sector schools have no provision for
consultative mechanisms for teachers. If in some cases the stakeholders in
education are consulted on national level, it is only to a very limited extent. In
such a case the partners are mostly technical specialists from teaching
institutions and teacher representatives (WCT/Pakistan, 2004).

The EFA goals and the Pakistani realities

The Education Reform strategic plans and the Education for All plans for long
term reconstruction and rehabilitation of education are linked to the
Government’s Poverty Alleviation Strategy. It is clear that increasing poverty, the
cost of schooling and the failure of the system to deliver quality education are
the root cause of the current declining enrolment in Pakistan (Smith, 2002).
Even in an informal schools system, which is generally considered more cost-
effective than its formal counterpart, funds are needed to keep schools going.
Governments and NGOs must ensure their educational projects are properly
funded, not just by private donations, but also by using creative means to ensure
regular income when donations may be low. Trust funds, endowments and other
such other such means musty be looked into to ensure that schools which meet
the needs of Pakistan’s millions of illiterate children are not only established, but
remain in place for decades to come (HDF, 2002).

The participation of the private sector, NGOs and grassroots movement in efforts
to raise the level of human development in Pakistan is vital and the pursuit of
these common goals is too important to be let to the State alone. Recognising
that the government alone cannot achieve the policy objectives, it is imperative
to seek the involvement of the private sector in the expansion of education. The
successive Five-Year Plans and Vision 2010 strongly advocated the involvement
of the private sector in the quantitative and qualitative improvement of education
at all levels (Ministry of Education, 2004b). For the Government of Pakistan
Universal Primary education (UPE) is the most challenging milestone, a
prerequisite for Pakistan’s integration in the global framework of human centred
economic development. UPE is targeted to be achieved trough a 4% per annum
increase in access to education, reduction of gender disparity by 10 % per
annum and enhancing primary completion rate by 5% per annum.
Implementation strategies include improvement of infrastructure, construction of
new schools on the basis of gender and need, imitation non-formal education
program from 5-9 year ages group in disadvantaged and unreached areas
launching of early childhood education in existing government schools; providing
for introduction of double shifts in existing schools, quality improvement, raising
qualifications of teachers, improving management,… The Government is intended
to develop a policy in the line of the EFA objectives.

Private schooling is important in Pakistan, stresses the Report Pakistan was

presenting at the ICE in Geneva in 2004 remembering a lot of measures,
contained in the Government’s Incentive Program (Education Sector Reforms
Action Plan 2002-2006), to promote public-public partnerships including income
trough tax exemption, exemption of custom duties for pedagogical goods,
favourable tariffs for electricity and gas, land for the construction of schools
buildings free of cost, concessional financing for establishing rural schools,… The
Government is obviously not making a distinction between for profit and non-
profit initiatives (Ministry of Education, 2004a).

What could be the priority actions the government to undertake?

Since Pakistan educational system is highly centralised and not responding

effectively to local needs, and the bureaucracy interferes with the flow of
resources and information, in the opinion of the American Human Development
Fund, decentralisation must develop partnerships with communities, NGOs, and
the private sector to delegate responsibility effectively in order to achieve
universal primary education.

Another strategy could be to support the existence of non-formal schools,

according to the same HDF. Because non-formal education programs are an
important supplement to meet education demands. This is especially true for
children who live and work in areas where schools either do not exist or do not fit
their circumstances. For instance, non-formal schools meet the needs of working
children who cannot attend formal schools because they work when school is on
(!). The quality they provide must be the same as that provided trough the
formal school system.

It is obvious, the Pakistan government can encourage private initiatives to lift

some of the pressure on the country’s severely crowded urban schools. The first
step would be to renew the existing public school system. A programmatic
approach aiming at improving schools and ensuring to all students, regardless of
income, could be an important mechanism. It could both curb the radical
madrassahs’ influence, as well as build support for the current regime among the
common populace most affected. Making the public system preferable is to
provide food aid to be distributed at these schools. Many parents would prefer
less radical schools, if only these schools also provided the lure of a free meal,
declared Singer ( 2001).

Helping Pakistan educate its youth will not only cut off the culture of violence by
reducing ignorance and poverty, it will also promote long-term economic
development. Pakistan must be helped to stamp out corruption, strengthen
democratic institutions, and make education a much higher priority. Pakistan is
spending hundreds of millions dollars on weapons instead of schools and public

But without more and better trained and rewarded teachers the EFA goals will
never been reached. Without the full recognition of there individual and collective
rights and responsibilities, in the public sector, but certainly not less in the
private sector, the climate can not change in a positive way. Reforms are
doomed to fail if the teachers are not convinced of their value and if they are to
perform in unacceptable conditions, what is still the reality of today for the
majority of them. The involvement of the teachers and their representative
organisations is an indispensable key to any success in a country as Pakistan,
where democracy remains a longstanding dream.

Ahmad, M, (…), Madrassa Education in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Alderman, H., Orazem; P.F. & Paterno, E.M., (1996), School Quality, School Cost, and the
Public/Private School choices of Low-Income Households in Pakistan, The World Bank, Waskington

Andrabi, T., Das, J., Khwaja; A.I., (2002), Test Feasibility Survey. Pakistan: Education Sector, The
World Bank, Washington, D.C./USA

EI, (2004), EI-barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights in the Education Sector, Education
International, Brussels.

Ministry of Education, (2004a), The Development of Education. National Report of Pakistan,


Ministry of Education, (2004b), Private Sector in Education, Islamabad.

file://D:\Private Sector in Education-Ministry of Education.htm

HDF, (2002), Five ways to improve the structure of Pakistan’s education system; A six point
program to get Pakistan out of an educational wasteland; Four steps to ensure an adequate
number of schools; The need to provide more female teachers in Pakistan; Private schools in
Pakistan; How to raise the number of qualified teachers in Pakistan; The challenge of teacher
Training in Pakistan; How to counter low achievement in Pakistan’s primary schools; Why
Pakistan’s primary school teachers lack motivation; Non-formal education in Pakistan: the only
option for Pakistan’s poor; Why Pakistani primary school students drop out, Human Development
Foundation, USA.

Rashid, A., (2000), Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia, London-New York –

Sheikh, M.A. & Iqbal, M.Z., (2003), Status of Teachers in Pakistan, Unesco Office, Islamabad.

Singer, P.W., (2001), Pakistan’s Madrassahs: Ensuring a System of Education not Jihad, The
Brookings Institution, Analysis Paper #14 –November 2001

Smith, B., (2002), Report of the EC Rapid Reaction Mechanism Assessment Mission; Pakistan,
education, European Commission, Brussels.

Stern, J., (2000), Pakistan’s Jihad Culture, in Foreign Affairs, November/December 2000)

UNESCO, (2005), EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005, Unesco, Paris/France.

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WCT/Pakistan, (2004), Questionnaire on the status and working conditions in private schools.
Contribution of the Central Organisation of Teachers –Pakistan (Ali/Nusrat).

Chapter 19


The past in the present

A severe judgment.

In the Human Development Report 2000 the evaluation of the educational

system in the Philippines was very critical. It is indicated that there is a disparity
between high adult literacy rates, the high enrolment rate in education and the
lower levels of development. This disparity stems from the unequal access to low
quality and marginal relevance of basic education in the Philippines, reads the
The quality deficit is mainly attributed to the inadequate budget for education
(About four percent of the GNP). Expenditure per student is below national and
international standards. Inadequate preparation of teachers is evident in the
teachers’ dismal performance in the Professional Board Exam of Teachers.
Curriculum is overloaded and does not accommodate regional and cultural
differences. The effort to indigenise knowledge through the use of Filipino as the
medium of instruction is unsupported by qualified teachers and good teaching
materials. Coupled with the deteriorating quality of English teaching, the
situation has resulted in semi-linguism and mediocrity. The old debate on
whether to use local languages or English in schools has been resurrected in the
light of the challenges presented by globalisation (Human Development Network,

Nevertheless, as reported by the World Bank in 1999, the Philippines have long
been a leader in the region with respect to achievements in education. By 1970,
the Philippines had achieved universal primary enrolment. By 1955, it was
ranked one of the most-schooled nations in Asia. These successes, however,
mask a long-term deterioration in access and quality, and the national figures
obscure wide regional differences. Nationally, two-thirds of children in primary
school fail to complete the cycle, but this varies widely from region to region.
The main challenge facing the education system in the Philippines will be to
redress these inequities between regions and between income levels (World
Bank, 1999). In this perspective private schools were, and still are, major
players in the Philippines.

A complementary role

The importance of private education is even enshrined in the Philippine

Constitution which states that “the State recognises the complementary role of
public and private institutions in the educational system”.
In order to assess more precisely the relationship between government and
private schools in the Philippines it is worth quoting a few articles from the
Constitution. The passages in bold type will be commented on further within this

Article XIV section 2, point 3 of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines states:
“(The State shall) (3) Establish and maintain a system of scholarship grants,
student loan programs, subsidies, and other incentives which shall be available
to deserving students in both public and private schools, especially to the
And most important what is indicated in section 4:
“(1) The State recognizes the complementary roles of public and private
institutions in the educational system and shall exercises reasonable supervision
and regulation of all educational institutions.
(2) Educational institutions, other than those established by religious groups and
mission boards, shall be owned solely by citizens of the Philippines or
corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is
owned by such citizens. The Congress may, however, require increased Filipino
equity participation in all educational institutions. The control and administration
of educational institutions shall be vested in citizens of the Philippines.
No educational institution shall be established exclusively for aliens and no group
of aliens shall comprise more than one-third of the enrolment in any school. The
provision of this subsection shall not apply to schools established for foreign
diplomatic personnel and their dependents and, unless otherwise provided by
law, for other foreign temporary residents.
(3) All revenues and assets of non-stock, non-profit educational institutions used
actually and exclusively for educational purposes shall be exempt from taxes and
duties. Upon the dissolution or cessation of the corporate existence of such
institutions, their assets shall be disposed of in the manner provided by law.
Propriety educational institutions, including those cooperatively owned, may
likewise be entitled to such exemptions subject to the limitations provided by law
including restrictions on dividends and provisions for reinvestment.
(4) Subject to conditions prescribed by law, all grants, endowments, donations,
or contributions used actually, directly, and exclusively for educational purposes
shall be exempt from tax (Republic of the Philippines, 1987).
Before taking a concrete look at the present state of private education in the
Philippines we consider it a good idea to briefly reflect upon the past, as it will
partially explain the situation and relations today.

Historical influences.

The Philippines has been a colony of a foreign power from the Spanish
colonization in 1521 to 1946 when the United States granted the country political
independence. Institutionalised education began in the form of initiation rites and
religious ceremonies that later on became necessary to provide specialized
training to the priestly class and the elites.
The different religious orders founded most of the schools.
In 1863 the establishment of public schools throughout the country and a normal
school for male teachers was a milestone in the history of education in the
Philippines. Later normal schools for woman were established. In 1896 a Filipino
rebellion break bonds with Spain. Two years later the American forces arrived.
When the United States took over the Philippines, the justifications for colonizing
were to Christianize and democratize. The feeling was that these goals could be
achieved only trough mass education (up until the education was reserved for a
small elite).
Shiploads of school teachers came with the American colonizers and took over
public education in the Philippines. Most of these teachers were Protestants,
many were even Protestant ministers. There was a strong prejudice among some
of them against Catholics. Since this protestant group instituted and controlled
the system of public education in the Philippines during the American colonial
period, it exerted a strong influence. Subsequently the balance has shifted to
reflect much stronger influence by the Catholic majority (Miller, 1982 – Gloria,
1996). With the growing social demand for education and the democratic access
to the system as installed by the American colonizers, education was largely
considered as a consumer good. A system of free primary instruction that would
train people for the duties of citizenship, and ordinary avocation was installed in
1902 and a complete system public education on June 18, 1908.

Up until today the Philippines boats to be the only Christian nation in Asia. More
than 86 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 6 percent belong to various
nationalized Christian cults, and another 2 percent belong to well over 100
Protestant denominations. In addition top the Christian majority, there is a
vigorous 4 percent Muslim minority, concentrated on the southern islands of
Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan (Miller, 1982).
Undoubtedly, in the Philippines there are strong historical links between religion
and education. An important segment of the private education in both primary
and secondary levels has traditionally been the schools operated by religious
missions and orders; these continue to maintain their presence especially in the
depressed and hard-to-reach areas (Gulosino & Tooley, 2002). The higher the
educational level the more the private sector is representative.

Facts and figures

The participation rate in the elementary education level in both public and private
schools improved from 85.1 percent in 1991 to 96.9 percent in 2000. However,
many of the children who enrol do not complete the school year as evidenced by
the low cohort survival rate. The cohort survival rate has declined from 68.4
percent to 67.1 percent over the same period. Completion rate, however, slightly
increased from 65.5 percent in 1991 to 66.1 percent in 2000 (UNDP, 2003).
Expansion is aimed via twin strategies of establishing elementary schools in
villages not being served by the system, and completing ‘incomplete’ schools
trough multigrade classes.
Various programs were implemented. One of them is important in relation to the
subject of this study, namely the Government Assistance to students and
teachers in Private education (GATSPE).
The NGOs and private institutions also implemented the children in Need of
Special Protection Program (CNSP) and gave out scholarship grants to poor but
deserving students (UNDP, 2003).

Under the supervision of the School Division Offices are 48,446 schools broken
down as
- 40,763 elementary schools (36,234 public and 4,529 private)
- 7,683 secondary schools (4,422 public and 3,261 private) (DrpED, 1995).

Religious groups run most non-profit educational institutions. There are 2,030
Catholic schools and 111 Protestant schools and some Muslim schools
(Philanthropy, 2004).

Table 19A - Elementary and Secondary Enrolment in Government and Private


Elementary Secondary
Year --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Total Public Private Total Public Private

1995-96 11,204,816 10,646,180 858,636 4,883,507 3,376,273
1999-00 12,707,788 11,786,622 921,166 5,207,446 3,933,210
2002-03 12,962,745 12,048,720 914,025 6,032,440 4,791,069

Source: Department of Education

In the Philippines, 29 percent of private primary schools (accounting for 8

percent of total enrolment) and about 42 percent of private secondary schools
are operated by religious orders of the Catholic Church or by the Association of
Christian Schools and Colleges. At the same time, trends show that the
proportion of private enrolment has been steadily declining. The share of private
secondary enrolment has decreased from 62 percent in the mid-1960s to 24
percent currently (ADB, 1999). (In 2002-03 enrolment dropped to 7 percent in
primary and to 20 percent in secondary education, as illustrated by the figures.)
Where the public system has expanded to meet a greater part of demand, the
role of the private sector has diminished. The financial crisis in 1997-99 had a
clear impact, for obvious reasons, particularly on private schools (Ablett &
Slangesol, 2001). The overall proportion of private sector enrolment is
significantly higher at the secondary level of education than at the primary level
(Motivans, 2002). But, private schools in deprived areas have flourished in
response to the gaps left by public education in terms of access, coverage,
internal efficiency, teaching/learning conditions and quality education. There is
still a formidable task ahead in reducing discrepancies between schools in rural
en urban areas. More alarming is the apparent incidence of low-quality education
in some regions and in indigenous communities (UNDP, 2003). One of the
biggest problems is providing adequate housing and facilities for all children of
school age (Gloria, 1996).

The State – private education relationship: in search of a fragile

but necessary balance

Schools managed as non-profit institutions run by religious groups or non-

sectarian foundations or a stock educational corporation, pursuant to the
minimum standards or criteria for government recognition of private schools
under the 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, are governed by a
same governing structure. Private schools are required to apply for a ‘permit to
operate’ in order to function legally as a school. Modest procedures are set in
terms of class size, curriculum instruction, school building requirements and
school equipment inspection (Sarmiento, 1998). Once a school is granted a
permission to operate, recognition of its academic activities, teaching staff,
students/graduates consequently follows. Private schools are also legally able to
make a profit.
They are funded from capital investments, equity contributions, tuition fees and
other school charges, grants, loans, subsidies, and other income sources in
accordance with government legislation. The national, regional, provincial, city
and municipal governments may also aid school programs with loan, grants,
scholarships to recognize the complementary role of the government and of
private schools in the educational system (Gloria, 1996).
Much of the student fees and the self-generated income is used as educational
funds for the salaries and upkeep of the teachers and the upgrading of school
facilities and equipment.
(Many of the private schools appeared before public schools especially in the
most depressed and remote areas, developed for religious reasons and through
community support.)

In practice some of the government requirements for private schools are

identified as problematic. There is for example a requirement that recognised
private schools must retain or hire teachers who have previously obtained a
certificate or registration and a valid professional license given annually by the
Professional Regulations Commission and the Board for Professional Teachers.
However, unlicensed teachers are given a ‘grace period’ to pass the teachers’
licensure examination as well as issued a five-year temporary certificate. Private
school administrators who appoint unlicensed teachers can legally be severely
punished financially, or by imprisonment or both (Sarmiento, 1998). It must be
noted that many of the private schools still have some unlicensed teachers in the
roll (Gulosino & Tooley, 2002).

There is also a restrictive requirement for 70-20-10 schemes of revenue

allocation and tuition fee increases. That is to say, 70% of the total revenues
generated from student fee increase and entire tuition income are required for
the payment of salaries, wages, allowances and other benefits of teaching and
non-teaching personnel. 20% is required for the upgrading of school activities
and to the payment of other costs of operation. The remaining 10% goes to the
school as return of investments (Sarmiento, 1998).

Faced with the impossibility of establishing sufficient own educational institutions

throughout the country the government has developed a financing system to
allow also children of poorer families or from an underprivileged background to
access (payable) private schools. An illustration, indeed, of what is understood
by complementarity.

Assistance to students at the secondary level is provided mainly under the

Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GATSPE)
Program. This consists of two schemes: the Education Service Contract(ESC), a
government funded voucher-type system to enable students to enrol in private
schools where no public schools exist or where there is excess enrolment in
public schools) and Tuition Fee Subsidy ( to help families cover tuition fees in
public schools). However, both proved in the beginning ineffective in helping poor
students because the amounts provided were too low to bring the cost of
secondary education within the reach of the poor. (With 32 percent of the
families below the poverty threshold many families spent less than one percent
of their income on education (Human Development Network , 2004) (Gulosino &
Tooley, 2002).
For this reason, the Philippine government considerably increased assistance to
private education in 2004.
Nearly 400,000 private high school students were supported by the GASTPE-
About 70 percent of the 400,000 students are supported through Education
Service Contracting (ESC) whereby the government contracts with private
schools to enrol students in areas where there is no public high school or enough
space in public schools.
ESC schools serve mainly low income families and 80 percent of them charge
fees under the average cost of public schools. In the opinion of international
observers this programme offers a viable and realistic alternative for providing
schooling to low-income Filipinos. (Education Forum, 2004) Because the private
fees paid by the government are lower than the per capita costs in the public
schools, the government is able to create savings, as well as promote higher
achievement levels among secondary students (Gulosino & Tooley, 2002).
In the line of art.3 of the constitution the government created a certification
programme to help control the quality of education in the ESC schools (Education
Forum, 2004).

Yet too elitist?

Critics continue to claim that because of their payable nature private schools are
very elitist and recruit their pupils mainly in the ‘better’ high-income groups. This
criticism comes mainly from public education circles and from government bodies
for many of which the predominantly religious character of private school
remains a stumbling block. The genesis of public education under the American
occupation referred to earlier has of course also to do with it. Yet it was very
obvious that the government was only too glad to appeal to the services of
private education because otherwise it would have been incapable of achieving
its objective of ensuring quality educational facilities for all children.

However, a comprehensive survey leads Charisse Gulosino to other conclusions.

She states that it seems too easy to confirm that the private sector education in
the Philippines is catering predominantly only for the elite. Based on her research
in eighty-one private schools for low-income families she finds private schools in
many depressed suburban and rural areas that are charging minimal fees and
offering quality education. Even low-income families are responding to the
perceived inadequate and poorly managed public schools by sending their
children to these private schools. Many of these schools respond to the needs of
the disadvantaged by provision of social responsibility programs, innovative
curriculum and scholarships for free places, while maintaining a modest surplus
from very low fees (Gulosino & Tooley, 2002).
Concerning the social stratification she discovered that the main activity of
parents who send their children to the private schools is in agriculture and
fishing; the majority of families are tenant farmers, small farm owners,
fishermen, small-scale entrepreneurs, labourer families, and wage earners.

In concluding her report she formulated an answer on the question:

Why do poorer parents send their children to private schools?

She summarizes the responses, insights and observations gathered during the
field visits as follows:
• The lack of accessible public schools pushes those parents who can afford
to pay minimal fees to place their children in private schools. Daily
transportation costs and other out-of- school fees required for long-
distance travel in public schools are comparable to the fees charged in
private schools within their area.
• Where public schools are more accessible to the poor, parents argues that
they tend to offer a ‘low-quality service’, which may restrict their children’s
future opportunities. Some problems identified by parents at public schools
were overcrowded classrooms; lack of desks and the necessary facilities,
books and instructional materials; teachers overloaded with non- teaching
work or duties, and poor class-management.
• Most if not all private schools use English as a medium of instruction. The
Philippines is using bilingual medium of instruction in both public and
private schools. Government schools adopted the use of the regional
dialects so as to reduce the chronic dropout problem in many regions in
the country. Apparently alarmed at the populations declining proficiency in
English the Department of Education restored the curriculum (“the 2002
Basic Education Curriculum”) to give emphasis and increased time for
• The reputation of private schools.
• Parents want their children to be free from compulsory activities in public
schools such as gardening, weeding and cleaning of classrooms. In private
schools children are generally not required; thus, classroom work is
• There is a perception among parents that values and attitudes are
nurtured through spiritual guidance of religious schools.
• High level of teaching activity and commitment to teaching are considered
an edge of private schools (Gulosino & Tooley, 2002).

On the role of private schools in education, interviews with public school

superintendents, principals and teachers and officials in the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports, Manila, came up with the following range of

1. Tuition and school fees charged in private schools are much higher and,
therefore, not pro-poor.
2. Private schools, which cater tot the poor, are merely exploiting low-income
families who are not capable of assessing if their children are learning or
3. ‘Good-quality’ private schools are affordable only for the wealthy. Those
living in poverty have no choice other than to send their children to a
public-school system of ‘inferior quality’. Most enrol in public schools out of
4. The expansion of private schools will undermine the social nature of
education and instead promote education as a costly and profit-making
enterprise. If education is provided under market conditions, only those
who can afford to pay tuition fees can control.
5. The fact that private schools cater to a mass market and adjust their
“product” to demand has debased the quality of education in general. They
can hardly be expected to undertake the large investments in facilities that
give substance and depth to the process of education.

Gulosino and Tooley conclude that the most common objectives to private school
(1 and 4), i.e. that they cater largely for the elite, is in contradiction with the
findings of the research they conducted, indicating exactly the opposite.
The second criticizes the accountability of private schools. The study indicates
that the private schools in depressed, disadvantaged and under-served (DDU)
provinces have provided quality educational opportunities for the disadvantaged
The third and fifth are objections about the low quality investments and social
returns. There the study indicates that private schools are indeed constrained
with problems of upgrading facilities. To what extend must government support
be to private schools so that social returns are better? The authors suggest a
voucher-type scheme and/or direct per capita subsidy funding to private schools
like it is the case in many other countries (Gulosino & Tooley, 2002).

Teachers in private schools

For most of the private schools, the teacher-student ratio varies from 1/40 to
1/50. (Calculated on the number of declared full-time teachers) These ratios are
much lower than in the public schools and lower than the recommended class
size for ‘satisfactory teaching efficiency’. The Department of Education deems
that schools wishing to offer top-grade instruction must set their enrolment limits
below 30 students per class in kindergarten, and below 50-52 students per class
in elementary, secondary and collegiate levels. The Department of Education
does not provide specific regulation on the maximum class size. The
recommended student-teacher ratio in government schools is 1/35 but the actual
class size is much larger, between 50 and 70 students. In addition, government
schools have adopted three-classroom shifts in urban areas and the multi-grade
system in sparsely populated ‘hard-to-reach’ areas.
Surveyed schools vary in size from around 75 students in a religiously affiliated
school offering secondary education, and seeking to expand, to a school offering
elementary, secondary and undergraduate education with 6,360 students. School
fees vary considerably depending on the level of education and the school’s
target client group. For example, average monthly fee in secondary schools
ranges between $ 5,00 and $ 6,00 per month.

Anyone who prefers a teaching career in the Philippines must earn a degree in
teacher education. All of the schools have teachers with a bachelor’s degree in
either elementary or secondary education and, thus, are qualified to teach at
elementary and secondary levels, respectively. The newly hired teachers are
former students in the same school who graduated with high honours and
preparing to pass the written licensure examinations for teachers. Most have
Masters’ graduates of teachers with Master’s units at the undergraduate level. To
beef up the teaching staff, retired teachers and professionals arte hired on a
part-time basis especially for night classes.

Teachers in the private schools receive significantly lower salaries, from as Php
2,000 per month (i.e., $ 49.78 per month) to a high of Php 9,000 per month ($
203.65 per month)
than teachers in government schools (public secondary teachers have 1.65
proportional advantage), with the exception of the Greater Manila Area (GMA)
where private schools have raised teacher salaries to a slightly higher level than
government schools to adjust for the standard cost of living (Gulosino & Tooley,

A World Bank research highlighted two features of teacher supply and demand in
the Philippines, especially in government schools:
1. there is little room for teaching improvement in terms of creating teacher
incentives in public schools (i.e., years of experience), since initial salaries is
disproportionately higher compared to private schools.
2. the government provides across-the-board salaries to primary and secondary
teachers even though the required qualifications are not the same (WB & ADB,

The Federation of the Associations of Private School Administrators (FAPSA)

claimed that higher pay and better benefits are driving many private school
teachers to join the public schools. The claim is that they are losing to public
schools as a result of unfair competition; the unfair competition being higher
salaries. Public schools offer Php 9,000 tot Php 12,000 in basic monthly pay
compared to an average of Php 4,000 in many private schools.
They cannot offer higher salaries because they operate purely on the basis of
collected tuition fees (Education Forum, 2004).

Broadening of government initiative

Faced with the challenge of ensuring quality education for all young people the
government not only developed financing forms to enable the contribution of
private education but also aimed at the expansion and quality improvement of
public education, which frequently generated reactions from the part of private
education. Many school administrators claimed that the mushrooming of public
secondary schools at districts levels – program initiated by the national
government – is crowded them out of their education market. This claim is
substantiated in a World Bank study analyzing the relationship between public
and private school enrolment in the Philippines (Jimenez and Sawada, 2001).

To achieve its goal appeal is made to foreign expertise. It is not surprising that
the World Bank is an important partner in this, nor that this institution is
advocating strategies for private policy oriented initiatives. A World Bank report
states that gains of efficiency in public schools may be achieved by mimicking
the mix of resources of private schools; this is not likely to be enough to equalize
the two systems. A more effective albeit less transparent, measure would be to
adopt the management practices of private schools, thereby mimicking their
incentive structure (Lockheed & Jimenez, 1994).
Regarding funding it should be mentioned that government educational
institutions are allowed to receive grants, legacies, and donations for purposed
which are specified in existing laws. The management and use of such income is
subject to government accounting and auditing rules and regulations (Gloria,


Private education clearly plays an important role in the Philippine educational

system. The dominant position of the Catholic Church on the one hand, and the
influence that the USA historically had on educational developments are still felt
today. The formal non-funding of private education is an obvious consequence of
this American influence. But this influence was also due to the indirect funding
schemes through voucher-type projects and to a more commercialised approach
in which education is still regarded as a ‘commodity’, ‘a consumer good’. (The
strong presence of catholic institutions in higher education is in line with the
original educational initiatives of the church aimed at clergy and elite. This is,
however, beyond the scope of this paper).

As the government today, without the contribution of private education, would

not succeed in achieving its goal of basic education for all and ample access to
secondary education specific measures and funding modalities are necessary.
In the opinion of private education, the government often steers and restricts too
much. Obligations regarding staff policy for instance entail expenses that are not
always available. As a result, staff members in many private schools remain
highly underpaid although they are subject to the same standards and
obligations as in public education. Their concrete working conditions are set by
their own school boards, which results in great differences between the schools.


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Financial Shock 1997-99, UNESCO, Paris
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Education, Republic of the Philippines.

Education Forum, (2004), Philippines increases assistance to private education,

Gloria, R.T., (1996), The Development of Education. A National Report of the Philippines,
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Gulosino, C. and Tooley, J., (2002), The Private Sector Serving the Educational Needs of the Poor;
A case study from the Philippines, E.G. West Centre, School of Education, University of Newcastle
Upon Tyne, England.

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in Developing Countries, The World Bank Research Observer, vol. 6, no. 2 (July 1991), pp. 205-

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School Enrolment in the Philippines, Economics of Education Review 20,4 - 2001

Lockheed, M.E. and Jimenez, E., (1994), Public and Private Schools in Developing Countries: What
are the differences and why do they persist?, The World Bank, Education and Social Policy
Department, ESP Discussion Paper Series, No. 33, July 1994

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Asian Religions, Fall 1982.

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Chapter 20


The most pluralistic now, also in the future?

Constitutional freedom

The Dutch can justly claim to have the most pluralistic school system in the
world. Why can they do so?
Article 23 of the Dutch Constitution, guarantees freedom of education, which
embraces the freedom to set up schools, freedom to determine the principles on
which they are based (freedom of conviction) and freedom of organisation of
teaching. These freedoms were won during the course of a 70-year struggle
of Protestant and Catholic “little people” against the dominance of urban elite
that sought to use popular schooling to impose its understanding of
enlightenment and liberal religion. In the process, a wide range of institutions
organised along denominational lines became a characteristic of the Dutch
system of “pillarization” (verzuiling) (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

How did this article get into the Dutch Constitution?

A School Act of 1806 provided that “public education was a matter of constant
concern of the Government”, but the new Constitution 1848 added to this that
education was free. This freedom to set up schools means that any individual or
body has the right to found a school without the prior approval of the authorities.
It implies that different groups in society have the right to found schools. This
implies, particularly but not exclusively in the Netherlands, that denominationals
– Catholics and Protestants – could officially found their own schools. That way
the lawgiver complied with the wish of the denominationals who, as was already
briefly mentioned, were not satisfied with the education provided in the public
schools. The orthodox Protestants found the Christian and social values
advocated in public education too general, whereas the Catholics minded in
particular the Protestant nature of this education. For the Orthodox Protestants
there was too little room for own initiatives. In recent years the accent has been
more and more on autonomy, deregulation and decentralisation.
Initially these private denominational schools, unlike the public schools, got no
state subventions. They had to try to subsist by means of school fees. The then
liberal government was opposed to putting public and denominational education
on a par. This would change in 1917 (see below).

Article 23 refers also to “freedom of conviction” and “freedom of organisation of

teaching”. What is meant by that?
The freedom of conviction means that the competent authority, the governing
body responsible for the school administration, may tailor instruction to reflect its
convictions. The freedom of organisation of teaching refers to the freedom of the
competent authority to determine the content of teaching and the teaching
methods used. The exercise of the Constitutional right has led to the emergence
of a great variety of educational establishments which fall into two main
categories – publicly run and privately run schools. This diversity of schools
means that there is also a large number of governing bodies responsible.
Public sector schools are under the control of the municipal authorities, in which
case the municipal executive acts as the competent authority. The municipal
council opt to delegate the task from the municipal executive to some other type
of body, governed by public law. The governing body of a publicly run school can
be called to account by the municipal council for its actions. The authorities are
responsible for ensuring that there are enough public sector schools to provide
good quality education for all. Public sector education is secular.
Private schools are established upon, individual initiative and administered by a
governing body governed by private law. The competent authority of a privately
run school is the board of the association, foundation or church body that set it
up, foundations being the most common. The majority of private schools are, as
already mentioned above, denominational: most of these Catholic or Protestant,
but also some Jewish, Islamic and Hindu schools. Many are non-denominational,
basing their programmes on ideological or educational principles. (Montessori,
Steiner, Jenaplan, Dalton and Freinet schools). The standards required for
setting up schools are set out in government legislation on education. These
specify minimum enrolments and, at primary level, are based on pupil density
within the local authority area, i.e. the number of children aged 4 to 12 per
square kilometre. A private secondary school may be included in the Plan for new
schools for setting up new establishments, if it can be demonstrated that the
number of pupils likely to be enrolled exceeds the legal minimum for a school of
his type (Eurydice, 2000; WCT/The Netherlands, 2004. In recent years the
accent was more and more on autonomy, deregulation and decentralisation.

For the past decades, the government has adopted a series of policies seeking to
use the educational system as an instrument of social change; the Dutch
describe this as moving from a distributive to a constructive approach. There has
also been a rapid enrolment decline which forced the consolidation of many
schools. These developments have required constant negotiation with the
organisations representing private-sector schools, in view of the constitutional
protections for the distinctive character of publicly funded schools (Glenn & De
Groof, 2002a).

In Dutch education religious minority groups can establish their own schools.
Thus, there have been for years already publicly subsidised Jewish schools. Since
the second half of the 1980s, parents from the ethnic-cultural minorities can
send their children to Islamic and Hindu schools. These private schools, founded
on a Islamic and Hindu basis, must also meet the requirements of the Dutch
education laws, of course. This implies among other things that the teachers
must have acquired a Dutch education qualification, which is still a problem,
particularly for the Islamites. In many cases they have just a specific
qualification for the “own language and culture” subject, which in addition they
acquired in their countries of origin. Hindu schools are far less confronted with
this problem because an education qualification acquired in Surinam is
recognised in the Netherlands. In very many cases the foreign teachers have
insufficient command of Dutch, so that they fail to meet a second important
requirement of the education legislation, ie that education must be provided in
Dutch. That is why still chiefly Dutch teachers teach in Islamic schools. The
founding of Islamic schools remains limited. Merely 5 percent (ca 6,000) of the
ca 130,000 Islamic pupils go to Islamic primary schools. Many parents in ethnic-
cultural minority groups opt for education at existing schools. Around 50 percent
of these children go to private schools, the other 50 percent to public schools.
This has also to do with the fear of many municipalities that the existence of
separate schools for minorities would lead to isolation within the Dutch society;
this is often called a “new pillarisation”. On the contrary, politicians of the
Christian parties are in favour of founding separate schools for Muslims and
Hindus (
Precisely the growing presence of foreign pupils and youths in Dutch education,
as a result of the strong inflow of migrants in recent decades, has triggered off
an important political and social debate on the meaning of freedom of education
as anchored in article 23 of the Constitution. We will go into this in the final
paragraph of this chapter.

Who pays?

Under the terms of the Constitution all schools – publicly run and privately run –
are funded on a equal financial footing. The legislation on education governs
privately run schools as well as public authority schools and takes into account
the constitutional freedom of education.

Since 1917, public authorities have been pricing 100% funding for both public
and private sector schools. This equal support is a fundamental principle of Dutch
society. Although at the outset only primary schools were eligible fore equal
funding, financial equality has gradually been extended to all levels of education
up to and including university education (as of 1970). As a condition of funding
from the public purse, the law lays down the private educational establishments
must be maintained be a legal person with full legal competence, whose aim is to
provide education, without any profit-making motive.
Financial equality is carefully regulated in relation to all types of education.
Application of the rule of equal funding means that if, during a given year, the
running costs met by local government for public education exceed state
subsidies to private schools, the local authority must in principle pay the
difference to private schools. However, certain needs-based subsidies do not
have to be paid to all schools in the same amounts, if their needs differ.
The authorities decided to proceed in all education sectors to lump-sum payment
instead of the tradition declaration allowance. Public and private educations are
treated equally.
The lump-sum payment for primary education is expected to be introduced in
August 2006. In case of lump-sum payment the school boards receive public
funds for staff, housing and materials. School boards – in consultation with the
participation councils – are free in the allocation and spending of these resources
(WCT/The Netherlands, 2004).

This means, so far as the educational staff is concerned, that the public
authorities pay the salaries of teachers and technical staff to the competent
authority for each school (Eurydice, 2000; WCT/The Netherlands, 2004; Glenn &
De Groof, 2002a and 2002b).

While virtually all private schools are publicly funded, the requirement of
adequate quality is not tied to the funding alone. Private schools must employ
teachers who meet the standards for public schools, and they must provide
instruction that is equivalent to, though not necessarily identical with, that
provided in public schools. The right to establish schools is not, however, limited
to Dutch citizens. If the founders of a private school seek public subsidy, they
must meet requirements additional to the minimal requirements for an
unsubsidised school. Centrally, the school must be recognised as being of
general usefulness, as measured in the first instance by the number of pupils
whose parents have asked for the alternative form of education that it will
provide (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

For the age range 4-16, education is free. Parents only pay the school a small,
voluntary, annual parent contribution, which is low for public schools and higher
at private schools. For pupils above 16, parents have to pay a school fee. So,
private schools receive often contributions from parents or have resources of
their own. The funds may be used for different purposes such as teaching
materials, extra-curricular activities or even to engage additional staff.
Subsidised private schools are forbidden to supplement the salaries paid to their
staff by the government; this is intended to prevent unfair competition with
public schools on the basis of having superior teachers (Glenn & De Groof,
In general, schools must observe rules on the admission of pupils, must have a
non-profit-making status, and their governing body must belong to the Appeals
Commission. Quality norms in relation to teachers’ qualifications, compulsorily
taught subjects in each kind of school and final examinations are also applicable.

Although education law in the Netherlands is extensive, public and private

schools have a great deal of autonomy. The Ministry of Education, Culture and
Science does not impose any particular teaching materials and does not produce
any material of its own. Educational materials are designed and marketed by
commercial and non-commercial publishers. The government sets objectives
(attainment targets) for each type of education, but schools nonetheless have
complete freedom to choose their teaching methods and the means of attaining
these objectives.

There is no difference in status between diplomas or other qualifications awarded

by public sector schools and those given by private schools funded by the
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for educational
inspection. The Education Inspectorate functions under the Ministry’s direction.
The Education Inspectorate is a semi-independent agency with self-governing
status. Both private and public sector schools are subject to inspection.


The diversity of Dutch education means that there are a large number of
competent authorities. A distinctive feature of the system is that it combines a
centralised education policy with the decentralised administration and
management of schools. Central government controls education by means of
legislation and regulation with due regard for the provisions of the Constitution.
This is the case as regards both publicly and privately run caution.
The Netherlands, which has had this effectively decentralized and demand driven
education system since 1917, has recently updated its influence over private
sector education provision, improving the level of autonomy of the institutions.

The structure of equal funding has allowed parents the opportunity to choose the
school which best matches their own ideological preference. Most parents can
choose from several schools near their homes. The parental choice has spurred
some schools to develop a unique profile and improve their education. Some but
not all schools offered relevant and reliable information to parents about their
educational aims, methods and efficiency. In order to support this information
dissemination and facilitate school choice decisions, government polices now
require schools to provide such meaningful information (Patrinos, 1999).

Some facts and figures

In 2003-04 there were 7571 primary schools in the Netherlands; 65% of them
were private schools; 35% public schools. In secondary education from 679
secondary schools, 70% were private and 30% public.
70% of the 1,653,700 pupils in primary schools and of the 924,000 students in
secondary schools were in private institutions. Globally 102,000 primary schools
teachers were involved in the system and 62,000 teachers in secondary
education (WCT/The Netherlands, 2004).

The repartition of the institutions by denomination was in 1999/2000 the


Primary education Public 33.1 %

Protestant 30 %
Roman Catholic 29.9 %
Other Private 7.1 %

Secondary education Public 27 %

Protestant 21 %
Private non- denominational 32 %
Interdenominational 11 %
9 %
Source: Eurydice, 2002
The division of enrolment between public and private sector schools has
remained practically stable since the beginning of the past century, with about
70% of primary and secondary school pupils attending private establishments.
Since 1970, the public sector has grown slightly. However, over the last decade,
some important changes in government itself have had a large impact on private
and public sector schools. The changes are decentralisation, cutbacks,
deregulation and privatisation. Decentralisation, or the shift in competence and
responsibilities from central to local governments, led to a decrease in the
influence of national umbrella organisations. With cutbacks, the conditions for
government funding became stricter. Schools looked for other sources of income,
mainly from the market. Private and public sector schools become more ‘look
alike’. Public sector schools can now opt for a form of public or private legal
status. Administrative cooperation of public and private schools is possible;
institutional cooperation in under consideration. This will contribute to erasing
the line between public and private sector schools.

