No Longer Business as Usual: Private Sector Efforts to Improve Schooling in South Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown schooling systems around the world into disarray. Lifting up the entire schooling system is the only way to combat the long-term consequences of the current crisis The aim of this report is to share some of our key insights and findings concerning business contributions to education reform in South Africa. We examine the role that corporations, private foundations, and privately funded education projects and partnerships have played and could play in ensuring that South Africa’s basic education system performs at significantly improved levels. The report was informed by two processes. The first involved interviewing education experts, state education officials, and leaders of the biggest privately funded education initiatives; these interviews were mostly conducted late in 2019. The second process was a virtual discussion hosted by CDE in mid-April 2020 with leaders of privately funded education initiatives and other education experts or specialists in business. The current crisis should galvanise business leaders and people across the private sector to do everything they can to bring about fundamental changes in the way the education system works. This report urges the private sector to do that, and suggests ways in which it can be achieved.