OXFORD STUDIES IN COMPARATIVE EDUCATION

Low-fee Private Schooling: aggravating equity or mitigating disadvantage?

Edited by PRACHI SRIVASTAVA – 2013 paperback 220 pages US$48.00

Low-fee private schooling represents a point of heated debate in the international policy context of Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals. While on the one hand there is an increased push for free and universal access with assumed State responsibility, reports on the mushrooming of private schools targeting socially and economically disadvantaged groups in a range of developing countries, particularly across Africa and Asia, have emerged over the last decade. Low-fee private schooling has, thus, become a provocative and illuminating area of research and policy interest on the impacts of privatisation and its different forms in developing countries.

This edited volume aims to add to the growing literature on low-fee private schooling by presenting seven studies in five countries (Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan), and is bookended by chapters analysing some of the evidence and debates on the topic thus far.

The book presents research findings from studies across three levels of analysis that have proven relevant in the study of low-fee private schooling: the household, school and state. Chapters address household schooling choice behaviours regarding low-fee private and competing sectors; the management, operation and relative quality of low-fee private schools; and changes to the regulatory frameworks governing low-fee private schools, and the impact of low-fee private schools on those frameworks.

The book does not seek to provide definitive answers since, as an emerging and evolving area of study, this would be premature. Instead, it aims to call attention to the need for further systematic research on low-fee private schooling, and to open up the debate by presenting studies that use a range of methods and, owing to the context specificity of the issue, draw different conclusions. The hope is that these studies may serve as springboards to further research.

Finally, the book does not aim to snuff out the political and vociferous debate surrounding low-fee private schooling and private provision more broadly, or to erase the complications that abound in conducting research in this area, but to engage with them.

The hope is that as the 2015 target date for Education for All and Millennium Development Goals approaches, this book may help us get closer to answering the question: do low-fee private schools aggravate equity or mitigate disadvantage?

Contents

  • Prachi Srivastava. Low-fee Private Schooling: issues and evidence
  • Kwame Akyeampong & Caine Rolleston. Low-fee Private Schooling in Ghana: is growing demand improving equitable and affordable access for the poor?
  • Shailaja Fennell. Low-fee Private Schools in Pakistan: a blessing or a bane?
  • Pauline Dixon, James Tooley & Ian Schagen. The Relative Quality of Private and Public Schools for Low-income Families Living in Slums of Nairobi, Kenya
  • Jonathan M.B. Stern & Stephen P. Heyneman. Low-fee Private Schooling: the case of Kenya
  • Joanna Härmä & Folasade Adefisayo. Scaling Up: challenges facing low-fee private schools in the slums of Lagos, Nigeria
  • Yuki Ohara. The Regulation of Unrecognised Low-fee Private Schools in Delhi: potential implications for India’s Right to Education Act
  • Salman Humayun, Rizwana Shahzad & Roger Cunningham. Regulating Low-fee Private Schools in Islamabad: a study in policy and practice
  • Geoffrey Walford. Low-fee Private Schools: a methodological and political debate