Status and working conditions of teachers

The position of teachers in publicly run schools differs from that of teachers in
private schools. The former are public servants within the meaning of the central
and Local Government Personnel Act, while the latter are employees with a
contract of employment under civil law. From a legal viewpoint, staff at private
schools belongs to the private sector. In a material sense, however, both
categories are in more or less the same position because of the principle of
financial equality for private and public education. Salaries, pay rises, social
security and early retirement and pension rights are fixed by are subject of
consultation with the teacher trade unions and the government.

The competent authority must apply the conditions of service determined by the
government when recruiting staff. State funding for private schools is conditional
on this. These conditions of service are set out in the case of the primary,
secondary, private and adult education sectors in the Legal Status (Education
Personnel) Decree.
Working conditions of teachers are increasingly regulated per education sector.
In all the education sectors the government is working on decentralisation in the
sense of separate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).
(Higher) vocational education is entirely centralised as far as the working
conditions of the teaching staff are concerned.
In secondary education the primary working conditions (salary…) are negotiated
between the public authorities and the trade unions. The other working
conditions are negotiated between the social partners (employers/workers) and
take shape in a sectoral collective bargaining agreement.
Also in primary education a separate collective bargaining agreement is being
development. Within this agreement the separate school boards and the trade
union can conclude further agreements.
At the school level there can also be consultations between the board and the
participation councils.

The Constitution explicitly states that the freedom to set up schools includes the
freedom to appoint teachers and choose teaching methods. The competent
authority of a school is thus free to recruit teachers, on the sole condition that
they be able to produce a certificate of good conduct and a teaching certificate.
Teachers in public and private schools alike must have the necessary academic
qualifications. Teacher colleges in higher education are training primary school
teachers as universities do for secondary schools. A certificate of competence for
a class teacher at primary level can only be obtained after completing a primary
school teacher training course (higher professional education). Subject teachers
can be appointed on the strength of other qualifications (e.g. for physical
education). Teachers in private schools must have the certificate of competence
as those in the ordinary schools, although many competent authorities also ask
for supplementary training in private education.
Similar provisions governing secondary school teachers are set out in the
Secondary Education Act. There are two grades of teachers: grade one and grade
two. A grade two qualification (lower secondary schools) can be obtained after
completing a secondary education teacher training course (higher professional
education). University grades can obtain a grade one qualification in general
subjects by completing a post graduate teacher training course at a university.
Teachers are usually offered a temporary appointment to begin with. Those
appointed to replace absent staff also have temporary appointments. A
temporary appointment is usually for no more than one year. After that, the
teachers’ contract is either terminated or converted to a permanent appointment
(in publicly run schools) or an appointment for an indefinite period (private
schools). The maximum duration of a temporary appointment may be extended
in private circumstances.
Although teachers in all approved schools are paid directly by the central
government, and their working conditions are identical, those in public schools
work for a public authority and are thus public employees. Teachers in private
schools, by contrast, are employees of the private foundations or associations
that sponsor, own, and direct the schools. This affects the procedures that they
must follow in any disputes with their employers, since they have a contract of
employment under civil law. Private schools however have the right to appoint,
exclusively or as a matter of preference, teachers who subscribe to the school’s
particular religious, philosophical, or educational views.

The legal status of teachers is laid down in decrees per education sector. For
education personnel in primary and private education the legal status is set out
in the Legal Status Educational personnel Decree (Rechtspositiebesluit
Onderwijspersoneel -RPBO). For education personnel in secondary education the
legal status is laid down in, the Legal Status Education Personnel Framework
Decree (Kaderbesluit Rechtspositie VO). The decrees apply directly to public
sectors teachers and are a condition of receipt of subsidy for private schools. In
other words, if a private school wished to receive funding, its administrations
must incorporate the decrees provisions into the conventions on working
conditions for its staff.
The State pays their salaries, based on salary scales, which are identical to those
of public sector teachers. For purposes of the legislation on retirement pensions,
all teachers are treated as civil servants.

What about salaries and working conditions?

On annual basis a primary school teacher receives as a

starting salary € 27,475
after 15years of experience € 37,027
after 18 years the maximum scheduled salary is € 39,637

For a teacher in a lower secondary school respectively:

starting salary € 28,486
after 15 years € 40,733
the maximum of the scale being € 43,583

In higher secondary schools the annual amount is for

a starting teacher € 28,774
after 15 years € 54,367
the maximum of the scale € 57,784

From the gross salary are deducted: taxes, contributions for retirement,
contributions for health care plans, premiums for social insurance and
unemployment compensation.

After deductions, what is the net salary?

On annual basis a primary school teacher receives as a net salary € 19,200

after 15years of experience € 23,800
after 18 years the maximum net salary is € 25,100

For a teacher in a lower secondary school respectively: net salary € 19,570

after 15 years € 25,620
the maximum net salary € 26,950

In higher secondary schools the annual net salary

for a starting teacher € 19,800
after 15 years € 32,200
the net maximum € 33,950

As regards job differentiation, the government and social partners encourages

the introduction of different types of posts: trainee teacher, junior teacher,
senior teacher and teaching advisor. One aim of this is to promote mobility and
variety in the careers of teaching staff. To this end, the salary system must
include a greater element of pay relating to the duties associated with a post. It
is the responsibility of government to establish job evaluation standards while
the employers take on the task of assessing staff.
The normal age of retirement is 65. Since some years it has been possible to
take early retirement at the age of 61. In practice, in pre-retirement systems
retirement before 61 is possible. At 65 teachers are obliged to retire but have the
right to continue their work.

The amount of the pension is approximately 70% of the last salary. A pension
can be combined with other salary incomes.
The number of working hours during the year corresponds to the net annual
working hours of central government personnel. This is based on the actual
number of working days, taking account of the average number of days, holiday
and the effect of the shorter working year. Divided over approximately 40 weeks
of the school year a full time teacher has to fulfil 1659 hours divided into a
teaching time of 930 hours and a non-teaching time of 729 hours.
Part time teaching is common practice on all school levels (WCT/The
Netherlands, 2004; Hoefnagels, 1995).

Trade Union Rights and freedoms

The right to organise and bargain collectively is fully recognized. The basic trade
unions rights and freedom, like contained in the relevant ILO conventions and
norms are respected in the Netherlands. Teachers have the right to unionise,
also in the private sector. About 30% of them have membership. Industrial
relations are generally harmonious and collective bargaining agreements are
negotiated in the framework of the ‘Social Partnership” developed between trade
unions and employers (EI, 2004).

The teacher unions have recognised representatives on all levels of the education
They are informed, consulted and they can negotiate on all aspects which touch
employment and working conditions on national and regional levels, but also on
school level. Since more and more negotiations take place on the local level,
given the decentralisation policy of the last decade, the most direct influence on
the concrete working conditions is exercised on the local level. Collective
bargaining is not possible on class size and pedagogical reforms. On national
level there is an advisory council in which all stakeholders, the teacher
representatives included, have their saying on major political issues.

In case of individual shortcomings, followed by a procedure, the teacher can call

for help by his union to defend his interests. There is no specific code of conduct
for teachers, although they are generally expected to behave as befits a good
teacher. If a teacher fails to do so, he or she is regarded as having failed in
his/her duty and may therefore be disciplined (e/g. by being transferred).
Teachers may be dismissed for failing in their duty, for acting in a way that
conflicts with the religious or philosophical belief on which the school is founded
(in private schools) or because a school is being closed down or the staff
establishment has been cut. Teachers have the right to appeal against decisions
of this kind by the competent authority. Staff at publicly run schools can lodge
an appeal with the courts while staff at private schools can appeal to as special
appeals committee(Hoefnagels, 1995) or go to the court, supported by there
union (WCT, The Netherlands, 2004). Teachers have the right to strike.

What will the future bring?

For the first time in years, the Netherlands the pubic discussion on public and
private education has been resumed in the Netherlands. It was occasioned by the
growth of Islamic education and by the meaning of free school choice for the
emergence of black schools (with a majority of pupils of foreign origin) and white
schools (with a majority of native pupils). Article 23 of the Dutch Constitution, to
which we referred at the beginning of this chapter, plays an important role in this
discussion, and a unique meaning is attributed to it.

What is all this about?

In recent years, a number of municipalities have pursued a policy aimed at a
balanced spreading of foreign pupils over the existing schools. However, the
national government and most municipalities never pursued such a spreading
policy. The government policy was chiefly aimed at improving the quality of the
education provided to pupils in backward situations. Most foreign pupils come
under the backward pupils policy, which entitles ‘black’ schools to extra financial
Private schools can refuse pupils, referring to the school’s ideological or
philosophical basis. They cannot arbitrarily refuse or accept pupils with a
different ideological or philosophical basis. Nor can they refuse pupils for reasons
of ideology or philosophy if there is no public school at a reasonable distance
from the pupil’s dwelling.
The right to free choice of school, embedded in article 23, is often considered the
main obstacle to a spreading policy. In a recommendation of 2002, the Dutch
education council, the official advisory body to the government, stated that a
spreading policy was yet possible within the boundaries of article 23. Yet, it
warned that a spreading policy on ethnic grounds would run counter to all kinds
of national and international bans on discrimination. If a spreading is carried
through, it must take place on the basis of language or training-level arrears of
the parents.

Many people wonder why denominational schools in the Netherlands remain so

successful, considering the strong secularisation of the Dutch society in recent
decades. Some people seek a political explanation: the overprotection of
denominational education by some political parties. Others maintain that the
transfer of religious values and standards keeps appealing the secularised
sections of the population. It is fairly generally accepted that the high
participation percentage of denominational schools is attributable to the better
educational climate and greater efficiency of these schools.
These differences in effectiveness, the research into which takes account of
differences in school population, are related to drop-out frequencies, test results,
the acquired diplomas and the final levels that are reached.
Anyway, the preservation of article 23 has become an important subject for
discussion both in academic and in political circles.
It seems to become the stake of the next national elections. The present Minister
of Education, of CDA tendency, refuses to concede and says that she and her
party remain opposed to forced spreading, to compulsory admission and to the
fact of toning down article 23.
In other political parties, among them the other government party, VVD, have
already made it clear that they more or less question the said constitutional
article. This can affect the freedom of education and the subsidising of private
schools, quite a revolution in the Dutch society. Which was to this day
internationally labelled as the most open, pluralistic education system, is now in
jeopardy. Also outside the Netherlands this development is being followed with
critical attention (Cliteur, 2004; Dronkers & Robert, 2004; LBR, 2004; Van der
Hoeven, 2004; WCT, The Netherlands, 2004).
The Netherlands and the aims of the international community

There is no doubt that the Netherlands has applied for a long time already
regulations that are in line with the overall education goals as formulated in the
Millennium Development Goals and in the Education for All goals. It basically and
largely translated them into a police before they were formulated as such. This
does not mean, of course, that no adaptations and adjustments remain
necessary or that no critical questions can be asked about particular situations.
In the industrial world, too, people obviously realise that the responsibility of the
education sector has been strongly on the move in recent years, that new
questions and new challenges raise new expectations and therefore require new
solutions. In recent decades, the Netherlands has no doubt systematically sought
solutions and in many cases also found them for the new target confronting it.
Today we are facing the following tasks.
In order to promote social inclusion, there are concrete plans to intensify pre-
school education. That way pupils from ethnic-cultural minority can get better
education opportunities. We have already pointed out that precisely the large
number of children (and adults) from minority groups constitute a great
challenge for the Dutch society and therefore certainly also for education. In this
respect several measures have already been introduced and carried out on a
trial-and-error basis, but to this day they have not yet brought a solution that
meets with general approval. Witness the in many cases very divergent
statements and a viewpoint of political leaders and of leaders of the minority
groups themselves. Anyway, this problem arises in almost all the Western
European countries and has got an extra dimension since the former Eastern Bloc
countries opened up. Public and private education assume these new tasks in
cooperation with the municipal authorities.

In addition, the Netherlands is confronted with a large number of pupils who drop
out of secondary education without a qualification to enter the labour market.
Also the EU calls for extra attention to this issue.
Within secondary education, experts are working on tailor-made arrangements,
particularly on a learning-working combination.

The quality of education is strongly dependent on the quality of the teaching

staff, their training, their further training, their working conditions and their
participation rights. The position of the teaching staff therefore changing
considerably. Professional autonomy is the starting point of the Teaching
Profession Act: it is no longer exclusively a matter of competence, but rather of
Teachers have drawn up skill requirements, which the Minister of Education has
confirmed. The skill requirement constitutes the basis for the training and act
nomination conditions besides skill.
It is essential that by virtue of the Teaching Profession Act teaching staff are to
indicate in a skills file how the skills are maintained. In this respect, too, the
international inspiration and influence are very clearly present. The staff policy in
the Netherlands – like in the other European countries – is increasingly attuned
to suggestions and/or policy lines of the European Union and the OECD.

Akkermans, P.W.C., (1996), Education: A Persistent Constitutional Problem in the Netherlands, in

Education under the new Constitution in South Africa, ed. De Groof J. & Bray, E., Leuven: Acco,

Cliteur, P.B., (2004), De neutrale staat, het bijzonder onderwijs en de multiculturele samenleving,

Dronkers, J. & Robert, P., (2004), De effectiviteit van openbaar en bijzonder onderwijs: een
crossnationale analyse, in Mens & Maatschappij, 2004, jaargang 79, nr. 2.

