We know that school improvement is not sustainable if it is attempted in isolation. So we work with a range of partners on initiatives that work to improve education systems. We work to help ensure that children across the world have access to high quality, inspirational education.

Around the world, policymakers are starting to see that non-state organisations may play a valuable role in delivering a great education – working in partnership with the government by running publicly-funded schools that provide quality education to all (Public Private Partnership schools).  

The landscape for education in regions such as Africa and South Asia is fundamentally changing.  The last ten years have seen massive growth of the non-state sector in preschool and primary education, including for the very poor. This has been driven by population growth, urbanisation, parental aspirations, and the failure of many public school systems to provide quality education.

  • According to World Bank figures, between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of students enrolled in private primary schools doubled from 11 percent to 22 percent in low-income countries globally.
  • In Delhi over 40 percent of children are enrolled in private primary schools. This figure is around 70 percent in Lagos and 35 percent in Nairobi.
  • 45 million, or 31 percent of enrolled preschool children in the developing world, are in private schools.

To increase access and improve quality in education, many governments are looking at ways to separate the financing of education from its provision. Evidence suggests that systems where government retains the role of funding and regulating education, but allow a diverse set of operators to run schools, have the potential to deliver better student performance. But currently, most education systems aren’t set up to enable effective partnerships between the state and non-state sectors. It takes expertise to create these frameworks. 

Drawing on our experience navigating a PPP with the UK government and our role as a successful education service provider, Ark has established our Public Private Partnerships Practice. We work with government and non-state partners to help ensure that children across the world have access to high quality, inspirational education.

The Education Partnerships Group (EPG)

Why Public Private Partnerships matter

In some developing countries, government schools aren't delivering a good enough education for pupils. As a result, even the poorest families are turning to private schools - for example, last year in Uganda, 48% of secondary enrolments were in private schools. Unfortunately, even private institutions are often unable to deliver the results that pupils and parents hope for.

However, evidence from Columbia, Venezuela and Pakistan shows that privately-managed, publicly-funded government schools have the potential to improve results for even the very poorest children. By allowing schools greater autonomy, without sacrificing government-led accountability and efficiency, these PPPs are delivering real results. Our PPP practice works alongside governments to strengthen public systems through partnerships with private providers. 

What our EPG team does

Ark has an outstanding track record as a schools operator in the UK, as well as a decade-long history of international work. We've been approached to advise stakeholders from countries as diverse as India, the Philippines, Brazil and Tanzania. They are exploring whether PPPs could help improve the education they're providing to their young people.

That's why we set up our PPP team- a resource to help policymakers explore what public-private partnerships could do for them. We will design, develop and - in time - even help execute PPPs where appropriate, using our experience of delivering quality education around the world. As an organisation with a successful track record in improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, we can act as an honest broker between those public and private organisations who may be able to work together. We can use what we've learned, and tailor it to suit the specific challenges each country is facing.

Our aim is that our PPP practice will become a hub for excellence in this area, and will support countries in creating public-private partnerships that can transform children's lives.

Our EPG team

The EPG team supports education policy reform and execution to enable governments to better leverage the efficiency and entrepreneurial energy of the non-state sector, while holding it accountable for quality and equitable learning outcomes.

Our objective is to advise and support government agendas so that they can address some of the systemic challenges that hinder the delivery of better education. Ark is well respected for our rational, outcomes-based approach to the non-state sector – an important asset in a highly polarized education sector. We draw on this experience and international best practice to support governments interested in PPP for education.

We know that the right accountability mechanisms are essential for a PPP to function effectively. Therefore alongside PPPs, we will support governments’ reform efforts in the accountability triangle: education data, standarised assessments and school quality assurance.

Commissioning Research

We are commissioning a rigorous review on PPPs for Education. Please read our Terms of Reference for more details: 
PDF iconArk ToR for PPP review