James Tooley and Pauline Dixon


Drive across the low highway viaduct toward Victoria Island in the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria, and you see the shantytown  of Makoko, home to an estimated 50,000 people, sprawling out into the black waters below. Wooden huts on stilts stretch out  into the lagoon; young men punt and women paddle dug-out canoes down into narrow canals weaving between the raised homes;  teenage boys stand on rocks in the water and cast their fishing nets; large wooden boats, some with noisy outboard motors,  carry fishermen out to below the highway and into the ocean beyond. Across the top of the shantytown, there is a veneer of  drifting smog created by the open fires used for cooking.

It is possibly the last place where you would expect to witness an educational revolution taking place, but that is precisely  what is happening. In Makoko-as in other poor communities around the developing world-parents are abandoning public education  en masse, disturbed by its low quality, and educational entrepreneurs are setting up private schools to cater to this demand.  These private schools, it turns out, whatever their appearances might suggest, are of higher quality than the public alternative,  achieving higher standards at a fraction of the cost of public education. Their existence provides a neat grassroots solution  to the problem that so perplexes development experts: how to achieve universal basic education-the United Nations Millennium  Summit development goal of "education for all"-by 2015.

Instead of celebrating this good news story, however, development experts are nonplussed. Whatever the experience so far, they  see public education as the only way forward, and private schools for the poor imperil that. But we believe that the people  of Makoko are on to something important. It is time the international development experts caught up with them.

Educating Makoko

To get to Makoko by road, you turn off Third Mainland Bridge, into the congested Murtal Muhammed Way, and sharply into Makoko  Street, easing past the women crowding the streets as they sell tomatoes, peppers, yams, chillies, and crayfish. At the end  of this road is the entrance to two parallel and imposing four-storey concrete buildings. These buildings contain three public  primary schools, originally church schools nationalized by the state in the 1980s, all on the same site and designed by state  officials to serve the whole population of Makoko.

Visiting these three public schools is a dispiriting experience. Because our visit was a scheduled one, the schools had had  time to prepare. Even so, in most of the classrooms, the children seemed to be doing very little. In one, the young male teacher  was fast asleep at his desk, not aroused even when the children rose to chant noisy greetings to their visitors. In others,  the teacher was sitting reading a newspaper or chatting with others outside the door, having written a few simple things on  the board, which the class had finished copying.

In one of the three schools, Grade 1 had 95 children present, with three classes combined because of long-term teacher absenteeism.  The children were doing nothing. Some were also sleeping. One girl was cleaning the windows. The one teacher was hanging around  outside the class door.

No one, certainly not the headmistress, seemed remotely embarrassed by any of this. We asked the children what lesson they  were doing. When no one responded, the head teacher bellowed at the pupils to get an answer. "It is a mathematics lesson,"she  reported pleasantly, without any sense of incongruity, for no child had a single book open.

This one of the three schools alone could accommodate 1,500 children. The headmistress told us that parents left the school  en masse a few years earlier because of teachers' strikes. Things have improved now, and children have returned, she said,  with 500 now enrolled. On the top floor of the stark building, however, there were six empty classrooms, all complete with  desks and chairs, waiting for children to return.

"Why don't parents send their children here?" we asked the headmistress. Her explanation was simple: "Parents in the slums  don't value education. They're illiterate and ignorant. Some don't even know that education is free here. But most can't be  bothered to send their children to school."

When we innocently remarked that we had heard that, perhaps, parents were sending their children to private schools instead,  we were greeted with laughter: "They are very poor families living in the slumŠ. They can't afford private education!"

She is, however, entirely wrong about this. Continue past the three public schools, past where the tarred road ends at a raised  speed bump, and enter "Apollo Street," too muddy for a vehicle. Here you need to pick your way carefully, squelching your  way from one side of the street to the other, avoiding the worst excesses of the slime and mud and the excrement and piled  rubbish. Walk alongside the huts visible from the highway-homes made of flat timbers, supported by narrow slivers of planks  sunk into the black waters below-and you come to a pink plastered concrete building with colorful pictures of children's toys  and animals and "Ken Ade Private School" emblazoned across the top of the wall.

