ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Private Schools for the Poor

Business as Usual?

Over the last decade the unregulated private school sector in India has been the target of advocacy groups that are projecting budget/low fee schools as a cost-efficient and equitable solution to the education of the poor and as a site for viable business options. The advocacy is couched within the neo-liberal discourse of educational markets, parental choice and school vouchers. This paper looks at some of the evidence that is available on budget/low-cost schooling in India, and the edu-business emerging around this sector in the light of aspirations of low-income parents for private education for their children. The paper concludes that while the picture on low-cost schooling is fragmentary, there appears to be little evidence or possibility of the promise of high quality education for a low fee from private players in this sector.

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