Policy Reviews

A series that investigates existing and potential policies and their implications in the areas of education, governance, livelihood and environment.

Edited: Parth J Shah, Bhuvana Anand; Authors: Ritika Shah, Celia Xinuo Chen
Direct Benefit Transfer in Education - A Policy Blueprint

The emphasis on delivering benefits directly reduces leakages, increases beneficiary choice, and eliminates intermediaries between the beneficiary and the state. This presents a unique entry point for structural reform in education in India, apart from also being a popular measure conferring political advantages for the government that introduces it.

Jan Sjunnesson
School Vouchers in Sweden

The Swedish government undertook significant reform in the education sector in the 1990’s. Among the important steps in this reform were the institution of vouchers for schooling, decentralisation of education to the municipal level, and entry of private for-profit schools. This publication reviews the Swedish model, outlines the successes, challenges and gaps in the model, and highlights the political currency of this policy in present day Sweden.

Dr Pauline Dixon
RTE Act & Private School Regulation

With the new Right to Education Act (RTE) comes an exciting opportunity to change the way private unaided schools are regulated and gain recognition in India. The role of the private unaided sector in India is crucial for achieving “Education for All”. The RTE Act provides an opportunity for state governments to explore ways in which to assure even better quality from private unaided schools.

This paper outlines an alternative strategy for the regulation of private unaided schools, allowing them to continue to make a significant contribution to “Education for All”. The paper is set out as follows. First, the research findings concerning private unaided unrecognised schools in India are reviewed. Secondly, the recognition norms as set out in the RTE and the ‘Model Rules Under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ 2009 are specified. And finally alternative systems of regulation from both developing and developed countries are considered in order to provide examples of forms of regulation that could now be adopted and adapted for the private school’s market in India.

Parul Sharma
Expanding Education Opportunities: Delhi's SC/ST tuition fee reimbursement scheme

The Department for the Welfare of SC/ST/OBC/Minorities introduced the SC/ST tuition-fee reimbursement scheme in 2003-2004 for SC and ST students of Delhi enrolled in recognized unaided private schools, having an annual family income of less than Rs. 1 lakh. The subsidy provided by the scheme covers between 85% and 90% of the beneficiary's total running expenses in studying in a private school. This study concludes that the scheme's performance has been suboptimal vis-à-vis its stated objectives. It brings to light several issues that must be addressed to make the scheme work more effectively.

Parth J Shah

Many countries have seen significant improvements in learning outcomes after the introduction of vouchers, while a few have experienced very little change. However, no country has found learning outcomes deteriorating with education vouchers. The paper describes the experience of eleven countries with education vouchers and draws lessons from their success and failures.

Parth J Shah
Food Stamps: A Model for India

Food security has always been one of the most pressing issues in India. Debates largely concern about which method to employ to ensure availability of food to those who cannot afford it. The Finance Minister P Chidambaram has proposed to experiment with food stamps in a cluster of districts of a few states to judge the viability of the scheme. This policy review describes the experience of countries in which this policy has already been implemented and proposes a Food Stamp Model for India.