New Schools of Thought: Providing Education to the World's Poor

Feb 22, 2007
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


For decades, many western policy makers have argued that education is the key to unlocking prosperity for the world's poor.  In the year 2000, concern for education in the developing world led 191 member governments of the United Nations to adopt the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to achieve universal primary education across the planet by 2015.  This public commitment to education has prompted NGOs and government development organizations to demand more funding for public education programs across the globe.

But these developments have missed a hidden reality: that the world's poor are discovering innovative ways to educate themselves.   From China to Africa, thousands of entrepreneurs are making a difference in the lives of some of the world's poorest by developing effective and profitable means of delivering an education to those passed over by formal schooling institutions. And they are succeeding.  In light of recent research, many scholars and policy makers are now asking how best to support these entrepreneurs who are committed to providing a good education to those most in need.

This seminar will draw on field research in developing countries to explore:

  • The magnitude of this education movement.
  • How successful these entrepreneurs are compared to alternatives.
  • What barriers stand in their way, and what can wealthier countries  do to promote education in the developing world?

Related Materials:

CHC - New Schools of Thought Feb 2007 - Dixon
Educating Amaretch: Private Schools for the Poor
Private & Public Schooling in Low-Income Areas of Lagos State, Nigeria
The Ten Cent Solution
Educating the Poorest