De Graaff, C., (2005), Vrijheid van onderwijs wordt inzet verkiezingen, in Schooljournaal, 9e
jaargang, nr. 8, 12 maart 2005.

EI, (2004), EI-barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights in the Education Sector, Education
International, Brussels.

Eurydice, (2000), Private Education in the European Union, Organisation, administration and the
public authorities’ role, Eurydice European Unit, Brussels

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002a) Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. I, Utrecht/Lemma.

Glenn, Ch. & De Groof, J., (2002b) Finding the Right Balance. Freedom, Autonomy and
Accountability in Education, Vol. II, Utrecht/Lemma.

Hoefnagel, H.J.M., (1995) The Legal Position of the Teachers in the Netherlands, in De Groof, J.
(ed) The Legal Status of Teachers in Europe, Acco, Leuven/Amersfoort, p.245-254

Hoefnagel, H.J.M. & Vermeulen, B.P., (1997), Recent developments in Dutch legislation on
education, in European Journal for Education Law and Policy, Kluwer.

LBR, (2004), Segregatie in het onderwijs, Landelijk Bureau ter bestrijding van rassendiscriminatie,

Patrinos, H.A., (1999), Market Forces in Education, seminar paper “Education; the Point of View of
the Economists”, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, July 22-24 1999.

Van der Hoeven, M.J.A., (2004), Toespraak 19 september,

WCT/The Netherlands, (2004), Questionnaire on the status and working conditions in private
schools. Contribution of OCNV/Kuypers.
Chapter 21


Following a ‘third way’ since the 1970s


In 1956, the Hungarian revolution, against the Soviet giant was more advertised
than supported by Western politicians. Its long-term influences paved the way
for a special mutation of the Soviet system; and this mutation step by step
turned into a Hungarian model of economic and political compromises. From the
viewpoint of the Soviet Union Hungary became the smiling face of socialism.
From the viewpoint of the inhabitants the system turned into a ‘goulash
communism’, that is a version of the welfare state with visibly modernised shop-
windows and invisible policies. Education was an element of this double-deck
system (Kozma, 2002).
The political ideology of the opposition, from the 1970s on, has always been the
‘third way’, different from the ‘third way’ promoted in the West (Giddens and
others) in the late nineties. The ‘third way’ in Hungary meant political solutions
between market and planned economy, capitalism and socialism (communism),
parliamentary democracy and the party-state. Direct democracy, sometimes
called self-governance, was one of the political beliefs. The state government
would receive the right to coordinate, not to govern, to steer rather than to lead.
The ‘third way’ ideology affected the educational disputes during and after the
transition. While the party-state saved the selective structure of education, the
opposition always emphasised equality and criticised the unequal chances of
students of various social strata. Criticism of the regime turned into criticism of
the educational establishments.
There were several ideas of educational reforms including self-governance in
schools, teachers voting for school directors, parents deciding upon the
curriculum, students establishing cooperatives for school and physical work and
school restructuring according to an idealistic local community. All of these ideas
came to the forefront after the turn of 1989/90 (Kozma, 2003).

The search for self-identification in every political system in Eastern Europe and
the rising nationalistic feelings were in fact a struggle for the traditional idea of
the community against bureaucratic, state machinery. The radical
decentralisation of public affairs in countries like Hungary, strong and extreme
private educational and higher educational provisions in others, as in Romania,
the growing movements for autonomy among national minorities, and the fight
for their own independent educational institutions are a few of the developments
influenced by the strong trust in the existence of a ‘third way’.
Many educational innovations came into being in this blooming period of Eastern
Europe. Some examples were new parent-teacher associations, newly
established educational communities under the auspices of newly formed
religious communities, among others and new visions of educational
decentralisation and regulation.
The political transition influenced the educational atmosphere everywhere in
Eastern Europe, due to its strong element of self-identification. The Hungarian
case is very interesting in this respect.

A major change needed

Under central planning Hungary was well-educated country, with almost

universal primary and lower secondary enrolment, high levels of literacy
compared with countries with similar incomes, and impressive levels of basic
numeracy and engineering skills. Access was relatively equitable for girls as well
for boys, a major achievement. But the system was not without its problems.
The reality became visible after the political change in 1989-90. The result was
disillusionment. The inherited system was inefficient even in context of central
planning. The state financed on basis of rigid formulas, allocation resources
without regard to demand. And although the provision of education was for the
most part a public monopoly, it was poorly coordinated. Programs for
professional development were fragmented, and scarce resources were often
wasted on duplication of facilities. How could a really democratic education be
built on the ruins of the great showcase? How to make the transformation
possible in a society with many disillusions, bad memories, and unspoken stories
(Dethier, 2000)?

What has been done?

Hungary has transformed its system of financing and managing public education
moving from a highly centralised system to one in which most decisions
regarding the use of resources are made autonomously by local actors and the
central government has only indirect tools to influence these decisions.
Decentralisation is characteristic of almost all functions, from establishing schools
to employing teachers and parents to defining the content of curriculum (Halász,
2001; Dethier, 2000).

As was the case for many transition economies, Hungary faced a deep economic
crisis in the early 1990s. The lack of public resources created a need for the
government to relegate some of its educational responsibilities to the private
sector. In 1990, parliament transferred the responsibility for primary and
secondary education to autonomous local governments. Laws and other
regulations encouraging institutional competition, free choice by consumers, and
consumer contributions to educational costs have been adopted. The main
principles guiding Hungary’s current system of educational decision-making are
high levels of local control and school self-management, recognition of the
importance of the private sector, an increasing reliance on individual financial
contributions and acceptance of competition between educational institutions.
Because of a decentralised public sector in which opportunity for individual choice
grew, purely private sector development has been relatively slow (Halász, 1998
and 2003). However, private institutions formally authorized by municipal
authorities are entitled to receive the same amount of per pupil grant as local
municipalities do (Patrinos, 1999).

Like we remembered in the previous paragraph the decentralisation process

began in the 1970s, well before the democratisation process after 1989 and is
therefore, not only the product of the ‘transition’ but of more gradual structural
changes. The transition accelerated the changes.
The financial links between municipalities and schools are only marginally
regulated by law and are governed by a bargaining logic. The law sets the
educational activities that local governments have the obligation to finance, and
the required quality levels, only in very general terms. Two laws form the basis
for education financing: the legislation on the remuneration and legal status of
public servants and the rules contained in the Public Education Act amended in
1996, which play an important role in evaluating the budgetary demands of
schools. These regulations do not set precise determinants for wages and other
costs; bargaining between schools and their owners take place. The rules only
make it possible for municipalities to calculate the minimum teaching load
mandated by law, for which they have to secure financing for teacher
remuneration. Schools where teachers have higher qualifications, or average
ages, than prescribed by law have higher wage costs than those employing less
qualified or younger teachers. Municipalities can also extend school hours,
provide extra services, or agree to pay higher than obligatory wages (Dethier,

Since the role of state decreased in favour of local self-governments the

decentralisation to municipalities evolved the responsibility for education on local
level. At the end of the decade the majority of schools got embedded in local
societies with the many advantages and disadvantages of that situation. Schools
began to play an integrative role in the villages, but also it was more and more
difficult to maintain the kindergarten or the school where the municipalities were
poor. Beside state institutions new sectors appeared at all level: ecclesiastic,
foundation and private schools. Research conducted by Filer R.K. and Münich D.
showed that non-state schools emerged at locations with excess demand and
lower quality state schools, and that the competition from non-state schools
created incentives for state schools: state schools slightly improved the quality of
educational inputs used and significantly improved their output, quality of
graduates. As concerns the technical schools, they concluded that non-state
schools react to regional labour market conditions in terms of technical premium
and unemployment rate; such reactions to markets signals were note found by
state schools (De Groof, 2003).

The multisectoral school system increased the freedom of choices for parents,
but the return of a part of schools to churches caused tensions at the beginning.
Foundation and private schools often segmented the system and increased
inequalities of chances, though the ratio of paying schools increased slowly.

The World Bank played an initiative role in the Hungarian education reform and
continuously urged its implementation. A first Human Resources Project was
signed in 1991. Others followed later (Hoós, 2001).

The situation of private schools in Hungary

In the course of the performance of the educational contract the state and the
community government are obliged to respect the right of the parents or the
guardian in religious and philosophical matters and to ensure the education of
the children accordingly.

That is the reason why the School law under §3 sub-section 2 states that the
state, the community, the national minority administration or a registered legal
clergyman can establish and manage an educational institution provided it/he
has acquired the right to do so. The same applies to companies, foundations, or
associations as legal persons, which have been founded in the Hungarian
Republic and have their place of residence here and to all other legal and
naturalised persons. Consequently, parents have the right to choose non-state
educational instruction for their children.

There are two types of independent schools: schools under the control of
foundations and private schools. In 1999 75 primary schools (2% of all schools)
were run by a foundation or a private person. In the school year 1999/2000 the
foundation grammar schools accounted for 12% of such schools.
Although they are allowed to operate, the local government has the right to
examine the theoretical basis and the equipment before the school is established.

The state gives budget-subsidies to the administrations of the non-state or non

community educational institutions, the amount of which is decided in the
budgeting for the current year (The Constitutional Court ruled in April 1997 that
the state is obliged to provide similar subsidies to church and local government
schools). In addition to normative grants, the state supports local public
education actively through subsidies for specific goals, usually keyed to priority
development tasks (Dethier, 2000). So, if a non-state or non-community
educational institutions carry out state or community tasks, it is entitles to
receive additional funds from the state or the community administration.
The central budget guarantees to the administrations of the non-state or
community schools the normal budget subsidies depending on the number of
pupils and the tasks carried out. The state subsidies are granted not only for the
running costs but also for investments, according to the financial resources
available. Even in state and community schools parents can transfer a donation
of any amount they can afford for the support of the school to an account of the
foundation launched by the school. Citizens can offer 1% of their income tax and
transfer it to the approved account of the school. The remittances of economic
organisations for the support of vocational secondary schools can be used in
various ways, so that it is possible to transfer them directly to the vocational
schools. In the last case large enterprises and companies can exercise their
influence by a contribution in the field of financing materials or on the curriculum

Independent schools may cater for religious, ethnic, or linguistic minorities. The
state however is obliged to ensure the education of minorities, apart from the
religious minorities (see further). Independent schools may have a special
educational philosophy like the Waldorf, Freinet or Montessori pedagogy, One
example of a school with an alternative pedagogic programme is the Lauder
Javne Jewish Community school (with Kindergarten), which did not come into
being on religious basis, but in a effort to make the Jewish culture known
(Vekerdy, 2001; Halász, 2001).

The elementary school is obligatory and free of charge but a financial

contribution by the parents is necessary to ensure and provide the teaching
materials and the school meals and extraordinary activities (work groups,
sports). The school headmaster decides about the school fees in connection with
training and education. According to the social circumstances the school board of
an independent school may release the needy from the obligation to pay school


Let’s compare figures.

Table 21A : number of schools

private school independent state schools schools local Total

private authorities number
number % number % number % number %

in primary
education 250 7 4 0 100 3 3000 88 3400

in lower
education 90 18 1 0 20 4 400 78 510

in higher
education 320 23 6 0 60 4 1000 71 1400

source: WCT/Hungary, 2004

Table 21B : number of students

private school independent state schools schools local Total

private authorities number

number % number % number % number %

in primary
education 40,000 4 600 0 30,000 3 830,000 92 900,000
in lower
education 12,000 10 100 0 3,000 3 100,000 83 120,000

in higher
education 40,000 10 600 0 20,000 5 340,000 83 410,000

source: WCT/Hungary, 2004

Table 21C : number of teachers

private schools independent state schools schools local total

private authorities number

number % number % number % number %

in primary
education 5,000 6 120 0 3,000 3 80,000 89 90,000

in lower
education 700 9 16 0 300 4 7,000 88 8,000

in higher
education 6,200 16 240 0 2,100 5 30,000 75 40,000

source: WCT/Hungary, 2004

Table 21D : Basic data of denominational institutions 1999/00 - 1992/93

Institutions Students Teachers

1999/00 Growth % 1999/00 Growth % 1999/00 Growth %
99/00 - 92/93 99/00 – 92/93 99/00 -92/93

Kindergarten 74 336 5,230 340 459 373

Primary school 177 305 42,270 375 3,479 387

Institution for
special needs 3 100 314 299 58 341

Training school 2 8 314 1,163 21 525

apprentice school 1 1 1,971 1,341 163 905

Secondary school 33 48 21,523 219 2,365 298

Of these:
High school 31 44 18,707 210 2,119 288
University, college 26 28 10,227 478 3,336 778

source: Halász, 2001

What is the representativeness of the different pedagogical projects?

Table 21E : Number of schools by denomination

number of number of number of

primary lower secondary higher secondary
schools schools schools

Catholic schools 100 10 65

Protestant schools
- Lutheran 15 2 5
- Calvinist 40 5 8

Jewish schools 2 1 2

Method schools
- Steiner 5 5
- Freinet 1
- Montessori 10

source: WCT/Hungary, 2004

The churches functions separately from the state, but may establish and operate
educational institutions independent of the state, which are entitled to receive
state subsidies according to the general rules. In the year 1999/2000 177
primary schools, 87 grammar schools, 7 vocational schools and 28 universities
were run by churches of various denominations. Church participation is the
highest among universities, with a third of the institutions run by the church. For
grammar schools the percentage is 8.3%.

