I got speaking to Pete today about a recent Radio 4 broadcast – ‘The Education Business’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rgmbh) It sounded interesting so I had a listen to the broadcast and have summarised below…
The broadcast was focussed on education as a business – looking at all levels of education. I was most interested in James Tooley – the Chairman of Omega Schools in Ghana. http://www.omega-schools.com/
Omega Schools provide low-cost private education in Ghana and are making the move into Sierra Leone. The general idea of the schools is to provide low cost private schooling to those in the slums in Ghana. Most private schools charge termly which can mean that parents must save a large amount of money before being able to send their child to school. Omega Schools charges by the day (roughly 30-40p).
The reason behind the ‘pay-daily’ set-up is due to the nature of the parents’ pay – most work as farmers, fishermen, market traders etc. and so their wages are daily. Thus, daily payment for school suits the way that these families receive their money.
Government schools in the area are poor and so many choose private school or no school at all. The daily cost for Omega Schools includes a hot meal, uniform and books, which are generally charged as extras in other private schools.
The business works on a low margin, high volume basis and they are currently putting all profits back into developing more schools. They are providing opportunities to families that were not there before – however is it right that they profit from this? Should education be a business?