Latin America spearheads the global privatisation of education

A new report shows that in recent decades Latin America has been the region with the steadiest growth in the privatisation of education, albeit in quite different ways.

The new report Privatisation of Education in Latin America: Mapping policies, trends and trajectories reveals that in recent decades, Latin America has been the region with the steadiest growth in the privatisation of education. The region is notable not only for having the highest rate of enrolment in private primary education in the world, but also for showing the most consistent growth in private provision. This also applies at the secondary school level, for which Latin America is tied with Sub-Saharan Africa for the region with the highest private enrolment.

Unique report

Despite the magnitude of this phenomenon, there is little relevant information in the literature on the subject. This makes the present study especially relevant, with the researchers managing to identify a typology of the different regional trajectories towards the privatisation of education.

Examples include the suppression of fundamental educational rights as a result of the ‘freedom of choice’ characteristic of the privatisation as structural reformobserved in Chile, which now has one of the most unequal education systems in the world as a result (OECD, 2014). In Argentina, long-standing public-private partnerships established during 1940–1960 have favoured the deregulation of private schools.

Through these and other examples, the report looks at this phenomenon within the political context of each individual country. The great diversity of approaches represented by these trajectories reveal that Latin America is a region uniquely suited to thinking and participating in theoretical and social discourse regarding the political economy of educational reforms.

About the researchers

The report: Privatisation of Education in Latin America: Mapping policies, trends and trajectories, is the work of researchers Antoni Verger, Mauro Moschetti and Clara Fontdevila, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. This year, Fontdevila and Verger received an award from the prestigious Comparative International Education Society (CIES) for a similar study on the political economy of worldwide educational reforms.

 

Click here to download the complete report (in Spanish).

 

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