Private schools in the United Kingdom are affordable only to those on the highest incomes. But surprisingly to many, this is not true across developing countries, where low-cost private schools are ubiquitous and affordable to all.
For nearly two decades I’ve been researching this phenomenon. I’ve visited low-cost private schools in more than 20 countries, from the vibrant slums of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to remote mountain villages in South-east Asia and the gang-dominated barrios of Central and Latin America.
It truly is a global phenomenon, serving huge numbers of children. In Lagos State, Nigeria, alone, there are an estimated 14,000 low-cost private schools, serving two million children. In the slums of Monrovia, Liberia, enrolment in low-cost private schools is over 70 per cent — the same level that is common across urban sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.