Evaluating the Effectiveness of Punjab’s Public Private Partnership Programmes in Education
Using quantitative methods this dissertation evaluates the effectiveness of Punjab’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) programmes in education. Using administrative data and data from a service delivery indicator survey, the study explores (i) access to PPP schooling, (ii) the impact of PPP schooling on public school enrolment, (iii) the relative effectiveness of PPP schooling and (iv) teaching practices, teacher content knowledge and pay in public, PPP and private schools. The study concludes with a policy discussion using Levin’s (2002) framework for evaluating privatisation programmes in education to assess the potential impact of PPPs on freedom of choice, productive efficiency, equity and social cohesion.
The access related finds reflect that PPP schools tend to locate in disadvantaged districts, and children who attend both public and PPP schools come from similar socio-economic backgrounds. PPP schools may be displacing enrolment from neighbouring public schools however, the effect is relatively small, concentrated in lower grades and limited to girls’ enrolment. With respect to student learning, this study provides causal evidence that a private school subsidy programme produces greater learning outcomes for grade four students in mathematics than public schools. In terms of teaching practices, this study finds that public school teachers are more likely than private school teachers to exhibit effective teaching practices in the classroom, and are more likely to demonstrate content knowledge mastery in Urdu than both private and PPP school teachers.
While in theory, PPPs increase schooling options for parents, the study finds that de-facto choice may be limited due to below market subsidy/voucher amounts, high indirect costs of schooling, and administrative requirements for switching schools. On productive efficiency, the study finds evidence that the private school subsidy programme may be more cost-effective than public schooling. From an equity perspective, while PPP schools may be targeting disadvantaged areas, PPP and public schools can do more to target the most vulnerable populations in the province. Lastly, PPP programmes may be contributing to greater social cohesion in the short run by mandating partner schools to follow the public school curriculum, and by utilising the same medium of instruction as public schools. However, in the long run continued financial support to PPPs may come at the expense of development financing for public sector schools, and may undermine stakeholders’ perceptions of public schooling (and teachers) which could lead to greater disparities between public and PPP students.