Educating Masses: The Contribution of the Private Sector in Education
The role of the State can be looked at from different perspectives. Ask any political scientist or a modern & contemporary historian about the meaning of State and they will give you multiple definitions about the conception and roles of the State. They will tell you that State, as it is today, is a fairly modern concept, with a formal structure comprising of national boundaries & citizens in the name of whom its representatives occupy the institutions of the state.
Role of the State:
But why are we focusing on all this? The reason is fairly simple; to comprehend the role of the state in the field of education & to understand the emergence of private sector in education, and its impact. Regardless of numerous expressions provided in relation to the State, there is only common expression that everybody agrees on, i.e. the state is meant to serve its citizens. Thus, the role of the state is extravagant in the lives of citizens. The necessities of life are considered their rights that should be upheld. Education, as it is rightly perceived is a basic need of life that has to be ensured by the state for its citizens.
Right to Education Act:
In the case of India, the Right to Education reflects the commitment & duty of the state towards ensuring compulsory education of children in the age group of 0-6 years, regardless of their economic background. The act makes it compulsory for state governments to ensure enrollment of each child in the targeted age group, in the government schools. Apart from the given legislation, which is a very recent one & that holds the state liable, the government has ensured its duty of educating the masses by establishing a network of government schools. These government schools are funded by the central & state governments & provide education to children at subsidized tuition fees. However, for reasons enumerated later in the article, the education system in India has taken a sharp turn from entirely state funded to emergence of private schools.
The Evolution of Private Sector in India:
In the year 1992, India opened its door to the world economy. Till then, every sector in India was state controlled, and India had an economy that was closed to the world. However, a need was felt to ease the role of the State & its domination in the life of the citizens, as a result of which economic floodgates were opened & foreign players were allowed in. The idea of state as a facilitator, rather than a provider, gained currency around this time. This era also ensured the rise of domestic private players, that began to find its place in the market. These private players entered different sectors, increasing the options of the consumers, while the state was in charge of regulating them.
Emergence of Private Educational Institutions:
The shift of society from state to private reflects the growth of the society; it reflects that the members of society are becoming affluent and self-sufficient in funding their needs, and the state, which was hitherto dominating all aspects of their life, can now take a step back & reduce its control in certain sectors. The emergence of private educational institutions in India was a result of this growth in society. The community realized that they no longer have to depend on the state to fulfill their educational needs, and that members of the community itself can fund its education. As a result, modern private institutions came up across the country, reflecting the image of a country that was high on growth & had the potential to self-fund its needs. These institutions took the education to a different level, adopting technology to the benefit of the students.
Taking a Step Forward
It is a known fact today that private schools are growing in their performance with every passing day. These institutes have led the technological revolution in the field of education, and have effectively made efforts to improve the overall skills of a student. However, for enabling this change in methods of studying, and for many other reasons, private sector has had a positive effect on the society.
- Government schools across the country have suffered from acute shortage of teaching staff. This shortage is both in terms of quality and quantity. In fact, this has been the major critique of governments institutions that a lot of times teaching staff is involved in administrative activities. The permanent nature of job, coupled with lack of a constant monitoring mechanism has meant that teachers have limited themselves to enjoying benefits of a government job.
- Lack of funds has always been a factor of distress for the public sector. This is in addition to the fact that consecutive governments, for multiple reasons, have failed to fulfill their responsibilities of improving the education system in the country. The private sector, however, does not suffer from this chronic disease of corruption & administrative lethargy & prides itself on effective implementation & infrastructure development.
- Private educational institutions have also managed to reach out to the remote corners of the nation. These institutes, to fulfill the needs of society & for its own growth, have reached to the remotest corners of the country, enabling children from these regions to avail education for themselves.
Tracing Bachpan/AHPS in this Journey:
With over 1000 branches spread across the country, BACHPAN is not anymore, just another name in the chain of private preschools. It is counted among the top five preschools in the country today & has spearheaded the revolution in early education of a child. Early education still remains a dream for many in India, and BACHPAN is working hard towards fulfilling those dreams. AHPS is also part of the same thinktank and is working towards improving education standards in the country, with its multiple branches.
Both these schools began their journey at a time when private education was beginning to unravel its potential. Today, they represent the positive aspect of our education system that needs constant innovation and constructive policies.