in India are failing its poorest students. In recent unannounced inspections of state
schools in poor urban and rural areas:
half of the teachers were doing their jobs, that is, teaching.
school's headmaster was present at only 40 percent of the schools.
when the teachers were in the classroom, many would extort money from the students for the "favor" of teaching.
While only half of
the population has access to free secondary schools, even those who do have access choose one of the new private schools that
are popping up instead. In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh alone there are an estimated 5,000 private primary and secondary
schools, 40 percent of which are legally unrecognized by the government.
the free government education, free lunches and free uniforms to pay a fee of 40-80 rupees per month ($10 to $20 per year),
which is significant by Indian standards, to send their children to private schools. The private schools teach in English,
which parents think will better prepare their children for national and international opportunities than state schools taught
in the vernacular.
are hampered by government regulations, and many are unrecognized by the government.
- To be recognized a school must deposit 50,000 rupees into a government account, an impossibility for most small
- Teachers must be qualified in the local vernacular, and there are no state-offered qualifications for English
- Only state-recognized schools can register with the government examination boards, and only such examinations
are recognized by colleges universities and government.
However, the private schools have proved to be ingenious. Students at unrecognized schools sit for
their exams at another friendly recognized school as private candidates.
Source: James Tooley,
"Private Schools for the Poor in India,"
Economic Affairs, June 2000, Institute of Economic Affairs.