Ken Ade Private School-not on any official list of schools and so unknown to government-is owned by Mr. Bawo Sabo Elieu Ayeseminikan,  known to everyone as "B.S.E." B.S.E. has three sites for his school: The youngest children are housed in a church hall along  Apollo Street, learning on wooden benches in front of blackboards; the middle-grade children are in the rented pink building  by the water's edge; and the eldest pupils are on B.S.E.'s own land nearby, in a building made of planks nailed to posts that  support a tin roof. B.S.E.'s ambition is to accommodate all of his children on that one site and also to open a junior secondary  school.

B.S.E. had set up the school on April 16, 1990, starting with only five children in the church hall, with parents paying fees  on a daily basis when they could afford to do so. Now he has about 200 children, from Nursery to Primary 6. The fees are about  Naira (N) 2,200 ($17) per term, or about $4 per month, but there are 25 children who come for free. "If a child is orphaned,  what can I do? I can't send her away," he says.

His motives for setting up the school are a mixture of philanthropy and commerce. Yes, he needed work and saw that there was  a demand for school places from parents disillusioned with the state schools, but his heart also went out to the children  in his community and from his church. How could he help them better themselves? True, there were the three public schools  at the end of the road, but although they were only about a kilometre from where he set up his school, the distance was a  barrier for many parents who did not want their girls walking down the crowded streets where abductors might lurk.

Mainly, however, it was the educational standards in the public school that made parents want an alternative. When they encouraged  B.S.E. to set up the school 15 years earlier, parents knew that the teachers were frequently on strike-in fairness to the  teachers, protesting about non-payment of their salaries.

We arrange to meet some parents, visiting in their homes on stilts. The parents from the community are all poor, the men usually  fishermen and the women trading in fish or selling other goods along Apollo Street. Their maximum earnings might amount to  about $50 per month, but many are on lower incomes than that. The parents tell us without hesitation that there is no question  of where they send their children if they can afford to do so: to private school. Some have one or two of their children in  the private school and one or two others in the public school, and they know well, they tell us, how differently children  are treated in each.

One woman said: "We see how children's books never get touched in the public school." Another man ventured: "We pass the public  school many days and see the children outside all of the time, doing nothing. But in the private schools, we see them everyday  working hard. In the public school, children are abandoned." One handsome young father, who was reading Shakespeare when we  approached him outside his home on stilts, said that in the private school, "the teachers are dependable."

Even more remarkably, Ken Ade Private School is not alone in Makoko. In fact, it is one of 30 private primary schools in the  shantytown. We know because we sent in a research team made up of graduate students from Nigeria's premier university, the  University of Ibadan, to find as many of the schools as we could. In the 30 private schools found, enrollment was reported  to be 3,611, all from the slum itself, while the enrollment in the three public schools was reported to be 1,709, some of  them from outside Makoko. Overall, the great majority-at least 68 percent-of all school children in Makoko attend private  school.

B.S.E. knows most of the schools and their proprietors, for 26 of them are registered with the Association of Formidable Educational  Development (AFED), a federation with which he is actively involved as Makoko chapter coordinator. The federation is only  for low-fee private schools, like the ones in Makoko, and others that exist all over Lagos State, including the rural areas.

Why was the AFED formed? In 2000, B.S.E. reports, there was a two-pronged attack to close down private schools like his. On  one front, this came from the "posh" private school association, the Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (APPS),  that represents schools charging anything from 10 to 100 times what his school charges. APPS complained to the government  about the low quality in schools like his, which prompted the government to move to close down the low-fee private schools. "We  are still fighting that battle now," B.S.E. says. "We are trying to give the people who are not so rich the privilege of having  some decent education."

Working with the AFED, the schools' proprietors fought the closure, and with a change of heart in government, they were neglected  for a bit. Then, a few months before our first visit, the government of Lagos again issued an edict saying that they must  be closed down. They are fighting this and have been given a stay of execution for six months.

Meanwhile, the association has written to all the kings in Lagos State telling them what the government is threatening, saying  that 600,000 children will be pushed out of school and thousands of staff made redundant if what is threatened comes to pass. "When  you have a headache," says B.S.E., "the solution is not to cut off the head! If the government has a problem with us, then  we can work together to help us improve, not cut us off completely!"

