Innovation in Education

Low Cost Private Schools in the Developing World

I thought this was incredible.  I do a lot of reading into market innovations and ideas of reforming existing systems, but had never heard of this going on around the world.  Tom Woods is one of my favorite writers and has recently started this Podcast.  In this one he interviews a woman who has done some in depth research into how children are being educated around the world.  You’ll just have to listen to get the full picture, and check out her recent TED Talk as well.

The main point she discovered through her research is that there are, throughout the poorest slums of the developing world, thousands of independent private locally owned schools that are teaching kids right in their neighborhoods – and that these schools are affordable to the poorest people in the world.  If I recall the numbers, in many places parents can send their kids to school for around $6 a month! In many cases there either isn’t a government run school in the area, or if there is, it is of much lower quality.  Without all the regulations and restrictions put on government schools, or officially approved private schools, these low-cost private schools are able to provide great education without all the hassles.  And being businesses, they have actual profit and loss to keep them motivated towards quality – and the owners of each school are directly accountable to the parents.  Her research showed that in thousands of cases, even when free government schools were available, parents opted for these private schools for their quality and ability to teach English.

What I love about this is how it blows holes in all the education myths – That only governments can provide good education – That only governments will provide any education at all – That private education is expensive – That it is only for the elite – That anything non-governmental = big, greedy, evil.  These myths (along with many others that I will get to in future posts) are perpetuated by the governments and the powers that be of the world to keep people content and ignorant in the current systems.  But the truth is human innovation is amazing and people are always finding new and better ways to build and do things.  Real markets, where people are truly free to voluntarily interact, are beautiful and so many human needs and wants can be fulfilled, without the need for government coercion, or for any imagined business abuses (that really only exist in regulated and artificially protected markets).

So, listen to the podcast and to the TED talk – and be ready for more stories like this – because everyday governments are providing services ever more poorly and individuals are changing the world, one business or app or invention at a time.  Thanks for reading!

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