It is perfectly possible to buy the arguments that the Right to Education Act is a piece of broad enabling legislation designed to guarantee the right of every child in the country to go to school and receive a quality education. It’s very plausible that the act is aimed to right the undeniable wrong that there are still millions of children in the country who are denied the right to go to school. That is, until you read the Act itself. Then, you soon realise that whilst that may be true of large parts of the text there are some very specific elements that have been ‘dropped in’ like depth charges that have very narrowly defined implications for the private unaided schools.
Now, again, critics could easily describe these as the self-serving protestations of greedy ‘fat cat’ educator barons who care only about profits and nothing for the education of the masses.
However, I believe you have to start suspecting that there is a very genuine intention on somebody’s part to fundamentally undermine the private unaided schools in this country when you see that so close on the heals of the RTE comes another piece of legislation – this time specifically targeting private schools:
To read this article and especially the quotes from the senior source in the HRD miinistry one can immediately sense the scorn and derision towards these schools.
However, let’s share a few fact about these schools;
a) The vast majority of them offer more than one syallabus. Thus, whilst offering the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge IGCSE it is likely that they also offer CBSE (or most often ICSE), or occasionally state board. In other words, when it comes to their facilities and standards of education these schools are already answerable to an Indian authority body.
b) Beyond this, these are two organisations (IBO & CIE) of impeccable international reputations. Are they really likely to give affiliations to schools in India that undermine their worldwide reputation?
c) The IBO India representative is Farzana Dohadwala, CIE’s representative is Ian Chambers – both in my experience are thorough professionals committed to high quality education.
d) Taking CIE as an example, students in Indian schools affiliated to CIE have repeatedly won recognition, including coming top in the world in their subjects (hardly evidence of shoddy schools or examination standards)
India Edunews Article
e) The article casts doubt on the quality of teachers in these schools. ironically, if there is one major difference between these schools and government ones that really stands out it is accountability – teachers in these schools have to perform, otherwise they lose their right to keep their jobs! This applies both to indian and overseas teachers.
So, do we not have a basis for questioning the intent behind such actions?
In Delhi, the assault on private schools comes in many other ways;
a) Multiple court actions, usually instigated by the self-styled Social Jurist, lawyer Ashok Agarwal.
b) Just within the last few days circulars dated 12th April and 16th April from the Directorate of Education, firstly setting out stringent rules for the establishment of PTA’s (not bad in themselves), followed by a ruling that states that PTA’s must pre-approve fee increases before they are put to Managing Committees – a bit like inviting the diners of top restaurants to decide for themselves what the bill should be!
What motive could anyone have for wanting to pull down the private unaided schools? There is a radical viewpoint in the world, particularly held by some socialists that states that the only way to have anything approximating quality education for all is to abolish private education. Then, the wealthy and influential people in society would have no choice but to send their children to the local neighbourhood school. They would use their power and influence to ensure accountability.
Of course, nobody planning such a strategy would openly admit to it. They may even be able to hide their true motives from those they work alongside. Instead, they rely on the frog in the boiling water theory. India’s private schools could be in a battle for their own survival.
Filed under: Educators of tomorrow, Life, Our Environment, School, Uncategorized | Tagged: CIE, Farzana Dohadwala, Ian Chambers, IBO, IGCSE, International Schools, RTE | Leave a comment »