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Fireside Webinar: Making Noise in the Margins

September 2023
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As part of IDP Foundation’s commitment to supporting the building of a local collective voice in education, and working closely with stakeholders across the sector, we hosted a fireside webinar focusing on how we can engineer change from the edge of the education landscape.

Hosted by IDPF’s Country Director, Stephen Caleb Opuni, the discussion covered how the affordable non-state sector can be better heard in education discourse and planning; the need for greater evidence; what does localization mean in practical terms; and how do we combat insufficient financing and lack of effective regulations. Stephen was joined by panelists, Olanrewaju Oniyitan, Executive Director at SEED Care & Support Foundation Kavita Rajagopalan, Programme Director at Global Schools Forum Stephen Konde, Project Manager at World Education Inc Moses Wokono, Chair of Kenya’s UASA (United APBET School Association).

IDP Foundation has had a localized view since the inception of the Rising Schools Program in Ghana, believing that those with the greatest insights and understanding of issues within access to quality education in low and lower-middle income countries, are the ones who improving it will most impact. We have always supported local interventions which have sustainability at their core and listen to local voices to guide our funding strategy and advocacy work. Conversations like this fireside are therefore highly important, and we look forward to being part of more collaborations like this.  Watch the webinar below and get in touch with your thoughts or questions at

In addition, we received a number of questions during the webinar that we were unable to answer due to time, you can find the answers to these below the video.

Questions from the audience

1. What are the views of panelists in relation to the different categories within the low-fee private school sector itself. While many of these do need continued support, some LFPS already look fairly supported?

The affordable non-state education sector is compromised of fait-based schools, NGO schools and independent, single proprietor low-fee private schools, the latter of which is the largest subset. The reality is that the majority of low-fee private schools (LFPS) receive minimal to no support from the government and the education stakeholder community. Access to crucial financing, which is essential for improving infrastructure and covering teacher costs, is severely limited. Currently, there is a severe lack of dedicated affordable financing available for these LFPS. Additionally, most financial institutions categorize LFPS as too risky to fund or unable to meet loan requirements. Furthermore, LFPS do not benefit from government-funded interventions such as the provision of teaching and learning materials (TLM) or in-service teacher training. This is primarily because LFPS and the affordable non-state education sector, in general, are not included in education policy, regulation, planning, programming, and monitoring processes.

2. When do we consider a private school as low fee? Are there working definitions or parameters to this?

Globally, there is no universally accepted definition for “low-fee private schools or low cost private schools” in terms of the fees they charge. Stakeholders involved in this sector often have their own specific definitions of what constitutes “low-fee” based on the context of their work or interventions. IDP Foundation, for example, defines a low-fee school as one that charges an average of $65 per term or $200 annually, among other criteria. Similarly, organizations such as Opportunity International and USAID have their own fee thresholds to categorize schools as low-fee, and these thresholds may vary from one country to another, taking into account local living standards and economic indicators. In Ghana the current Opportunity International implemented LFPS activity has rather relied on a IDPF funded research carried out by Results for Development that define LFPS as school which charge affordable school tuition fees below GHS 402 per annum (R4D, 2016).

IDP Foundation is committed to convening local voices and advancing the discussion on how the affordable non-state sector can be better represented in mainstream education discourse, both in governments and the wider development landscape. If you are interested in joining the conversation or collaborating with us and our peers we would love to hear from you at

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