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Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in Education

2023-10-11 By Raj Ahuja (Group President & Group Chief Financial Officer)

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in Education - Raj Ahuja (Group President & Group Chief Financial Officer)

The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing major economies in the world.

This rate of growth requires rapid improvements and additions to both the physical and economic infrastructure capabilities in the country. However, infrastructure’s ability to keep up pace with the #Indianeconomy has been heavily constrained by the availability of resources with the governments for investments in creating public goods. This necessitates the requirement of private players to partner with various central and state governments and help in creating infrastructure to meet the growing demands of the nation. This leads to an important role, which can be played by Public Private Partnership (PPP).

What is #PPP?

In simple words, PPP is a symbiotic relationship where the public and private sector work together to optimally utilise each other’s knowledge, resources, skills and expertise for the provision of public infrastructure in various areas and/ or related services for the benefit of the public.

Many governments across the world turn to PPP for the development of public assets and related services, especially where resource constraints are prevalent.

A prime case in point is the #education sector, where India spends close to 3% of its GDP, which is less than the proposed 6%, mandated in a number of policy documents. Due to resource constraints, central and state governments have now begun to recognize the significance of PPPs in education.

To understand PPPs in the context of the Indian education ecosystem, let us consider:

  • Importance of PPPs in education
  • Preferred PPP models
  • Success stories examples of PPPs in education

Importance of PPP in education:

PPPs play a crucial role in the context of Indian education ecosystem due to the following reasons:

  • Bridging the quality and infrastructure gap: PPPs can bridge quality and physical infrastructure deficit by using underutilized school infrastructure across India especially, in major metropolitan areas such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad. For new infrastructure, PPPs ensure that public resources are optimally utilized and #infrastructure is developed at a faster pace, improving access to well-equipped schools.
  • Increasing access to education: India has a high dropout rate at the #secondaryschool. Now that the Government’s efforts have made access at the elementary level nearly universal, the focus now needs to shift towards increasing learning outcomes and higher enrolments at secondary and in higher education. PPPs can increase #GrossEnrolmentRatio (GER) at secondary levels by inculcating vocational trainings, industry partnerships, skill development for better employability and livelihood. PPPs can also play a vital role in expanding access to education, particularly for marginalized segments and under-served regions by supporting infrastructure for schools in remote places, scholarship and educational initiatives specifically for these groups; thereby ensuring education reaches every child, regardless of their socio-economic background or geographical location.
  • Augmenting teaching quality and methodologies: Private sector participation brings fresh perspectives, innovative teaching methodologies, and technology integration to education. Through PPPs, schools and colleges can benefit from the private sector's expertise in curriculum development, #teachertraining, pedagogy and instructional design. This leads to enhanced teaching quality, better learning experiences, and improved academic outcomes.
  • Industry alignment and innovation: PPPs encourage the integration of industry-relevant skills and vocational training, bring industry expertise, connections and increases internship and placement opportunities, allowing educational programs to align with evolving job market requirements. This collaboration equips students with practical skills, enhances employability, and contributes to the country's economic growth by producing a skilled workforce.
  • Risks and rewards sharing: PPPs distribute risks and rewards between the public and private sectors. Governments can transfer financial and operational risks to private partners thereby reducing the burden on public finances. At the same time, private partners can be incentivized through revenue-sharing models or performance-based contracts, aligning their interests towards operational excellence.

Types of PPP models in education:

India has experimented with various PPP models. Implementation of these models vary on parameters such as ownership of institutes, infrastructure, types of teachers, type and extent of aid, operating model and so on. Some prominent forms of PPPs are as follows:

  • School Infrastructure Initiative:

    Here private partner builds, owns and operates (BOT) school infrastructure and government pays a fee for these services to the private players.

  • Capacity Building:

    Government pays the private partner for provision of specific support or services like teacher training, curriculum building, textbook provision, sports etc.

  • Purchase of Educational Services:

    Government sponsors students to attend private schools through financial aids.

  • Voucher-like Programmes:

    Government provides vouchers to parents to pay school of their choice. The reservation of 25% of seats in private schools for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) under #RTE2009 is an example of this.

  • School Operations and Management:

    Private player manages day-to-day operations of public schools which are publicly owned and funded.

Success stories in PPP model

Although PPP projects are not very popular in the education sector unlike that of energy, road, physical infrastructure or tourism projects, there are some examples of PPP in Education that have seen success:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs:

    The Atal Innovation Mission, a flagship initiative of the Indian government, promotes PPPs in education through #AtalTinkeringLabs. Private partners collaborate with schools to provide mentorship, infrastructure, and industry connections, fostering a spirit of innovation.

  • Model Schools:

    Private partners invest in infrastructure development, teacher training, and technology integration, enabling schools to offer quality education.

    Ampersand Group has played a crucial role as PPP in the Operations and Management of government schools in Punjab.

  • Early Childhood Care and Education:

    The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Ampersand Group public-private-partnership has given a veritable facelift to over 575 #Balwadis in the city. With a structured curriculum, #phygital (digital and non-digital) learning resources, multilingual content with integrated assessments, use of local materials for teaching aids, these Balwadis students have shown substantial improvement in their #language, #literacy and #communication skills, along with #cognitive, #sensory and #perceptual development.

    Studies show that a strong foundational-level learning environment goes a long way in enabling the school-readiness of young children and the increase by 100% in enrollments at a school-entry level is a valid testimony to it.

    PPP can be a wonderful tool to bridge the gap between government, private service providers and industry requirements. However, it requires determination and a long-term vision. Successful implementation of PPPs in education requires overcoming challenges such as funding models, equitable access, quality assurance and regulatory frameworks. Balancing private player’s interests with social objectives and ensuring accountability are also essential considerations. Regular #stakeholder consultations, sharing of best practices, and knowledge exchange forums can address these challenges.

    Altogether, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have emerged as a powerful catalyst for the Indian education ecosystem. By leveraging the strengths of both sectors, PPPs are expanding access, enhancing learning outcomes, fostering innovation, and preparing students for the challenges of the future.

    As India strives to provide inclusive, equitable and quality education to all its citizens, PPPs will continue to play a pivotal role.


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