Liberia announced early 2016 its intention to entirely outsource, and therefore privatise, its public pre-primary and primary school system to private actors, through a public-private partnership (PPP). The program is called “Partnership Schools for Liberia”. Most of the schools would be handed over to a single private for-profit commercial firm, Bridge International Academies, in a contract estimated at $65 million over a five-year period. Only a pilot phase has been approved so far, which should start soon. It is expected to cost between S$10 to 13 million, and to be funded outside of government and be independently evaluated.
This deal has created a huge controversy, and creates serious concerns for the realisation of the right to education in Liberia, with the UN Special rapporteur on the right to education declaring in March “Such arrangements are a blatant violation of Liberia’s international obligations under the right to education, and have no justification under Liberia’s constitution”.
GI-ESCR has created a dedicated webpage to follow the debates in Liberia and highlight the human rights arguments at play. You can reach it here: http://bit.ly/PrivatEducLiberia
For more information about the role of private actors in education and human rights around the world, see our page: http://bit.ly/privatisationproject. To remain informed about key issues related to private actors and the right to education, sign-up to our mailing list here: http://bit.ly/privatnews.