The Evolving Regulatory Context for Private Education in Emerging Economies

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Note from the Editor: The following post initiates an online discussion on private education that will take place on the PSD blog between November 3-14. The discussion will be moderated by the IFC's Health and Education Department and will include posts from guest commentators from outside of the World Bank Group.   


In May 2008, IFC, in conjunction with the Human Development Network at the World Bank, hosted a Colloquium focusing on ‘The Evolving Regulatory Context for Private Education in Emerging Economies’. This event brought together a wide range of participants including government representatives, regulatory organizations, private providers, commentators and World Bank Group representatives. The Colloquium’s purpose was to initiate a ‘conversation’ between stakeholders involved in the regulation of private education to facilitate an open exchange of ideas and to share experiences. The online discussion provides the opportunity to extend the conversation with a wider audience.

The Online Discussion

The purpose of the online discussion is to provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss key questions relating to the evolving nature of regulation of private education.  It will provide an opportunity to share experiences and examples of good practice to facilitate informed policy development and implementation.

The discussion is hosted by the Private Sector Development Blog. All comments are to be made via the blog using the "Post a Comment" function at the bottom of each post. A brief précis will be sent to registered participants at the close of each day and a summary report at the discussion’s conclusion. (Registration instructions are available here.)

The structure for the ‘online discussion’ will be as follows: 2 questions will be posed with one question addressed each week. Guest commentators have been invited to provide opening statements/observations with regard to each of the questions; thereafter the discussion will be open to all. The two questions proposed for discussion are:

Week 1 – November 3 to 7: What are the major challenges in regulating private education and how might they be overcome? 

Week 2 – November 10 to 14: Should government involve private providers in policy and decision making relating to the role of the private sector? If so, what are the most effective mechanisms for doing this? If not, why not?

The discussion will be moderated by Svava Bjarnason, Senior Education Specialist at IFC and Suzanne Roddis, Manager of EdInvest (an IFC/CFBT joint venture). 


It is recognized that countries are at various stages of development in relation to the policies and mechanisms in place that guide private sector activities in education. Post-conflict/fragile states may have different concerns and constraints than emerging or middle-income countries, which may in turn have different issues than developed countries. However, the underpinning concern for all of these countries will be the desire to provide high quality education to the widest possible number of learners. This will be the point of departure used for the discussions. The discussions will not be centered on any particular level of education, although some countries may have chosen to regulate certain aspects of private provision, the debate will encompass all levels from schools to technical/vocational enterprises and tertiary provision.


Background documentation from the Colloquium can be found on IFC’s Health and Education website. Specifically you will find:

  • A discussion paper prepared for the May Colloquium which sets out 8 propositions for a regulatory framework,
  • A series of interviews with providers, regulators and commentators speaking on issues about regulation,
  • A number of informal country papers prepared by Colloquium participants,
  • Numerous references compiled on regulatory issues. Please send references or resources to ifconlinediscussion2008 "AT" if you wish to help recommend other websites, reports or documents.

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