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The Private Schooling Phenomenon in India: A Review

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  • Kingdon, Geeta G.

    () (University College London)

Abstract

This paper examines the size, growth, salaries, per-pupil-costs, pupil achievement levels and cost-effectiveness of private schools, and compares these with the government school sector. Official data show a steep growth of private schooling and a corresponding rapid shrinkage in the size of the government school sector in India, suggesting parental abandonment of government schools. Data show that a very large majority of private schools in most states are 'low-fee' when judged in relation to: state per capita income, per-pupil expenditure in the government schools, and the officially-stipulated rural minimum wage rate for daily-wage-labour. This suggests that affordability is an important factor behind the migration towards and growth of private schools. The main reason for the very low fee levels in private schools is their lower teacher salaries, which the data show to be a small fraction of the salaries paid in government schools; this is possible because private schools pay the market-clearing wage, which is depressed by a large supply of unemployed graduates in the country, whereas government schools pay bureaucratically determined minimum-wages. Private schools' substantially lower per-student-cost combined with their students' modestly higher learning achievement levels, means that they are significantly more cost-effective than government schools. The paper shows how education policies relating to private schools are harmful when formulated without seeking the evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Kingdon, Geeta G., 2017. "The Private Schooling Phenomenon in India: A Review," IZA Discussion Papers 10612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10612
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2013. "The Aggregate Effect of School Choice: Evidence from a Two-stage Experiment in India," NBER Working Papers 19441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sangeeta Goyal, 2009. "Inside the house of learning: the relative performance of public and private schools in Orissa," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 315-327.
    3. Chudgar, Amita & Quin, Elizabeth, 2012. "Relationship between private schooling and achievement: Results from rural and urban India," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 376-390.
    4. Kingdon, Geeta, 1996. "The Quality and Efficiency of Private and Public Education: A Case-Study of Urban India," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 57-82, February.
    5. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2007. "The progress of school education in India," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 168-195, Summer.
    6. 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.
    7. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2007. "The progress of school education in India," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 168-195, Summer.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    private schooling; learning achievement; value for money; India;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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