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The Citizens Foundation


Regulating Non-State Actors in Education




Partnering with bi-lateral and multilateral organisations to conduct research on how non-state actors are regulated across low- and middle-income countries 



Convening stakeholder working group to explore concrete steps to improve regulation 


Listening to members to understand their experience of in-country regulatory frameworks 


Non-state education actors account for a large share of global education providers, including 18% of primary and 26% secondary enrolments globally. Non-state enrolments can be particularly high in low-income urban settings, for example Nairobi (60%) and Kampala (84%). Given this scale, governments need to engage with the non-state sector to ensure that all children have access to quality education regardless of the type of school they attend. 

Regulation is a key tool available to governments to achieve this

There is a need to reflect on how States can be better equipped to steward their education systems and what regulation is needed to ensure that principles of quality education, non-discrimination and inclusion are upheld across all education providers, including but not limited to public, private, religious and community providers. 

About Regulating Non-State Actors in Education

To contribute meaningfully to this issue, and building on the findings of the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report 2021/2 on ‘Non-state actors in education: Who chooses? Who loses?’ GSF in partnership with UNESCO collaborated on a joint study to explore the design and implementation of regulation of non-state education across five low- and middle- income countries, Colombia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Uganda. 

“This is an important study and we in Lagos State plan to study the recommendations and develop appropriate strategies to engage with our large number of non-state education providers.”

Folasade Adefisayo. Honourable Commissioner for Education Lagos State, Nigeria (former) 


The study and subsequent report is based on 25 key informant interviews with government officials and non-state education operators, and the contributions and inputs from a closed-door workshop with key international education stakeholders (experts, practitioners, non-state providers and civil society organizations). The report provides insights on how regulatory systems operate and suggests areas for considerations on how these systems can be strengthened to ensure all children have access to quality education.