Private education is increasingly popular in many Arab countries, but the high cost of private schools and a lack of state oversight threatens to make educational inequalities worse, a recent report from Unesco warns.
Colliers International estimates that 10.6 percent of Egyptian students attend private schools and that 2.1 million extra places will be needed by 2030.
In Jordan, about 26 percent of students attend private schools, according to government statistics. The figure jumps to 54 percent in Lebanon, despite the economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, which have caused an exodus of students from private to public schools.
The report, titled “Non-State Actors in Education: Who Chooses? Who Loses?” is Unesco’s 2021-22 Global Education Monitoring Report. It includes recommendations to ensure “quality education for all.”
The report shows that 40 percent of pre-primary students, 20 percent of primary education pupils, and 30 percent of secondary and university students are educated in private institutions worldwide.
But many countries lack adequate regulations on private education, or the capacity to enforce them, it says. This undermines the quality of education and widens the educational divide between rich and poor.