Can privatization of education system and Right to Education Act go together?
Recently, there was news that government is planning to privatize the complete educational system. But, the question arises that will this new scheme really be effective? Does the scheme have the capabilities to implement the Act of Right to Education for every child less than 14 years? This article explains about the pros and cons of privatizing the education system and its effect on the Right to Education Act.
In year 2009, Right to Education Act was passed. According to this act, the provision was made to provide free and compulsory education to every child less than 14 years. To implement this act and spread literacy in India, government has opened large number of schools. Almost every rural area is having a primary school. In urban areas also, secondary, higher secondary, college are being running which are either managed or aided by the state government.
But, the quality of education is not of the standard which it is supposed to be. At various occasions, the questions on quality of education, qualifications of teachers, and facilities in government schools have been raised. There is shortage of faculty in the schools and colleges. The government does not have enough funds to implement the act. Therefore, government is having a thought to privatize the complete education system. Another fact is that education and knowledge is playing an important role in the economic development of the country. Previously, providing education was a social service, but, now, it is being converted into business. Business persons are entering the world of education only to make profit.
Merits of privatizing the education system
- Quality of education : It is a known fact that private school provide quality education. They have all the latest and modern equipments in the school which helps the students to understand the subject very well. The teachers in private schools are well qualified and hence are efficient in providing good knowledge. High discipline is maintained in private schools. The ratio of teacher and student is kept under consideration so that every student gets proper attention by the teacher.
- Infrastructure : It is a true fact that the infrastructure of government schools is very poor. Most of the schools and colleges do not have proper classroom and toilet facilities. The wiring system of the schools is in very poor conditions. Amenities are not available in proper ratio. On the other hand, private schools spend a large fund to provide good infrastructure. Playgrounds, well-equipped laboratory, library and various other facilities are provided to the students. This helps the students in an over-all personality development.
- Qualified teachers : Private schools hire experience and qualified teachers to provide education to school children. The teachers assist and provide guidance to each and every student. Teachers initiate new methods of teaching and learning the students so that the students can understand the topic in better way.
Demerits of privatizing the education system
- High Fees : In India, most of the people either belong to lower class or middle class category. The private schools charge very high fees. The fees cover the funds spend in building and equipment. These are charged by the student in the name of tuition fee, sports fee, development fee, cultural program fee and many more. It is impossible for people belonging to lower and middle class group to provide such high expenses in the school. Therefore, they prefer to admit the child in the government schools which takes nominal fee and can be adjust their budget.
- Low salary : Since the private schools are not aided by the government, they hire the qualified teachers and pay less salary to them. One of the major reasons for qualified teachers joining these private schools on less salary is the increase in unemployment. Since, there is high degree of unemployment, it creates insecurity among the employees and management makes full utilization of this scenario. Management takes the maximum output from the staff on less pay. And the teachers do the work with the feeling of insecurity.
- Money Making business : Most of the business person run the school and colleges just to earn profit. Since English medium schools are in demand, entrepreneurs are taking advantage of it. They buy land on nominal rate to open educational society and set up a general infrastructure. Later, when the students begin to enroll in the institute, they take high margin of fees in name of tuition, development, sports and other.
- Social Inequality : The difference of the status among the students belonging to higher class and lower class will lead to feeling of social inequality. Though, the new rule of admitting 25% poor students in private schools and providing free education to them has been made compulsory, but, the other charges incurred by the school is also very high. The other charges such as transportation charges, development charges are also high and cannot be afforded by poor people.
So the question arises should privatization of education system be implemented? There are four possible scenarios regarding privatization.
- Zero Privatization : In this scenario, all the schools are run by government. That is the complete control and responsibility at all the levels in managed by the government.
- Mild Privatization : In this scenario, the private institutes can recover 50% of the cost by gradually increasing the tuition fees. Rest of the cost can be subsidized by the government.
- Intensive Privatization : In this scenario, more than 75% of the cost is recovered from the student's tuition fees and employer's contribution.
- Total Privatization : In this scenario, management has full authority to recover the cost from tuition fees and other beneficiaries. In this case, government does not have any control on the institution. Such private institutes have right to generate profit by any means.
The first and last option are the not the feasible methods. The first option will increase the burden on the government and last option will increase the burden on the public. So, it is better to go with second and third option of privatizing the education system. Also, government must intervene in the school management to keep a check that all the rules are being followed sincerely.
There are various government schools such as Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya which provide better education than private schools. They charge nominal fees from the students and provide better infrastructure and maximum facilities to the students. So, instead of privatizing the education system, government must work on improving the education quality, infrastructure and facilities. They must hire qualified teachers. Instead of providing free education, they can charge some fees to raise the fund. This will reduce their burden and they will be able to provide education to every child below fourteen years.
This is the entry for the GD contest "Do you believe that privatization and right to education act will go together"