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Re: Education

On Mon, 14 Sep 1998 gear@blr.vsnl.net.in wrote:

> > The duty of government should be to provide access to education, maintain
> > the standards, see that the ratio of teachers to students is kept at
> > whatever has been decided etc.

no. no! Not at all:

a) Access: ALL schools to be private (citizen run) and partially funded by
other citizens (tax payers) who gain social benefit from the positive
outcome of an educated citizenry. If I educate a rural woman, I gain by
having a few lesser children in my over-crowded country, by having more
skilled workers, by having better democratic institutions. Therefore I a
taxpayer am willing to pay for providing education, but NOT to a
government bureaucracy. That money must go STRAIGHT to the school.

b) Standards: We DO NOT need any government agency to set standards.
Education is valuable to me as a private citizen and you and I - citizens
- will set up institutions to assess standards. Today, Microsoft
certification is far more crucial in getting a job than having got a
degree from an Indian university. The private sector knows best what
standards are needed. Let the private sector/ businesses set up their own
standards institutions and their own exams to certify people who meet
these standards. 

As Srini "gear" stated:

> The precise point is that the GOVT IS DOING IT NOW. They ae in control
> of standards and DON'T allow a standard institution to come up. their
> policies are 'vote bank' oriented.

Let the govt. provide us roads, police, and defence. Maybe money and a
very few other things. And then: JUST GET OUT OF OUR WAY. We - the
citizens - are smarter than any govt. can EVER BE - since, as Hayek
pointed out, and I emphasized earlier, WE possess the local knowledge of
whether our teacher is coming to school, what books we need, what
standards are needed in computers, etc. The govt. is paid to provide us an
ENVIRONMENT where we, as citizens, can flourish, our talents electrify the
world! Just like we don' need government standards to create Ravi Shankars
and CV Ramans, we don't need any bureaucrat in the way to set any
ridiculous "standards" for us.

Believe me, when I was JS Planning and Development, Assam, and was in
charge of the Statistics directorate in assam, I found that NOBODY had any
real specialization in statistics. Nobody had read any book in statistics
since they joined their job. Nobody had any clue about Operations
Research. Nobody knew anything (honest!) And they had not been able to
produce that very THIN annual booklet of state statistics for more than 10
years! Yet there were at least a few hundred people "working" in that
department. I was dismayed. I am always dismayed.

If I tell you the plight of the intellectual abilities of my Directors of
Education, you will be even more shocked! Let me not ruin your happiness!

These guys could not write one straight line in English. All the Task
Force reports and state plans had to be virtually re-written by me (my
Commissioner being too busy in 'other' things). And they took months to
produce 3 page of notes for their department, so busy were they in their
'appointments, transfers, postings' of teachers and running around the
Minister! What policy! The whole system is a sham!!

All ye who think SO HIGHLY of the government and hope that it will set
"STANDARDS!" for you! Trust not these bunches of half-baked illiterates
who run the governments of India. Virtually no bureaucrat has ever opened
a book after joining service! They have NO interest in raising standards
since they have none themselves. The key talk of any bureaucrat is about
how to wangle a plum posting; the key thing is to 'back-bite' and to push
one's career forward. They have NO business to be in the 'setting
standards for India' business.

c) Ratio of teachers to students: That is none of the business of
government. All we need to do is to provide a suitable subsidy to remote
schools, and provide free LAND to set up any number of schools and
universities in the cities. Let the management committees decide the
details. Government could - if it so insists - set up "desirable"
standards or ratios. Then: get out of the way.

sorry; my fingers have given way. I stop lest I injure myself too much
(how much is too much?)

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