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Pomona College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

India: Sustainable Development and Social Change


Private school enrollment has been increasing across India, and there is evidence that poor government school quality is the impetus for this trend. Generally, wealthier states have lower levels of private school enrollment due to higher quality government schools. However, in the small, relatively higher-income Himalayan state of Sikkim, almost one third of primary level children from rural areas are enrolled in private schools, and government school enrollment at the primary level is falling year by year. This study explores community perceptions surrounding the relative quality of one government and one private school located in Lingmoo, a rural village in Sikkim’s South district. Qualitative data on school atmosphere was derived from multiple classroom observations at each school, and structured guardian and teacher interviews. Overall quality of classroom instruction was found to be similar for both schools, but integration of English was much higher at the private school. Guardians universally favored the private school, citing beliefs that private school teachers work harder. There appears to be no association between level of guardian schooling and value placed on education. Greater communication and cooperation between the schools and the community is recommended. It is hoped that the information presented here will be put to good use by both private and government educational institutions.


Disability and Equity in Education | Education


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