Monday, April 07, 2008

Inadequate Institutions

The Delhi Consumer Commission has recently appealed to the UGC and the HRD to shut down educational institutions that are run from residential premises sans UGC recognition. Now, while I strongly believe that standards need to be maintained and the government and other watchbodies like the DCC need to bring to light some deplorable institutes that dupe students out of thousands and provide them below par education, I am not sure exactly which institutions the DCCs report refers to.

Would "private coaching classes" be forced to shut down? Would unrecognized primary schools that run out of residential premises and rented rooms be forced to shut down? I strongly advise everyone to peruse through this paper, publised by James Tooley and Pauline Dixon, titled - Private Schools Serving the Poor. The findings are quite startling. I feel it is counter-intuitive to think of unrecognized private schools that operate out of rented rooms to in fact completely out-perform government schools in every single criteria. Now, I am not advocating that government schools be entirely shut down and these other schools be given a free reign, but maybe these findings will help shed light on what the real problem is. Maybe, just for once we need to fight the cause and not the symptoms.

I strongly believe that standards need to be maintained and students deserve the very best. It is by investing generously in our educational institutions, that we can hope to extricate ourselves from this quagmire of poverty and uneven development. So let us first start by examining the state of our government schools and then focus on the private schools. If fly-by-night private schools are out to fleece the students of money, then exactly what do government schools do? These schools might be free for the primary students who attend them, but I am paying for it. The Rs. 34,000 crores or so that the government proudly announces as educational outlays are coming out of the pockets of every single taxpayer, and the government is indeed accountable for how that money is being spent and lakhs of tax payers are indeed being fleeced. So where is the accountability that these commissions angrily demand? Where are the standards? I ask the same questions... over and over again.

So I propose that we first start taking a look at our dysfunctional educational system, deplorable government schools and pathetic literacy rate before we start pointing fingers at "greedy" capitalists who are purportedly the bane of the system. Let us first demand that the schools and educational institutions that the government has set up, meet and beat the high standards that we expect of them, before we begin to look at other institutions. For ever IIT you show me, I will show you a thousand government primary schools.

Let the witch hunt begin!


At Mon Apr 14, 12:18:00 PM GMT-5, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, so, finally, the ultra faux liberal, socialist is beginning to see the light:-)


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