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The paper examines the current state of funding of school education in India and identifies the inefficiencies and arbitrary nature of allocation of the system and suggests an alternative per-child funding model. The paper argues for the model on the basis of school choice and decentralized school administration, which would result in schools competing to be efficient in spending to attract/maintain students. The paper draws from such existing models in countries like Canada, Netherlands and UK while using the San Francisco School District's model as a detailed case study to further strengthen the argument for such a per-child model of funding.

Budget Private Schools (BPS) are privately-run schools that charge very low fees, operating among the poorer sections of the society and have become relevant to the education discourse of India. Such small schools began mushrooming in the late 1980s across developing countries as alternatives to dysfunctional state-run schools and India was no exception. However, the in the succeeding two decades, BPS contributed heavily to the soaring enrollment rates in private schools. These schools have been referred to in literature as “low-fee private schools”, “affordable private schools” and “private schools for the poor” among others, and are considered an entrepreneurial response to meet urgent education needs by expanding access to the poorest children. Despite lack of infrastructure and facilities, studies over the past decade has shown that learning outcomes in these schools are equal to or better than those of far more resourceful government schools. Despite huge spending over the past decade and more, the government still faces the challenges of millions of out-of-school children, high dropout rates after elementary education and low female enrolment among other things. It is in this context that existing literature on such low-fee charging private schools is being analysed to gain a better understanding of the situation in different parts of India about the achievements, challenges and overarching role of Budget Private Schools (BPS) in India’s school education ecosystem.

Studies published in the late 1990’s to as recent as 2014 have been included in the analysis and this meta-study has attempted to capture as wide a range of issues related to BPS from learning outcomes and regulations to gender problems and questions of equity while trying to maintain as much geographic coverage as possible at the same time. This study aims to understand why parents are increasingly choosing to send their children to BPS even in places with access to government-run schools, how children in BPS are performing relative to government schools and how regulations are affecting the functioning of BPS, besides trying to gain some clarity about the direction in which education in India is headed in this context.

The paper reports on existing incentive structures in a sample of government and private schools in Delhi and elicits teachers’ perspectives on factors which motivate them. It is found that performance-related pay and promotions are important monetary incentives for teachers. Recognition, regular evaluation and monitoring and contractual based employment are found to be important non-monetary incentives. Having a large class size, having to teach subjects outside of a teacher’s expertise and performing clerical duties are found to be some significant disincentives for teachers.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009 ratified education as a fundamental right and seeks to promote equitable access to education for all children up to the age of 14 years. However, the Act focuses almost entirely on school inputs and not on learning outcomes. The lack of a focus on output has been accompanied by poor learning outcomes, increased pressure on government capacity and the implementation of policies that may not necessarily give the returns in terms of improving outcomes. In this paper, we argue for a case to shift the focus of education investment from inputs to outcomes, outlining the recognition norms defined under the RTE. We review the literature available to examine whether a correlation between input norms and learning outcomes exists and make recommendations for an outcomes-focused policy approach to improving the quality of education.

The Union education budget has seen an increase in monetary allocation every year and the enrolment rate across the country has also been largely moving upwards. It becomes important to scrutinise the education budget for 2014-15 to understand how the new government has approached the education sector, especially elementary and secondary education. This paper looks at four major schemes undertaken by the Government of India in the education sector,and identifies trends in state education budgets by analysing data for three sample states—Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

This report analyses the current regulatory framework of higher education in India and highlights areas that require important policy reforms in order to encourage greater private participation. This participation would eventually lead to a more competitive environment in the higher education sector and foster growth, which is needed to achieve the target of 10% increase in Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) set by the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP).

India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world, primarily dominated by private players who account for 60% of the total institutes and 64% of total enrolment of students. The higher education sector in India has a three-tier structure comprising the university, college and course. This forms a vital link with the regulatory structure, and with accreditation agencies playing the key role in maintaining quality and standards in this sector.

In addition to some new insights, this report validates the oft-repeated complaints against regulations that govern higher education research in India – that it is opaque, mired in complexity and tough to navigate. A number of recent studies have covered the broad contours of what needs to change, including the 2013 report ‘Higher Education in India: Vision 2030’ by FICCI and E&Y, and the 2006 study by Pawan Agarwal ‘Higher Education in India: the need for change’, conducted under the aegis of ICRIER. This report builds on the existing research and focuses on the following two areas:

  1. The higher education landscape, in terms of the linkages and broad rules governing the three-tier structure of universities, colleges and courses
  2. Specifics of reforms needed in the legislations studied for various kinds of private institutions in this sector. The comparative matrix should serve as a ready-resource on how three states, and the different university/college routes fare on entry, operations and exit barriers for private players.

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The paper explains the legal aspects of the regulation of school fees in India, focusing on Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. It examines, with the help of secondary data, what the current situations in these states are, post-implementation of the Regulation of Collection of Fee Acts. The paper uses existing literature on price controls to examine the economic impact of price control and further tries to understand how private schools in the two states are coping with the problems that these Acts have brought upon them, with the help of both primary data collected from school owners in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, and secondary data in the form of newspaper reports.

This paper argues that the current wording and enforcement of S.18 and S.19 of the Right to Education Act goes against the spirit and objective of the constitutional right to education and the RTE Act 2009. Being selective and discriminatory, the enforcement targets private schools only and penalizes them for inadequate compliance with necessary-but-not-sufficient norms. The paper further argues that S.18, 19 and the Schedule of RTE Act must be amended on the lines of Gujarat Rules to become output-focused, applicable and enforceable to both private as well as government schools and certification-based rather than licensure-based. The paper provides a draft amendment to achieve the said objectives.

With the objective of shifting regulatory focus towards some of the above issues, Centre for Civil Society brought together some of India’s eminent educationists and thought leaders to identify specific amendments to the RTE Act, which would ensure quality education for all in India. Key concerns regarding the structure and impact of the RTE were discussed, and based on this, recommendations for amendments to the RTE Act 2009 have been drafted. RTE 2.0: Building Consensus on Amendments truly aimed at weeding out the pain areas in the existing scheme of things, finding out what works and what doesn’t, and introducing actual amendments to the text of the Act.

This is an in-depth research conducted in two districts of Punjab – Barnala and Mansa – to understand the impact of school closures on various stakeholders namely students, parents, school owners and teachers. The purpose of conducting this study has been two fold. Firstly, to understand any monetary and non-monetary implications of school closure on the various stakeholders and secondly, to explore any irregularities involved in the procedural mechanism for shutting down a school. The field study was conducted in 32 schools covering both districts in the form of Focussed group discussions (FGD) and Semi-Structured Interviews (SSI).