Public-private partnership in education for sustainability: Its risks and new questions

Tae Hee CHOI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The private sector is considered a key partner for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including equitable quality education. Some governments adopt Private-Public Partnership (PPP) as one of the strategies, where they play a wide range of mediating roles between the private and ‘public’ schools. While some view the PPP provision with hopes, others including some scholars and educational practitioners have raised concerns. The enhancement of education either promised by, or assumed to accrue from, PPP strategies, including improved quality and efficiency of education or addressing the needs of marginalized students, is often not realised. Moreover, they sometimes lead to curtailing of teacher professionalism and autonomy. Such disenchantments often result in the third parties in PPP - whether they be charities or educational businesses - being put under the microscope.
While acknowledging existing and undesirable consequences around PPP, in this presentation, it is suggested that perhaps the blame has been misplaced. Drawing on previous and ongoing research projects, both polity-specific and international, this presentation deconstructs the private and paints a rather complex picture of the practice of PPP and its (potential) impacts. The findings lead to some new questions. What system can help PPP work for quality education for all? Should the third-party partners be acknowledged as colleague educators, even when income generation is their essential, if not primary, goal? Is it perhaps time for us to revisit teacher professionalism in this continuously changing educational context? This presentation attempts to answer these questions and suggests directions for future study. Copyright © 2019 CESHK Spring Conference.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


Choi, T.-H. (2019, March). Public-private partnership in education for sustainability: Its risks and new questions. Paper presented at the CESHK Spring Conference 2019: Sustainable Development and Comparative Education: Goals, Reification and Heresies, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


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