Andhra Pradesh

Parents in A.P. are opting for private schools, says study

A preference for English-medium teaching and growing dissatisfaction with government schools have led to a “dramatic” rise in the number of parents in Andhra Pradesh, including those on low-incomes, opting for private schools over state schools, according to new research by Oxford University.

The University said that the study, which tracked 3,000 children randomly selected from different social and economic backgrounds, found that the number of children attending private schools had almost doubled in seven years — from 24 per cent in 2002 to 44 per cent in 2009.

“The study suggests that the trend is fuelled by the availability of low fee-paying private schools, and the perception among parents that children will make better educational progress in private schools. Parents said they valued English-medium teaching offered by private schools, whereas government schools mostly teach in the regional language, Telugu,’’ it said.

The research was part of the Young Lives project which monitors development of children in four countries, including India.

Martin Woodhead, Associate Research Director at Young Lives at Oxford University and lead author of the study, said that schooling in India had become “market-driven”.

“Many more parents are opting out of free government schools to pay for a private education for their children, even if it means making sacrifices,” he said.

A disturbing trend highlighted by the study, published in the International Journal of Educational Development, is the growing “gender gap whereby sons are being given preferential treatment over daughters’’ when deciding who should get the more expensive private education. The gap is wider among poor families.

Researchers believe that this is the result of “the very poorest parents making hard choices about which of their children they can afford to send to fee-paying private schools”.

Prof. Woodhead said that there was need for reforming government schools to make sure they “deliver quality education”.

“Regulation of private schools is also essential, including increasing access to the most underprivileged,” he said.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:53:46 AM |

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