The Indian education system does not effectively promote the prior right of parents to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. This column argues that the degree of freedom of not just parents, but also of school principals, teachers and education providers is a key determinant of quality and equity in education. It outlines reforms to promote the right to ‘education of choice’.

Quality education and skills training are two of the most critical ingredients for youth empowerment, for the demographic dividend, and for a prosperous and peaceful India. The access to education is now almost universal; we have built schools, provided mid-day meals, uniforms and textbooks to attract students to schools. And more than 96% of school-going age children are in schools.

The activists demand that the government of India must spend at least 6% of GDP on education. They claim that this is the minimum money required to assure quality education to all.

There are four specific problems with this mantra of 6%:

Thatcherism was based on a philosophy of the appropriate role for the state, markets and civil society. The state should undertake only those functions that the market or civil society effectively cannot. And free competition is a better regulator of markets and protector of consumers.

Written as a chapter of India Infrastructure Report 2012, this complete article talks about Private Initiative in India’s Education Miracle. Download the attached file to read complete article.

Centre must fund the states, but let them identify the students who need help

One major initiative of the Indian government, in the field of education, was the Right to Education Act of 2009. This act has major problems, as has been argued by numerous observers and experts in the field. This Act focuses on the interests of incumbent public sector education providers, instead of focusing on the interests of children and parents. It is focused on inputs into the educational process, regardless of the outcomes which are coming out.

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