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Indian Education 2017-02-13

Budget Private Schools to dominate education sector

According to the Annual Report on Budget Private Schools in India by the Centre for Civil Society, the current enrollment in private schools, aided and unaided from class 1 to 12, is 42.8 percent and it is increasing at more than 5 percent per annum.

In the Indian Education sector, while there is a special attention being paid to the quality of inputs including infrastructure, staffing and finances, little focus is paid towards improving learning outcomes with the enactment of Right to Education Act (2009), the Budget Private Schools (BPS) are contradicting the fact and are doing considerably well across urban and rural areas with introducing cost-efficient models compared to government schools.

Over the last two decades BPS have attracted steady influx of children from communities that until recently were completely dependent on government schools. This indicates that BPS have infused private education sector with the hope of affordable and quality education of choice for the poor households.

According to the Annual Report on Budget Private Schools in India by the Centre for Civil Society, the current enrollment in private schools, aided and unaided from class 1 to 12, is 42.8 percent and it is increasing at more than 5 percent per annum. Thus, private schools could soon be the dominant providers of education in the country.

Evidently BPS are proving to be critical in improving education quality at affordable cost, especially for children from lower and middle income families in India. The need of the hour is to engage with all stakeholders to leverage upon the vast pool of social capital created by BPS. But, simultaneously some specific challenges such as transparency, accountability and regulatory compliance must be addressed.

The report also states that there are two critical factors for the success of private school system. Firstly, there is a need to develop a robust ecosystem of support for private schools. There should be organisations which create innovative models for principal and teacher training, school operations, providing personalised technology solutions and access to finance. Secondly, there should be conducive, outcome-focused regulatory environment. Fortunately, there is a growing realisation in the government of the critical role of private schools.

There is now a near consensus on the need to include private (unaided) schools in any national assessment of student learning which is going to be used to benchmark states and provide useful insights on student learning. The report is a useful read for anyone interested in this sector: be it an entrepreneur planning to set up a school, a service provider working on teacher training or a policy maker interested in improving quality of private sector.

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