In the framework of their pedagogic programme the schools shape their own
local curricula which are based on the framework curricula of the national
curriculum. These documents are accepted by the teaching staff and approved in
cooperation with the school inspection board.
The teachers are more or less autonomous in their methods as long as they stay
within the limits of the evaluation system.

The education minister, the municipal committee and local community

administration can exercise professional control. The state’s legal control is the
same for both state schools and independent schools. They may be different
professional controls by different school administrations. Some of them have
their own evaluation and professional control system.
It is not usual in conventional schools that parents assist teachers with their
work in the classroom; the demand for it is greater in independent schools and in
alternative schools.

Status and working conditions of teachers in Hungary’s private

The difficult situation of the teachers in the transition period

As it was the case in most countries in transition after the collapse of the East
Block system, education faced serious problems in Hungary due to demographic
changes in this decade: the second demographic wave culminated in the higher
grades of primary schools at the beginning of the nineties, then moved to the
secondary schools and at the end of the decade reached the higher education. In
kindergartens and primary education the number of children decreased more
rapidly than the number of teachers, which improved the child per teacher ratio.
In secondary schools the number of pupils strongly increased, but the number of
teachers grew with a somewhat higher rate. In international comparison too few
pupils were left on a teacher in the primary and secondary schools. The ‘low
efficiency’ of education became a target of international (World Bank, OECD)
criticism. Class and school fusions were often motivated by the interests in the
sold of the building or by financial economies and the viewpoints of improving
the quality of education and of the local communities were pushing behind. The
dismissal of a part of teachers created pedagogue unemployment (Hoós, 2001).
The level of professionalism of the teaching body and the readiness of schools to
exercise autonomy was in general lower when the trend to decentralisation
started than in most other highly decentralised systems, partly as the result of
several decades of strong central control and relatively weak civil society
(Halász, 2003).

Teachers who work in primary schools obtain these qualifications trough a non-
university higher education course lasting four-five years. Teachers at lower
secondary level follow a four (five)-year training course. Teachers at upper
secondary level obtain their qualifications through a general university course
lasting four-five years, plus an additional year of general and professional
training (Eurydice, 2004; WCT/Hungary, 2004).

What about salaries?

The pedagogues suffer the main losses from restrictions, and the schools who
have no possibilities generally, degrading or slowly modernised. Nowadays the
teachers’ particularly bad salaries put obstacles in the way of improving the
education (Hoós, 2001).
The central personage of education is the teacher; in western countries the
teachers’ salaries expressed somehow their important role. According to OECD
data in all western countries, i.e. also in poor countries like Greece and Turkey
teachers’ salaries are 1,1 to 1,7 times higher than per capita GDP in 1993, that
of secondary school teachers 72 % and since the situation worsened as GDP
increased while the real value of teachers’ salary declined. Only employers of
health and social services are in a worse position among intellectuals and
branches of the economy (Hoós, 2001).

In the WCT/Hungary, 2004, report we read the following figures. Like we already
mentioned before, the local authorities have the possibility to add bonuses to the
basic salary, as can do independent schools, when respecting the legal
(To compare: 200 Hungarian forint= 1 US$. The minimum salary in the country
is 672,000
and the average salary 1,200,000)

The amount of a starting salary on annual basis is:

for a primary school teacher 1,200,000 HUF
for a teacher in lower sec. education 1,300,000
for a teacher in higher sec. education 1,300,000

The amount of the salary after 15 years of experience:

for a primary school teacher 1,400,000
for a teacher in lower sec. education 1,600,000
for a teacher in higher sec. education 1,600,000

The maximum annual salary scheduled;

- for a primary school teacher 2,000,000
- for a teacher in lower sec. education 2,400,000
- for a teacher in higher sec. education 2,400,000

From this gross salary are deducted: taxes, contributions for retirement, for
health care plans and for unemployment compensation.

The relation between the gross salary and the net salary (after the deductions
mentioned) of a single teacher (without family charges) is approximately 30% in
the first year and 50% the last year of a normal carrier.

Like already indicated before additional bonuses to basic salary are possible, for
instance, for teaching in remote areas, for participating in special activities, for
excellence in teaching performance, and family charges (per child).

Non-salary compensations are possible for specific retirement programmes,

health care, health insurance, unemployment compensation, disability insurance,
non-cash supplements (e/g. free or subsided housing), maternity benefits, and
free or subsidised child care.

The minimum age to be appointed as a qualified teacher is 22/23 years; it takes

35 years of service before attaining the maximum scheduled salary.

The minimum age for retirement is 62 for woman and man. The public
authorities pay the retirement allowance representing 50% of the last salary. A
pension is combinable with another income.

The working time is Hungarian schools is normally the following: in primary

education 22 hours teaching time and 18 hours non-teaching time; in secondary
education: 20 hours teaching time and 20 hours non-teaching time, during 37
weeks or 185 days/year. During the holiday periods teachers can be obligated to
service during 15 days/year. Part-time teaching is not allowed (WCT/Hungary,

Trade union rights and freedoms

Important changes to the Labour Code came into effect in 1 September 2002.
The changes repeal some of the more controversial labour legislation introduced
by the previous government. The Labour Code recognises the right of workers to
associate freely and to organise. Collective bargaining is permitted at the
enterprise and industry level. Under a separate law, public servants may
negotiate working conditions, but the final decision on increasing public service
pay rests with Parliament. With the exception of the military and the police,
workers have the right to strike (EI, 2004). The basic trade union rights for
teachers too are therefore recognised in Hungary. Teacher unions can represent
their members both on national and local levels. They have the right to be
informed and consulted and to bargain collectively on salaries and working
conditions. On national level the partners in the collective bargaining are the
government representatives, on local level the governing board of the school.

Negotiations on class size, pedagogical and structural reforms and curricula are
not obliged. Representation in national advisory bodies is allowed.

Only 10% of the teachers are unionised (12% in the public sector and 4% in the
private sector). The problematic past of trade unionism under the communist
regime is still weighing on the development of the present democratic unions. A
major challenge for the future to overcome the misunderstandings on what
unions stand for and what they can realise trough solidarity actions and
competent representation both for individual and collective problems and goals.

The EFA and the Millennium Goals in Hungary

Like commented in the previous paragraphs a lot as been done in Hungary to

work for the goals the international community aims to realise in relation with
the educational rights of all children and youngsters of the world. But some
major challenges remain.

Economic changes in Hungary brought about a revaluation of human capital and

returns to education have risen considerably. This underscores the importance of
education in the elimination of poverty. In line with the second Millennium
Development Goal the percentage of those not finishing primary school by
compulsory age decreased. The percentage of those enrolling in secondary
grammar schools increased too and enrolment in higher education rise
substantially as well (UNDP, 2002)

The importance of the pre-school care is recognised and regulated consequently.

Institutional pre-school care has more than a century of tradition in Hungary.
The institutional network of pre-school care has broadened, and today more than
90% of children of eligible age participate. The course content has also been
The pre-school network is institutionally independent from the system of
primary, secondary, ands tertiary education. Pre-schools or kindergarten fall
under the direction of the Ministry of Culture and Education. They provide
educational services to children ages 3 trough 7 (7 being the average age at
which primary education begins. Pre-school attendance is not compulsory, but
the 1993 Law on Public education has made it generally compulsory for children
aged 5 and above in order to ensure that they are prepared for primary school
studies. Educational facilities under the age of 3 are provided by the ministry of
Public Welfare trough nursery care institutions.
In 1995/96 on a total of 4720 pre-school institutions 43 were Church institutions
and 94 were privately funded (OECD, 1999).

Hungary has pre-schools in which national minority languages are used either as
the only instructive language, or as an instructive language next to Hungarian.
This situation touches on an important dimension of the Hungarian reality: the
language of instruction in relation with minority problems.

The official language of instruction is Hungarian, but a number of ethnic and

national minorities have minority educational institutions with their own
languages as first or second language of instruction at primary and secondary
level of teaching. The provision of minority education – similarly to mainstream
education – is the task of the maintainer.

According to the 2001 report by the Committee of Experts on the implementation

of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, Hungary has
undertaken an ambitious effort in drafting a form of a model legislation on the
protection of minorities. It ratified (1995) and implemented (1998) the European
Charter in the field of education for the following languages: German, Romanian,
Slovenian, Serbian and Croatian (Council of Europe, 2001).

The Hungarian educational system has been heavily criticised for its inequalities,
reads the Hungarian Millennium Development Goals Report (UNDP, 2003).
Differences between urban and rural schools have increased in terms of pupils’
performance. Moreover, international comparative studies show that the
differences in children’s school performance are linked to the father’s level of
schooling. It is apparent that in Hungarian public education, strong social
selection is at work, and it begins ever earlier in secondary schools. An obstacle
to an adequate government policy is the substantial discrimination Roma children
face in schools. Education of the Roma in separate schools or classes is
widespread. Many Roma children are regularly sent to special education schools
although they are not mentally handicapped. In order to change these practices,
the Ministry of Education has launched a programme that financially supports the
preparation of Roma children for integrated education. The denial of equal
education opportunities for Roma in Hungary by segregating them in
substandard schools was seen and is seen as a violation of Hungary’s obligations
under international law. (art. 3 of the International Convention of the Elimination
of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and art. 13(1) of the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).
The exact number of Roma’s is not known; estimates differ from 142,000 to
600,000. There are 189 pre-primary schools where half of the pupils belong to
the Roma-community (Council of Europe, 2001; ERRC, 2004). Some primary and
secondary schools provide bilingual education for Roma; in a few Roma is the
language of instruction. A government watchdog estimates that as many as 700
schools have set aside separate classrooms for Roma pupils. Roma segregated
schools are crowded, inadequately equipped and in poor condition (EI, 2004)?

This problem is related to another.

Costs of education increased to a large extent in the nineties, which fact
diminishes the chances of children living in families of bad financial
circumstances. In spite of increasing number of pupils in secondary and higher
schools, chances of continuation of studies and learning a profession are bad and
worsening for children coming from unskilled, unemployed, poor or gypsy
families and for those who live in crisis districts. The always-existing settlement
slope gets steeper. The gap between elite-schools and those of poor settlements
and districts increases.
A factor strengthening the differentiation between families and schools is the
increase of education costs that are not compensated in the education norms and
calculations. The education of children got to be very expensive and imposes
heavy, sometimes insupportably high burden on poor families. The same factor
differentiates also between settlements, for schools of poorer settlements do not
receive the needed financial support (Hoós, 2001).


The Hungarian ‘third way’ created a much decentralised educational system.

Given the very open and flexible regulations and rules, the autonomy of the
schools is important. The financial status and the working conditions of the
teachers are no longer uniform, once the general prescriptions are respected
(Dethier, 2000).This situation lays a huge charge on the shoulders of the teacher
representatives who have to deal with a great number of autonomous
municipalities and school boards who can decide, at least partly, on the
conditions of service of the staff. Because of a decentralised public sector in
which opportunity for individual choice grew, purely private sector development
has been relatively slow, like Halász remembered.
Given the complex situation of the many minority groups and especially the
Roma, 8% of the population, social exclusion is until now not banished in the
Hungarian education system. A lot remains to realise, while huge efforts have
already been done in the past decade.


Council of Europe, (2001), European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages Application of the
Charter in Hungary: Report of the Committee of experts, ECMRL (2001) 4, Strasbourg: Council of

De Groof, J., (2003), New Challenges for Freedom of Education. Competitivity in Education, in
OIDEL/Comunidad de Madrid, Libertad, igualdad y pluralismo en educación, pp.20-58

Dethier, J.J., (2000), The Effectiveness of Decentralisation in Hungary and Slovakia, , IMF
Conference on Decentralisation, 20-21 November 2000, World Bank, Washington DC/USA
EI, (2004), EI-barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights in the Education Sector, Education
International, Brussels.

ERRC, (2004), Romani Education Issues in Hungary, European Roma Rights Center,
Eurydice, 2004, Hungary, Summary sheets on Education Systems in Europe, Eurydice, EU,

Halász, G., (1998) Policy Reform. Decentralization and Privatization in Elementary and Secondary
Education in Hungary, in Phillips, D., (ed) Education and Privatization in Eastern Europe and the
Baltic Republics, Oxford Studies in Comparative Education.

Halász, G., (ed.), 2001, The Development of the Hungarian Educational System, National Institute
for Public Education, Budapest.

Halász, G., 2003, Public Management Reform and the Regulation of Education Systems – The
Hungarian Case, in Networks of Innovation, OECD, Paris/France.

Hoós, J. (2001), The Reform of the Hungarian Education System, Budapest 7 University of
Economic and Public Administration, Hungary

Kozma, T., (2002), Transformation of Education Systems: The case of Hungary, European
Education, vol. 34, n° 4, Winter 2002-3.

Kozma; T., (2003), Understanding Education in Europe-East, University of Debrecen, Hungary.

OECD, (1999), Towards Lifelong Learning in Hungary, OECD Proceedings, Paris/France.

Patrinos, H.A., (1999), Market Forces in Education, seminar “Education, the ¨Point of View of the
Economists”, Donostia - San Sebastian (Spain) July 22-24 1999.

Redo, P., (2002), Myth or Reality? High Quality Education in Central and Eastern Europe, in
Degrees of Separation, Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary.

UNDP, (2003), Millennium Development Goals Report, Hungary.

