NORRAG Blog Series: Philanthropy in Education

by Lara Patil, NORRAG Advisor.

The Philanthropy in Education blog series is curated and edited by Lara Patil. Lara is an Advisor to NORRAG. She holds a doctorate in education from Teacher College, Columbia University and ten years of experience on the Global Education Research, Policy and Strategy team for Intel Corporation supporting the corporate foundation, corporate social responsibility programs and corporate business units.

Between 2018 and 2020, the symposium series Philanthropy in Education: Global Trends, Regional Differences and Diverse Perspectives, an initiative launched and co-sponsored by NORRAG, the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, the Open Society Foundations and the Graduate Institute, Geneva, sought to facilitate greater understanding and collaboration between philanthropic organizations, national policymakers, representatives of international organizations and academics working in the field of education. The aim was to foster a global dialogue concerning the role philanthropy has been playing in education.

Several seminars and meetings took place in different places, with different stakeholders, aiming to hear diverse voices and understand the scenario concerning philanthropy in education. The Philanthropy in Education series consists of an inaugural symposium which took place in November 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland, and eight regional symposia in, India (2018), People’s Republic of China (2019), North America (2019) and South Africa (2019). A regional seminar scheduled in Brazil (2020) and a closing symposium scheduled to take place in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, in May 2020, were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the culminating efforts for the Philanthropy in Education series in 2020 was the compilation of articles in NORRAG Special Issue 04 “New Philanthropy and the Disruption of Global Education.”

Panels at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) annual meetings have continued the Philanthropy in Education discussions. Through this blog series we aim to complement these efforts and revisit the analysis collectively built in 2020, having in mind that, since then, the pandemic has brought about shifts, but also afforded continuations of trends. Initiatives and international reports have also contributed to the narrative over this two year timeframe. For example, the Abidjan Principles, a recent major civil society initiative to develop norms and standards around private education, provides a framework for governments to regulate and monitor both the right to education and the need to ensure private education does not contribute to discrimination and inequality (Abidjan Principles, 2019; Adamson et al., 2021). Also, acknowledging that the Sustainable Development Goals recognize the role of non-state actors in the achievement of global education targets, two major international reports published in the past year address the part played by the market, profit and commercial dynamics in education – Reimagining our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education (UNESCO, 2021) and Non-state Actors in Education: Who Chooses, Who Loses (GEM Report, 2021).NORRAG invites interested participants to submit blog posts that aim to foster dialogue between key stakeholders (philanthropic organizations, national policymakers, international organizations and academia) on critical issues relating to the global and regional role of Philanthropy in Education. While not required, the submissions could explore some of the following issues:

  • Philanthropy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • The private sector and philanthropy
  • Philanthropic and government engagement across the North-South divide
  • Multilateral agencies and philanthropic engagement
  • The emergence of new philanthropy actors in education
  • Philanthropic response and shifts in approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Fostering collaboration between stakeholders (philanthropic organizations, national policymakers, international organizations and academia)
  • Reflections upon recent international reports that address the part played by the market, profit and commercial dynamics in education
  • Challenges and opportunities for philanthropy in education looking forward

Call to action

Interested participants should submit a blog post directly to the Blog Series Editor, Lara Patil,, with the subject line “Blog Submission”.

The blog series seeks to include contributions not only from researchers, but also from civil society organizations, international organizations and stakeholders, among others, involved in education and who do not necessarily find a space to make their voices heard. NORRAG provides blog guidelines and best practices for authors.

Find here the most recent posts in the Philanthropy in Education Blog Series

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