Privatization or public investment in education?

23 June 2017

Policy-makers worldwide are trying to figure how best to organize, govern, and support their education systems. Some countries approach these issues with public investment in teacher professionalization and a focus on equity of student outcomes, while others use a market-based, privatization approach to education. The new book, Global Education Reform, documents the ideologically and educationally distinctive approaches three pairs of countries have taken in structuring their education systems: Chile and Cuba; Sweden and Finland; the United States and Canada.

The analysis concludes that the education sector is better served by a public investment approach that supports each and every child than by a market-based, competition approach that creates winners and losers. This volume explains how and why some children can lose in a privatized system and makes recommendations to ensure that all children receive equitable, high-quality educational opportunities.

Join the next Strategic Debate on 11 July


Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
IIEP – Auditorium
Contact: 01 45 03 77 52

Attend the debate in Paris, or register to receive a reminder to watch a webcast. 
The live stream will be available after on this page. 


Follow our debate live


Join us on Twitter for live updates. Use the hashtag #StrategicDebate and follow @IIEP_UNESCO. Don’t forget to retweet!

We also invite you to watch the live stream of the debate (4pm CEST)

Click here to subscribe and receive a reminder and stay informed about the webcast. We will send you further information on how to connect to the debate online and documents related to the presentations.

For all questions, please contact us at


Addressing inequities in education is a global imperative. The 2016 Education Commission Report highlights the inequities of educational access and learning outcomes, while the SDG 4 targets require progress in reducing inequities across geographic units, gender, ability groups, and within crisis-affected settings.

Beyond diagnosis and monitoring, what does research tell us about effective strategies to enhance equity and equality of opportunity in education? IIEP’s 2017 Strategic Debate series will explore this question from several perspectives, pushing us to go beyond understanding the nature of the problem to explore what can be, and is being, done, particularly through education policy and planning.