World Bank’s cascade into education: Liberia’s public-private partnership

Student protests at the University of Vienna in October 2009. Credit: Manfred Werner – Tsui

A July global report, Reclaiming policies for the public, by the Civil Society Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, concluded that “privatisation and corporate capture have become obstacles to progress under the 2030 Agenda”, whilst finding “that public finance has to play a vital role in achieving the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals].”

In a press release on the launch of the report, Public Services International (PSI), the largest global union for public service workers, stated that “the combination of neoliberal ideology, corporate lobbying, regressive fiscal policies, tax avoidance and tax evasion has led to a massive weakening of the public sector and its ability to provide essential goods and services.”

The report noted budget constraints resulting from austerity policies make it impossible for most countries to “Leave no one behind”. The report further argued that proponents of privatisation and public-private partnerships (PPPs), such as the World Bank, use these trends to “present the private sector as the most efficient way to provide the necessary means for implementing the SDGs, instead of suggesting policy change.

In April the Bank launched its “cascade” approach which focuses on “leveraging” private monies for the public good and foresees the increased use of PPPs, “a financing formula originally designed for infrastructure that is being extended to the health and education sectors” (see Observer Summer 2017). The recent trial outsourcing primary and secondary education to private providers in Liberia illustrates some of the potential pitfalls of this model.

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Source: News Now

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About Cholo Brooks 17210 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.