Document: Call for Expressions of Interest for Investigating Dimensions of the Privatisation of Public Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (English)

Privatisation in Education Research Initiative
Publication Date:
Mon, 18/03/2013 - 19:05
File Size:
378.33 K


This expression of interest invites proposals for research on the privatization of education or private provision of education that are focused on one or more countries in Latin America. Regional and comparative studies between countries within the region are also welcome, as are submissions from research consortiums and individual and organizational proposals. This expression has a broad understanding of the term ‘privatization’, including processes of increased private provisioning ranging from schools run by local entrepreneurs, NGOs, local community provision and religious schools, and also so-called ‘endoprivatization’, meaning the application of private for profit principles, values and approaches within the public education system. In this broader sense, privatization trends also include the privatization of educational debate and policy making and processes for profiting in and through education.

EoI focus areas

Expressions should address one or more aspects of the coordination or governance of education services in the formal (schooling) and/or the informal (shadow schooling, home tutoring) sector. It is essential that research proposals centralize a social justice lens, be analytical as opposed to solely descriptive and address one or more of the following core areas:

1. Laws, Policies, Administration and Funding of Privatization in Education

Suggested issues include:

  • How much progress has been achieved in focusing on education as a human right, regarding legislation and compliance with these laws? How are privatisation processes inhibited or stimulated in the region through the legal and policy frameworks?

  • How are educational policies for privatisation developed, legitimised and disseminated at the global, regional and national levels? (Sources and empirical comparisons should be rigorously examined, country case studies encouraged)
  • How are education budgets in different countries utilised for subsidising private education?
  • Who are the beneficiaries of public spending in education?
  • What degrees of regulation, transparency and accountability of private sector providers exist in different countries in the region? Which actors engage in these processes and with what effects?
  • How is the privatisation of education manifested at each level of the educational process, from primary education to universities?

2. Ideologies and Actors in the Privatization of Education

Suggested issues include:

  • Who are the actors and what delivery mechanisms are involved in the processes of education privatization? What logics, rationales, instruments and strategies are utilised?
  • What are the relations between the corporate sector, politicians and government authorities that promote privatisation? What are the relations between politicians and private education stakeholders?
  • How and where are corporate networks for education operating in LACs, what are the objectives and what are their levels of influence over public policies?
  • What are the degrees of knowledge, awareness and empowerment on these issues with teachers and teachers unions?

3. Implications of Privatization on Quality of Content and Equity of Access

Suggested issues include:

  • What effects do privatization trends (endogenous and exogenous) have on educational content (the emergence and absence of subjects, curricula, complete programs, variations in textbook content, etc.) and/or on educational practices (course methodologies and pedagogical practice, the role of teachers, etc) in LACC countries?
  • How is differentiated access to school and segregation related to privatization and the commercialisation of education in educational systems in Latin America and the Caribbean?

  • What effects does privatization have on democratic governance of schools and education systems?

4. Privatisation, Profit and PPPs in Education

Suggested issues include:

  • How are ownership and service delivery contracts defined in different models of education Public Private Partnerships (ePPPs)?
  • How are risk sharing, accountability and legal literacy manifested in ePPPs?
  • Through which mechanisms is profit being made in private and public education systems?
  • To what extent is philanthropy related to profit making and privatization in education? How do free trade treaties pertaining to services and education affect potential actions to defend public policies in education? 

5. The Media and Privatization

Suggested issues include: 

  • How does the media and communications industry treat the theme of education and in what way do they reinforce the value of the private sector in relation to the public sector?
  • What actors are engaged and what do they benefit from multi-sector industries in areas associated with the power of images and symbols, such as culture, publishing and communications market?

Other questions that explore the regulation, funding, ownership and provision of privatized education services are also welcomed.

In its first 12 month phase in Latin America and the Caribbean, PERI seeks to commission up to four pieces of research. Proposals that focus on the primary and/or secondary sectors will be prioritized, however proposals will be considered which address these issues in the higher education sector that have implications for schooling, such as teacher training. It is intended that additional funding will become available in 2014 that may lead to a further call for proposals.