The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World's Poorest People Are Educating Themselves (Paperback)
Everyone from Bono to the United Nations is looking for a miracle to bring schooling within reach of the poorest children on Earth. James Tooley found one hiding in plain sight. While researching private schools in India for the World Bank, and worried he was doing little to help the poor, Tooley wandered into the slums of Hyderabad's Old City. Shocked to find it overflowing with tiny, parentfunded schools filled with energized students, he set out to discover if schools like these could help achieve universal education. Named after Mahatma Gandhi's phrase for the schools of pre-colonial India, The Beautiful Tree recounts Tooley's journey from the largest shanty town in Africa to the hinterlands of Gansu, China. It introduces readers to the families and teachers who taught him that the poor are not waiting for educational handouts. They are building their own schools and educating themselves.
James Tooley is a professor of education policy at Newcastle University. There he is the director of the E. G. West Centre, which is dedicated to choice, competition, and entrepreneurship in education. 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. He was a professor in leading universities in England, Canada, and South Africa, and also lived in Hyderabad, India, where he worked with the entrepreneurs and teachers who inspired this book.