Education was a top priority for India after independence in 1947 with quality education being provided in government schools. That system changed in the 1990s.when funding for government schools was stopped deliberately and private schools emerged, Assistant Professor in Economics at Delhi University Monami Basu told Sputnik.
Liberalisation and globalisation gave a much-needed push to the private schools and they were no longer just reserved for elites, "while government schools were purposely made deplorable, left just to serve the poor,” Basu says.
“Now the similar pattern is being replicated in the higher education sector where universities and colleges are witnessing structural reforms which aim to privatise the educational institutes.”
Basu says, “With the new education policy to be tabled in the Winter Session of the Parliament, it will lead to major reforms in the education sector. Each college will have a board of governors, which eventually make colleges autonomous. There will be just one-time loan from the government and even the salary of teachers will be raised through student fees. This will eventually result in a fee hike in public education institutes.”
The drift towards privatisation leads to questions about the right to education and the accessibility of education.
Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University have been protesting about the fee hike in the university whereby the rent for a double room, recently rose to Rs.300 ($4 approx.) per month from Rs.10 ($0.14 approx.). It was later reduced to Rs.150 ($2 approx.) per month.
Basu adds: “Education is a merit good, which means the good not only benefits the consumer but also the society at large. An educated person means a more aware person and it’s not just about getting a job and making a living. This is a reason why education needs to be subsidised.”
Institutes such as Jio University, which is being funded by Reliance Industries, have been categorised as Institutes of Eminence, leading to accusations that the government is promoting private education.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.