Investing in Budget Private Schools

As a long-distance runner, I love going to different cities to run the marathon events organised there. So here I was, running the half marathon in Hyderabad when I noticed a bystander holding one of the largest placards I had ever seen. “Stop schools from increasing fees!” the placard screamed, the person clearly from a parents association fighting their battle with schools.

I remember having mixed feelings about the message. As a parent, I was in support. But as someone who has been in the field of school financing for about nine years, I could not help but empathise with the thousands of school owners who charge low fees and selflessly serve the lower income segments, dedicating their entire lives to the cause. I am of course referring to affordable private schools.

But why should the private schools even be considered in the overall scheme of things? After all, don’t most countries around the world rely only on public education? The answer is simple. Not only is the public education system in our country mostly broken, we have the legacy of private schools being a part of the landscape right from the pre-independence era. Private schools play an important role and with every passing day their importance is increasing.

This essay analyzes the potential funding models available to budget private schools, and the regulatory hurdles they face. It finds that the bottom up approach is the only way to address the issues of education in India and hence it is critical to empower school owners with the best resources available: access to credit, access to solution providers, access to a global network and access to ideas.

Interested in what you’re reading? Click this link to read the entire essay.

This essay is authored by Brajesh Mishra, COO of Varthana and published by the Centre for Civil Society – Social Change Through Public Policy.