The Boston Globe today has what I think is a pretty scary article today titled “Class difference: Poor neighborhoods around the world embrace a surprising idea: incredibly low-priced private schools.” It’s about the privatization of education in developing countries.
The article includes a short paragraph pointing out the dangers of this happening:
For critics, though, the popularity of low-cost schools is a dangerous trend, one that will ultimately marginalize the very poor. Society’s poorest, says Dina Craissati, UNICEF’s senior education adviser, often cannot pay even the very meager fees of budget schools. Worse, low-cost schools are ultimately unsustainable because ”in times of economic crisis, the poor will sacrifice nonessentials like schools fees first.” And finally, public schools are the only way to hold governments accountable for providing their citizens with education–a right that many countries have enshrined in their constitutions.
I was struck by what one Indian parent said when she described why she pulled her child out of a government school:
”The problem is that the teachers don’t have to listen to us.”
I don’t know much about the school system in India, but I suspect that countries around the world might want to start focusing more on parent engagement.