Vekerdy, T., (2001), Hungary. Questions about the situation of the schools, www.effe-

WCT/Hungary, (2004), Questionnaire on the status and working conditions in private schools.
Contribution of KPSZ-KPT (Bardósz T.A.)

Chapter 22

20 years of struggle for decentralisation


In Spain, the former geographically centralised model is being replaced by a new

model in which other administrative bodies, like the 17Autonomous Communities
of the local administration may assume certain domains. The overall goals of
education are defined by national authorities, but the regional communities have
executive responsibility as well as the authority to define additional
requirements, especially those which have to do with the promotion of regional
language and culture. National government reserves to itself the authority to
ensure the equivalence of academic certificates and degrees at all levels, define
the core curriculum, plan the investment strategy for education nationally and
regulate the teaching of Castilian Spanish nationwide. Provincial authorities
oversee the operation of schools and personnel matters.
Most of the Autonomous Communities have designed their own educational
policy. They administer the public establishments or authorise private
The decentralisation process has granted public and centros concertados (private
establishments funded with public resources under a contract = grant-aided or
subsidised schools) autonomy to define their own organisational and pedagogical
There are two sorts of private schools; those funded under contract (concierto)
with the government (centros concertados) and those not publicly supported
(centros non concertados), independent, non-subsidised or non-aided private
The centros concertados usually provide compulsory levels of schooling, but may
provide schooling on any level or stage, under certain conditions. (see further)
The centros non concertados are free to establish their own rules and regulations
and to determine tuition fees (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).

Legal Framework

Some historical background to understand the evolutions of the past decades and
the present situation seems necessary.

The political dictatorship under general Franco, which was imposed after the
1936 civil war, marked a breaking point with the previous system and turned
education into a means of imposing ideology. Education had to be Catholic and
patriotic. The 1950s saw the beginning of open-mindedness in the educational
world, which was referred in certain legal amendments. In 1953 Secondary
Education was reformed in an attempt to make the elitist Baccalaureate more

In the 60s, economic growth, the process of industrialisation, demographic

growth as well as the internal tensions of the political system made a total and
profound reform of the education system essential. The reform was carried out
under the 1970 General Act on Education and Financing of Educational Reform
(LGE). This Act attempted to overcome the inner incongruities caused by the
partial reforms undertaken before, which had turned out to be insufficient to face
the fast social an economic changes of the country.
Relevant characteristics in relation with the subject of the present study were,
- the full generalisation of compulsory education for the 6 to 14 age
group in a single and non-discriminatory system;
- the end of the subsidiarity principle of the State which had been in
effect until 1970. This new act recognised the State’s role in the
general planning of the education system and the provision of school
- the continuation of a significant presence of private teaching
establishment at non-university levels.

After the death of Franco and the introduction of more democratic rule in the
country things changes progressively, although the former situation continued to
influence to a large extend the educational policies and the relation between the
State and the providers of education and schooling.

The Constitution of 1978

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 had a marked influence on the education

system, laying down the basic principles that prevail in legislation on educational
matters. On one hand, it recognises the right to an education as one of the
fundamental rights to be upheld by public powers and, on the other, guarantees
individual liberties in educational issues and established the principles of
participation and university autonomy. Moreover it distributes educational
powers between the State administrations and the Autonomous Communities.
Finally, it lays down further rights associated with education.

Article 27 is devoted entirely to education. The ten clauses of this article set out
guiding principles behind any educational reform, specifying the basic aspects of
the general right to education. These principles combine the State’s obligation to
guarantee educational services to all Spaniards under conditions of equality and
respecting individual freedom and democratic participation, in particular, they
provide for the participation of all the sectors involved in the nationwide plan as
well as participation on the part of teachers, parents and as applicable, of pupils,
in the control and management of all publicly funded establishments.

The Constitution likewise addresses another essential aspect of educational

organisation; i.e., the decentralisation of educational responsibilities in line with
the philosophy of the State of Autonomous Rule or the distribution of educational
powers between the State Authorities and the Autonomous Communities. The
latter may undertake the organisation and administration of the education
system in their respective regions, with the exception of those that make up the
so-called ‘powers reserved to the State’. The Autonomous Communities are in
charge of the regulation of the standards for obtaining, issuing and recognising
academic and professional certificates and diplomas and the basic rules for
implementing article 27 of the Constitution.
In this, for the sake of private education, it is important to underline that article
27 stipulates that:
- individuals and legal entities have the right to set up educational
establishments in accordance with constitutional principles;
- teachers, parents, and, in some case, pupils may participate in the
supervision and management of all establishments receiving
government subsidies, within legal limits;
- the Government will assist educational establishments which meet
legal requirements.


By the early 1980s, about 40 % of all schools were private. Of these, just over
half were run by the Roman Catholic Church and enrolled some 1.2 million pupils
in primary schools and 230,000 in secondary schools. The remainder of the
private schools were operated as profit-making enterprises by secular owners.
The religious schools often were highly regarded and the instruction they offered
was estimated as superior to that provided by the state-run institutions. The
other private schools varied greatly in quality.
Between 1977 and 1982, the government’s annual subsidy to private education
nearly tripled. As a result, by the time the centre-right coalition government left
office in late 1982, most primary schools were free. This policy had to be paid for
by drawing funds available for state schools, with a consequent loss of teachers
and instructional policy in the public system.

The socialist government that came to power in 1982 sought to soften the
conflict between private (largely Catholic) schools and public schools by
integrating the private schools into the country’s overall education system. To
accomplish this goal, in 1984 the government passed the Organic Act 81/1985 of
3 July on the Right to Education (Ley Orgánico Reguladora del Derecho a la
Educación- LODE) providing for an integrated network of public ad grant-aided
private schools which have signed agreements with the Government; an act
establishing three categories of schools.
Free public schools were accountable to either the Minister of Education and
Science or to the governments of the Autonomous Communities. Instruction was
subject to the principles of the Constitution, in that it had to be ideologically
neutral and it had to respect diverse religious beliefs.
The second category, independent private schools, centros non concertados,
could be organised by any person or group as long as constitutional limits were
The third category, centros concertados, usually religious, was financed by the
state. Nevertheless, the director and the faculty chosen by a school council, a
consejo escolar, made up of representatives of the schools diverse
constituencies, including parents and faculty. Although the state did not try to
control this subsidized sector, the consejos were a clear signal that it intended
increased democratisation in this all important realm of society. In all three
models, students enjoyed the right not to receive instruction that violated their
religious beliefs. (Eurydice, 2002; WCT/Espagña, 2004; Hanson, 2000).
( (more details in following

Major legislation
In application of the Constitutional principles a serious of other important laws
and regulations were adopted in the following years. It concerns:

- The Royal Decree 2377/1985 of 18 December granted approval to a

regulation on basic standards for education agreements. Based on the decree,
the corresponding educational administrations give specific directives for each
school year;
- The Organic ACT 1/1990 of 3 October concerning the general organisation of
the educational system (Ley de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo –
LOGSE) provides for a restructuring of the education system up to but not
including university level, and applies to both public and private schools.
The LOGSE broad aims are: effective regulation of the pre-primary education
stage; thorough reform of Vocational Training, establishing a post-secondary
level: and the interconnection between the enseñanzas de regimen especial (arts
and languages) and other kinds of education.
- The Royal Decree 1004/1991 of 14 June sets out the minimum conditions
which all educational establishments must meet under title 1 of the LOGSE,
which covers pre-primary, primary, secondary education, specific vocational
training, and special education.
- The Organic Act 9/1995 of 20 November, on the Participation, Evaluation and
Administration of Educational Establishments (Ley Orgánica de la Participación,
la Evaluación y el Gobierno de los Centros Docentes – LOPEG) expands on LODE
provisions regarding the participatory nature of such establishments and
specifies certain standards for the organisation and operation of governing bodies
in publicly funded establishments to adjust LOGSE stipulations. It also sets out
measures to guarantee the education of pupils with special educational needs in
grant-aided establishments so that they are likewise able to participate in action
in favour of education quality subject to the same mechanisms of social control.

During the 1996 election campaign the field of education became a political
battleground as both major political parties fiercely attacked one anther’s
policies. The new minister of Education, Aguirre, from the ruling Partido Popular,
publicly attacked the two crown jewels of the former government: the LODE and
the LOGSE, calling them “acts of arrogance”. Her aim and that of her party was
“establishing an effective collaboration between the public powers and the
Catholic Church which is indispensable for the conservation of Spain’s historic
patrimonium”. The concepts of liberty and quality were central to the new
educational program. The transfer of educational responsibility to the regions
was reinforced. Nevertheless the new government was obligated to continue
carrying the educational reforms of the previous government, respecting the law
of the land (Hanson, 2000).
The new policy resulted in a new law in 2002.

The 2002 Organic Act on the Quality of Education (Ley Orgánica de la Calidad
dela Enseñanza – LOCE) The LOCE modifies the 1985 LODE, the 1990 LOGSE
and the1995 LOPEG with the aim of achieving a quality education for everybody.
The different aspects regulated by this law are organised according to five core
points: the impulse of effort and personal exigency; intensification of pupils’
assessment process; reinforcement of a system on equal opportunities;
stimulation and appreciation for the teacher’s work; concession of more
autonomy to educational establishments.
Spain is one the few countries to have implemented a far-reaching educational
decentralisation reform systematically and completely. Spain’s successful, but
arduous, twenty year effort to decentralise its educational system has produced
insightful lessons on the planning and execution of educational reform. Strong
political support is critical. A shared vision is key. The greater the shared vision
of decentralisation among the distinct centres of power (e.g. political parties,
church officials, regional governments, municipalities, school leaders), the
greater the change for success. The greatest lesson of Spain’s reform of
government and education, is that a nation made up of many cultural territories,
languages, political ideologies, socio-economic strata, and historic traditions can
make a peaceful transition from autocracy to a decentralised democracy without
splitting into warring factions, as has so often been the case in recent years in
other European countries (Hanson, 2000).

Private schools in Spain

Private schools are defined as those founded by private individuals or legal

entities as such with the competent education administration (LODE, Articles 10
and 13). Private establishments are generally classified according to their
administrative authority – usually an association, the Catholic Church or other
religious groups.
Non-grant-aided private schools, also called non-subsidised or independent
schools, (centros-non-concertados) do not participate in an agreement scheme
(see further in this text) and are subject to the principle of administrative
Under the LODE, independent private schools enjoy complete freedom of internal
organisation, choice of teachers, admission requirements, rules of conduct, and
financial administration.
Grant-aided (subsidised) schools (centros concertados), on the other hand,
- provide instruction at the agreed level free of charge;
- place supplementary school activities within a non-discriminatory, non-
- making voluntary framework (approval is required to receive funds for this
- of activity);
- provide the courses specified in the agreement and maintain the average
- teacher/pupil ratio set by the government;
- inform the public of the grant-aided nature of the establishment and,
- appropriate of its special character;
- comply with all the provisions of Title IV of the LODE concerning the school
- community’s participation in the control and management of state-grant-
- schools, including the appointment and operation of a school council,
- recruitment of a head teacher, and hiring and firing of teaching staff,
- with provisions regarding the protection of pupils’ rights to freedom of
- conscience, including their optional participation in religious observances;
- act in accordance with the procedures established for state schools for
- admissions.
(WCT/España, 2004;Eurydice, 2000; Glenn & De Groof, 2002a ;
Hanson, 2000)

[Grant-aided schools can expect staff and pupils to conform themselves to their
educational approach only within limits, which explains the fact that most schools
which follow a really distinctive pedagogy are not eligible for public funding
(Glenn & De Groof, 2002b).]

Setting up private schools

Article 14 of the LODE stipulates that all educational establishments musty

meet certain minimum conditions so that the quality of instruction provided is
guaranteed. These conditions must be set oat in government regulations and
cover the degrees and qualifications of teaching staff, the teacher/pupil ration,
school and sports facilities, and the number of places available.
Article 23 of the aforementioned law, as amended by the sixth supplementary
provision of the LOGSE, sets out the requirement for prior government approval
of the establishment and operation of private schools which will only be granted
if the minimum conditions referred to above are met.
The general principles of the Royal Decree 1004/1991, aforementioned, stipulate
that educational establishments must;
- be located in buildings used only for educational purposes;
- comply with existing legislation relating to health, noise level, capacity, and
- be designed so as to allow access for physically handicapped pupils, in
accordance with the relevant legislation (Eurydice, 2000; Glenn & De Groof,
2002a & 2002b).

Facts and Figures

The data presented hereunder are taken from the Ministry of Education and
Sciences (MEC). The structuring of the data provided by the MEC is not the
most appropriate because the MEC includes in private institutions both
subsidized and independent schools.

Regarding the difference of schools by levels: certain private schools provide

primary education, others provide lower and upper secondary education (though
not exclusively, because there are a few primary schools that also provide
secondary education). Secondary schools provide both lower and upper
secondary education.
We cannot guarantee the accuracy intended by the survey, but we will continue
striving to present specific data in accordance to the objectives of the survey.

Table 22A: Number of Schools

Private Schools State Schools Total Number

Number % Number %
In primary education 10,139
In lower secondary
In upper secondary 3,884
Total: 4,417 24% 14,024 76% 18,441

Table 22B: Number of students

Private Schools State schools Total Number

Number % Number %
In primary education 841,893 33 1,668,516 66 2,510,409
In lower secondary 649,058 34 198,102 66 272,594
In upper secondary 76,619 26 217,874 74 294,493
Total: 151,111 26.5 415,976 73.5 567,087

As in previous tables, the data on private school teachers include subsidized and
independent schools. We must also bear in mind that many teachers can work
part of the day in primary schools and another part in secondary schools; and
another common situation in public and private education is that, since these
two levels are taught in the same schools, the teacher of lower secondary
school can also work in upper secondary education.

