One of the many reservations I have about the Richard Curtis/Bob Geldof/Gordon Brown bandwagon to ‘make poverty history’ and have a million people pressurising the G8 is that they all, effectively, wish to bolster the state apparatus in African countries.
One of the areas where this could be counter-productive is education.
Professor James Tooley has been to third world private schools and reported on how the private schools often do more good for the poor than than the state schools.
He has written an article in the latest edition of Economic Affairs which is introduced thus:
In many developing countries, private unaided schools are serving the poor in large numbers. Some commentators view their presence as undesirable in particular assuming that there is a conflict between ‘commercial gain’ and ‘concern for the poor’. We show one way in which there is no conflict the private unaided schools offer free or concessionary places to the poorest of the poor. Using data from a random sample of schools in Hyderabad, India, and a smaller sample in Makoko, Nigeria, we show that such places range from 1020% of all places offered
The full text is here.