We spent a lot of time observing the classes in B.S.E.'s school and in every other private school we visited, usually unannounced.  With only an occasional exception, the teachers were teaching when visited; in the rare cases when a teacher was off sick,  the head teacher had set out work for the children and was keeping an eye on progress.

A typical teacher is Edamisan. He is 23, has just completed his high school diploma ("A-levels"), and wants to go to university  to read economics. He can't afford to do so, so he carries on living where he was brought up in Makoko, teaching and saving  his small salary to fund his future career. He says he feels privileged to be a teacher: "When I am teaching, I am also learning.  When I'm teaching children that the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the squares on the other two sides, I have to think  deeply: Why is that the case? And I find I learn all sorts of new things for myself."

Edamisan is clearly enthusiastic about teaching and engages all the children with him. His commitment and passion make him  exactly the sort of teacher you would want to have for yourself or your own children.

Another private school in Makoko is a French medium school, whose proprietor is from the neighboring country of Benin, serving  migrant children from the surrounding Francophone countries. This is the largest school in Makoko, with 400 children; it is  a two-storey (or "storey," as these buildings are called in Nigeria) wooden building, built on stilts.

The oldest school, Legacy, founded in 1985, is also now housed in a "storey" building, with a plank floor upstairs that creaked  and groaned as we walked along and through which we could see the classes below. When we visited at 5:00 pm, a teacher was  still teaching upstairs, voluntarily helping the senior children with preparation for their examinations. The proprietor here  had started the school by going from door to door, encouraging parents to send their children to school-there being no accessible  public school then, and he wanted his community to be literate. Then he started charging 10 kobo (10 hundredths of a Naira,  the Nigerian currency, worth less than one U.S. cent) per day. Later, he worked on making parents pay weekly fees. As his  numbers grew, he moved to monthly and then termly fees. He, like everyone else, found it a really difficult job to get the  fees from parents; and he, like everyone else, offered free places to many of his most deprived children.

Why do the private school owners act philanthropically in this way? All of the school owners interviewed came out with the  same strong message: They all live in the shantytown itself, and they all proclaim the desire to assist children of their  community. The school owner at Zico United School started his school in 1998 to "build the leaders of tomorrow." Asked why  he gives free places, he said, "Sometimes we have to carry the children along so that they are not a burden on society. Some  of the children are very brilliant, and therefore that has to be considered."

A similar story was told by the school owner at St. Mary's Nursery and Primary school. He had started with evening classes  in 1996, when students had said, "Uncle, help me with my work." He did not at first charge regular fees, instead asking parents  to give whatever they could afford, and conducted his classes in "an outside space." Then, "Two years ago, the parents asked  me to start a private school. I live in the community, and I want to help them as well as the less privileged ones.Š I give  concessionary fees and scholarships for families that have more children."

At the Ministry of Education, senior officials are unsympathetic about these schools. One prominent woman, who drives a brand-new  Mercedes, said-with no sense of irony-that poor parents send their children to the private schools as a "fake status symbol." They  are "ignoramuses," she said, wanting the symbol of private education but hoodwinked by unscrupulous businessmen. The schools  were a threat to educational standards and should all be closed down.

It is true that the school buildings-which give outsiders first impressions of the school itself-are of poor quality, but they  are no worse than the buildings where people lived. It is true that they did not normally have toilets, but neither do the  people's homes-and we also saw that children in the public school urinated in a corner of the schoolyard.

Moreover, in the private schools, unlike in the imposing public schools, the children felt at home. This was especially the  case because the teachers were drawn from the community itself and knew all its problems as well as its vibrancy. In the public  schools, the teachers often travelled for an hour or more to the school, and most said that they had never actually been inside  Makoko itself to see where their charges lived. The more we visited these schools, the more we realized how organic they were:  part of the community they served, quite unlike the public schools outside.

From Makoko to the Developing World

Makoko is one shantytown, one poor community in a developing country, but the same story is repeated elsewhere. Across the  developing world, you find people like B.S.E. who have set up schools to serve the poor, charging low fees, affordable to  the communities. And you find people like him who offer free places to the poorest of the poor, even though they are running  the schools as businesses.

