Growing private school sector an opportunity for business

2012-06-20 08:25

The recent Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) report on the private school sector makes for fascinating reading. It shows that the private school sector is growing enormously internationally with the fastest growth rate taking place in Africa – over 12 years this sector grew by 113% in Africa relative to a 52% growth in the public school sector. This suggests that parents are looking beyond what Government has to offer as they look for the best opportunities for the next generation. The research dispels the myth that private schooling is for the privileged only and shows enormous growth in township and rural based private schools that cater to the poor.

CDE studied the performance of these schools – and found that performance of private schools is no worse than public schools, and significantly better in some respects.

The report sets out a number of ways that the private sector could support the growing private school sector: from financial loan assistance offered from banks, to grantmaking, to teacher development and training to helping to put in place more efficient business models so that successes can be replicated. This opens up an opportunity for CSI funders to invest in growing the diversity of the schools sector and widening the choices available to parents who are looking for the best educational opportunities for their children.

In my experience at Social Innovations, bringing private sector operational and accountability models into the schools sector really works. We operate a number of after school centres at schools and these centres often run more efficiently than the schools themselves thanks to the levels of training that have been offered, the monitoring and reporting systems in place, and the culture and levels of accountability that come with an independently managed organisation that is target driven.

Any companies that would like to explore opportunities to support the private school sector can contact us at Social Innovations – see www.socialinnovations.co.za.

The CDE report can be found at: http://www.cde.org.za/article.php?a_id=422

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