Since the early 1990s, the government of Pakistan has promoted a policy of public–private partnerships to increase access and improve the quality of education in Pakistan. This article describes the evolution of the policy and discusses a variety of partnership arrangements aimed to establish and govern primary schools. It suggests that, while partnerships have positive outcomes and may be a viable option for resourceful communities, they are located in a hierarchical structure and lack equal distribution of power and trust between partners. Partnerships are often temporary and established for the purpose of a transition to privatization. These problems make them an unlikely strategy for a sustained increase in the chances of access to good-quality schooling for the poor and disadvantaged.