What are the major challenges?

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Not all accept the need for regulation. They say “Regulation is expensive, difficult to do well and best avoided”. “We do not need to regulate or monitor the private sector providers. The market will do that. Those that are any good will prosper, while those that are bad will go to the wall”. Word of mouth in small communities where most private providers operate will, they argue, be enough. This line of thinking overlooks several key factors; the duty of the State to protect its citizens from charlatans, the personal anguish of those who are misled and the loss of human capital from ineffectual private investment. All these argue for the importance of regulating private education.

Once government has decided to regulate, the challenges begin – the first is finding the right way to regulate. Is it by setting out a set of rules and regulations and defining quantitative standards? Are agencies brave enough to say “Here are the standards we wish you to achieve; we will test your pupils/students at the end; how you achieve those standards is no concern of ours”. Or do they fall back on saying: “We want you to have x classes each week and to provide so many hectares of playing fields”. Which of these encourages ingenuity and initiative in the provider?

John Fielden, Guest Commentator
CHEMS Consulting

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