Public education works: lessons from five case studies in low- and middle-income countries

Author(s): Avelar, Marina; Adamson, Frank

Publisher(s): ActionAid; Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education; Brazilian Campaign for the Right to Education; Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación; East African Centre for Human Rights; Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; National Campaign for Education Nepal; Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa; Oxfam; Right To Education Initiative; RTE Forum; Vietnam Association for Education for All

Date: 2021

Pages: 43 p. + 12 p.

The research showcases positive examples of public education in different contexts and settings. The cases - from Bolivia to Namibia, including Vietnam - challenge the disseminated idea that public education needs privatisation for quality and point to a rights-aligned and socially committed definition of quality - including the aim for social inclusion and equity, the engagement of community and local actors, valuing teachers and respecting local culture. It concludes that public education must be the way forward for building more equal, just and sustainable societies. It conveys three key messages: 1. Public education, managed and delivered publicly and in the public interest, is the most effective way to build just, inclusive, and sustainable societies, and to meet SDG 4 and human rights commitments. 2. Using locally relevant practices, strong public education systems are possible in all contexts, including in constrained settings. 3. As a result, public spending and policy efforts, both from governments acting domestically and from donor States and international organisations, must be focused on building strong and free public education systems, and should not be diverted to the private sector, in particular through public-private partnerships.

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