In the last decade, policies that involve some level of education privatization, like public-private partnerships, vouchers or charter schools have acquired an increasing centrality in the global education arena. The urgency to achieving the ‘Education For All’ goals and the MDGs in many Southern countries and the effects of the financial crisis in the North have increased governments and international organizations' willingness to introduce different forms of education privatization. In fact, many stakeholders perceive that engaging with the private sector is an opportunity to correct inefficiencies and to introduce incentives and promote competitive behaviour in public education systems. However, this new push for private sector development in education opens many question marks since the existing evidence on the effects of privatization policies is not conclusive yet, and many pieces of research even show their negative effects, especially in terms of education equity.

This research line engages with the education privatization discussion by combining political sociology and micro-sociological approaches. It addresses the following questions:

1. Why and how are education privatization policies disseminated globally? Which agencies are more active at promoting education privatization today?

2. Which different types of policies are contributing to strengthen the role of the private sector in education in both developed and developing contexts? What models of public-private mixes are becoming more central today in global education reforms? What levels of education are more affected by privatization dynamics?

3. What are the main effects of education Public-Private Partnerships in terms of education access, achievement, equity and efficiency? Who benefits and who loses with private sector development in education?

4. To what extent and how is the emerging role of the private sector transforming the relationship between education and the state?

English