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  • Slum Dwellers in India Save for Private Schooling

    Since 2009, public education has been both free and required for all children between the ages of six and 14. Yet many families in Mumbai slums, where they lack even toilets and basic sanitation, save up their meager earnings to pay for private school education for their kids.

    A recent Economist article states that between a quarter and a third of school children in India attend private schools. In India’s cities, experts estimate as many as 85 percent of children attend private schools. According to another report, 73 percent of families in Hyderabad’s slum areas send their children to private schools.

    Additionally, private school enrollment has been rising in most of the country, even as public education was legally required to become free and more accessible. Much of the growth is coming from low-cost private schools that cater to poor families and charge tuition as low as $1 per month.

    So if the government is providing free education for all children, why are so many poor parents spending their limited income on schooling?

    These parents realize something that governments are hesitant to admit: Their children don’t actually learn much in the public schools. This problem is not unique to India; many developing countries are experiencing a rise in private schooling, and The Heritage Foundation discusses at length the benefits of access to private schools in America. The poor parents in developing countries who are exercising their ability to choose a higher quality education option, and doing so without any financial assistance from the government, deserve some attention from development officials.

    Private schooling is especially relevant given the Millennium Development Goal that by 2015 all children “will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” Because of this goal, significant development money has been poured into education efforts in recent years. It’s good that education is a development priority—there are few better ways to invest in a country’s future than to educate its children. However, dumping foreign aid dollars into public education systems that don’t work will not improve the situation.

    USAID and the development community need to pay more heed to private schools. Investment in the private education sector through small loans and recognition of private schools as small and medium enterprises could have much greater effect than aid handouts to governments.

    Additionally, improved rating systems, such as the one Gray Matters Capital is developing, could help ensure that poor parents are sending their children to quality private schools. These efforts would go a long way to ensuring that education outcomes, not just enrollment numbers, improve in developing countries.

    Michelle Kaffenberger is a research manager at InterMedia, a global research consultancy.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Slum Dwellers in India Save for Private Schooling

    1. narayanasamyt says:

      dear all, one shd clearly understand tat india is a developing nation, first of all. with all the pulls nd pressure both in land nd from foreigh countries india is doing a wonderful job in raising the standard of living of its populace. it is also 2b understood tat the british has left india in a poverty stircken condition begging for food from other countries. remember the PL 480. now india is more or less self sufficient although it depends upon the monsoon. one thing v all shd remember is tat india is not able to spend much on education as the neighbouring countries puts lot of pressure on india coupled with the fact of corrupt politicians who plunder the government to fill up their own coffers. but a few of the policitians who wish the populace well do accomplish things nd try to improve the standard. one shd not forget tat some years back india has mortgaged two plane loads of gold at lloyds of london nd now it has all been redeemed. its wish in improving in every sphere also is a cause in this in as much as much funds hav been diverted from the education programme. v shd not forget tat india is the only country where there was a university a few centuries back!!!!

    2. Shahzad Waqar says:

      God bless you dear;

      Greeting in the name of Jesus Christ, UTCM (Under The Cross Ministry) works for Christian community Development in Pakistan, special focusing on Poor, Orphan and Disable Children for their Health and Education, Youth development(Spiritual, Character, Academic and vocational) and women empowerment. It’s our great desire that we work together for Christian Community Development in Pakistan.
      It’s our humble request to you always keep us in prayers.


      Shahzad Waqar
      Chairman & Founder
      Under The Cross Ministry
      Face book link; http://facebook.com/U.T.C.Ministry

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