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'De facto' privatisation of education and the poor: Implications of a study from sub-Saharan Africa and India

Lookup NU author(s): Professor James Tooley, Professor Pauline Dixon


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Three types of privatisation are identified-involving demand-side financing, reforms to the educational supply-side and de facto privatisation, where responsibilities are transferred to the private sector, through the rapid growth of private schools, rather than through reform or legislation. Although de facto privatisation may arise because of parental dissatisfaction with state education, it is perceived as undesirable in the literature. Findings from a recent study on private schools in Ghana, Nigeria and India are outlined to explore this issue. The results show a majority of enrolment is in private schools in poor urban and peri-urban areas, and a significant minority in rural areas. Regarding teacher activity, private schools appear superior to government schools, while private school children outperform government children on maths and English, even though expenditure on teacher salaries is much lower in private than government schools. In the context of this evidence, three major objections to the place of de facto privatisation in meeting the educational needs of the poor are explored and challenged.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tooley J, Dixon P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Compare

Year: 2006

Volume: 36

Issue: 4

Pages: 443-462

ISSN (print): 0305-7925

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3623

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/03057920601024891


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