Public Private Partnership in Education (PPPE) Strategy in Uganda
Enhancing Policy Dialogue and Advocacy through Industry Sector Associations and Private Professional Associations
Public Private Partnership in Education (PPPE) is often defined as primarily a set of institutional relationships between the Government and various actors in the private sector. The Government of the Republic of Uganda seems to recognize the importance of private sector participation in the delivery of education services as critical. On this basis, Uganda National Association of Private Schools and Institutions (UNAPSI) is proposing to private education stakeholders in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) to forge ahead to formulate the Education PPP Strategy and Implementation Guidelines, as a means of mobilizing resources and augmenting the limited public resources with the private sector’s resources.
The Education PPP Guidelines will provide a framework structured and managed by the Public Private Partnership in Education (PPPE) Committee or PPPE Technical Working Group PPPE/TWG and the Private Schools and Institutions Department of the Ministry Education and Sports, Uganda.
One of the effective strategies is when sector industry associations, private corporations and investors and operators engage in education through coalitions working in partnership with government with the overall goal of enhancing regulatory reform, policy, incentives and endorsement to shape basic education that will in turn create a better workforce.
The Government retains the core state functions, services and assets that are to provide the services expected of the State. The PPPE Strategy and Guidelines will be informed by several other national policy documents, development plans and international best practices. These include:
§ National PPP framework,
§ National Education Policy Framework,
§ MOES Strategic Plan, and
§ Public Private Partnership in Education Discussion Papers,
§ National Development Plan (NDP), and
§ MOES Roadmap.
§ Private Sector Manifesto
§ International Best Practices and Evidence-based practices for Private Schools Sector Governance
The Public Private Partnership in Education (PPPE) Strategy and Guidelines will set out its Vision, Mission, Objectives, Rational and Principles that define parameters as a way to ensure sound strategic intentions, focus needs and challenges of the education sector.
Institutional Setup and Responsibilities for the PPPE
Institutional setup is to be designed to cover all the concerned stakeholders in such a way that each handles the roles within its competency and within the context of the prevailing laws. i.e
1. Private Education Professionals Associations
2. Private Education Industry Sector Associations
3. Trade Industry Associations
4. Corporate Companies
5. Development Partners
7. Private Vocational and Technical Associations
8. Research Organizations
In executing its functions, the PPPE will be supported by the PPPE Project Steering Committee or PPPE/TWG, which will be composed of permanent members representing the various functional departments of the Ministry, and relevant bodies or associations representing the Private Sector, as well as ad hoc members that may be appointed from time to time for specific purpose of their expertise.
Until such time that there is deep experience in the management of PPPE, there may be a need for occasional hiring of specialized advisors and expertise such as lawyers, financial analysts, financiers, economists, sociologists, business people and education specialists to support the PPPE Unit in the development and implementation of PPP programs.
As far as possible, each private sector association should develop the necessary in-house skills and structures to carry out its own duties. The most important aspect to consider in determining capacity requirement is to recognize that it is crucial for the PPPE Unit to have multiple skills, which include expertise in the areas of education, private sector governance, finance and accountancy, business development and economics, government relations and regulatory affairs and law of contracts. Additionally, another important consideration in determining the capacity requirement for E/PPP is to know what the key success factors are for PPP Units in general.
The E/PPP Strategy will be born out of the commitment of the MOES Private Schools and Institutions department to deliver on its mandate “to oversee, provide and regulate private and non-governmental sectors in the provision of education services and ensuring equity, accessibility, affordability and sustainability”.
Despite its prevalence, private delivery of education services and stakeholders are sometimes perceived as threats (rather than complementary or agents of government programmes). The profit motive is often viewed as incongruent with the perception of education as a social rather than commercial good. Because of this, authorities may be reluctant to recognize explicitly the role played by the private sector in their legislation or in the education plans and strategies developed. Private sector providers serving low-income communities are often not captured in national data, as the incidence of non-registration among private providers, especially small-scale, for-profit and NGO-type providers, is relatively high compared to urban, large-scale private providers. Others choose to remain unregistered and thus not under the purview of government, due to the existence of legal and regulatory hurdles that may restrict their operations. This may raise issues relating to quality, especially for poor communities where children predominantly attend unregistered schools and have no legal or regulatory protection.
The Education/PPP Framework is underpinned by the following assumptions:
1. That there are limitations on the part of the private sector in terms of its governance and managerial capabilities to deliver education services at required standards;
2. That private sector is well positioned in terms of its financial, commercial and managerial sources to bring about significant and sustainable improvements in the education sector;
3. That there will be no transfer of ownership of assets, from public to private sector;
4. That the entry of the private sector into the partnership is sufficiently profitable;
5. That appropriate framework exists to ensure predictable and consistent implementation and regulation of the Education/PPP strategy;
6. That appropriate allocation of risks between the public and the private operator is possible;
7. That there is efficiency gain to be derived as a result of the partnership;
8. That there is lack of clarity among private education sector associations, fragmentation, unnecessary collisions, overlaps, duplication and competition;
9. That there is complex school registration criteria and processes; inconsistent enforcement of regulations, leading to corruption; overlapping jurisdictions; weak legal frameworks;and funding restrictions for private schools restrict further private sector engagement;
10. That there is increasing dominance of private education sector which is underrepresented, fragmented, uncoordinated and insufficiently regulated.
With the Education PPP Strategy, the MOES will be passing the operational issues to the private sector/operators through their respective associations, while retaining and increasing its focus on core responsibilities of regulation, supervision and provision of core services such as policies and compliances, in line with directive of the National Education Policy. On the basis of this line of argument, efficiency gain is obvious. However, this initiative has to be accompanied by equally important improvements in various management processes and systems of stakeholders on this program.