Costs, prices, demand and funding Section 1.1 noted the high level of concern about the cost of education. Who funds what is a major political issue. While public institutions will no doubt continue to educate the majority of the world's students, governments are seeking, particularly at the higher education level, to mobilize a greater proportion of total funding from private sources, by increasing the proportion of educational costs that are borne by the students, or by encouraging increased private sponsorship of education. Private institutions are also an important element in the total provision of education, both at secondary and at higher education levels (UNESCO, 1995:Table lO;World Bank, 1994: 34-6). At the same time, there is a strong tradition of private provision of distance education, arising from the nineteenth-century development of commercial correspondence colleges.