In India, poor parents are increasingly voting with their hard-earned money and choosing private schools over “free” government or public schools.
Indeed, many parents send their sons to private schools and daughters to government schools, for lack of money. While universal primary schooling is now a reality, there is still high dropout at the secondary level – again, especially for girls. We can debate how to make public schools better – as many are rightly doing, and Gyanada plans to be a part of that discussion as well.
But right now data from Pratham’s ASER reports, MIT Poverty Action Lab’s rigorous studies and other sources tell us that private schools are what parents and students want because they deliver better results even after adjusting for socio-economic characteristics for the class intake. Moreover, such philanthropy also doubles up as a public policy demonstrator as often budget private schools in India achieve these results at a fraction of the cost of government schools.
Here at Gyanada Foundation we endorse and advocate for low cost private schools as an alternative pathway to receiving a better education, often in the communities they live in.
To us, private vs public is not merely a question of public policy. It is about whether or not we can improve academic outcomes, and thus quality of lives, right now. Each additional year a girl has of school increases her income by 20%. With the availability of low-cost private alternatives to public schools across India, even in rural areas, we believe we are able to offer a choice to parents.
The research continues to show that students in private schools outperforms those in public schools. Whether or not this is causation or correlation is something which is still being researched, with some preliminary evidence from independent sources reinforcing our hypothesis on private schools (ASER, Poverty Action Lab, and many others). We continue to monitor the policy debates, and to also track the performance of the schools and families we work with in a rigorous manner.
Donors receive special and frequent access to their sponsored child’s academic results. We welcome all debate and discussion on this and other policy matters.