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Why the Denial? Low-Cost Private Schools in Developing Countries and Their Contributions to Education

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  • Pauline Dixon

Abstract

Over the past decade, low-cost private schools have burgeoned in developing countries. In some areas, the majority of children are attending the low-cost private unaided schools. Children seem to do better in low-cost private schools compared to government ones, and at a fraction of the teacher cost. Figures show that many children currently purported to be out of school are in fact attending private schools that are unregistered/unrecognised, which are often missing from official data and statistics. But many writers, including some at UNESCO and Oxfam, are in denial over the reality and potentiality of private schooling or, despite the evidence, still assume that in order to provide greater access for the poor the government sector needs to be “fixed.” According to such voices, international aid money through bilateral and multilateral aid needs to focus on government schools. This essay critically examines the arguments of some of those who discount or deny the success and potentiality of private schooling. Some initiatives are also considered that focus on aiding low-cost private schools rather than government ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Pauline Dixon, 2012. "Why the Denial? Low-Cost Private Schools in Developing Countries and Their Contributions to Education," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(3), pages 186-209, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:9:y:2012:i:3:p:186-209
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harold Alderman & Peter F. Orazem & Elizabeth M. Paterno, 2001. "School Quality, School Cost, and the Public/Private School Choices of Low-Income Households in Pakistan," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 304-326.
    2. Rob French & Geeta Kingdon, 2010. "The relative effectiveness of private and government schools in Rural India: Evidence from ASER data," DoQSS Working Papers 10-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    3. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2006. "A dime a day : the possibilities and limits of private schooling in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4066, The World Bank.
    4. Michael Kremer & Nazmul Chaudhury & F. Halsey Rogers & Karthik Muralidharan & Jeffrey Hammer, 2005. "Teacher Absence in India: A Snapshot," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 658-667, 04/05.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Carneiro & Jishnu Das & Hugo Reis, 2016. "The value of private schools: evidence from Pakistan," CeMMAP working papers CWP22/16, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Khwaja, 2014. "Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets," CID Working Papers 287, Center for International Development at Harvard University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Private schools; development; international aid; choice; UNESCO;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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