Are non-governmental primary and secondary schools a solution to offer more school children in developing countries access to education or do these non-governmental education providers merely reinforce the inequalities in access to education? Are private education providers really offering education of higher quality or do they actually just evade public control? These questions are subject to international controversy, especially in the light of the profit-oriented engagement of so called low cost private schools in the sector. The aim of this publication is to provide a differentiated and objective overview of this topic in an often very ideological debate, as there is no comparable documentation of the issue available so far worldwide. Moreover, recommendations will be drawn from the analysis for a constructive approach towards non-governmental schools and a possible cooperation with them, e.g. about the question, when financial support with funds from official development cooperation budgets for so called private schools seems reasonable. The study at hand has been compiled on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) by the University of Bamberg with support on concepts and contents from experts from Bread for the World (Brot für die Welt), the German Association of Adult Education (DVV – Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V.), GIZ, the German Union for Education and Science, the Global Campaign for Education, KfW Entwicklungsbank (development bank), Kindernothilfe and Oxfam.