IFC is freezing investments in K-12 private, fee-charging schools. This decision will apply to our direct investments, advisory work, and indirect investments resulting from new investments in private equity funds. We are taking this step in response to concerns by external stakeholders about the impact of private schools on education quality and access. In addition, we will request that the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group evaluate IFC investments in K-12 private education and review impacts on educational outcomes, access, poverty and inequality. This evaluation will be followed by an inclusive and transparent consultation process, bringing together the World Bank Group’s Board, education experts, and civil society, to determine whether there are any circumstances under which future IFC investments in private, fee-charging K-12 schools could be made.
This freeze will not impact our work to invest in new tools, such as in education technology and infrastructure, that can help improve learning and access for all students. IFC will also continue its work in higher education, including universities and vocational schools, and in early childhood services.
Demand for education is soaring. The number of higher education students is projected to more than double by 2025. Most of this growth will come from the emerging markets. While the number of children out of school globally may have dropped sharply during the 1990s, it remains unacceptably high in some regions, especially for girls. Meanwhile, youth unemployment continues to grow globally, even as employers report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills.
“EDTECH ACTS AS SCAFFOLDING FOR YOUNG LEARNERS TO BUILD ON CONCEPTS AND CAN PRODUCE LONG-TERM LEARNING GAINS."
Studies show clearly that high-quality early childhood education improves social and academic outcomes, making it all the more important that children in low-income areas are able to benefit. For investors, this market offers both the possibility of generating returns and of having a positive development impact. As Victor Hu, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Lumos Capital Group, explained in an interview with IFC, innovations in educational technology are helping boost the quality of early childhood education. Combined with nurturing environments, said Hu, early childhood education technology has the power to level the playing field for disadvantaged children.
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The impact of IFC clients in Health and Education in 2020:
- 7.9 MILLIONSTUDENTS EDUCATED
- 259.4ThousandJOBS SUPPORTED
- 135.6ThousandJOBS FOR WOMEN SUPPORTED
A company or entrepreneur seeking to establish a new venture or expand an existing enterprise can approach IFC directly.
The investment proposal can be submitted to the IFC field office that is closest to the location of the proposed project.