Low-fee Private Schools in India

In “Low-Fee Private Schools in India: The Emerging Fault Lines,” a new report shared by the National Center for the Study of the Privatization in Education (NCSPE), Tamo Chattopadhay and Maya Roy explore controversial low-fee private schools in India. These schools have generated controversy, with proponents contending that private schools fill a void created by state failure, and critics pointing out that private schools don’t meet the needs of all students.

The authors investigate by focusing on India, where Chattopadhay and Roy see the following challenges before low-fee private schools:

  1. Higher standards for school infrastructure, services, and teacher capacity mandated by the country’s Right to Education Act of 2009, mean that low-fee private schools are hard pressed to meet government metrics and keep tuition affordable;
  2. Low-fee private schools hold instruction in English, though the command of the language by many teachers is weak;
  3. Teachers across the country boost their income by getting parents to enroll their children in after-school tutoring, a practice, the authors posit, that is more widespread at low-fee private schools than elsewhere because of the lower pay of teachers at these schools.


This report provides historical context, relies on government reports, and draws from classroom visits in Kolkata and interviews with teachers in West Bengal. As Samuel Abrams, Director of the NCSPE, shares, “Chattopadhay and Roy provide a concise, textured case study of an issue central to debate about educational governance in the developing world.”

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