School Choice Now! by American Federation for Children, 13 July 2012
Last year we told you about a small-scale voucher program that helps children from low-income families in India, and thanks to some new research, the program is not only demonstrating academic success, but it's getting the praise of an unexpected neighbor.
In 2009, the Delhi school voucher project was started as a pilot program to help girls from low-income families attend private schools by covering tuition, fees, books, travel, and uniform costs all for 3,600 rupees-or about $65. Run by the Centre for Civil Society (CCS), the program has helped more than 400 students in Delhi attend the school of their parents' choice.
A new report from the Centre for Media Studies shows voucher recipients as performing better than their counterparts in government schools and on par with students from private schools in all grades.
The study measured 371 voucher participants, 371 students in private schools, and 371 students in government schools in the subjects of math, English, and Hindi. And according to Shantanu Gupta of CCS, more than 50 percent of students would return to government schools-or even stop attending school altogether-if the program is discontinued.
And India isn't the only nation watching the academic success of this pilot program. At a private school in north-east Delhi, a group of education activists from India and Pakistan came together to speak about the school voucher program.
Tajamul Hanif, of the National Commission for Human Development in Pakistan, praised the program and the positive effects that vouchers can have in Pakistan. And while India and Pakistan may not agree on a whole host of other issues, they do seem to come together on the important issue of providing educational options to disadvantaged children.
Just like many private school choice programs in the United States and other nations, these programs are designed for children from low-income families who, without a scholarship program, would not have access to a quality education.
We'll keep you updated on the happenings of Delhi-and hope to bring news of a voucher program in Pakistan, as well.
- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG