The last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in scale and scope of non-state actors in education, particularly in developing countries. This privatisation in education includes not only an increase in the number of traditional private schools catering to the elite, but also the rapid expansion of low-cost profit-making schools targeting poor households, large-scale commercial investments in private school chains, private tutoring, privatisation of education services such as testing, the adoption of private sector management techniques in the public education sector, and the growth of community and faith-based schools. A crucial question is thus to determine, in each particular case, whether this involvement of private sector is acceptable or not.

However, what is still missing is a broadly accepted understanding of the normative framework against which to make this assessment. While there is an increasing and broad range of studies about private schooling, there is not yet a common understanding of what is “good” and what is “bad” in private provision from a social justice perspective, and a delineation of the responsibilities and duties of different actors in education.

The development of the Guiding Principles is coordinated by a Secretariat who synthesises the inputs and feedback from various consultations. The Secretariat is made up of individuals from Amnesty International (Solomon Sacco, Zimbabwe), the Equal Education Law Centre (Daniel Linde, South Africa), the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Sylvain Aubry, France), the Initiative for Economic and Social Rights (Salima Namusobya, Uganda), and the Right to Education Initiative (Delphine Dorsi, France). These five people are coordinating the process for the development of the Guiding Principles.

The Secretariat supports the independent Expert Group, composed of recognised experts acting in their personal capacity, who will discuss, input into, and validate successive drafts of the Guiding Principles.

As part of a broad consultative process to develop the guiding principles, various regional and thematic consultations are being convened over the course of 2016 and 2017 with a range of stakeholders, including: civil society organisations, state representatives, human rights organisations and experts in the fields of education and law, academics, international and regional organisations and other actors. 

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Sylvain Aubry

Legal & Policy Advisor,

Delphine Dorsi

Executive Coordinator,
Right to Education Initiative

Solomon Sacco

Deputy Director, Law and Policy,  Amnesty International

Salima Namusobya

Executive Director,
Initiative for Social and Economic Rights

Featured Documents


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Key cases on the right to education, particularly in the context of the involvement of private actors.


Resource database

External documents that support our advocacy efforts for the right to education.


monitoring tools

Materials that can support other organisations advocating for the right to education.


Concluding Observations on Private Actors in Education Database

Collection of UN Concluding Observations that related to private actors in education.