To donors and the World Bank:

We urge you to ensure that development aid for education is used to support free, quality public education for all.

Education is a human right and key to beating poverty, fighting economic and gender inequality, and empowering people. However, many countries have struggled to invest enough funding for public education systems of good quality that reach everyone. Unacceptable gaps remain: 263 million children are still denied an education, with girls, children with disabilities, minorities, and the poorest still lagging the furthest behind.

Certain donors have been promoting the expansion of commercial and low-fee private education, believing that this is a faster, cheaper route to providing quality education. However low-fee private schools are not equally accessed by girls or the poorest children. Privatized schooling systems deepen inequalities in education without producing better outcomes. In particular, for-profit private schools often rely on poorly qualified and low-paid teachers to save costs, fail to comply with education laws and standards, and are not accountable to communities.

Some donor governments and the World Bank are now actively using public aid money to drive the commercialisation of education in lower income countries. While most of its funding goes to support public education provision, the World Bank is also promoting and funding market-oriented public private partnerships (PPPs), and encouraging countries to incentivise the growth of private education. The World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation has also quadrupled its funding to for-profit, fee-charging primary and secondary schools in recent years.

Education is a right, not a market commodity.Investing in free public education is the best way to achieve universal, good quality education for everyone.We ask you – as donors who have committed to Education for All - to urgently scale up your aid funding to education to help the poorest countries achieve this goal.

We call on you to take a clear and principled position in support of free, publicly provided education and against the use of development aid to fund for-profit or commercial education.

When you fund education with public aid money, make sure it supports free, quality public education!