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Education

In India, reforms in regulation of private schools have been argued on the basis of universalizing access to education while recognizing the increasing role of private in enabling that access, particularly for the poor. However, the experience so far has been that the regulations create entry and exit barriers in the provision of education by entrepreneurs thereby reducing competition and keeping the cost of education high. It is in this context that regulation of private education is observed in the case studies to better understand how governments in other parts of the world have managed to harness private investment in education for the benefits of the society in general. The study examines three cases of best practices from around the world:

  1. Regulation of Hagwon/supplemental education centres in South Korea,
  2. Per-child funding model in the Netherlands, and
  3. Punjab Education Foundation in Pakistan.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.