Nick Clegg recently announced ‘yes to greater diversity; yes to more choice for parents; but no to running schools for profit’. Clegg is missing a trick, suggests James Tooley. For 125 years SABIS has been running schools in some of the poorest and war-torn areas of the world, delivering astonishing results. For profit.
In Prof Tooley’s latest book, From Village School to Global Brand (published by Profile Books), he shows that education can be run as a profitable business and still be driven by a humanitarian vision. With 60 schools in 15 countries and over 60,000 students, SABIS is a global education company committed to improving lives. Its success rate is impressive, turning around some of the poorest schools in the US, and challenging many widespread beliefs about schooling: that smaller classes are better, that learning by memorising is wrong, that education has to be ‘top-down’ from teacher to pupil.
James Tooley is a professor of education policy at Newcastle University, where he directs the E. G. West Centre. He is chairman of a chain of schools in Ghana. He is the author of numerous books on education including The Beautiful Tree: A personal journey into how the world’s poorest people are educating themselves, and Educational Equality which he co-authored.
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