Great blog post highlighting the role that private education can play in reaching the 57 million children still out of school. Research on the low-cost private school sector is indeed lacking and I am so pleased that the World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund will help fill the gap. While this blog is focused on chain school models, in your research will you also include individually owned low-cost private schools? In Ghana, there are an estimated 6,000 already existing low-cost private schools. Ensuring that the regulatory environment is such that they are held accountable is imperative given the scale at which they already provide education, in comparison to Omega’s nearly 40 schools in Ghana. Despite their contribution to reaching Education for All goals, these school remain largely marginalized and outside the focus of the government.
In order to strengthen this sector of existing low-cost private schools, the IDP Foundation’s keystone initiative, the IDP Rising Schools Program, provides training in school management and financial literacy to the individual proprietors coupled with access to microfinance credit to improve the infrastructure of their schools. However, in order to ensure the delivery of quality education they require better oversight and inclusion in teacher training and materials provision by the Ministry of Education/Ghana Education Service. I hope that your research helps push policymakers to create the right regulatory environment which will support both chains of low-cost private schools as well as the thousands of low-cost private schools established by individuals attempting to improve education in their communities.