The accepted wisdom is that private schools serve the privileged; everyone else, especially the poor, requires public school. The poor, so this logic goes, need government assistance if they are to get a good education.
But James Tooley’s research shows that entrepreneurs in some of the most destitute places on Earth have found innovative ways of providing education to the poor, creating a large and growing industry of private schools. Couldn’t the same happen in wealthier countries – and even the U.S.?
John Tierney will interview Dr James Tooley, a professor of education policy at Newcastle University, and director of the E.G. West Centre. He is the author of The Beautiful Tree (Penguin), a best-seller in India and winner of the 2010 Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize, based on his ground-breaking research on private education for the poor in India, China and Africa.
This research was awarded gold prize in the first International Finance Corporation/Financial Times Private Sector Development Competition, and was profiled in an American PBS documentary alongside the work of Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus.
Building on his research, Tooley has dedicated himself to creating working models of innovative practice in low-cost private education to help showcase its potential to extend access to, and improve educational opportunities for, the poor.