‘Don’t let profit-making companies run education’ says UN report

Governments are bypassing their “moral imperative” to provide free state education by outsourcing public schooling to profit-making companies, a new United Nations report says. This is from the TES

States should remain primarily responsible for providing free and quality basic education to all, it claims, and not allow their education systems to be exploited by private companies “reaping uncontrolled profits”.

The report calls for countries to put an end to “market driven education reforms” that provide subsidies to private education. States should also not allow or promote low-cost private schools and the provision of school vouchers, it says.

The report’s author, Kishore Singh, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, told the UN General Assembly: “Education is not a privilege of the rich and well to do; it is an inalienable right of every child.

“The exponential growth of private education must be regulated by governments to safeguard education as a public good.

“The state is both guarantor and regulator of education which is a fundamental human right and a noble cause. Provision of basic education free of costs is not only a core obligation of states, it is also a moral imperative.”

Mr Singh added that governments must meet their “international obligations” through careful regulation and monitoring of private schools, especially in developing countries where the public system is overwhelmed and unable to cope with rapidly rising demand…

Supporters of low-cost private schools in the developing world said it was important not to tar all providers with the same brush.

James Tooley, an academic and co-founder of the low-cost Omega Schools chain in Ghana, said many groups were doing vital work and promoting equality rather than hampering it…

More at: ‘Don’t let profit-making companies run education’ says UN report


See the report from the UN at: Right to education


Is private education the bad guy here – in terms of providing a service that is clearly in demand from parents around the world desperate for an education for their children – or is it governments for not meeting the need themselves? Please give us your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Overseas and Private Schools.


  1. hgersh2000

    SchoolsImprove We must be vigilant. There are plenty of scamsters out there only too willing to take advantage of vulnerable students.

  2. nrcantor

    SchoolsImprove “Oh, the U.N. Says we shouldn’t seek profit? I guess we’ll stop.”-said no profit-driven ideologue, ever.

  3. lsrask

    SchoolsImprove Companies get unwarranted bad rap occasionally. If they provide a valuable service and demand exists, is it wrong to charge?

  4. KateMrsnash

    lsrask SchoolsImprove education is not just a ‘valuable service’ that ppl should choose or not – it’s a right that everyone is entitled to

  5. KateMrsnash

    lsrask SchoolsImprove but if companies are profit making they won’t be focused in achieving the quality -that won’t be what’s imp to them

  6. SchoolsImprove

    KateMrsnash Sorry to butt in but don’t follow that logic – does Apple not care about quality? Most private business care desperately…

  7. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove I disagree. For-profit co’s have to try harder than NFPs to provide value, otherwise they go out of business.

  8. SchoolsImprove

    KateMrsnash …about quality because if they don’t delivery it they will go out of business. Always baffled by this criticism.

  9. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove that includes providing the best possible education for children – otherwise parents will choose alternatives.

  10. KateMrsnash

    SchoolsImprove Apple does not provide a people service – need to compare to Care Homes, hospitals etc. corners are cut and profits come 1st

  11. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove Providing the best solutions and products for customers is what for-profit companies strive for day-in-day-out.

  12. SchoolsImprove

    lsrask KateMrsnash Yes, completely agree – very odd criticism of private sector who tend to be obsessed by quality

  13. KateMrsnash

    SchoolsImprove lsrask refer to my previous tweet-ppl services very different to product. Cut corners, ppl suffer-greed will always prevail

  14. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove Apple tries to provide the best integrated computing experience for people. Quality is what distinguishes them.

  15. SchoolsImprove

    KateMrsnash isrask Issue there is that purchasers are not the users – very real concern but unfair to assume private sector not q focussed

  16. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove Companies focused on people services are no different in striving for the best quality and value for customers.

  17. SchoolsImprove

    KateMrsnash lsrask Private schools do fine too – but the customers are the users – when that link fails things go wrong

  18. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove My co’y included – I aim to provide best internet safety products & services for schools, parents and children.

  19. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove Profit is a necessary means to company growth and providing even better products and services.

  20. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove not all companies are focused on greed. A lot are focused on value to customers first and foremost.

  21. KateMrsnash

    lsrask SchoolsImprove yes you produce a product. Schools produce something which is entirely diff – no set costs to ‘producing’ a human!

  22. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove My coy provides education (and solutions) just like schools. Paying for better education is a choice.

  23. KateMrsnash

    lsrask SchoolsImprove it’s not parents paying for education I object to – article was about profit making companies running schools

  24. lsrask

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove Schools r orgs that use money to provide service – education. If they make profit to improve svcs, is that bad?

  25. Janet2

    When market forces are introduced into education, equity goes out of the window.  Even when well-publicised private initiatives such as those advocated by James Tooley are introduced, education is still restricted to those who can pay even the reduced fees offered by low-cost private schools.  Parents with limited funds (or none) can educate none of their children or just invest in one, usually the boy.

    The answer is for all countries to accept their responsibility to education all their children.

  26. Janet2

    Parents accused the for-profit company Cognita of ‘milking’ a private school in London for profit.  The Guardian found trustees of some of the state-funded academy chains were awarding contracts to companies linked to the trustees or their relatives.  The multi-academy chain E-Act was found to have operated in a ‘culture of extravagance’.  The largest multi-academy chain, AET, has just been told to get its finances in order.  Oddly, this has had no publicity but you can read about it here:


    The global education ‘market’ is worth trillions of dollars, second only to health care.  No wonder private companies want a slice of this especially when taxpayers’ money can be diverted into shareholders’ pockets (see examples above – and these have happened when England’s state schools are theoretically not run for profit).

  27. GorillaWitch

    wonderfrancis localschools_uk SchoolsImprove We know. Unfortunately it’s politicians that make choices & their friends win not education.

  28. atheistsVeuthan

    SchoolsImprove If schools allow 16+ children run their own business in the school they might be able to afford study materials.

  29. atheistsVeuthan

    SchoolsImprove If schools allow 16+ children to run their own business in the school they might be able to afford study materials.

  30. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove No reason they should be worse than ideologically driven publicly funded schools…..where education takes 2nd place

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