April 13, 2012

Education, reservation, do-good fallacies

The business of reserving seats is again on. This time the 'honorable' Supreme Court thought, it would help the downtrodden society a lot if private schools are made to not only enrol poor children but let them sit with rich children. This type of impractical do-gooder thinking does not take us far. Be practical and find doable solutions, not taking extreme positions for a purported good end.
Let me explain. Rather ask questions?
Will it not lead to instant comparisons and ill-will between the children of the rich and the poor? Even if they are mixed up early in life for good integration, won't their parents perpetuate the classdivide that harms not only the poor children but also the rich ones?
Not all private schools are run by rich trusts. I read a report sometime back that stated that even in Delhi, a majority of private schools hardly give quality education. Their teachers are worse than governmetn run schools in terms of training and capabilities. Over three-foruths of them take receipt of Rs. 8-10 thousand from teachers but pay them about Rs. 2000 per month. In some colonies, teachers of such 'English medium' schools are paid as low as Rs. 500 a month! My question is will these schools pay even less to their teachers? How good quality education will these exploited, demoralised, ill-trained teachers impart?
Why can't the government, instead of subsidising a new form of corruption in the name of RTE, use the money to improve infrastructure of government schools in terms of teachers, facilities and so on?
Why should the middle income group people be penalised for the governemnts's follies, by paying up to 30 percent more fees? If schools are forced, even if they are subsidised, they will charge enhanced fee in one or the other pretext. Many will increase under-hand 'management quota fee' that they charge from hapless parents by creating scare about lesser availability of non-poor seats and so on. The parents who'd suffer would mostly be from lower and middle strata withing the middle group. 
Will it not lead to another corruption: declaring oneself poor? Will it not fatten the purses of politicians, babus and touts?
If finally, you don't listen to any sane logic, and think that this RTE of yours is the panacea for all education-related ills, why don't you eliminate the caste based reservation to that extent? After all, SC and ST children will be covered predominently if poor children are enrolled under RTE. Why do they need a reservation and special treatment over and above the children of others who might be equally backward and poor?

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