Are Public Private Partnerships the Only Way to Realise the Right to Education?

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of the EPW. 

The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 aims to provide free and compulsory education for all children between the age of 4 to 16. While noble in its intention, the act has been criticised for several aspects ranging from the role of private entities in education, its limited consideration of funding shortfalls, or its no-detention policy which has now been diluted. 

In this feature, we map the discussion around Pankaj S Jain and Ravindra H Dholakia’s article “Feasibility of Implementation of Right to Education Act,” about the practicality of using Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) like low cost private schools as significant instruments in the implementation of the RTE. 

Jain and Dholakia explore the drawbacks of providing universal child education via the public schooling system, suggesting low cost private schools as an alternative. In response, Vimala Ramachandran says that these suggestions would compromise the quality of primary and pre-primary education, victimising the poor who cannot afford private education. Padma M Sarangapani questions the quality of education in budget private schools deeming them unviable. Jain and Dholakia respond to Ramchandran and Sarangapani, pointing out how their suggestions disregard the proportion of GDP that can be practically allocated to education as per their calculations.

Click on the icons to read excerpts from the articles

A few other works that have broadly responded to or are related to this discussion:


Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line— "Right to Education and Private Schooling Discussion."


[Curated by Shreedhar Manek ( and Anindita Kar (]


Image Courtesy: Modified. Pxhere/CC0


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