Quality education at affordable cost of
children has always been one of the biggest concerns for parents in
India. While government run schools have been the usual solution in
terms of affordability, these schools have hardly been the answer
for strong learning outcomes for children. Moreover, these schools
have been known to have high incidence of teacher absenteeism, high
student teacher ratios, and very little teaching activity. These
problems have translated into increasing dropout rates as parents
choose income generating activities for their children as they get
It was against this background, that Professor James Tooley, an
eminent Professor of Education Policy from University of Newcastle
Upon Tyne discovered private unaided schools providing quality
education at affordable costs in Hyderabad. Through testing students
in English language and Mathematics, he discovered that students
from private unaided schools performed much better than children
attending government schools. This worldwide discovery in the last
10 years and his findings were similar to those in India. He
chronicled his discovery of and works with low cost schools across
the world in his book The Beautiful Tree, released by Penguin.
Prof. James Tooley
Mohammed Anwar is one of the new breed of “edupreneurs” or
educational entrepreneurs transforming the school sector in India.
In 1987, he started a low-cost private high school with 34 students
in a small, rented building in Hyderabad.
Now M.A. Ideal High School has about 9 branches in the slums of
Hyderabad and in a poor rural area and enrolled 3,000 children.
To provide education to the low income families they (Professor
James Tooley and Mohammed Anwar formed Beautiful Tree Trust and are
managing chain of low cost schools on the banner of M. A. IDEAL.
All schools are coeducational; teaching is in English; and the
target market is low-income families. Parents pay low fees of
between Rs.100 and Rs.250 per month.
To improve the quality education they formed “Empathy Learning
Systems Pvt. Ltd.” Company in April 2009.
Empathy Learning Systems Private Limited (ELS Pvt. Ltd) is a company
that aims to build a chain and provide services for low cost private
schools in India. Inspired by the work of Professor James Tooley who
had chronicled successful models of low cost private schools across
the world, Empathy’s model takes to classrooms specially designed
curriculum, innovative pedagogy, training for teachers conducted by
experts and regular support and mentoring provided by the company’s