Professor James Tooley | Grounds For Hope

March 05, 2010
picture of Tooley

Professor James Tooley


We want every child to have the opportunity to learn, but what is the best way to provide that? Conventional wisdom tells us it is about the state providing free schools for all. Yet remarkably, in the poorest communities across the globe, it is private education that really delivers. Parents and teachers in those places are growing innovative, caring schools from the ground up; teaching and nurturing the rising generation.

Professor James Tooley recounts stories of people who are harnessing their creativity and ingenuity to provide quality education to some of the poorest children in the world.



James Tooley is professor of education policy at Newcastle University. He has won numerous awards for his ground-breaking research into private education for the poor in India, China, and Africa. He lives and works between England, Hyderabad and Beijing where he helps educators and entrepreneurs establish low cost private schools for the poor.

Prior to joining Newcastle University, Professor Tooley taught and researched at other universities in Canada, South Africa and England, including the University of Oxford. His first job was as a mathematics high school teacher in Zimbabwe. Professor Tooley’s book The Beautiful Tree was recipient of the 2010 Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award from the Atlas Foundation, naming it the best policy book of the past two years.


Watch his Lecture below:

Click here to read the 2010 Sir John Graham Lecture & Q+A monograph.

Sir John Graham

Since 2008, the annual Sir John Graham has provided a unique opportunity to hear leading experts contribute to public debate in New Zealand.

Sir John Graham was an exemplary New Zealander who throughout his life displayed the consistency of character and care for others we hope for in the best of our leaders. Along with his well-known leadership roles as Captain of the All Blacks, Headmaster of Auckland Grammar, and Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Sir John inspired and led many organisations, including Maxim Institute.

Appropriately, he was recognised with a CBE in 1994 for his services to education and the community, and was further honoured when he was knighted in 2011. As a Founding Trustee of Maxim, Sir John Graham’s deep love for New Zealand, his passion for education, and concern for those on the margins of life remain at the heart of our work, and we are honoured to be able to hold this annual lecture in his name.

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