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Private sector participation in delivery of public goods: whose needs, whose benefits?

Fri, March 13, 8:00 to 9:30am, Washington Hilton, Floor: Concourse Level, Lincoln West


Some key questions related to the planned post-2015 data revolution relate to power relationships among actors and intended beneficiaries as well as competing agendas, motivations and regulation. This presentation seeks to complement scrutiny by other panelists of the substance of measurement and assessment by looking at motivations and the nexus between public and private entities.
The public sector is responsible for the right to education and equity in accessing that right. Private interests are naturally focused on markets and profits. Standardization is a powerful tool for expanding markets and enhancing corporate profit but has unproven benefits for individual learners or the societies where those learners live and seek a fulfilling place. Standardized data collection and assessment , in spite of denials by its promoters, inevitably stems from and reinforces the notion that there is a standard model of a good learning outcome, and ultimately to the creation of a winner-loser situation in which the burden is on the individual for meeting (or not) that standard. This is antithetical to a public-sector notion of and responsibility for rights and equity, to diversity and to creativity, but potential hugely profitable for international corporations and costly primarily for governments and other public sector entities that come to depend on them.