January 11, 2005
James Tooley gets a bit of publicity …

James Tooley, Professor of Education at Newcastle University, has got himself some local media coverage:


Governments around the world are not capable of providing "education for all", a controversial North academic has argued.

A study by Newcastle University professor James Tooley says that in developing countries, private schools for the poor offer the best method of reaching targets set of getting all children into education by 2015.

Prof Tooley argues that private schools in the Third World are often superior to state schools and has called on the international community to throw its weight behind fee-charging schools.

The study, published in the Journal of the Institute of Economic Affairs, is the latest controversial statement from Prof Tooley, who was once described as the "high priest of privatisation" for his championing of the private sector.

And then they wheel on another expert to show that Tooley is talking nonsense.

I am a huge admirer of James Tooley, and of what he is trying to do, and the story he is trying to tell.

This piece tries as hard as it can to make it sound as if Tooley is (a) mad ("controversial"), and (b) recommending, in defiance of all regular behaviour and best practice, private schools for the Third World. But the real story Tooley has been reporting for the past several years now is that the Third World is already going full steam ahead with private education, and doing very well with it.

And what is more, Tooley has travelled extensively and observed this process, which you can't tell from this article.

Tooley's web presence is not very impressive, for a man with such an interesting message, and such a global one.

Tooley, as I say, travels a lot. He visits any number of interesting places. He sees all sorts of stories and meets lots of fascinating people doing fascinating things.

I know that as soon as anyone does anything interesting and valuable, people queue up to tell him he ought to be doing more, but … Tooley really should have a blog. And a digital camera.

He should, in short, combine his virtues and achievements with mine. Which is, I suppose, how advice tends always to go.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:48 PM
Category: Free market reforms