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Reference: Srivastava, Prachi, (2005). The business of schooling. Dphil. University of Oxford.Citable link to this page:


The business of schooling Subtitle: The school choice processes, markets, and institutions governing low-fee private schooling for disadvantaged groups in India

Abstract: This study is a multi-level analysis of the pervasive phenomenon of what is termedhere as low-fee private (LFP) schooling in India focusing on Lucknow District, UttarPradesh. The significance of the study is its focus on a private sector uniquelycharacterised as one targeted to a clientele traditionally excluded from privateeducation.The study follows a single-case embedded case study research design of the typeexplained by Yin (1994). Its guiding framework comprises theoretical levels ofanalysis which are the individual, organisational, and institutional, corresponding tothe case sub-units of household, school, and state respectively. The research design isstructured through a new institutional paradigm which is also used to analyse resultsat the institutional level.Data were collected through interviews, observations, documents, and field notes.Direct household data sources were 60 parents/close family members at two focusschools (one urban and one rural); school sources were owners/principals of 10 casestudy schools (five urban and five rural); and state sources were 10 governmentofficials. Analysis of the 100 formal interviews, informal interviews, observationevents, and field notes followed a qualitative approach through an inductively derivedanalytic framework. Structured portions of household and school interviews wereanalysed through descriptive statistics providing data on household and schoolbackground characteristics. Documents were analysed using a modified contentanalysis approach.Implications of individual-level results lie in highlighting the schooling choices andpatterns of a group that is otherwise regarded as homogenous, i.e. children are notsent to school because parents are uninterested in schooling and fail to see itsrelevance. In fact, results indicate that disadvantaged groups accessing the LFP sectorin the study are active choosers who made deeply considered and systematic choicesabout their children's education. A model to explain their school choice processes isempirically derived. Data suggest that households employed the strategies of staying,fee-bargaining, exit, and fee-jumping to engage with LFP case study schools.Organisational-level results focus on case study school profiles, their organisationalstructures, and the strategies they employed to operate in the new schooling market.Results also focus on a qualitative understanding of the challenges case study schoolsfaced as LFP schools, both by the institutional context and household demands.Finally, data point to the mechanisms instituted within the schools to deal withhousehold needs and demands and the changing household-school relationship.The implications of institutional-level analysis He in exposing inconsistencies in theapplication of the formal institutional framework (FIF) for schooling to case studyand other LFP schools by institutional actors. Differences in the FIF in principle andin practice are linked to perverse incentives embedded within it. The results stronglyindicate the existence of what is termed here as, the shadow institutional framework (SIF),employed by case study schools to mediate the FIF to their institutional advantage.The SIF comprises internal institutions common across the set of case study schools,allowing them to form linkages with other LFP schools and exchange institutionalinformation; and external institutions or higher order institutions governing how casestudy schools interacted with the FIF for basic and/or secondary education andprivate schooling. The SIF tied together an otherwise independent set of LFPschools as a de-facto sub-sector of the greater private sector.The study's main contributions are its analysis of an emerging local model of formalprivate schooling for disadvantaged groups; extending new institutional theory'sapplication to education; and the methodological contribution of mediating theresearcher's positionality through currencies.

Type of Award:Dphil Level of Award:Doctoral Awarding Institution: University of Oxford Notes:The digital copy of this thesis has been made available thanks to the generosity of Dr Leonard Polonsky


Professor Geoffrey WalfordMore by this contributor


 Bibliographic Details

Issue Date: 2005Identifiers

Urn: uuid:60eb2998-5fbb-4974-91d5-164b09f54535

Source identifier: 602323044 Item Description

Type: Thesis;

Language: eng Subjects: India Poor children Education Private schools Tiny URL: td:602323044


Autor: Srivastava, Prachi - institutionUniversity of Oxford institutionGreen College University of Oxford facultyDept. of Educational St



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