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Webinar + Moving the Discussion Forward on Low-Fee Private Schools in Ghana

January 2017
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Duncan McCullough

Center for Education Innovations (CEI)

Image: The Seat of Joy School, Ghana


Fresh off the release of their latest report on an increasingly diversifying education landscape, Results for Development and the IDP Foundation continue moving the discussion forward on low-fee private schools.

This was the impetus for an online discussion last Wednesday among CEI innovators, global experts, and policymakers focused on Ghana and beyond – Low-fee, High Impact? Assessing the efforts of low-fee private schools in Ghana.

Two of the report’s leading authors, Arjun Upadhyay and Robert Francis presented the main findings from this new research, and the implications such findings have for school officials, educators, and stakeholders at every level in education development.

Allison Rohner, Executive Director of the IDP Rising Schools Program, shared insights about the program’s activities, providing details on their approach to improving financial literacy, access to (micro) credit, school management trainings, and more.

Some of the key findings from the presentation include:

  • The oft-cited perception that proprietors of LFPS prey on low-income families and earn a large profit is largely baseless in Ghana. Over 40% of LFPS sampled operate at a loss, or don’t know their financial situation.
  • Despite relatively low fees and uncertain profitability, LFPS are still not reaching the very bottom of the income pyramid. Sampled households who sent their children to LFPS had higher incomes than Ghanaian households at large.
  • Experts recognize the pivotal role teachers play on improved outcomes. LFPS proprietors surveyed in this report appear to largely share this understanding, and usually provide guidelines and training for teachers at their low-fee private schools.
  • Proprietors and parents agree that the biggest challenge in LFPS is infrastructure, and despite incremental investments, the improvements and repairs needed at many LFPS are inaccessible to many schools without access to additional financial services or knowledge of financial management.

When we take a look at the R4D report, we see where we can strengthen our program considerably, based on the answers given by households and parents... Irene Pritzker, IDP Foundation Co-Founder and President

Irene Pritzker, President of the IDP Foundation, also spoke. She explained how R4D’s research will inform next steps for the IDP Rising Schools Program, and answered participants’ questions about what, if any, future collaboration with the government in Ghana may be pursued.

Finally, Pritzker connected the detailed findings of the report to the broader development landscape, noting how important reaching girls and boys in low-fee private schools will be – not just for Sustainable Development Goal 4, which calls for inclusive and equitable lifelong learning for all, but several other key SDG commitments as well.

“When we take a look at the R4D report” concluded Irene Pritzker, “we see where we can strengthen our program considerably, based on the answers given by household and parents, and looking at where the Ghanaian SDG platform is placing its emphases.”

To watch the webinar presentation for yourself please see the video below. The question and answer period begins in the 35th minute.

Low Fee, High Impact? A webinar discussion

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