Monday, October 13, 2008

Privatization of Indian Government Schools

I wrote the following article for a website...I had to write about something regarding business and I thought I'd mix up business with the social feature...good idea naa?...nahh! bad one...the guy didn't like the article and it wasn't selected to be up on his site... :(...but I sort of like whatever I wrote and there's actually a bit of research done in this...

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The world’s largest democracy with its booming economy and on the verge of being an economic superpower, is also one of the top countries with the most pathetic education system. The soaring stock market of India, mostly because of its software expertise and world-class leadership, needs more educated citizens like never before. But the Indian Government Schools, where almost 75% of the country’s children seek their education, are alarmingly ill-equipped and teacher drought.

According to the World Bank, a quarter of government school teachers are absent on any given day, with no more than half of those present actually teaching. High levels of teacher absence and turnover have crippled the education system.

Frustrated by the inefficiencies of government schools, many poor parents are sending their children to high charging Private Schools or those schools which are run by the new generation of social workers-entrepreneurs-educationists, “edupreneurs”.

So, are Private Schools any better than the free but abysmal Government Schools? Maybe not all of them, but most of them. And these edupreneurs also charge only a nominal fee because most of the children come from poor or lower-middle class families. But the problems faced by them are numerous. Ranging from struggle with public bureaucrats to obtain legal recognition to no collateral to offer to banks, these people see it all. And moreover, most of the children being from poor families, fee default is quite common.

So, how is privatization of schools going to help the education system. A rapidly growing economy like that of India needs an adequate supply of accountable and quality education, which is missing from these government schools. A brand network of private schools intended at low-income communities with a specified curriculum and monitored by private organizations can help the cause. And a unified network will create trust among poor parents who are willing to shed a large amount of money on their children’s fee. And although the schools will be integrated under a common brand name, they will be amended according to the needs of various sections. And being under a same brand name will increase the rapidity with which new schools can be built, considering that it takes years for a school to be legally setup in India.

Education is the widely acknowledged first step to development. And with parents realizing the importance of education in their child’s life are willing to pay extra bucks for quality education. So, it is high time that we react and respond to the country’s surging economy.


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