Options for engaging the private sector

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If a government accepts that it cannot finance the demand for higher education on its own and does not wish to ask the beneficiaries to pay the full cost in the state-owned sector, it has no alternative to considering the private sector as a partner. It can then adopt various options:

  • Drawing on private sector players as members of policy commissions or permanent policy/strategy units.
  • Appointing private sector leaders to the Boards of buffer bodies and quality assurance agencies.
  • Encouraging the sector to form a representative body (properly staffed with a secretariat) that can be consulted on policy issues.

One big gap in any liaison with the private sector concerns the higher education providers from overseas and virtual or distance providers. Do they need to be aware of national policies and priorities? How can the government bring them into some form of discussion if they are elusive, remote (and possibly uninterested)?  If they form partnerships with weaker colleges and professional groupings, is there anything that the State can do?

John Fielden, Guest Commentator
CHEMS Consulting

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