James N. Tooley is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Professor of Education Policy and Director of the E. G. West Centre at the Newcastle University upon Tyre. He received his Ph.D. in education from the University of London, and he has previously taught and researched at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester, Simon Fraser University, and University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
Professor Tooleys recent, bestselling book, The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the Worlds Poorest Are Educating Themselves builds on his ground-breaking research on private education for the poor in India, China and Africa, that received the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award and for which Tooley was awarded the Gold Prize in the first International Finance Corporation/Financial Times Private Sector Development Competition. Following on from this, he was Founder and President of the Education Fund, Orient Global, living for two years in Hyderabad, India, where he helped create a chain of low-cost private schools and associated educational infrastructure. He also set up educational companies in China and Ghana, with a further company in India.
He is also the author of the books, E.G. West: Economic Liberalism and the Role of Government in Education, La Educacion Privada es Beneficiosa Para Los Pobres, Could the Globalisation of Education Benefit the Poor?, The Global Education Industry: A Chinese Perspective, What America Can Learn from School Choice in Other Countries, Delivering Better Education: market solutions to education, Government Failure: E.G. West on Education, Buckingham at 25: Freeing the Universities from State Control, The Enterprise of Education: Opportunities and Challenges for India, Reclaiming Education, From Village School to Global Brand: Changing the World through Education, The Private School Revolution in Bihar: Findings from a Survey in Patna Urban, The Miseducation of Women, and Education Survival Is Not Compulsory.
His work has been featured in the American PBS documentary, "Meet the New Heroes," profiled alongside the work of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. It has also been featured in a documentary for BBC World and on BBC Newsnight. Philanthropy Magazine has described him as a 21st century Indiana Jones travelling to the remotest regions on Earth researching something that many regard as mythical: private, parent-funded schools serving the Third World poor.
He is a contributor to numerous scholarly volumes and his articles have been published in such journals as the Journal of School Choice: International Research and Reform; Educational Management; Journal of Comparative Education Research; School Effectiveness and School Improvement; Educational Management, Administration & Leadership; Journal of Education Policy; International Review of Education; International Journal of Educational Development; International Education Journal; Economic Affairs; China Education Daily; Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research; Information Technologies and International Development; Journal of Philosophy of Education; British Journal of Sociology of Education; and Oxford Review of Education.