What about financing and fees?

Methods of financing private schools vary according to the type of agreement a

particular establishment has reached with the State.
Private schools receiving public subsidies are subject to the agreement scheme
described in Title IV of the LODE for grant-aided schools. This scheme sets out
the reciprocal rights and obligations of the government and the head teacher, as
the two parties to the agreement. Generally speaking, such establishments
provide compulsory level schooling (primary and compulsory secondary
education) and, exceptionally, vocational training and bachillerato.

Spanish law provides fort two types of agreement: the standard agreement
(régimen general) governing private basic education at the compulsory stage
with full government funding; and the individual agreements (régimen particular)
with schools which are financed by both government subsidies and pupils’ fees.
Since 1989/90, individual agreements are no longer approved at the level of
compulsory education.

Participation in the agreement scheme for private schools which have already
been approved depends on the availability of funds. Thus schools which provide
education in areas significant need or serve disadvantaged groups or, in addition
to meeting these conditions, are conducting experiments of interest for the
education system will be given priority. Where all factors are equal, cooperative
schools will be given priority.
In order to participate in the agreement scheme, private schools must meet the
minimum conditions laid down in the LODE, be authorised to provide the
instruction referred to in the agreement, and be able to assume the obligations
stipulated therein.
Agreements cover a period of four years, may be renewed or modified, and set
out the rights and obligations of the government and the head teacher of the
establishment signing the agreement.
The government is required to contribute toward financing the grant-aided school
on the basis of the funding formula established for each class in its general
budget. This should guarantee that education is provided free of charge and is
broken down as follows:
- remuneration of teaching staff, including their social security contributions;
- payment of other expenses (salaries for administrative and service staff,
ordinary maintenance costs, and reconstitution of fixed capital);
- payment of costs related to seniority increases, head teachers’ replacement
and support, andto teachers carrying out trade union representative functions.

These amounts are determined in the national governments’ annual Finance Act
and the corresponding Autonomous Communities legislation.

The public financing –subsidies- implies 80 percent of the school budget. Also
generally financed is the “mandatory” education in levels of primary education –
ages 6 to 12– and mandatory secondary education –ages 12 to 16. Currently,
the level of infant education –ages 3 to 6– is free of charge by law, and it is
starting to be financed by the administration in levels similar to those of primary

Without prejudice to the general agreement scheme, as a part of its budgeted

expenditure, the government provides aid to finance investment in facilities and
teaching materials.
Nowadays, all the Autonomous Communities and the Ministry of Labour, through
the General Directorate of Cooperatives for Ceuta, Malilla and Asturias, grant
subsidies to educational cooperatives to pay the interest on loans they have
taken out to finance investment in schools.
Subsidised schools are also eligible for tax and other advantages granted to
charitable organisations.
Subsidised schools are required to provide the instruction described in their
agreements with the government free of charge. Any charge tot pupils for extra-
curricular activities or school services, such as school meals, transportation to
and from school, medical treatment, psychological counselling or special
educational help must be authorised by the competent educational authorities.
Non-grant-aided private, subsidised or independent private schools have
complete financial autonomy (WCT/España, 2004 ;Eurydice, 2000; Glenn & De
Groof, 2002a & 2002b).

How far goes the autonomy of private schools?

In order to ensure that all pupils receive the same basic education, and to
guarantee the status of qualifications awarded, the national government has
established a core curriculum (enseñanzas mínimas) for which it has laid down
the aims, content, and evaluation criteria. The government also sets timetables
for the basic elements of the enseñanzas mínimas.
Educational establishments are free to choose which optional subjects to teach,
to adapt curriculum of their Autonomous Communities to conditions in the area
where they are located, as well as to choose their teaching methods, and to
organise curricular and extra-curricular activities as they see fit.
All of these provisions apply to both public and private sector education.
Private school proprietors have the right to define the character of their
establishment within the framework provide by the Constitution and while
respecting the rights of teachers, parents, and pupils. They are also required to
inform the educational community about this.

The setting up and management of private schools providing education under the
standard or special regime requires government authorisation, which is granted if
certain minimum conditions are met. Such schools then have full powers in
academic matters.
Private schools providing instruction which does not lead to a recognised
academic qualification are subject to the general law and may not use any of the
official designations applicable to educational establishments. (Eurydice, 2000)

Parents have the possibility of enrolling their children in independent private

schools. There is no legal limitation in that regard. As to public and private
schools financed by public funds, the admission and enrolment are subject to a
public procedure and a scale, in which one of the most important criteria is the
proximity of residence...

This education is free of charge by law. In actuality, however, this is the case
only when parents enrol their children in public schools; when they choose to
enrol them in private schools financed by public funds (subsidized) it is not
totally free of charge because the public financing does not cover the real cost of
every student.

In case they enrol their children in an independent private school –not

subsidized- the family must cover the entire cost of education. There is no public
authority/administration that finances these institutions.

The status and working conditions of teachers in Spanish private


Private schools have complete freedom concerning recruitment of teachers,

limited only by the requirement that candidates hold the necessary qualifications
for teaching a certain subject at the particular level for which they are appointed.
Secondary education teachers must also be in possession of a specialised
educational training diploma (título de especializatión didáctica).

In general, access to teaching posts in private schools is through recruitment,

which must be carried out in accordance with the law. The LODE prescribes, in
particular, criteria for the hiring and firing of teachers in grant-aided schools.

The legal regulations governing the social and working conditions of professionals
in the private sector are, in general, the same as for any other worker. The
regulation used as a references is the Estatuto de los Trabajadores (1980)
(Workers’ Statute), complemented by other regulations of a lower rank and
particularly the agreements reached, which are reflected in the sector’s Collective
Agreements for subsidised and non-subsidised education.
The Regional Governments have the power to negotiate and apply the
corresponding territorial Collective Agreements in the field of the subsidised
Professional categories vary depending on whether it is subsidised or non-
subsidised education, although the profiles are usually teacher, titular teacher,
assistant teacher, helper and assistant/instructor.
The system governing the selection and hiring is linked to a labour contract
established between the professional and the owner of the centre, which must be
in line with current legislation and the principles of transparency and
advertisement (al least in subsidised centres) and with the criteria of the centre’s
School Council (Vallejo et al., 2003).
The rights of teachers in private schools include an open-ended contract, which
may be terminated at the teacher’s request, holidays, official leave, retirement
benefits (with some differences from schemes for pubic school teachers), and
social security.
As for holiday and official and special leaves allowances for teachers, these are
the same in the public and private sectors.
Private school teachers providing the same services as public sector teachers
generally teach more hours and receive lower salaries, although progressively
approaching those in public schools so that it is now about 85%, though there
are differences among Autonomous Communities (Glenn & De Groof, 2002a).


The compensation of workers in private education (both subsidized and

independent schools) is established through collective labour agreements. In
Spain, there are two collective agreements affecting official education in private

- Collective Labour Agreement of Institutions of Private Education financed

totally or partially by public funds specific for private schools
- National Collective Agreement of Institutions of General Education Regime
or Regulated Education with no type of subsidy –for independent schools
these Collective Agreements, which regulate the labour relations between
companies and workers in their respective fields, might be valid for one or
several years; in the last case, compensations are revised every year.

Apart from the nation-wide provisions in Collective Agreements, which are

minimum requirements for all workers in Spain, in the case of private education
–subsidized- there might be Autonomous (Regional) Agreements that establish
additional compensations for specific territories. This entails a difference in
compensations of teachers of private subsidized education, and public
education, according to the Autonomous Community where they work.
As a consequence, the comparative analysis of subsidized education and public
education must be conducted by Autonomous Communities –Regions- and the
results, of course, will vary.

Another difference we must bear in mind is the salary structure; in the case of
public education we see an almost universal concept of “complement for
permanent training –sexenios, meaning granted in six-year periods,” inexistent
in private education and causing a progressive deviation in detriment of private
subsidized education.

The deciding factor is qualification (previous degrees), which distinguishes

between salaries of teachers with a college certificate (ISCED 5 A) teaching in
primary education (ISCED1), and teachers with a college degree (ISCED 5B)
teaching in secondary education (ISCED 2-3).

It is also necessary to take into account the effect of seniority on salaries.

Generally (both in public and private education) there is the three-year concept:
a new salary every three years of work in the institution.

Additionally, there is another concept for compensation in public education,

related to seniority and permanent training (sexenios)

Table 22C: Salaries in private end public education in Spain

1€ = 1.28 US dollars
1 US dollar = 0.78€ (by October 2004)

I. Initial salary on an analyzed basis

In private school in public schools

-for a primary school teacher 17,486.20 USD 18,073.38 USD 96.75%

-for a teacher in
basic secondary education 17,486.20 USD 19,068.53 USD 91.70%
-for a teacher in
upper secondary education 20,061.79 USD 20,865.89 USD 96.15%

Note: Given the particular situation in Spain, with differences among Autonomous Communities,
for issues 2.4; 2.5 and 2.6, we take as reference the compensations for Andalusia, a significant
community due to the number of affected workers, both in public and private education. Amount
in US$.

II. Initial salary on an analyzed basis after 15 years of work

In private schools In public schools

-for a primary school teacher 19,253.60 USD 21,056.19 USD 91.44%

-for a teacher
in basic secondary education 19,253.60 USD 22,051.35 USD 87.31%
-for a teacher
in upper secondary education 22,289.47 USD 23,634.34 USD 94.31%
III. Maximum annual salary

In private schools In public schools

-for a primary school teacher 21,021.00 USD 25,172.78 USD 83.51%

-for a teacher
in basic secondary education 24,517.15 USD 26,167.93 USD 80.33%
-for a teacher
in upper secondary education 24,517.15 USD 28,844.35 USD 85.00%

Note: There is no established limit. It will depend on seniority reachable during the career.
As an example, we can mention a 30-year career.

IV. Deductions from gross salary

- taxes (IRPF)
- social security premium
- unemployment

Workers in public education have no deductions for unemployment (they have

virtually no risk of severance), nor for professional training. Their deductions are
1.69% to MUFACE (disease contingency, etc.) and 3.86% to Liability Rights
(retirement,..). Both percentages on the Regulating Asset are established each
year by the government.

Year 2004


(1.69%) (3.86%)

A 32,795.39€ 39.59 € 90.42€

B 25,810.79€ 31.16€ 71.16€

Group A: With college degree, in secondary education; Group B: with college

certificate, in primary education.

The approximate relation between gross and net salary of a single teacher (with
no dependent relatives) the first year of a regular career is =

in primary education (15%) 78.65% (17%) 76.65 %

in basic secondary education 78.65% 76.65%
in upper secondary education (16%) 77.65% (18%) 75.65%

The social deductions impacting on the salary of the worker are 6.35%; income
tax representing a progressive percentage that varies according to the annual
gross salary and a series of personal and/or family factors. (In the four analyzed
situations, it ranges from 15 to 18 percent.
These estimates are calculated based on compensations in the region of

How it is different compared to public schools?

It is virtually the same; it is slightly lower than private schools, between 0.5 and
1 percent, according to the level of compensation, due to the progressiveness of
the Spanish tax system.

There is also a Residence and Insularity bonus given to the workers living in the
Regions (communities) of the Balearic Islands, the Canaries, and in the cities of
Ceuta and Melilla, whose objective is to compensate the cost of living in these
areas. This bonus is included in the two collective agreements we dwell upon
here: for subsidized private schools and for independent private schools.

There are other bonuses received only by those who perform any directing
duties: Principal, Head of Department, Coordinator, also included in the
“seniority pay”: a single pay, equivalent to three months of salary in independent
schools and five months in subsidized schools, granted to the worker after 25
years of service.

How is it compared to public schools? They also have residence or insularity

bonus, and the bonus for permanent training (sexenios), which is not included in
basic compensation, but actually received by all officers after meeting minimum
requirements of seniority and training activities.

Collective agreements in private education usually include accident insurance and

civil responsibility of the workers, education free of charge or at cost (including
meals, transportation, etc.).

Except for insurance and education free of charge –already the case in public
education-, the use of services in similar terms is usually the same in public
The minimum age for retirement in private education is 65.
The employees in public education can retire at age 60.
There are no references for categories, in public or private education.

In private education, there is a possibility of retirement at age 64 when the

company hires another worker as substitution. There can also be a “partial
retirement” –between 25 and 85 percent of the regular work day- from age 60
and conditioned to a new hiring for substitution.
The current labour legislation does not allow teachers to retire.

Previously, retirement was mandatory at age. Currently, however, it often occurs

at age 65, which allows receiving 100 percent of the pension if the rest of the
requirements are met.

Retirement in public education is mandatory at age, except for higher education

(university) when the career can extend to age.
Legally, it is possible to work in a private school and in another school at the
same time, or in another profession, unless the contract stipulates otherwise –
e.g. an exclusiveness clause. In public education, there is an incompatibility
regime impeding, with few exceptions, working elsewhere. It permits teaching
only 70 hours a year.

The retirement pension is 95 percent of the last salary.

We must bear in mind that the calculation (regulating basis) is made on the
average of compensation/contributions of the last 15 years, updated; then,
respective deductions are made if retirement comes before 65 years of age, or
due to insufficient years of contribution (less than 35).

In the public sector, contributions are not averaged. The retirement pension is
calculated on the Regulating Asset for each year and the Group of Officials
establish the administration in their budgets, with a percentage according to the
years of service. (100 perce