Investing in the crisis: Private participation in the education of Syrian refugees

This study explores the complex interrelationship between conflict and private sector participation through a case study of the education of Syrian refugees.

It is estimated that 900,000 Syrian refugee children and adolescents are not enrolled in school, with enrolment rates for Syrian refugees at only 70% in Jordan, 40% in Lebanon, and 39% in Turkey (UNHCR, 2016b). Although private engagement in this context is evidently expanding, the exact nature and scale of this involvement has been unclear. This research seeks to better understand which private entities are engaging in the sector, the activities through which private companies and foundations support education, and the rationales and motivations that drive their involvement.

Our findings also expose areas for concern, including:
(1) insufficient coordination among private companies and foundations, and between the state and non-state sectors;
(2) decontextualized interventions with an overemphasis on technology;
(3) the potential for a rise in private school establishment at the expense of public provision;
(4) the vague roles of business actors in public-policy making and global funding; and
(5) tensions between humanitarian aims and proft-oriented motivations for involvement in the sector.  

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