Smiles, Miracles and Markets
Author: Pauline Dixon
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
Category: Social Science
ÔPauline Dixon has intellectual rigour and an openness to new ideas, together with compassion and practicality. A great and unusual combination which I admire enormously.Õ Ð Dame Sally Morgan, Adviser to the Board, Absolute Return for Kids and former chief advisor to Tony Blair, UK ÔThis fine book has a powerful message for policymakers and donors: the quality of schools matters even in poor countries; hence, the poor are abandoning failed state schools and enrolling their kids in low cost private schools. Instead of trying to close them down, the state and donors would do well to invest in children (through vouchers and cash transfers) and give parents a choice rather than create more atrocious, monopolistic state schools where teachers are absent and unaccountable.Õ Ð Gurcharan Das, commentator and author, India Unbound and former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, Asia ÔThis is a must-read book for anyone interested in the plight of poor children, particularly for those readers concerned with learning about culturally sensitive and proven ways to reach out and help less fortunate children in developing countries. I was fascinated and outraged by the compelling stories and actual data that Dixon shares in this gem of an exposŽ. Most readers will similarly be shaken and incensed by the failure of billions of dollars spent on state schooling in Africa and India. Dixon makes a compelling case for the value and contributions of low cost private schools in slums and low income areas in developing countries. After reading this book, I am now a believer!Õ Ð Steven I. Pfeiffer, Professor, Florida State University, US This fascinating volume challenges the widely held belief that the state should supply, finance and regulate schooling in developing countries. Using India as an example, Dr. Pauline Dixon examines the ways in which private, for-profit schools might serve as a successful alternative to state-run systems of education in impoverished communities around the world. The book begins with a through history of IndiaÕs government-run schools Ð based on the traditional British model Ð which are currently characterized by high levels of waste, inefficiency and subpar student performance. The author goes on to present comprehensive survey and census data, along with analyses of different school management types and their effect on student achievement, teacher attendance and quality of facilities. The book also tackles the problem of inefficient allocation and use of international aid, and offers recommendations on the development of new mechanisms for utilizing aid resources in support of low-cost private schools. This meticulously researched volume will appeal to students and professors of development studies, political economy and international studies. Policymakers and other officials with an interest in educational innovation will also find much of interest in this book.