Journal of Undergraduate Research


private school advantage, private education


David O. McKay School of Education


Educational Leadership and Foundations


The “private school effect” or “private school advantage” is often treated in the literature as monolithic and constant across countries (Srivastava and Walford 2007), and much of the debate is between two camps arguing whether private education helps or harms, with special emphasis on the poor (Tooley and Dixon 2006; Walford and Robertson 2014). The impression of a monolithic “private school effect” in Sub-Saharan Africa is harmful if results from one country may prove misleading when applied directly to another. If private schooling in makes pupils significantly better off in Country A and worse off in Country B, officials in Country B will do more harm than good when making decisions on the assumption that what is true of Country A will also be true of Country B. With this in mind, I highlight the importance of policymaking that is attuned to local circumstances, as opposed to broad generalizations and results from potentially incomparable countries.