Regulating for what?

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Analyzing the challenges for the regulation of private education will lead us to the unavoidable question of ‘regulating for what?’

Are we regulating for more transparency and accountability? In countries where private education is subsidized directly or benefiting from tax exemption, regulation can be a way to set up the most adequate procedures to channel resources. The challenge is to see that these procedures are not too heavy.

Are we regulating because of the sake of harmonization and alignment of private education to public education? The challenges would be to avoid a confusion of roles and the creation of an environment that would be less attractive to investors (thus a weak incentive).

Are we regulating private sector as a part of a global sector reform? In many countries where private sector is part of the national strategies to improve access, equity or efficiency of the education system the regulatory framework is influenced by concerns of quality assurance expressed through norms and standards. The challenge is to avoid standardizing too much and in so doing create serious constraints to innovation.

Pape Momar Sow, Guest Commentator
USAID Education Programme Officer
Dakar, Senegal

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