Global Education Learning Series: EduFinance Findings and Lessons from the Non-state School Sector
The rapid growth in enrollment in non-state schools, particularly low-fee private schools, is one of the most interesting phenomena in the education sector. Affordable non-state schools — including not-for-profit, for-profit, faith-based, and community schools — can play an important role in education provision, especially in conflict and crisis contexts. Growth in this sector is concentrated in low and lower-middle income countries and is often driven by a variety of challenges, including demographic trends, governments’ constrained fiscal space, and conflict and crisis situations. Not engaging with non-state schools would mean missing out on a tremendous opportunity, and would result in not reaching large swaths of school-age populations in partner countries.
This panel discussion brought together practitioners and researchers to explore opportunities and challenges around non-state education. Panelists discussed lessons from their work with non-state schools, government partners, and communities, as well as findings from their research.
This event was part of the Global Education Learning Series.
Amit, CATALYZE’s Education Finance Specialist, has over fifteen years’ experience in the design, oversight and execution of investment projects in low-income and conflict-affected countries. His expertise includes sourcing, negotiating, and executing equity and debt transactions using blended finance and private equity structures. Prior to joining Palladium, Amit served as Chief Investment Officer at Grassroots Capital Management where he incubated and managed a portfolio of education finance companies in Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines. Earlier, Amit served as Investment Director for Caspian Advisors in India, where he conducted due diligence and market research for a South-East Asia focused fund and led monitoring and intervention in portfolio companies in India. Amit has also led business planning and capital advisory projects in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for Shorebank International (Enclude). Amit is a CFA Charterholder and holds an M.S. in Finance from London Business School. He speaks fluent English, Hindi and Urdu, and basic Bangla and Spanish.
Nirav is Managing Partner, Kaizenvest Edu Finance (KEF) at Kaizenvest, an education investment firm focused on emerging Asia and Africa. Kaizenvest manages two equity funds that have invested over USD150 million in several leading and transformative education companies that are commercial leaders in their domains and have created a tremendous positive impact on society. KEF is a blended finance debt facility that provides affordable credit, capacity building networks, and incentives for learning outcomes improvement to low-fee non-state education providers. Before joining Kaizenvest, Nirav was with the Tata Group for over 20 years in various capacities including as the Chief Executive Officer of the Group’s education ventures, Tata ClassEdge and Tata Interactive Systems. He has led several international projects and collaborations in the fields of software, telecommunications and aerospace, and served as Director on the Boards of companies within and outside India. Nirav is an Engineer and MBA and has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts (Management) for his contributions in the space of management, education and technology. He was recognized as a Young India Leader by the British High Commission in 2013.
Suezan is the Senior Education Finance Specialist in the Office of Education in the Economic Growth, Education and Environment Bureau at USAID. In this role Suezan provides strategic education finance guidance to USAID’s $1 billion education portfolio, specifically with regard to public-private partnerships, public financial management and innovative financing mechanisms to further the education strategy goals in reading, workforce development, and equitable access in conflict-affected and crisis contexts. She has also served as the Deputy Basic Education Team Leader and chairperson of the USAID 2009-2011 Education Strategy Committee. Previously, she worked in the Office of Development Credit and was instrumental in the issuance of the largest bond issuance for Georgia. She also worked at the International Finance Corporation in the education team and with the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers, serving as the Legislative Affairs Liaison. Suezan holds a Doctorate in International Education from Boston University and a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from American University.
J. Arjun Upadhyay
Arjun is an education specialist with over seven years of experience working on education sector analysis and reform in Africa and Asia. As a program officer at Results for Development (R4D), Mr. Upadhyay leads projects on international education finance, early childhood development (ECD) costing and expenditure analysis, and research on low-fee private schools. Prior to joining R4D, Mr. Upadhyay was an associate program officer at The Asia Foundation working on economic growth and education sector reform in the Philippines. He has consulted for the US Agency for International Development, Counterpart International, the UN Institute for Training and Research, and has published work for Early Childhood Matters magazine and the Archives for Disease in Childhood. Mr. Upadhyay holds a master’s degree in international development from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Upadhyay is a native speaker of English, is proficient in French, and speaks conversational Nepali.
Gboyega Ilusanya has twenty seven years’ experience working in the education sector. About a dozen of his early career years (1993-2004) were spent as a classroom teacher in both state and non-state secondary schools in Nigeria. He spent another five years working as Training and Research Fellow with National Institute for Educational Planning NIEPA Nigeria between 2004 and 2009 where he was involved in capacity building of education sector managers in Nigeria. He joined Cambridge Education as Education Adviser in 2009 and rose to become a Senior Education Adviser and Country Representative for Nigeria until April 2020. He was the State Team Leader in Lagos state Nigeria for DFID funded Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria between 2009 and 2013. The project was focused on improving learning outcomes in public primary schools. Gboyega became the National Programme Manager for Developing Effective Private Education Nigeria–DEEPEN (2013 -2018), a first-of-its-kind experimental project funded by DFID using the market systems approach to improve learning outcome for children attending private schools, especially children from low-income households in Lagos, Nigeria. He has also spoken at various conferences locally and international and has published about twenty articles in learned journals in Nigeria and abroad. He has been involved in policy, planning and management of both state and non-state education issues mostly in Nigeria. Gboyega holds a Doctor of Philosophy in educational administration from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
For more on this event
officeofeducation [at] usaid [dot] gov