IN 2003, James Tooley, a professor at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, completed and published the results of a year-long survey of private schools for children of low-income families in Hyderabad. ‘Private Schools for the Poor: A Case Study from India’, as the report was titled, found an astounding 61 percent of all pupils in Hyderabad district — much higher than official figures — were enrolled in private, unaided schools. This included, of course, the wealthy and the poor.
Narrowing down to 15 private schools in low-income and slum areas — “an arbitrary selection… to ensure a balance of neighbourhoods and fee ranges” — Tooley and his researchers concluded teacher truancy and school responsiveness rates here compared favourably with government schools. For this, parents — “daily paid labourers, market traders or rickshaw drivers” — were willing to pay fees “in the range of five to 10 percent of the father’s annual income”. The average tuition fee in the selected schools was Rs 116 per month. Read More>
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