For the past two years or so, we have been conducting research in poor communities like Makoko, elsewhere in Nigeria, and in  Ghana, Kenya, and India.1 In India, Ghana, and Nigeria, we found the majority of schoolchildren  in the poor areas examined attending private schools.

In the "notified slums" of three zones of Hyderabad's Old City, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, we found 918  schools, of which only 35 percent were government schools-fewer than the 37 percent of unrecognized private schools. In total,  65 percent of schoolchildren in these low-income areas attended private unaided school.

 In the Ga District of Ghana, the low-income suburban and rural area surrounding the capital city of Accra, we found 779 schools  in total, of which only 25 percent were government schools; 64 percent of schoolchildren attended private school.

 Just as in Makoko, in the "poor" areas of three other local government districts (one rural, two urban) of Lagos State, Nigeria,  we found 540 schools, of which 34 percent were government and the largest proportion (43 percent) were private unregistered.  We estimated that 75 percent of all schoolchildren were enrolled in private schools, with more children in unregistered schools  than in government ones.

 In Kenya, we looked at the urban slum of Kibera, reportedly the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, and found 76 private schools  serving around 12,000 students. Usefully, our research occurred 10 months or so after the introduction of free primary education  in January 2003. Although this was widely credited with massively increasing primary school enrollment-so much so that former  U.S. President Bill Clinton told a prime-time ABC television audience that the person he most wanted to meet was President  Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, "Because he has abolished school fees," which "would affect more lives than any president had done or  would ever do by the end of this year"2-our research suggested that the reality was different.

 This assessment did not take into account the impact on the private schools serving the slum populations, for the private  schools had suffered a huge fall in enrollment since free primary education was introduced, and at least 25 private schools  in Kibera had closed altogether. In fact, the number of children lost from private education appeared to be far greater than  the additional enrollment in the state schools bordering Kibera. At best, allowing for some exaggeration by the school owners  of the numbers of children who had left, we could infer that the additional enrollment was a result of children transferring  from private to public schools, not an overall increase in enrollment at all.

 Children transferring from the "mushrooming" private to government schools may not seem such a bad thing to some in the development  community, given the widespread assumption-shared by the senior official in the Lagos State Ministry of Education reported  above-that such private schools are of low quality. But our research explored the relative attainment of students in private  and public schools serving poor communities and found that private schools in general had a large achievement advantage.

 For instance, in Lagos State, the mean math score advantage over government schools was about 15 and 19 percentage points,  respectively, more in private registered and unregistered schools, while in English it was 23 and 30 percentage points more.  In Hyderabad, similarly, mean scores in mathematics were about 22 and 25 percentage points higher in private unrecognized  and recognized schools, respectively, than in government schools. The advantage was even more pronounced for English. When  we controlled for all relevant background variables, including family income and education, and for pupil IQ, the achievement  advantage remained.

 The private schools, including the unregistered ones, we found to be substantially outperforming government schools. Importantly,  they spend far less on teachers-a cost which is likely to make up most of school's recurrent expenditure-than do government  schools. In general, the average monthly teacher salary in a government school ranges between three to four times higher than  in an unrecognized private school.

 All of this suggests that a great success story is taking place. In particular, because so many children are in unrecognized  private schools that do not appear in government statistics, achieving universal basic education-the United Nations Millennium  Summit development goal of "education for all" by 2015-may be much easier than is currently believed.

 For instance, a recent report from the Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LASEEDS) estimates that  50 percent of "school aged" children in Lagos State are out of school.3 Assuming that this  figure applies to those in primary schools, we can use the official state figures on enrollment to get the second column of Table 1.

  However, if we add in our own estimates of the number of children in private unregistered schools-schools like B.S.E.'s-the  total of out-of-school children is sharply reduced to 26 percent of the total school-age children. Bringing 26 percent of  children into school may be much easier than bringing 50 percent into school. Nigeria's task of achieving "education for all" may  be considerably easier than is currently anticipated. These findings-and parallel ones from each of the countries surveyed-are  surely good news for the international development community.

Two Propositions in the Search for a Conclusion

 Curiously, however, that is not how the international development community sees the "mushrooming" private schools. This is  the case even though there is an acute awareness of the failures of public education. The foregoing descriptions of the Makoko  public schools fit squarely within how state education is seen by the development experts; indeed, it is a rather more sanguine  view than those reported from many other sources.

