Lessons in Schooling over the years as gov schools fail and privatisation becomes necessary

Government schools have failed to fulfill the responsibility for educating children. Neither educational nor pedagogical needs are met. Privatisation has become indispensable.



Private schools have been in the public eye recently due to various reasons. Government-run schools are marred by apathy, while private schools provide education at a cost. Both need to bloom in order to eradicate illiteracy and optimise the potential of education, bringing a new side to it with rigorous efforts.

Our Constitution has placed education on the Concurrent list, which has made central and state governments responsible for regulating all matters relating to all types of education, including technical, medical and vocational. However, education was not included in the list of Fundamental Rights. As a result, neither the central nor the state governments made the required arrangements for imparting even basic school education to its citizens. Illiteracy,  which was rampant before 1947, has continued to grow among the masses, particularly among the poor. Tardily, the Right to Education Act, 2009,which granted all children the right to free and compulsory education, is expected to give relief from illiteracy.

The Act was eluded for nearly 60 years after Independence because the education of large masses could not be supported financially and a sufficient number of schools were not built, along with infrastructural and pedagogical needs not met fully. Privatisation of education became indispensable as governments failed to fulfil the educational responsibilities towards its citizens. Many private schools were opened and consequently, they've grown in standard and numbers. The quality of education in government-run schools has been questioned frequently and there is room for considerable improvement. Even the CBSE Class X results released recently have shown unimpressive performances. As per the 2009 Act, children in the age group between 6 and 14 are compulsorily required to attend school and the penalty on parents for not sending children to school was fixed at one year of imprisonment. But no such punishment has been sentenced till date.

To encourage children to attend school, schemes like mid-day meals, zero-fee and issuing of free books and stationery were introduced in some states. Even unaided private schools were required to admit a proportion of underprivileged children. Positive results have been recorded through these measures, particularly in the case of education of girls. As per a government report (2013), nearly 22.9 crore children were enrolled in rural and urban schools, a figure that was higher as compared to 2009 — when the Right to Education Act was imposed.


However, a lot needs to be done for eradication of  illiteracy. A provision which needs review and may be stated as a reason responsible for poor performance is that children attending school up to Class VIII cannot be detained. The TSR Subramanian Committee, set up to draft the new education policy, has recommended detention after Class VI. But practically, some achievements are necessary for continuing education later, rather than just sending a child from Class I to Class VIII.

Privately run schools have a mixture of good and not-so-good schools. Public schools are although expensive, but are preferred schools because they aim at the all-round development of a child. Lord Macaulay, who framed the education system in India in the 1830s, had built the school education system on the lines of the British system, where government-run schools and public schools coexisted. This became necessary as free education in government-run schools could not become affordable. The public schools in the UK and Wales were "student selective and  autonomic – expensive fee-paying schools", and were managed by the board of governors and were kept outside government interference.

The first schools like Eton School, Westminster School, Winchester School and Harrow School (Jawaharlal Nehru was educated here) were associated with the ruling classes and they took the responsibility of educating the sons of officers and administrators of the British empire. On the lines of these public schools, Macaulay opened schools in the three Presidencies —namely, La Martiniere schools in Calcutta and Lucknow in 1836 and 1845, respectively, in the Bengal Presidency, Lawrence school Lovedale, Ooty, in the Madras Presidency and Elphinstone School in the Bombay Presidency. On the lines of the seven schools in UK, Aitchison College, Lahore and Rajkumar College, Rajkot were opened for the education of students from princely states.  All public schools in the UK and India were self-financed, they concentrated on the over-all development of students, for which they provided expensive facilities, such as equitation, swimming, co-curricular activities and in some cases organised “exchange programmes,” which made them much more expensive than government-run schools. Lately, many schools in the private sector have come up and fancy calling themselves public schools.

It is, therefore, necessary that some qualitative mandatory requirements must be laid down in case a school boasts of being a public school. As per the Human Resources Development Ministry, 29 per cent school children are studying in private schools, including public schools. Many more schools are required to accommodate nearly 6-7 crore non-school going children. Evidently, both public and private sector schools must work together hand in hand in order to make the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan a triumph that India has been waiting for since a long time.

Image used for representational purpose only



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