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Abstract

This article examines a particular type of public–private partnership (PPP) that is rarely studied in comparative educational policy studies: one in which a government funds privately run international schools. The aim of this PPP is to enrich and thereby improve the regular curriculum or to the quality of education in public schools. As the exponential growth of International Baccalaureate (IB) illustrates, such forms of PPP have increased significantly over the past few years. The authors show that transnational accreditation holds a special appeal for the middle class that is committed to cosmopolitanism, international mobility, and global citizenship. However, international standards schools such as IB are not alone with advancing a transnational accreditation of their educational programmes. Symbolically, Programme in International Student Assessment also provides a transnational accreditation, albeit not on individual education programmes but rather on entire educational systems. The article examines the reasons for the popularity of this type of PPP, analyses the interaction between the private and public education sectors, and investigates how governments explain, and what they expect from, the close cooperation with private education providers.

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