 The failures of public education for the poor are in fact well documented. For instance, the Oxfam Education Report, handbook  of the international aid agency Oxfam International, notes that "there is no doubting the appalling standard of provision  in public education across much of the developing world."4 In parts of sub-Saharan Africa,  it is reported that "education scores based on multiple-choice tests are so low that they are almost random, indicating that  there is little or no value in attending school. Under these circumstances, it is not difficult to see why many poor households regard spending on [public] education as a bad use of scarce resources."5

 Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is equally as up-front about the gross failings of state education for the poor in India in particular.  The main factor in making parents not send their children to government schools is reported to be "the discouragement effect" brought  on in part by the "abysmal quality of Indian [state] schools."6

 One major problem is teacher absenteeism. A major survey of educational provision in four northern Indian states, the Public  Report on Basic Education ("Probe Report"), produced startling findings on the quality of state schools. When researchers  called unannounced on a large random sample of government schools, in only half was there any "teaching activity" going on  at all! In fully one-third, the head teacher was absent.7 The team reported "several cases of irresponsible teachers keeping a school closed or non-functional for several months at a time; a school where the teacher  was drunkŠa headteacher who asks the children to do domestic chores, including looking after the baby; several cases of teachers  sleeping at schoolŠ; a headteacher who came to school once a weekŠand so on down the line."8

 Indeed, the Probe Team observed that in the government schools, "generally, teaching activity has been reduced to a minimum,  in terms of both time and effort." Importantly, "this pattern is not confined to a minority of irresponsible teachers-it has  become a way of life in the profession."9

 Moreover, it is not just in India that teacher absenteeism is a problem. The UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005, for  instance, reports: "random surveys in many countries confirm that teacher absenteeism remains a persistent problem. The need  to hold second jobs, lax professional standards and lack of support by education authorities are common causes."10

 Add to teacher absenteeism the problem of corruption and bribes within the state systems,11 the  lack of teacher commitment and preparation even when present in the schools,12 and the misdirection  of resources,13 and it is easy to see why development experts appear to be unanimous about  the problems of state education for the poor. In its World Development Report 2004, the World Bank calls it "government failure," with "services  so defective that their opportunity costs outweigh their benefits for most poor people."14 ActionAid  does not mince its words either: Government basic education "in many of the world's poorest countries" is "a moral outrage,  and a gross violation of human rights."15

 The same development experts, however, argue that the only way forward is more state education, assisted by billions more  in international aid. The World Development Report 2004 concludes that, just because "public provision has often failed to  create universally available and effective schooling does not imply that the solution is a radically different approach."16 Certainly,  says the World Bank, making public education work for the poor is a "formidable" challenge that will require changing both  the ways in which "foreign aid is transferred" and the ways in which governments operate: "there is no silver bulletŠ. Even  if we know what is to be done, it may be difficult to get it done. Despite the urgent needs of the world's poor people, and  the many ways services have failed them, quick results will be hard to come by. Many of the changes involve fundamental shifts  in power-something that cannot happen overnight. Making services work for poor people requires patience."17

 The experiences of Makoko and all the rest of the places we have researched, however, suggest that the poor are not showing  the required patience. The poor are not acquiescing in state failure. They may themselves have found the "silver bullet" that  is off the radar as far as the international agencies are concerned. For they are responding to the inadequacies of state  education by creating for themselves private schools to serve their needs.

 Importantly, it is not the case that this possible way forward is ignored because the international development community  is unaware of the existence of the private schools. Quite the contrary. Again, the Oxfam Education Report is typical: It states  that "the notion that private schools are servicing the needs of a small minority of wealthy parents is misplaced" and that "a  lower cost private sector has emerged to meet the demands of poor households." Indeed, there is "a growing market for private  education among poor households" and "private education is a far more pervasive fact of life than is often recognised."18

 Research in the Indian state of Haryana found that private unrecognized schools "are operating practically in every locality  of the urban centers as well as in rural areas" and are often located adjacent to a government school.19 Reporting  on evidence from the Indian states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, researchers noted that "private schools have  been expanding rapidly in recent years" and that these "now include a large number of primary schools which charge low fees," in  urban as well as rural areas.20 Serving the poor of Calcutta, there has been a "mushrooming  of privately managed unregulated pre-primary and primary schools."21

 The same phenomenon exists in sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda and Malawi, for example, private schools have "mushroomed due  to the poor quality government primary schools";22 and in Kenya, "the deteriorating quality  of public educationŠcreated demand for private alternatives."23 In sub-Saharan Africa and  Asia generally, "the poor and declining quality of public education has led to growing numbers of parents sending their children  to non-state schools"; and in southern Asia, "this amounts to a mass exodus."24

Why are Private Schools Not Part of the Solution?

