Bewildering irony

Thanks for your hard-hitting cover story ‘Licence-permit-quota raj crushing India’s private schools’ (EW April). Most reports in daily newspapers tend to portray private schools as money-grabbing institutions out to fleece parents by charging huge fees.

Your story has highlighted on-the-ground reality — how private schools, preferred by all segments of society, are being harassed and intimidated by education inspectors for alleged failure to comply with a plethora of levelling-down rules and regulations.

Indeed, there’s a bewildering irony in state governments which have failed miserably to raise academic and infrastructure standards in their public schools, prescribing rules and setting benchmarks for private schools. As you have rightly analysed, the motivation for regulating private schools is not quality control, but rent-seeking. The government neither has the resources nor capability to improve private schools.

Indian education is over-regulated. It needs to be liberalised to let a thousand schools and colleges bloom.

Amit Kumar

Puerile argument

Your argument that the government should worry only about improving standards in its own schools and not regulate private schools is puerile (EW April cover story). It’s in the public interest for government to set and regulate minimum academic and infrastructure standards in private schools. A sizeable number of private schools — particularly budget schools — provide pathetic infrastructure facilities with hundreds of children crammed into unsafe, dilapidated buildings, and pay their teachers a pittance.

Across the world, governments set minimum benchmarks and criteria for promotion of new private schools and monitor their functioning continuously. This is to safeguard the interests of parents and children. Instead of wasting time fighting government regulation, private school managements must focus on complying with the minimum standards prescribed.

Murali Krishna

Transparency call

Your anguished special report on the Union Budget 2016-17 (EW April) is a grim reminder of how successive Central governments have put children and education at the bottom of India’s development priorities. The BJP government has cheated the country’s public. Your revelation that the Central government’s total wages and salaries bill for its 4.8 million employees is Rs.2.47 lakh crore, is shocking. It’s amazing that the payout to 4.8 million Central government employees is several multiples of the annual education provision made for the country’s 500 million children and youth.

But while greater allocations to the education and health sectors are crucial for developing human capital, expenditure efficiency is also important. Many studies have revealed that there’s huge wastage in public education with some allocations not being utilised at all. The Union as well as state budgets need to inform the public about how the money, particularly the 2 percent education cess, has been spent with full details of education projects completed.

Rahul Deshpande

Rioting vote banks

Re your editorial ‘Critical importance of law and order’ (EW April), the BJP/Modi government is silent on violations of law and order for fear of losing its vote banks. The violent agitation by Jats demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions should have been strictly dealt with by the Haryana state government.

Instead, it has acceded to their unjust demands. For almost a week, Haryana was held hostage by rioters who went on a rampage damaging property and molesting women. By not crushing these violent protests, the government has opened the gates for more such absurd demands.

Moreover, reservations of all types are a hindrance to the country’s economic development and should be abolished in the national interest. It’s become a tool for politicians to keep their vote banks happy.

Mahesh Kumar

Perverted rival

I notice from your website there’s a perverted person or a jealous rival regularly awarding all your stories and column writers a zero rating. Please ignore him.

EducationWorld is doing a great job in focusing public attention on vital education issues. It is a unique, high-quality magazine performing a valuable national service and doing India proud.

Ashish Purohit on e-mail