Do private schools really ensure better learning outcomes for children?

Karopady, D. D. (2016) Do private schools really ensure better learning outcomes for children? Learning Curve (25). pp. 25-26.

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Are private schools in India really good? This question would have gone through the minds of most readers of this article at some point in time or the other and they may or may not have found any definitive answer to it, because the question does not have very easy answers. To begin with, there are a wide variety of private schools. These include high-end urban private schools, premium residential schools, ‘alternate schools’, private schools catering to the urban middle class, low-fee private schools (mostly in rural areas) and so on. Hence, clubbing all of these in one group would be erroneous. The answer to the question is further complicated by the fact that there is very little agreement on the definition of a ‘good school’ and how it can be measured. To be sure, education is a complex subject and is influenced by several in-school factors such as curriculum, text books, pedagogy, number of teachers, teacher preparation, pupil-teacher ratio, to name just a few, as well as outside school factors like home environment, socio-economic background, availability of educational support systems etc. Learning outcomes is only one of the many parameters but important and relatively more easily measured and widely understood. In this paper, I will discuss findings from a few research studies which largely use learning outcomes based measures to draw their conclusions. While it is not my intention to say that this will provide clear answers, it is hoped that it will shed some light on the difficult topic.This line of thinking however has a serious limitation. The children in private schools come from a significantly different socio-economic background as compared to children in government schools. This makes the comparison very unequal, like comparing apples and oranges. A fair comparison would need children from similar backgrounds in private schools and government schools to be assessed simultaneously using common tools.

Item Type: Articles in APF Magazines
Authors: Karopady, D. D.
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education, Elementary education, Early childhood education
Subjects: Social sciences > Education
Divisions: Azim Premji University > University Publications > Learning Curve
Full Text Status: Public
Publisher URL:

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