The profit motive in education

The World Today Updated 9 December 2020 Published 5 October 2012 1 minute READ

Object Lessons

Anthony Seldon’s call for British private schools to replicate themselves abroad (‘New terms of engagement’, August 2012) fails to mention a number of problems that these of shoot schools in Asia are liable to suffer from. In Britain most private schools are foundations of some kind, which allows them to build for the long term. These institutions are ‘larger’ than any one child or teacher.

In Asia, all private education institutions require local partners who are looking for a return on investment. Inevitably there is a temptation to cut costs and maximize profits, perhaps by increasing class sizes or replacing internationally hired teachers with local hires. These may be qualified native English speakers, but they do not have the same commmitment to a particular school and its approach. Some may be on glorified gap years or midcareer breaks.

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