 If there is this mushrooming of private schools, known to the development experts, why are these schools not celebrated as  part of the way forward in achieving "education for all"? There seem to be three practical reasons why not.

First, private schools charge fees, thus making them out of reach of the poorest.25 But why,  if these private schools are superior to government schools, as our research seems to suggest, is this seen as an insurmountable  obstacle to extending access to them? For example, creating targeted vouchers for the poorest to use at private schools, following  the private schools' own lead at offering scholarships, potentially overcomes this objection.

 Interestingly, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) notes this as a possibility: "To ensure that children from  poor families unable to pay school fees are able to attend private schools, governments could finance their education through  vouchers."26 The Oxfam Education Report also notes the success of two targeted voucher programs  in Colombia and Pakistan, the latter targeted at girls.27 Neither agency, however, then makes  what seems to us the obvious connection in seeing these private schools as a valuable way forward.

 The second objection questions whether high-quality provision could exist in private schools serving the poor because levels  of resourcing are low. The Oxfam Education Report notes that, although "there is no doubting the appalling standard of provision  in public education systems," there is "little hard evidence to substantiate the view that private schools systematically  outperform public schools with comparable levels of resourcing."28 The UNDP makes precisely  the same claim.29

 In reality, the suggestion that poor parents, whose resources are scarce, are frittering away funds on private schools that  are worse than the free state alternative is highly implausible. Our research suggests that this objection is simply not valid  and that poor parents are not being systematically hoodwinked as the development experts appear to believe.

 The third objection is oddest of all. It concerns the impact of private provision on state education: If poor parents support  private education, this allegedly "carries a real danger of undermining the government schooling system."30 However,  it is not obvious in practical terms why this is a viable objection to an increased role for the private sector. If private  schools can be made available to all, including to the poorest and most excluded, through targeted vouchers (first set of  objections), and if it can be shown that their quality is higher than the government alternative without pushing up costs  (second set of objections), then, from the perspective of the poor, it would seem irrelevant whether this would undermine  the state system, providing that education for all was achieved.

 None of this discussion, of course, means that nothing could be improved in the private sector's efforts to serve the poor.  As noted already, access to private education could be extended even further by building on the initiatives-already undertaken  by the private schools themselves-that offer free and reduced-fee seats to the poorest children. Such informal schemes could  be extended and replicated by philanthropists and/or the state so that "pupil passports" or vouchers could be targeted at  the poorest children (although there may be the danger of additional regulations that could stifle the growth of private schools  if they were administered by the state). With these passports or vouchers, many more of the poor could be empowered to attend  private unaided schools.

 Private school managers themselves also realize that their school infrastructure and facilities can be improved, and many  are active in creating private school federations, like the Association of Formidable Educational Development in Makoko, that  link school managers in self-help organizations. Such associations in many countries are actively pursuing management, teacher  training, and curriculum development and challenging the regulatory regimes imposed by government. They could be supported  in their endeavors, perhaps through the creation of a global network of private schools and their associations that would  conduct further research and disseminate information about the role of private schools for the poor to opinion leaders and  policymakers. Such networks could reward innovation and excellence in the schools and mobilize additional resources to help  with improvements.

 As an activity parallel to our research in Nigeria and Hyderabad, we have been mobilizing resources for the creation of two  revolving loan funds to help private schools improve their facilities. Schools are borrowing up to $1,000 to build new classrooms,  equip libraries and laboratories, and improve teacher training. Such loan funds could be extended and replicated to enable  more children to access education in an even better, safer, and educationally more conducive environment. Other educational  services could also be offered to help the private unaided schools improve and better serve their communities.

