Low-cost Private Education

Impacts on Achieving Universal Primary Education

image of Low-cost Private Education
In recent years developing countries have expanded their government education systems in an attempt to meet the Millennium Development Goals on education by 2015. One consequence has been a dramatic growth in low-cost private education institutions, which are increasingly being seen as a popular alternative to the public education system.

Using independent first-hand research, this study investigates the low-cost private education sector in India, Nigeria and Uganda. The contributors explain the mushrooming of these schools and consider the impact they have on access to education for the poor. They argue that with proper regulation, supervision and government support, private schools can help to achieve education for all by filling gaps in public education.

This study will serve as an invaluable resource to anyone interested in educational planning and policy-making in developing countries.




With the introduction of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme in 1997, primary school enrolment in Uganda increased from 2.9 million (m) in 1996 to 7.3m in 2003. About 50 per cent of the lowest economic quartile was enrolled in 1992, while by 1999, 83.7 per cent of children of school-going age were enrolled. It is asserted that the majority of the 23 per cent of the Ugandan population benefiting from primary education are from the lowest income quartile. The 2001 Uganda Demographic Household Survey (UDHS) indicated that 24 per cent of children were out of school because of monetary cost. Public intervention was thus said to raise access and equity. In addition, the UPE policy of enrolling all children of school-going age had the effect of increasing girls’ enrolment to about 50 per cent of total enrolment, thus significantly reducing the gender-parity gap.1 However, the contribution of private sector education provisions in increasing access, although acknowledged, is not fully known.


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