The role of the private sector in a PPP model for education, healthcare and efficiency

“A partner interested in entering into a PPP with the government seeks a meaningful partnership with the government where it proposes to significantly affect the quality of education and, consequently, reduce enrollment rates, pass percentages and drop-out rates.”

The recently launched National Monetization Pipeline (NMP) has projected an overall monetization of Rs 6 lakh crore through the central government’s core assets in four years. Asset monetization refers to the process of generating new sources of revenue for the government and its agencies by unlocking the economic value of unused or unused public assets.

It could set the stage for a similar practice in the education services sector under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). While the ultimate goal is certainly not monetization, it could be to unlock the hidden value of providing better education services to 200 million children in India who attend public schools, making better use of the state-owned infrastructure of more than 1.2 million government schools.

One might wonder why it is necessary, especially for education which is enshrined as a fundamental right for every child between the ages of 6 and 14 under Article 21a of the Indian Constitution.

India today is on the brink of a new world order that seeks to modernize each developing nation, narrowing the gap between countries and moving from a universe to a META-Versus where almost everything and everyone will be connected through technology. Nevertheless, the country’s school education system continues to struggle:

  1. Public school enrollment rates have dropped
  2. Falling and dropping out of high school
  3. Many government schools lack basic infrastructure and facilities
  4. Poor distribution of teachers leads to imbalance of teacher-student ratio
  5. Lack of accessibility to modern equipment and teaching methods that have had a profound effect on the private K-12 learning space

The above problems have almost put the school education system at a critical stage which needs immediate attention. There is a need for continuous reform in education policy and special emphasis on implementation of education services through PPP model.

Public-Private-Partnership in Education (PPP)

A perfect public-private partnership in the education ecosystem is an association between state governments that owns schools and private institutions involved in providing education, through various skills such as technology or teaching skills or content. It aims to bring better learning outcomes.

A partner interested in entering into a PPP with the government seeks a meaningful partnership with the government where it proposes to significantly affect the quality of education and, consequently, reduce enrollment rates, pass percentages and drop-out rates.

The PPP system can help in the following areas:

  1. Help expand government access to children’s schooling.
  2. Get private operators to run high-quality schools in vacant buildings, helping governments make better use of existing infrastructure. Major cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad have seen a drop of up to 25 per cent in enrollment in government schools resulting in unused infrastructure. This can be fixed.
  3. Through PPP, private operators can introduce innovative educational and school management strategies to create models of excellence within the public sector.

The PPP model has helped countries reach a new level in improving the quality of education. Below are some famous international examples of public-private partnerships:

Charter School

Charter schools are privately run but government-funded schools that are separate from school districts by agreement with state or local boards. The concept was first implemented in 1992 in Minnesota, USA. These charter schools operate under lesser rules, regulations, laws and as autonomous public schools. Charter schools have more flexibility in curriculum design and teacher recruitment. In exchange for flexibility and autonomy, they must meet the standards of accountability described in their charter.

These schools are funded on a per-student basis and are sponsored by state districts and funded by state or central funds. There are currently 6,000 charter schools in the United States, covering about 6 percent of the country’s students.

PPP construction in Greece

The 24 schools will be built in the vast Athens area, covering 6,500 students in 10 municipalities under the PPP project. The agreement covers the school’s design-build-finance operations and maintenance.

The Greek government provided land, enabled monthly payments to run and operate the school, and the project was executed through an SPV between government and private players.

PPP school project in Australia

The state government of Victoria has entered into a PPP agreement with the Learning Community Victoria (LCV) to finance, design, build and maintain 15 schools in some of Victoria’s most important areas.

The project was valued at $ 291 million and included an operating period of 25 years during which the LCV would maintain school facilities. The schools opened in the 2017 and 2018 school years and will focus on supportive of inclusive learning for all students, regardless of exemplary educational design, development of innovative community centers and capabilities. The state paid a quarterly fee to run the school and was executed by an SPV.

The examples above show how introducing new standards of excellence creates a high level of discussion surrounding the quality of education. Diplomatically or economically or politically, India has begun to make its mark on the world map. What is the point of deliberately making a mark in education through the public-private partnership model? We leave it to the readers to think about.

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