An inspiring journey into the lives of families and teachers in the poorest communities of India, Africa, and China who have successfully created their own private schools in response to failed public education. Wandering into the slums of Hyderabad's Old City, Tooley was initially shocked to find it overflowing with small, parent-funded schools.
Could these be the answer to help achieve universal education? The Beautiful Tree movingly uncovers the efforts of poor communities in education, and finds competent, committed entrepreneurs who have started schools catering to slum children. He discovers young, engaged teachers, passionate entrepreneurs, and teaching models that work to ensure that students are engaged and learning.
He finds that even among the unrecognized private schools, average teacher attendance, and English and maths proficiency surpass the apathetic government school system. This is a passionate and engaging account of the children, parents, teachers, and entrepreneurs who Tooley encounters in the face of staunch government denial that these schools actually exist.
They taught him that the poor are not waiting for educational handouts"they are building their own schools and learning to save themselves. Named after Mahatma Gandhi's phrase for the schools of pre-colonial India, The Beautiful Tree is not another book lamenting what has gone wrong in the Third World. It is a book about what is going right, and it offers a simple lesson: both the entrepreneurial spirit and the love of parents for their children can help overcome the stifling effects of poverty.
About The Author
Fresh out of college in the early 1980s,James Tooley went to Zimbabwe to become a public school teacher. Now an award-winning scholar featured in PBS and BBC documentaries, he has written several books and his work has been covered in Newsweek, the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times. Tooley?s career as an academic began at the University of Oxford, his PhD is from the University of London, and he is professor of education policy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He currently splits his time between Hyderabad, India, and Beijing, China, where he works with the entrepreneurs and teachers who inspired this book.