Advertisement

Trends in Private and Public Schooling

  • Geeta Gandhi KingdonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)

Abstract

Private fee-charging schools are a visibly ubiquitous phenomenon in both urban and rural Uttar Pradesh. Despite their preponderance and growth, and the public expectation of inclusivity from them, relatively little is known about the nature of private schools in the country, and much of the media and public discussion about them happens in a vacuum of hard facts. This review unravels the enigma by presenting evidence on several important facets of private schools and benchmarks these. It examines the size, growth, salaries, per-pupil costs, pupil achievement levels and cost-effectiveness of private schools in Uttar Pradesh and compares these with the government school sector. Official data presented here show a steep growth of private schooling and a corresponding rapid shrinkage in public schooling in UP, suggesting parental abandonment of government schools. Fee data from the National Sample Survey 2014–15 shows that, contrary to popular perception, a very high proportion of private schools in UP caters to the poor, where 32% of private school students pay fee less than Rs. 100 pm, and 84% pay fee less than Rs. 500 pm. Only 8% of private school-going children in UP pay fees of more than Rs. 1000 pm, and only 1.5% pay more than 2500 pm. In other words, the elite high-fee private schools visible in urban centres are a tiny proportion of the totality of private schools and are unrepresentative of private schooling in the state as a whole. A striking finding is that the median fee of private schools in UP is only 6.5% of the government schools’ per-pupil expenditure. The evidence on fee levels thus suggests that affordability is an important factor behind the growth of private schools in UP. The main reasons for the low fee levels in private schools are firstly the competition they face from other private schools and, secondly, their low teacher salaries, which the data show to be a small fraction of the salaries paid in government schools. Low salaries are possible because private schools pay the market-clearing wage, which is depressed by a large supply of unemployed graduates, whereas government schools pay bureaucratically determined high minimum wages. Private schools’ substantially lower per-student costs combined with their students’ modestly higher learning achievement levels mean that they are significantly more cost-effective than government schools. The realisation that the bulk of private schooling in Uttar Pradesh is ‘low fee’ is significant because perceptions about the nature of private schools affect how they are judged in the media, in courts, and within government, e.g., with hostility or sympathy; as elitist or inclusive; as extractive/profiteering or as contributors to the educational effort; as lawbreakers (due to their inability to comply with all the stipulated infrastructure norms); or as budget schools that give poor people access to learning. The paper presents data that permits evidence-based judgments to be made about private schools, and it showcases how education policies can be flawed when made without seeking the evidence.

Keywords

Government schools Migration to private schools Benchmarking of fee levels Learning outcomes Value of money from schools 

References

  1. ASER. (various years). Annual Status of Education Report, ASER Centre, Pratham, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  2. ASER (ASER Trends). (2015). Annual Status of Education Report, ASER Centre, Pratham, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  3. Azam, M., Kingdon, G. G., & Wu, K. B. (2016). The impact of private secondary schooling on cognitive skills: Evidence from India. Education Economics, 24(5), 465–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chudgar, A., & Quin, E. (2012). Relationship between private schooling and achievement: Results from rural and urban India. Economics of Education Review, 31, 376–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Desai, S., Dubey, A., Vanneman, R., & Banerji, R. (2008). Private schooling in India: A new educational landscape. India Human Development Survey Working Paper No. 11.Google Scholar
  6. Dongre, A., & Kapur, A. (2016, September 24). Trends in public expenditure on elementary education in India. Economic and Political Weekly, 51(39).Google Scholar
  7. French, R., & Kingdon, G. G. (2010). The relative effectiveness of private and government schools in Rural India: Evidence from ASER data. Department of Quantitative Social Science, DQSS Working paper, 10-03, Institute of Education, University of London.Google Scholar
  8. Goyal, S. (2009). Inside the house of learning: The relative performance of public and private schools in Odisha. Education Economics, 17(3), 315–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. IMRB Surveys. (2009, 2014). Commissioned by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.Google Scholar
  10. Kingdon, G. G. (1996). The quality and efficiency of public and private education: A case study of urban India. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 58(1), 57–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kingdon, G. G. (2007, Summer). The progress of school education in India. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 23(2), 168–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kingdon, G. G. (2017a). The private schooling phenomenon in India: A review. IZA Discussion Paper Series IZA DP No. 10612, IZA—Institute of Labor Economics, Bonn. Accessed at http://ftp.iza.org/dp10612.pdf.
  13. Kingdon, G. G. (2017b). The private schooling phenomenon in India: A review. Working Paper No. 17-06, Department of Quantitative Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London.Google Scholar
  14. Kingdon, G. G., & Muzammil, M. (2015). Government per pupil expenditure in Uttar Pradesh: Implications for the reimbursement of private schools under the RTE Act. CSAE Working Paper WPS/2015-18-2, Department of Economics, University of Oxford. Also accessible at http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/csae-wps-2015-18-2.pdf.
  15. Kingdon, G. G., Sinha, S., Kaul, V., with Bhargava, G., & Pental, K. (2016, April). Value for money from public education expenditure on elementary education in India. Discussion Paper Series, Education Global Practice, South Asia Region, World Bank, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  16. Muralidharan, K., & Kremer, M. (2008). Public and private schools in rural India. In R. Chakrabarti & P. Petersen (Eds.), School choice international: Exploring public–private partnerships. Boston, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  17. Muralidharan, K., & Sundararaman, V. (2013). The aggregate effect of school choice: Evidence from a two-stage experiment in India. NBER Working Paper, 19441.Google Scholar
  18. NISA. (2014). National Sources on RTE, Reports and case studies, National Independent School Alliance, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  19. NSS. (2014–2015). National Sample Survey, National Sample Survey Organization, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  20. Ramachandran, V. (2015). Teachers in the Indian education system: Synthesis of a nine-state study. National University of Educational Planning and Administration, NUEPA, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  21. Singh, A. (2015). Private school effects in urban and rural India: Panel estimates at primary and secondary school ages. Journal of Development Economics, 113, 16–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Srivastava, P. (2013). Low fee private schooling: Issues and evidence. In P. Srivastava (ed.), Low-fee private schooling: Aggravating equity or mitigating disadvantage? Oxford studies in comparative education series. Oxford: Symposium Books.Google Scholar
  23. Tooley, J., & Dixon, P. (2005). An inspector calls: The regulation of ‘budget’ private schools in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. International Journal of Educational Development, 25, 269–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wadhwa, W. (2009). Are private schools really performing better than government schools? Annual Status of Education Report, Pratham, New Delhi.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCL Institute of EducationUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations