Private schooling in India – Size, nature, and equity-effects.
Economic and Political Weekly
Access restricted to UCL open access staff until 14 September 2022.
Published educational statistics in India ignore ëunrecognisedí private schools and include
only the ërecognisedí private schools, though all government-funded schools are included.
Moreover, enrolments in government-funded schools are greatly over-reported in
education data. The paper argues that, as a result, official education statistics are seriously
skewed: they exaggerate the size of the free, government-funded elementary school sector
and greatly understate the size of the private fee-charging elementary school sector. While
it may be expedient for the state to under-enumerate fee-charging schools and exaggerate
its own contribution to school education, the fast-growing role of unrecognised private
elementary schools should not be ignored because of important equity-related reasons: a
system where fee-levying institutions have a significant role in elementary education while
secondary education is largely state-supported has perverse equity-effects. The paper also
presents evidence to show that official enrolment statistics – on which analysts, policymakers, and international studies rely, and which are used in parliamentary debates – are
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