[ Had posted this on my other blog by mistake. ]
Parliament just enacted this. There are some goos intentions and clauses in there to ensure free minimum education levels. But, I have reservations. I do not understand the full implications of this yet, but a quick read did sound like one of those overarching policies that seeks to overhaul and pretend that things have improved because of it, rather than figure out what the problems are. As usual, its not the policy or the “system” but the execution that bears fruit. The one big issue that I did get a sense of from this document is about bringing under excessive governmental purview the running and operational aspects of private schools. Sure there are problems there that needed fixing, and sure, some of those need legislation – but wouldn’t it be the smart thing to first fix the delivery and operational problems at government run or aided schools rather than bring wholesale changes to those which are at least partly working well ? In many instances, I see the more enlightened schools lose a lot of creativity and freedom. It doesn’t always have to be brought down to a common denominator, does it ? Its rarely one size/one price/one set of books/one method. That cannot be healthy. I’m hoping – since I haven’t yet understood the full implications of this yet – thats it not so. The councils that schools currently sign up with (ICSE, CBSE) already dictate too much – even for the lower grades where, ideally, the schools and the teachers are more suited for crafting a course and materials that fit the needs of the immediate social circumstances they’re working in. A bunch of guys sitting in Delhi trying to create a one-size-fits-all set of syllabi and courseware is – well – again likely to achieve nothing beyond the common denominator. To add to that, the council now wants schools to first get certification and then open up. A lot many schools founded on alternative education methods have not, and probably cannot afford taken this route on day-zero. Of course, fly-by-night operators use this too – but should one punish those trying to take education forward to curb those unscrupulously trying to make a quick buck ? That sounds dumb. The clause reeks of the slowly ebbing license raj, honestly. Most critically, while some of the goals are lofty and noble, it’ll all depend on execution even more – without which all thats likely is more corruption, shadowy deals and arragements to “meet this condition” or that – and less progressive thinking in education. Finally, whatever happened to democracy ? I did not hear of a discussion on this around here, forget participating in one. Exactly what is my elected representative for ? I’m really getting pi**ed with this get-out-and-vote noise – what for ? So someone can claim to speak on my behalf and help enact such legislation without me having the slightest clue to the whats, whys and whens ? Its signed “ARJUN SINGH” so I’m assuming its some bureaucrats unfinished agenda since the miniter’s gone. This urge to “leave a lasting legacy” come what may will cost us a lot, like @rameshsrivats observed wryly.