Americans support public private partnerships to tackle global education deficit

8 April 2019

New nationwide research reveals that nearly eighty percent of US citizens support the use of public private partnerships to help address the global education crisis. The finding comes after USAID has announced its focus on ensuring the private sector plays a bigger role in helping low-income countries to boost learning rates for children.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals call for quality education for all, but frighteningly more than half of the world’s children are not reaching minimum levels of reading and maths.

The new US wide analysis on public attitudes reveals that:

  • Eight out of ten Americans think there should be more education public private partnerships in countries where the local government struggles to provide quality education for all.
  • 79% think there should be more private providers of affordable or free education in a country where the government struggles to offer enough education for all.

This overwhelming support for using the private sector to help improve education in the developing world applies to teacher training too.

When US citizens were asked if they would like to see more teachers in low and middle income countries supported by social enterprises so that learning outcomes for children could improve 82% agreed or strongly agreed.

Sujatha Muthayya, Vice President at Bridge International Academies said, “We’re encouraged that the American public overwhelmingly support the use of non-state actors in tackling the global learning crisis. We are now seeing a real shift in attitudes towards the delivery of high quality education. Organisations like USAID agree with the American people and have also shifted their focus to enable non-state bodies to help transform the global education crisis.

“Innovative solutions are essential if we are to reverse a trend when after all this time more than 1 in 2 children are not learning the very basics. Of course, it makes sense for non-state actors to contribute to delivering the UN education goal with innovation and funding. Bridge is proud to be already supporting governments in Asia and Africa by offering support and training to government teachers alongside better resources.”

Despite the support for innovative solutions and non-state interventions the vast majority of the American public vastly underestimated the scale of the learning crisis.

Three quarters or more of Americans don’t know the basic facts of how many children are out of school globally, or how many are in school not learning, and how many more teachers are needed worldwide. On all these metrics, Americans underestimated the true figures: 260 million not in school, at least 330 in school not learning, and 69 million more teachers needed.

The research was commissioned by Bridge International Academies. Sujatha Muthayya concluded, “It’s very encouraging to see that more than 3 in 4 Americans would like to see additional education public private partnerships to help governments in countries that are struggling to offer quality education for all children. The education crisis has global consequences and it’s only when the public and policy makers are aligned that we’ll see impactful change.”


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+44​ (0) 20 3813 8236

Notes to editors

This nationwide survey was conducted among a sample of 2000 US adults in March 2019 by global research company ONEPOLL. It was commissioned by Bridge International Academies.

The full US Polling report on attitudes towards international education can be found here.

UNESCO statistics on global learning crisis available here, revealing that 1 in 2 children worldwide are not reaching minimum levels of reading and maths.

The USAID education strategy for 2019 – 2023, which endorses the use of the private sector, can be found here.

This comparison survey was conducted simultaneously in the UK that also showed public responses to issues to the learning crisis and education PPPs. Contact the Bridge Press Office for a copy of the UK report.

About Bridge

Bridge believes every child has the right to high quality education and works in partnership with governments, communities, parents, and teachers to ensure access to quality education. Bridge has served more than 500,000 children to date and runs or supports over a 1,000 schools.

Bridge leverages in-depth teacher training and support, advanced lesson plans and wireless technology to provide pupils with a meaningful and life-changing education. Globally, there is an education crisis. Around 600 million children are either not in school at all, or in school and not learning. Bridge is committed to helping tackle this through a data driven, evidence based approach that delivers strong schools and a great education for all.

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