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Could for-profit private education benefit the poor? Some a priori considerations arising from case study research in India

Lookup NU author(s): Professor James Tooley


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A low-cost private education sector is acknowledged to be serving the poor in developing countries, including India. However, it is widely accepted that this sector cannot provide a route towards 'education for all'. This conclusion is explored in the light of case study evidence from low-income areas of Hyderabad, India. Private education may be beneficial to the poor-especially in terms of greater accountability to parents leading to higher levels of teacher commitment. Moreover, de facto, although not de jure,for-profit education exists in low-income areas, with levels of profit such as to attract entrepreneurs into the market, and hence may be beneficial to the poor by expanding their choices. Objections to a role for private, for-profit education are explored. These include justifications for state education, including arguments for equity, externalities, the human right of education and the argument of history, none of which appear conclusive as objections.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tooley J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Education Policy

Year: 2007

Volume: 22

Issue: 3

Pages: 321-342

ISSN (print): 0268-0939

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5106

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/02680930701278625


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