India has over 1.5 million schools catering to 260 million students. Private schools enroll 43% of students. In the last four decades, Budget Private Schools (BPS) have proliferated dramatically in India with parents increasingly choosing to pay for quality education. An estimated 92 million children are enrolled in BPS.

BPS are critical in improving education quality and access at affordable cost, especially for children from lower and middle-income families in India. Median school fee level in these BPS is Rs 500 per month (USD 8) in urban India and Rs 275 (USD 5) per month in rural India, much lower than the average government per-pupil expenditure, i.e. Rs 960 (USD 15).

In recent years, the input-centric demands of the Right To Education Act (RTE) such as infrastructure and teacher salaries have been used to close down BPS. These school closures have affected millions of children who have been denied access to good quality education of their choice.

To bring attention to the role and contributions of BPS within the unaided private school sector in India, the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) releases “Faces of Budget Private Schools.” The report presents data on the current education challenges, and highlights stories of individuals such as principals, parents and students, as well as, edupreneurs, investors, and foundations that work actively in the space.

“Parents and students can articulate what quality education is if they are able to explore different options by having the freedom to choose,” said CCS President Parth Shah. “Parents cannot have choice unless the education providers have a choice of what they want to offer as good education. What follows then is that choice – for parents and for providers – is a prerequisite for defining quality education,” he explained.

The publication showcases emerging BPS models of excellence, especially micro-innovations that improve outlook on curriculum and teacher competence, promotes effective assessment, and initiate school transformation. It also looks at other focus areas such as children’s health, moral engagement, and creative growth.

The full report is available here.

CCS is a research think tank based in New Delhi, India. It is a member of the Economic Freedom Network (EFN).