Private Schools in IndiaFor example, as the article in the Economist discusses, private schools in India educate about one-quarter to one-third of all children. The number of private school students is growing because a 2007 law requires parents to send their elementary-school-age children to school, yet many schools could not handle the influx of students and let their standards slip. In addition, half of India's 1.2 billion people are under 25--meaning that there is a large number of students to educate. However, despite a 2010 law that declares that the education of students ages 6 to 14 is a constitutional right, many state-run schools are rife with teachers who are absent from school and with schools that don't offer English-language instruction, which is the key to a good job in the global marketplace. So in India, parents are willing to pay to send their children to private schools rather than to free public schools. In Indian cities, the number of children in private schools is even higher, and entrepreneurs have opened up private schools across the country not only for the elite but also for the vast middle and lower class.
The New York Times has also recently reported on the growth of private schools in India. According to the article in the Times, in some cities, two-thirds of students attend private schools, some of which charge as little as $2 a month. Compared with state-run schools, private schools often have a better rate of success in preparing their students for standardized tests, and they also offer classes in English. The Times article stated that private-school students in India perform better on standardized tests of math and English, in part because their teachers are present. In state-run schools, teacher absenteeism is estimated to run at up to 25%.
Recently, the government ordered private schools in India to reserve a quarter of their places for poor children. Increasingly, many Indian students, preparing for a future that involves participation in an educated workforce, are attending private schools, and public school rooms in some cities, according to the Times, are being used for labor meetings because they have no students.
Private Schools in China
In China, as the Economist reports, people who migrate from one city to another are not entitled to state-run school spots, so a number of private schools have opened to educate such students, including a half a million students in Beijing alone. Chinese citizens can attend state-run schools free of charge from age 6 to 15. Class sizes are large and average 35 students. After age 15, parents must pay for state-run high schools, and many residents of rural areas do not attend school past age 15. There are also a number of private schools in China for foreigners and wealthy Chinese citizens. Many foreigners can attend certain public schools for a fee. Students tend to attend school five or six days a week, and they also often go to cram schools to supplement their academic work with private tutoring.
Private Schools in Africa
Still, about 72 million students do not attend any schools, the Economist reports; most of these students are in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. In some African countries, while many teachers are dedicated, others do not take their work seriously, and the government cannot get rid of lazy teachers. Reports of physical abuse of students are common. As a result, parents are willing to send their children to informal schools, even schools run out of houses.