Low cost private schools may provide education to all children, educationist James Tooley said Thursday, adding that attention is not being given to such schools. Recounting his experience in Hyderabad, Tooley, a professor of education policy at the Newcastle University in Britain, who has served as a consultant for the World Bank, said he was struck by the ubiquity of private schools in a slum area.
"The parents in the slum did not want to send their children to government schools, but they sent them to a low cost private schools," he said. "This is not just the case in India, it is so in the entire developing world," Tooley said participating in a conference on school education organised by industrial body CII. Toby Linden, lead education specialist at the World Bank, stressed that Indian government has not been trying to find new ways to use finance education.
"The same pattern has been repeated over years, they are not thinking of creative ways to use finance for the education sector," he said. A recent report by NGO Pratham released earlier this year showed the enrolment level in schools has made significant strides with 97 percent of children now in schools, compared with 93 percent in 2005. However, the quality of learning as measured by reading, writing, and arithmetic, has not shown much improvement as per the report. The study also noted that there has been a steady increase in private school enrolment from 18.7 percent in 2006 to 29 percent in 2013.