Skip to main content

Education policy and students going abroad for under-graduate education

Indian Express carried this story last Sunday on how students faced with high cut-offs are opting for foreign universities. Srinath Rao, who wrote that article, estimates that 430 out of 930 students passing out of DPS R K Puram are going abroad to pursue their college education.

Assuming that each of them will spend at least $ 20,000 each year ($ 10,000 each towards tuition fees and living expenses. In reality the expenses would be much higher). These 430 students alone will spend $ 8.6 million each year. Assuming their under-graduate degree is for four years, it works out to $ 34.4 million or Rs 172 crore (at Rs 50 per dollar).

A lazy answer would be to pin point to lesser number of seats available because of reservation. This might probably account for less than 5% of why kids go abroad. I would trace it to the faulty education policy that we have, that only allows not-for-profit people to run schools and colleges. As a result, education providers float a two-layer structure: one which has the physical infrastructure and another which manages the day-to-day operations of the school like employing teachers and managing the infrastructure. The first company- which owns the physical infrastructure- will be not-for-profit to satisfy the government rules. The second company will get paid by the first company for the services rendered, and would be making huge profits. A check at some of so-called e-education firms in India will establish the two-tier structure. As a result, people who have genuine interest in running schools and colleges as a for-profit institutions are not willing to run. 


Unless the policy is changed to encourage an open and fair way of running schools and colleges, the government will never be able to meet the demand. Rules that protect the interests of the students and at the same time provide flexibility for private schools to innovate should be encouraged. Or else, we will end up like what's happening in private engineering colleges. 


Those who oppose opening up education sector should understand that if 430 students spend a fraction of that money in a college in India, it would create better job opportunities. Nobody is stopping the government from opening many new colleges. After all if state-run schools and colleges become good, there would be no demand for private schools and colleges. 


And finally there are many thousands of students who don't get admission in good colleges but are forced to complete in poorly run institutions, mainly because they can't afford foreign colleges. Not because they are less talented or deserving than the 430 DPS students. Having a local option- run by private capital- would not only make it cheaper than foreign education but could help them compete with better resourced kids. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

'koil madu' and myself........

'Koil madu' is a Tamil term used to describe the cows that are tied to the temple. It is there forever. In literal usage, the term can be used on people who spend loads of time at religious place. I might fit that description well. Haven't missed many Sunday church services. If I have to put a number, I would have attended 39 out of 40 years of Sunday services.

Last Sunday, the preacher at my Delhi church was referring to Ecclesiastes 11: 1 and 2. In the last few years, I have started to like the Message translation of The Bible. This version uses modern day language, yet it captures the true meaning of the root language. So I referred to the Message version when the preacher was mentioning these verses.

These verses I haven't heard before and it was sort of like an eye opener on what the Bible says on charity. I have been a 'koil madu' but haven't found this verse for this long. It was profound. Check out the verses:

"Be generous: Invest in acts of ch…

How not to spend taxpayers money

If you're wondering how best your tax money is spent, then you should look at how Telangana's Rythu Bandhu Scheme works. The state government decided that it will give Rs4,000 per acre as investment incentive to all farm owners. The biggest benefit would be farm mechanization by small landowners who otherwise may not have opted for machanisation. So far so good. 

Here is the interesting thing: the incentive per acre is given to all farmers irrespective of how much land is owned, or whether he is actually tilling the land. 

So a farmer with 200 acres of land, will pocket Rs 8 lakh of public money (money that you and me pay as tax), and in all probability, he is filthy rich and is not even tilling the land. 

Anyone with any semblance of knowledge of rural economy will say there are a vast number of tenant farmers (people who don't own the land, but they till and share a portion of the product with the landlord). Telengana government in its infinite wisdom decided not to include…

Happiness, street vendors, and negotiations......

Few days back I was watching a documentary series, "India's Frontier Trains". The three-part series was on trains connecting India with its neighbours - Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Yes, there is a train connection between India and Nepal, and that train is the only functioning train for the whole of Nepal.

In the episode on the train between India and Bangladesh, the program documented a life of a chocolate seller inside the train. He boards the train in the Bangladesh side of the route. A sole bread winner for a family of four, he earns by selling chocolates in the train.

He faces a perennial problem: because of hot weather conditions, his chocolates melt. In those hot days, his earnings are meager. A basic cooling device like this costs seventeen pounds and he couldn't afford that.

What moved me was the insensitive nature of some passengers in haggling with this struggling chocolate seller. They would force down the price by 10 pence or more (which is more tha…