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One last point! No, Two!



On Fri, 18 Sep 1998 planck@hd1.vsnl.net.in wrote:

> There are just two thoughts befoe we close our debate.
>
> 1. government all over the world is seriously and extensively involved in
> primary education.  I do not see how it can "abdicate " its reponsiblility
> .  I do not think privately owned schools will take us long in a
> environment where illeteracy levels are high.  Any amount of effort by
> NGOs cannot substitute the effort that the government can and should put
> in. Healyth and education must be governments responsibility.

please note: I at least am not advocating an abdication of
"responsibility" by government in either health or education. I'll come to
health later. all I am saying: FUND education, most at the primary level,
lesser at the secondary level, and not at all at the higher level. FUND
research and dev, partially, at the doctoral level, say. But NEVER, never,
MANAGE/ PRODUCE education.

By distrusting the local folks whose children go to school we are
belittling our own people. We are willing to let these people vote as
equals, become our leaders (Rabri Devi), and manage the whole country, but
we are scared to let them manage a little tiny school? Why??

Who are we that know better about whether a teacher is attending the
school regularly, or about what books are needed at school (have you tried
to look into the corruption in text book publishing by goverment?)? Well,
as Secretary, Education, for 250 lakh people, I did not feel competent to
be involved in monitoring teachers. After all, I am one man, or a few (as
a secretariat/ directorate). Even with my best car and best fastest
driver, I cannot whiz from school to school checking up what is going on
in each classroom all the time. IMPOSSIBLE, as Hayek would say, to know
the local information. And then, with the help of a lawyer and a union,
even the WORST teacher always gets scot-free, completely demoralizing
those who are hard working and sincere. Bad money ALWAYS drives out good
money.

Do not abdicate responsibility -whatever that means. Simply let the
R.Devis of India manage their own schools.

> 2. Nowhere in the globe has a country leaped into development without
> strong foundations int primary education.  It is surprising that succesive
> government policies in making India a global economic power(sleeping
> tiger?)  does not include primary education as the MAIN focus for
> devfelopmnt.  Maybe poor nations which have high literacy rates remain
> poor (any examples?) but ae there any richnations with low literacy rates?

Governments have always claimd that they are removing illiteracy. In any
case, I am talking of 25% of the population achieving higher education, as
a targeet. On this manifesto, let us prioritize our goals and discuss till
our policymakers have no choice but to follow these things.

But in this process of giving importance to education, let us not get
carried away and call it a "fundamental right" nor insist on a system like
the one we have today (5% are private schools, 95% public, as per Parth's
statistics). Make it WORKABLE. Thing strategy, think reality, think
incentives, think moral hazard.

SS


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