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Home > Student First! Dialogue Series

November 2009 Dialogue

Book Launch and Panel Discussion on Prof James Tooley's New Book "The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey into How The World's Poorest People are Educating Themselves"

The School Choice Campaign and Penguin Books launched Professor James Tooley’s new “The Beautiful Tree-A Personal Journey into How the world’s Poorest People are Educating Themselves" on 11 November 2009 at the India Habitat Centre as part of the STUDENT FIRST! Dialogue Series on Quality Education for All.

The launch of the book was followed by a panel discussion between the author, Mr Madhav Chavan, Co-founder and Director, Pratham; Ms Reshma Lohia, Correspondent for Lohia’s Little Angels School, Hyderabad; and Mr Ashish Rajpal, CEO, idiscoveri. Madhav Chavan spoke about the importance of the book in a time when the national parliament has passed the Right to Education Bill. Ms Lohia spoke passionately about the role of budget private schools in educating children from disadvantaged communities. Recounting her own experiences as a teacher and correspondent of a school in Delhi, she expressed her support for the efforts of Prof Tooley. Mr Rajpal impressed upon the need for quality education and applauded the Prof Tooley’s work in this regard.

Following the remarks of the panel, the members of the audience participated in a lively discussion of the educational challenges facing the nation in this day and age. This session was moderated by Mr Baladevan Rangaraju, National Director – School Choice Campaign.

The Beautiful Tree is a journey that begins in India and takes the reader to East Asia and Africa, to learn of the efforts of poor communities in education. While doing so, one discovers competent, committed entrepreneurs who have started schools catering to slum children. Through the book, the author recounts the stories of engaged teachers, passionate entrepreneurs and teaching models working together to ensure that students are engaged and learning.

The book highlights a wave of change sweeping the nation and the role of numerous small but inspiring private schools run by good samaritans from the communities themselves. The book tells us numerous stories of how the hope and aspirations of the poor and the enterprise of the new school owners come together to offer an alternative to the government education system.

Excerpts from The Beautiful Tree have been posted as three articles here.

About the author

James Tooley is an award-winning scholar featured in PBS and BBC documentaries. He has written several books and his work has been covered in Newsweek, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times. Tooley is currently professor of education policy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

For more information on the author and to buy the book, please visit here.

For excerpts & review copies please contact Varun Chaudhary at [email protected] or 91 11 4613 1412

Ms Reshma Lohia, Correspondent for Lohia’s Little Angels School, Hyderabad, Prof James Tooley, Mr Ashish Rajpal, CEO, idiscoveri and Mr Madhav Chavan, Co-founder and Director, Pratham launching The Beautiful Tree

Prof James Tooley sharing with the audience the inspiration for The Beautiful Tree

Mr Madhav Chavan on The Beautiful Tree

School Leader, Ms Reshma Lohia, on why budget private schools are better for the poor than government schools are

Mr Ashish Rajpal thought The Beautiful Tree would be an eye opener to many experts

Prof Tooley with school leaders from different parts of the country

The launch saw one of the best audience participations in any panel discussion

Prof Tooley autographing for fans of budget private schools

(R-L) Dr Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society, The author Prof Tooley and School Choice supporter Mr Piyush Patel, President and CEO, Kyra Infotech



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