Check out some facts about the Indian Education System and governing legislation.
Below are my thoughts “in brief”, and of course I could be wrong as the best and only judge is time:
It will be palatable, if not a delight, to read it after 3 glasses of wine, or equivalent, and another glass of wine, or equivalent, in hand to gulp as and when the need arises.
There seems to be a general misunderstanding on the state of education and governing legislations in India. So let me first share my understanding on that first.
Education System in India
The education sector, like schools, colleges, and universities and not the tuition centers like Aakash, etc., cannot be profit-making entities and they have to be non-profit organizations by law.
State of government schools are public facts and known globally and so the less said the better.
So unlike the West, public or government schools are not an option and the private schools are the only alternative and not a luxury but the only and only option because of no other options for the middle-class in India.
Private schools are impossible to be opened and operated unless you are already well settled and reputed, before the current era of “extreme-level” corruption started say 50 or 60 years back, or are well-connected.
It again is impossible to operate a private school honestly and the only difference between private schools is the degree and extent of corruption and loot depending upon the intention of the school management.
Two ends of the rainbow—–
One end- survive to provide the best education possible under the current circumstances and the other extreme end-extort and loot as much as you can with complete and absolute impunity.
With RTE (Right to Education) and the legally mandated reservation for the EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) in private schools, even un-aided private schools, the boundary between private schools and the government schools have been blurred.
EWS student’s fees and other expenses are subsidized and partially paid by the government and the rest is for the school management to manage which means that other students have to pay for the EWS student’s fees and other expenses.
This is a direct cross-subsidy being done by a non-profit private entity, done under threat and arm-twisting by the government.
In fact, recently, this week or last week itself, Courts have ruled that it is the responsibility of the non-profit private schools to provide the necessary infrastructure to EWS students for their on-line learnings and the schools cannot charge EWS students for that.
Now, it doesn’t need the genius to figure out where the schools are going to manage the funds for providing free infrastructure to EWS students for their online learnings. It doesn’t need to be stated that the middle-class is already overburdened by the back-breaking high taxes/extortion for nothing in return.
Also, fees of the private schools are regulated and capped in significant cases too and need approval from the government for any increase.
What about the quality of the infrastructure, education, facilities, qualifications of the teachers, future plans, etc.
If the government is going to decide on everything for the private schools then how private/independent are the private schools?
The government already utterly and abjectly failed in its primary duty and now they are out to ruin even the unaided non-profit private schools.
So, you see private schools are not as private/independent as they are in the West.
They are partly doing the job of the government schools without being compensated for it and rather being forced to cross-subsidize, which again at best and at worst is the job of the government.
The government’s thumb is on their, private schools, jugular vein all the time and the government presses it from time to time to extract its pound of flesh, sometimes legally and sometimes illegally aka corruption.
Private schools have to deal with government apathy, red tape, bureaucratic control, mercurial temper, discrimination in the implementation of laws and in following the regulations, and corruption on daily basis and this becomes an entry-level barrier for honest people while also increasing the operating cost of the private schools.
So, the above was to clarify that the un-aided non-profit private schools are not a for-profit business venture and don’t operate in a free market economy where the laws of demand and supply and the quality of management, etc. are the only governing laws in matters of their survival and their product and service quality.
Now if we talk about the finance sector, I don’t need to explain the three key words in economics:
Now you are free to take whichever viewpoint you want to take, puritan vs. non-puritan viewpoint or capitalist vs. socialist-communist viewpoint, and if you make the decision tree then you will see how “absolutely wrong” the government is as they always have been at least since the era of the “haram-level” corruption started to say about 50-60 years back.
Now to share few more thoughts:
- Why should the govt bail out private schools?
- When these schools make money, do they give all their profits to the Govt?
- Why should the taxpayers bail out these guys?“
The government shouldn’t transfer its responsibility to private schools and they should be an alternative to public schools as is the case in the West. The government is already charging for it and it’s not that the government gives any tax benefits/deductions when we use the services of the private schools instead of the government schools.
As per the law, these schools are non-profit and fees are regulated and capped in significant cases too. See above for details.
So the case essentially is not of “Taxpayers are bailing out” and rather government needs to return/refund the taxpayers in-directly.
The government is bailing out farmers, lower-class every year and waiving off their loans when they have not paid a penny in taxes despite receiving huge amounts in subsidies and in various other ways.
There are several million farmers in India with an annual income of over 1 cr. and they don’t pay a penny in taxes. How ironic is that a family earning 10 or even 7 lakhs in Bangalore is made to pay extortion level taxes while a farmer despite his input costs being heavily subsidized and having an annual income of over 1 cr. and living in a place with a much lower cost of living doesn’t have to pay a penny in taxes.
If the point is that govt should help the education sector, then shouldn’t they be investing in govt schools rather than bailing out these Pvt ones?
Private schools are not in competition with any of the government schools and rather exist only to fill the vacuum, unlike the West. Who stopped the government from funding “more” the government schools so far or they just remembered that this year only?
Any penny put into government school is a complete waste and it’s not an investment. First, the basics need to be fixed before any penny needs to be put into government schools.
You don’t put your wallet into your “ripped off” pocket, right?
What about EWS in private schools?
Who will pay for them?
“Or the objective is to just crib and cry and blame govt got everything“
The Middle-class is better off without the government. The government needs us to fill their coffers to splurge on others and we don’t need them.
For below comments:
“अरे, बंद होने दो। बच्चों के भविष्य से खेल रहे हैं।“
That is true that most private schools are do playing with the future of the children but the option to close the private schools is even worse. The choice is not between good and bad but between bad and worse. As I said above, there are still some private schools that are into this more for imparting education and less for making money.
Two points to note:
- In this above statement, there is an inherent assumption that the economic model employed by US and Europe is best and the only one that works for all. I respectfully disagree with that. While it may work for them, it doesn’t work for us. We just don’t have the luxury to print dollars and throw money in bailing out pvt businesses. And here I am not even getting into the discussion of the economic consequences and the moral dilemma of doing such a thing.
- I still don’t understand what’s wrong if the current management of the schools are unable to run them and want to sell them to someone else, who can hopefully run them more efficiently. That’s what happens in a market economy. And if these schools are not viable, they should close.
Govt does have a responsibility to provide education but why should they bail out Pvt schools to do that? Why not invest in govt schools to give out good quality education?
I guess, your both points get answered above.
Pardon me for this seemingly long post while I am being brief with my thoughts and please be gentle.
I would love to see your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading this post and please don’t forget to share it.