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Private education in India Private education in India

India - Do kids in private schools learn more?

Primary school education is a basic building block for children’s development, preparing them for success later in life. But in many countries, poor children often don’t finish school even if it’s available to them. Those who do stay in school may not learn much. The quality of education can be so low that children end up completing primary school without learning to read or do basic math. Concerns that the program would have a negative effect on fee-paying students proved unfounded. Similarly, concerns that voucher students wouldn’t be able to keep up with the work also proved unfounded. It turned out that the low-cost private schools were more productive than the government schools in terms of offering more classes and teaching core subjects in shorter periods of time, despite hiring less experienced teachers and paying them less than government school teachers. As the evaluation shows, vouchers don’t hurt students, neither those who receive them, nor those who are their new or old classmates, which means they can be an effective tool for expanding access across socio-economic lines and giving poor children the opportunity to be exposed to the variety of classes the private schools offer. Nevertheless, such programs require careful attention to design to deliver high-quality education to all children in an inclusive and equitable manner. A key open question for education policy in low-income setting is to study the extent to which private schools that have the same level of spending per child as government schools can improve learning outcomes without selectively admitting students.