Why do we always blame privatisation of education for the deteriorating condition of government-run schools? If experts in the field are to be believed, the gap between government and private schools is an outcome of people's mentality and negligence on part of the government. "Only around 5 crore of India's young population studies in big private-run fancy schools," said Dr Vivek Korde, President of Forum against Commercialisation of Education. "The rest, which is certainly more than 15 crore, studies in government-aided and government-run schools," said Korde.
Middle class' shift
He pointed out the time when private schools started doing better than government ones - when the middle class started sending kids to the former. "When the middle class, which comprises the maximum population in urban areas, started earning more in the 90s, they started sending children to private schools to stop them from studying with students from poor classes. As parents stopped sending children to government schools, the government began neglecting them."
Govt not interested?
Adding to this, educationist and RTI activist Vivek Velankar said, "The government had almost stopped investing money, time and effort in improving elementary education until a few years ago, when finally help came in the form of Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) in 2010. Despite the the act and the fact that maximum students go to government schools, infrastructure and quality of education is poor in many schools. This has increased demand for private schools and they have taken this opportunity to exploit parents by imposing unreasonable fees.
Right to Education
While RTE has made the provision for all students to get equal opportunities, this also has its own issues. "Many schools are still trying to find loopholes and not take students from backward social classes. These students too find it difficult to adjust to the new environment and classmates, thus increasing dropout rates," he added. While parents and teachers fancy private schools for elementary education, higher education is still a public sector stronghold. "Our IITs IIMs, etc. are excellent examples, where the competition to get in has only increased. However, the number of government institutes for higher education is still less, thus compelling many students to go to private colleges," he said.