Key Points:

  • Private schools increase school choices for the poor. Building on experience in other developing countries, this report contains practical suggestions on how to grow and support low-fee private schools in poor communities.
  • Between 1991 and 2003, private school enrolment grew far more quickly than public school enrolment worldwide. Internationally, the growth in private primary education has been 58%, while the public primary school sector has grown by only 10%. Private primary education grew most in Africa, by 113%.
  • Most of the private schooling sector’s expansion in developing countries are for the poor, making schooling accessible for disadvantaged communities and marginalised groups.
  • Developing country experiences provide valuable insights into aspects of an effective regulatory environment and important innovations.
  • South Africa should aim to increase the number of high-quality private schools to which poor children have access, widen the education choices for all communities and ensure a regulatory environment that creates a level playing field for public and private schools.