Issue # 306 | 11 November 2014









School Choice National Conference: Freedom in Education


School Choice National Conference (SCNC) is an annual event that provides a much needed platform to identify critical issues in the education sector, review existing programs, explore strategies to face the challenges ahead and ideate on ingenious solutions to provide quality education to all children in India.

For more information, contact Rohan Joshi; M: +91-96501 27755; E:

Click here to register


How Much Does India Spend Per Student on Elementary Education?


Recent years have seen significant changes in the landscape of elementary education (EE) in India. Yet, updated estimates on public and private expenditure on EE are not available. This paper fills the gap by providing a methodology and estimates of per student public expenditure on children enrolled in government schools, and per student private expenditure on children enrolled in private unaided schools, for major states in India for the year 2011-12. The paper also provides estimates of total (public and private) expenditure on EE. Our findings indicate that India spent 1.75% of the GDP (centre and states combined) on EE, while private expenditure was at least 0.71% of the GDP in 2011-12. Richer states spent less on EE as a % of their GDP but more in terms of absolute amounts, compared to the poorer states. Preliminary analysis indicates a strong relationship between per student public expenditure and learning levels. But this does not mean that more expenditure is needed to improve learning levels because government expenditure on EE is highly inefficient. It produces low levels of outcomes at high expenditure. Changing this requires prioritising learning outcomes and demanding accountability toward learning outcomes from all officials, above everything else.






Private Schools for the Poor


Throughout the developing world, private schools have stepped up to the challenge of providing low-cost basic education for the poor. Millions of children don’t have access to quality education, and private schools are making strides to close that gap. To date, however, private schools are held back by a litany of challenges, above all access to finance and inhibiting regulations. This paper, part of Endeva’s “Next Endeavour” series, describes the nascent inclusive business ecosystem surrounding private education and how different actors support these businesses. The paper identifies opportunities for more action to unleash their potential.




Low Cost Private Schools for the Poor: What Public Policy is Appropriate?


Recent attention has focused on the existence of non-government schools that cater to children from low-income families. These schools can now be found in the majority of developing countries, many of which have a prescribed public policy to provide free public education. This raises the question, why would a low-income family choose to send a child to a fee-paying school if a place in a free school were available? This paper will report on case studies of low-fee schools in Jamaica, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Indonesia and Pakistan and will assess the reasons for their increased demand. In the past, some have argued that development assistance agencies should limit assistance to public school sector. Others have argued that the public sector is inadequate and in many ways has failed in its ambitions to provide a minimum quality for every child.
This paper will consider what public policy should be toward low-cost private schools, including the policy of development assistance agencies which seek to assist low and middle income countries as well as the appropriate public policy for national and local governments. 




How Responsive is Investment in Schooling to Changes in Redistributive Policies and in Returns?


This paper uses an unusual pay reform to test the responsiveness of investment in schooling to changes in redistribution schemes that increase the rate of return to education. We exploit an episode where different Israeli kibbutzim shifted from equal sharing to productivity-based wages in different years and find that students in kibbutzim that reformed earlier invested more in high school education and, in the long run, also in post-secondary schooling. We further show that the effect is mainly driven by students in kibbutzim that reformed to a larger degree. Our findings support the prediction that education is highly responsive to changes in the redistribution policy.


Challenges to School Edupreneurs in the Existing Policy Environment: Case Study of Delhi and Gujarat


The Indian education ecosystem today consists of the government, private sector, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have helped provide education to millions of children. The enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), in 2009 should have enhanced private sector participation manifold. However, given the current legal framework, the environment is not conducive for the entry and sustenance of private players. Given this context, this paper seeks to examine the current legislative framework in Delhi and Gujarat, which is acting as a bottleneck for edupreneurs to enter the education sector.

The first section of the paper consists of a brief literature review on the current role of government and private sector in providing education in India. The second section elaborates on the current legislation in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi and the state of Gujarat. The third section enumerates the licenses and documents required to open a school and to obtain a Certificate of Recognition in Delhi and Gujarat. The final section contains the conclusion based on the research conducted.


Analysis of School Fee Regulation in India


India’s government schools are often mistaken to be the only option for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Private school enrollment has been increasing at rates comparable to government schools even after the government started implementing its flagship program, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for universalising education. The percentage of children in the 6-14 years age group in rural India enrolled in private schools increased from 18.7 percent in 2006 to 29 percent in 2013 (Annual Status of Education Report 2014). The figures for urban India were estimated to be around 58 percent in 2005 by the Indian Human Development Survey and could only have increased (Muralidharan, A Renewed Model of Education 2014). This is a clear indicator that parents prefer private schools, if they can afford it. It may also be noted that the number of private schools which charge very low fees and function in low income areas have been identified to be on the increase, in response to this demand (Baird 2009).




Classroom Divisions


There an scarcely be two words in Kenya that cause more resentment than “school fees”. It is now more than ten years since charges for state primary schools in east Africa's biggest economy were abolished by law. Yet it is an open secret that education is not truly free. In fact, fees are rising. Dorcas Mutoku, a policeman's wife whose two sons attend a public primary school in the capital, Nairobi, has found that levies have simply been renamed. She has to find the equivalent of $35 for a one-off “signing-on” fee, and pay almost as much again for admission fees. End-of-term exams, uniforms and books cost at least another $10 per child.




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