Tuesday, January 03, 2006

On private education

Marginal Revolution points me to an interesting article in the Washington Post on the rise of private education in India.
Something similar is happening to the Indian school system...Since the early 1990s the percentage of 6-to-14-year-olds attending private school has jumped from less than a tenth to roughly a quarter of the total in that cohort, according to India's National Council of Applied Economic Research.
For such a startling rise to take place in such a short space of time should give everyone involved in the debate over the government's education white paper pause for thought. There are a billion people in India. If a quarter of them are going to have good quality private education, that's 250 million highly qualified people entering the marketplace. The implications for the global economy are going to be profound - many of these people will be competing directly with the UK for high value-added jobs.

While the UK government dithers over last-century issues like equality, Indians have taken their futures in their own hands and are embracing private education, rejecting poor quality state teaching. And it's not just the wealthy:
James Tooley of the University of Newcastle in Britain has found that in some Indian slums about two-thirds of the children attend private schools, many of which are not officially recognized and so may escape the attention of nationwide surveys.
It's hard to see how future generations of UK graduates will be able to compete, saddled as they are with the state. This is only going to get worse now that Cameron's Conservatives seem to have rejected meaningful reform of the schooling system.

The only chance now seems to be for no frills private education (like the New Model School) to take off in the UK too. Anyone know how it's getting on?