Mounting threat of money in education business!

Private sector enters with a vengeance. Who doesn’t know that the Indian education sector is undergoing a radical transformation, for good or bad? From the very start from LKG to primary and secondary education, why, even afterwards and perhaps with much more vengeance the entry into any collegiate education there is stiff competition all the way. The education sector is becoming highly commercial and the trend is to encourage and push it that way. No day passes, why no moment passes when you see ads everywhere, on the TV screens and on the pages of all news items, even full scale ads on admissions to some specialized courses like aeronautical engineering course. The ads say- don’t go for such courses to other countries, you can have it here itself. We saw from our own neighborhood in the village an ad such as this one! In fact, once a sleepy, a very poor and undeveloped village is now surrounded with three engineering colleges and one ayurvedic centre etc. and we get more workers for the farmers as the women now enjoy the choices of the 100 days work or assistants at the nearby ayurvedic treatment location!

We can’t of course share too much of the mysteries of self-financing colleges and there are any number of ways to get a degree certificate from a university stamp! So, the bad side of the story is that these days you have any number of degree holders! One person having a number of M.As and other degrees and certificates are earning multiple degrees. The other day we saw a full-page supplement of private engineering
college with their founder’s photos holding forth on the benefits of getting a degree from one of their colleges. It was found later it was a marketing feature! So, you are faced with the mounting threat of money. Education is fast becoming a flourishing business.

The government is still in the vast field of education the dominant player; the government schools are still imparting education to millions of children. The poor are no more denied of an education opportunity. Yet, the emerging threat is from the creative innovators in education and they have been milking the innocent or the weak to get insecure in the face of the billions of dollar funds and other players in specialized exam-based for which alone the older war horses in the private sector now concentrate.

Who can reform or reconstruct the education sector?

It looks that an unconcerned government if delays reforms of the fast deteriorating sector, very soon might completely give way to the private sector. More private universities might enter where there is a vast potential. Our concern is that at least the private sector takes over and makes India, namely, the Indian universities a destination for foreign students. Now, even China has emerged as a destination for foreign students. So instead, Indian students can save the costs and mental agony of not searching for high cost US, UK, Canadian Universities. Let them at least enter into the very quality Indian private sector universities for quality degrees. But even here we need the government to wake up to the market realities and try to draw up some wise policies and regulate the education sector. Without a regulatory framework you can’t ensure a reliable quality in education. There are so many problems multiplying for lack of action on the government front. So, don’t create a sense of insecurity and even panic (now there is a sort of mild panic given the middle class considerations for educating their kids and youngsters).

There is already a sort of panic in discussing the various EMIs etc. So, let us not make education sector a sick one, creating so many conflicts. The present status of the Universities is giving worry, considering the various low quality activities, from selecting the VCs to the various academic staff to other ills. We request the public to ponder over our concerns and let us create a process of dialogue and discussion.

One more distressing development is the very commercialization of education, the very pressure to get into fancy schools, be it pre-school, LKG to prestigious secondary school, IIT etc. the irrational pressure built on the children and parents. Parents too fall victim to this materialistic over-ambition. Please don’t put pressure on the kids to perform; the 5-10 year olds and even beyond. Please also tech them mother tongue, music and arts. The Central government, the HRD ministry must fix high-power educationist to frame a policy to reduce stress on children in this so-called competitive society.

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