The current research investigates the positions, strategies and impact of the work of civil society organisations (CSOs) around the non-state actor (NSA) engagement in education. The work was based on desk research, an online survey sent out to the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) national coalitions around the world, as well as a series of 10 key informant interviews with GCE National Coalitions’ members. GCE was selected given its importance in bringing together the largest number of education-focused civil society organisations around the world. The study found that CSOs’ positions in the debate around non-state engagement in education were typically guided by the Right to Education lens, with a marked emphasis on equity considerations. The interviewed CSOs had nuanced views around non-state engagement, and although most were largely against the privatisation of education, many of them supported the engagement of other actors, especially in contexts were it was perceived that the state was not able to guarantee the right to free and quality education for all citizens. The research revealed that CSOs engage in diverse strategies to target the different stakeholders in education: government and legislature, school officials, teachers, parents and community members, as well as the international community. The interviews also underscored that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to change the situation around these issues, and offers some opportunities as well as challenges to the CSOs working on the topic.