Education: War and peace

Low-cost private schools are ubiquitous across the developing world. This book explores their nature and extent in some of the world’s most difficult places, three conflict affected states in sub-Saharan Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. The accepted wisdom of international agencies on education in conflict-affected states acknowledges that some kinds of low-cost private schools do emerge during conflict. However, it also holds that private schools can only be tolerated as a temporary expedient, to be replaced as soon as is feasible by universal government education. Our research supports the accepted wisdom in terms of the existence of low-cost private schools. They are, as in other developing countries, everywhere. For instance, 71 per cent of children in one of the poorest slums in Monrovia, Liberia, use private schools, and 61 per cent of the private schools were provided by private proprietors (i.e. for profit), not NGOs or religious groups. In each country, there was an educational ‘peace didend’, with sometimes exponential growth of for-profit schools soaking up educational demand once the conflict was over.

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