 In Makoko, as in other poor communities in developing countries, parents do not accept the supposed need for patience until  governments and the international development agencies get public education working. They need solutions urgently for their  children, and they cannot wait. The mushrooming private schools are part of their solution, not a problem to be dealt with.

 And that is surely what they are: a dynamic demonstration of how the entrepreneurial talents of people in Africa and Asia  can contribute powerfully to the improvement of education, even for the poor. Private schools for the poor signal the urgent  need for a rethink by the international development community.

1       Also in China but not reported here as the results are still being analyzed. Further details of this  research are reported in J. Tooley and P. Dixon, "Private Education Is Good for the Poor: A Study of Private Schools Serving  the Poor in Low-Income Countries," Cato Institute, Washington, D.C., 2005, and J. Tooley, "Private Schools for the Poor," Education  Next, Fall 2005.
        2       The Nation (Nairobi), November 23, 2004.
       3       Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LASEEDS) (2005-2007), 2nd Draft, Ministry of Economic Planning, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State, 2004, at www.lagosstate.gov.ng/LASEEDS/LASEEDS%20DOCUMENT.pdf.
  4       K. Watkins, The Oxfam Education Report (Oxford: Oxfam in Great Britain, 2000), p. 230. Emphasis added.
5       Ibid., p. 106.
6       J. Dreze and A. Sen, India: Development and Participation, 2nd Edition (New Delhi and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 158. Emphasis added.
  7       The Probe Team, Public Report on Basic Education in India (Oxford and New Delhi: Oxford University  Press, 1999), p. 47.
       8       Ibid., p. 63.
  9       Ibid.
  10      EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005: Education for All, The Quality Imperative (Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 2004), p. 18.
  11      World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People (Oxford and New York: World Bank/Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 24.
    12      Geetha B. Nambissan, Educational Deprivation and Primary School Provision: A Study of Providers  in the City of Calcutta, Institute of Development Studies Working Paper No. 187, 2003, pp. 25 and 30.
13      World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People, p. 25, and United Nations Development  Programme, Human Development Report 2003: Millennium Development Goals: A Compact Among Nations to End Human Poverty (New  York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 93.
14      World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People, p. 182.
   15      Patrick Watt, Policy Advisor, UK Action Team, "Response to World Development Report 2004 Outline," London,  ActionAid, January 2003, p. 1.
     16      World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People, p. 113.
   17      Ibid., p. 18. Emphasis added.
  18      Watkins, The Oxfam Education Report, pp. 229-230.
      19      Y. Aggarwal, Public and Private Partnership in Primary Education in India: A Study of Unrecognised  Schools in Haryana (New Delhi: National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, 2000), p. 20.
        20      A. De, M. Majumdar, M. Samson, and C. Noronha, "Private Schools and Universal Elementary Education," in R. Govinda, ed., India Education Report: A Profile of Basic Education (Oxford and New Delhi: Oxford University Press,  2002), p. 148.
  21      Nambissan, Educational Deprivation and Primary School Provision, p. 52.
        22      P. Rose, "Is the Non-State Education Sector Serving the Needs of the Poor? Evidence from East and Southern Africa," paper prepared for Department for International Development seminar in preparation for 2004 World Development  Report, 2002, p. 6, and P. Rose, "From the Washington to the Post-Washington Consensus: The Influence of International  Agendas on Education Policy and Practice in Malawi," Globalisation, Societies and Education, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2003), p.  80.
  23      A. Baurer, F. Brust, and J. Hybbert, "Entrepreneurship: A Case Study in African Enterprise Growth:  Expanding Private Education in Kenya: Mary Okelo and Makini Schools," Columbia Business School, Chazen Web Journal of  International Business, Fall 2002, p. 3.
    24      P. Bennell, Teacher Motivation and Incentives in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (Brighton: Knowledge  and Skills for Development, 2004), p. iv.
   25      Watkins, The Oxfam Education Report, p. 207; The Probe Team, Public Report on Basic Education in  India, p. 105; and United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2003, p. 115.
      26      United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2003, p. 115.
   27      Watkins, The Oxfam Education Report, p. 232.
   28      Ibid., p. 230. Emphasis added.
29      United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2003, p. 115.
   30      The Probe Team, Public Report on Basic Education in India, pp. 105-106.
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