Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

[op-ed snap] Let the elite pay


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Status of primary and higher education in India and ways to improve it


Statistics on higher education in India

  1. The government (state plus Centre) spends a third of its budget on education, and a further third of that on higher education
  2. We have a messed-up education system and have had one in place since Independence

Mistakes committed so far

  1. Our first mistake was to not expand primary and secondary education for the common people
  2. We proceeded to build temples of wisdom for the elite (higher education in general, IITs in particular)
  3. This expansion was at the expense of providing basic education to all

What this resulted in?

  1. The children of the poorest of the poor, the ones most discriminated against on the basis of caste or religion, did not receive basic quality education, so they could not proceed to higher education
  2. The ones that were able to go to school — and they did so in poorly-staffed government schools — did not receive a quality education, and therefore were not able to compete with the rich kids when it came to college

Situation in India

  1. India must be one of the very few countries in the world (along with its Subcontinental neighbors) where the average good quality high school education costs more than five times the average good quality college education
  2. In most civilized economies, the ratio is the opposite

Way Forward

  1. We need to change our education system which is for the rich, by the elite, with sops and band-aids for the not-so-fortunate
  2. Each student should pay for her college education the same she paid for her high school education
  3. The revenue gains for the government from this much-needed education reform are large
  4. This extra money should allow the government to redo the Indian education system from the primary level onwards
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