International Aid and Private Schools for the Poor
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International Aid and Private Schools for the Poor

Smiles, Miracles and Markets

Pauline Dixon

This fascinating volume challenges the widely held belief that the state should supply, finance and regulate schooling in developing countries. Using India as an example, Dr. Pauline Dixon examines the ways in which private, for-profit schools might serve as a successful alternative to state-run systems of education in impoverished communities around the world.
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Chapter 4: The anteroom of eternity? Gaining attention from aid agencies

Smiles, Miracles and Markets

Pauline Dixon


So information about low-cost private schools in India has now reached the ears and eyes of the aid agencies, philanthropists and investors around the world. Chapter 3 provided a summary of current research data from different states in India, illustrating the extent of PUA school provision. These schools have been outperforming government ones at a fraction of the teacher cost. But now their heads have been raised above the parapet is this a good thing? A general theme throughout the book has been that the state has become more involved in schooling when one could question whether it in fact needed or even intended too. Chapter 1 showed that in both India and England in the nineteenth century there were burgeoning private sectors made up of multiple suppliers of education. Children were being educated without the input of the state. However, owing to the need and desire of governments to control what was being taught the state began to encroach on all that was good, in fact destroying and crowding out in both countries the indigenous schools that initially were imparting quite successfully the ability to read, along with other subjects.

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