This paper was prepared for the Program on Education Policy and Governance conference: Mobilizing the Private Sector for Public Education. The conference, held on October 5 and 6, 2005 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was co-sponsored by the World Bank.
Introduction: This paper takes a look at public-private partnerships in education in Latin America. Our analysis is based on four case studies carried out in four different countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and Brazil. These four countries are different and varied and this leads us to believe that this study is, therefore, fairly representative of the general situation in Latin America. In general terms, there are close links between public and private education in all the countries. Around 20 percent of students in primary and secondary education study at private schools and around a third of students in higher education attend private universities. The ways private education is financed is of great importance when aiming to encourage equality and efficiency in these countries' education systems. In addition, given the relatively poor resources and quality of education in these countries, private-public partnerships in education is a frequent experience which aim to improve the management and quality of educational centers. Both of these aspects will be dealt with in this paper. The paper has been divided into the following sections. Firstly, we will take a look at the political, social and economic background of the four countries involved, we will then move on to briefly analyze the public-private partnership in each of the four countries and finally we will offer a global analysis of the situation and put forward some initial conclusions.