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Private education under the radar

James Tooley argues that private education is cheaper and more effective than public education.

For instance, in Lagos State, the mean maths score advantage over government schools was about 15 and 19 percentage points more respectively in private registered and unregistered schools, while in English it was 23 and 30 percentage points more.

More striking: enrollment at private schools in Africa is hugely under-reported, and  efforts to provide free primary education may have encouraged parents to move children from the private to the public sector, saving money but making no impact on educational standards.

In Ga District, Ghana, 64 percent of school children attend private unaided schools and in Lagos State we estimate that 75 percent of school children are in private schools - with a larger proportion in unregistered private schools (33 percent of the total) than in government schools (25 percent).

Via the Institute of Development Studies ID21 Viewpoint series, which is worth a look.


Submitted by Agnès (Aggie) Alando-Hoffer on
For most parents living in rural areas and the slums in urban areas of Africa, free primary education is not about "saving" money. It's about enabling their children to develop literacy and numeracy skills, to begin with. Figures from two districts in two countries do not reflect the socio-economic realities. Universal Primary Education and Education For All in Africa are not going to be achieved by promoting private schools where the lucky few will attend and obtain excellent grades.

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