Private Education in Developing Nations
Education can make or break someone’s ability to be successful. It is important to provide education universally, but education must be of quality. Private education has been able to provide this higher quality education to children in low-income areas internationally. Here is some information about private education in developing nations like India.

Private Education in India

In a study involving 918 schools in three “slum” zones in Hyderabad’s Old City, 24% of people receive public education while 11.4% attend private schools while receiving assistance with funding. Meanwhile, 23.1% attend private schools (unregistered) and 41.5% attend private institutions (registered). The majority of funding for private schools comes from charitable trusts, societies or community groups.

The student to teacher ratios for private schools was much less than public schools. In fact, registered private schools had a 27:1 student to teacher ratio while public schools had a 42:1 ratio. Teacher absenteeism was also higher for public schools than private schools. In recognized private schools, teachers were absent 2.5% of the time, whereas public schools had a 25.4% absent rate among teachers. Private schools also had better access to resources including clean drinking water with 99.5% of private school students having access to clean water while only 57.5% of public school students have clean water access.

In India, there is a pattern of private schools having better access to resources. These resources include desks, chairs, fans, technology, blackboards, playgrounds, toilets, libraries, lighting, televisions and computers. With better access to resources, one can see why private school students scored 22-23% higher in maths than public school students and even higher in English. The lack of resources could also explain why private school teachers tend to have more dedication to their work, even though they receive less pay. One can surmise that a teacher may find it difficult to dedicate themselves to their work without the correct tools to do their job.

India is no outlier. In fact, countries like Ghana, China and Nigeria have also seen significantly better results and quality of education for students attending private schools rather than public ones.

Why Do People Go Private?

Many can acknowledge that the key to economic prosperity is education. For many developing nations, this involves investing in public education. If the investments that governments make are not enough to provide good quality schooling, then the people attending public schools simply have to wait for the government to invest more. This is inefficient and has led to the creation of many private schools globally. These frequently exist in developing nations’ poorer neighborhoods.

A misconception is that private education in developing nations would cost more to low-income families than public schools. Though this may be true in some cases, public schools often operate so poorly that parents still have to pay for school supplies, transportation and tutors because of high rates of teacher absenteeism. Private school is a better investment. Additionally, many of these private schools have given scholarships to orphans or children of the heavily impoverished. In Hyderabad’s slums, 20% of children attend private schools on a need-based scholarship.

How Do Private Schools Succeed?

The reason that private schools can succeed is that they provide more resources to their teachers. Children taking part in private education perform better than those in public schools, despite costing a third of what public schools do. Even though private education can be extremely cheap, sometimes at $1 per week, they can budget and invest in resources. This might be because private schools pay their teachers less so they can reallocate funds to resources. This is not necessarily bad for the teachers as they are able to do more in their job with more resources, which means they enjoy it more.

An Example

Peace High school is a private school with 285 students and 13 teachers in Hyderabad run by Mohammed Wajid. Wajid began teaching in 10th grade while attending another private school in the area. The school has a courtyard, slides and pet rabbits. The school used to be an old home, and though the infrastructure needs much work, the school’s staff has a genuine desire to better the lives of children in the neighborhood through education. Many of the staff dedicate their weekends to science competitions and cyber-Olympics. Many of the challenges with the school were external including pollution, loud streets and temperature. The school charges $1.33 to $2.22 per month which many parents have been able to pay.

The Role of Donating

Some private schools do very well with philanthropic aid from charities and organizations globally. Education is a key tool in being able to invest in countries, create jobs and help people provide for themselves in the long term. It is important to acknowledge that many of the issues public schools face are because of their poor funding and inability to attract students who can spend more time studying. The world must not only invest in private education in developing nations but also support developing nations to invest in public education.

– Hope Arpa Chow
Photo: Flickr