As per news published in some of the leading newspapers that 473 Punjab school asked to put down their shutters as they found that these schools are violating the Right to education act and playing with kids future. The Right to Education has made it compulsory for every private unaided school to admit at least 25% of its entry level class from children belonging to weaker section of society and disadvantaged groups. For this category of students the state government shall reimburse schools an amount equal to either the fees charged by the school or the per child expenditure in state schools, whichever is lower. Herein the problem lies when laws are made compulsory for the private institutions and transferring the liabilities(incompetence) lies at the end of government on Private institutions. The government do not want the transparency and accountability at their end but wanted to ruin the private run institution by pushing the limits. This will have far reaching effect on increasing the corruption, higher cost on parents who are paying, open BPL card black market and money refund will become tedious as state government will have to bear the burden of money.
Here are some of the challenges to counter in implementation of this RTE idea
Challenge :: “Who will pay the money as There is no such thing as a free lunch”
As for anyone who is having a bit of understanding of any business, will come to the conclusion that Private schools will not be paying money from their own pocket to cater the needs of 25% of kids joining their campus. So, who will be paying the bill it will either the parent of 75% other kids or as per RTE act state will pay the fees charged.
Both neither parents or state will be happy to shell out the money as in case below:
- The parents has to bear the burden if the money from state is delayed as school has to function the same way as before, this money can be taken from parents under any scheme which schools might come up. This is left to school and their financial creative team to make up for reduced funds.
- State will not be so eager to pay for the kids as they already have the Flagship programme of SARVA SIKHA ABHIYAAN which is consuming quite a lot of money in providing the education. Hence fund movement from state to school will not be easy and corruption will creep in for the getting money on time(if any). In the RTE act proper guidelines are not provided and there is lot of disparity in school fees of private institution between states and within district inside states.
Tuition fees is not the only thing in schools, as they have lot of other co-curricular activities going on in the campus for which kids or rather parent have to pay money to get the kids involved in activities. This will be hard on the parent of 25% group as they already under the burden of making the living and this will be a overhead on them. These things will either make them to opt their ward out of school or live more miserable life to cater the need of kids. Private Schools knowingly or unknowingly will try to make up for their replenished funds by making parents to shell out more money to keep the quality of education, retaining the good teachers and competing with other schools.
Challenge :: “Identification of children and keeping corruption at bay”
As per the RTE act, disadvantage group include the sc/st and other backward group, weaker section where annual income < 1Lakh is criterion and monitoring will be done through National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), its state branches and affiliated NGOs. The divide will already be created once submission of caste/income or any other certificate or NREGA card which will be provided to schools for the admission. This identification scheme will divide the kids in school even when the teachers and school administration will do their best to keep equality intact in their campus premises. Initially it might work as well aware parents (which is issue in itself) of disadvantage/weaker section will send their kids to these schools but slowly they will realize that they will not be able to keep up with the demands of all activities happening at school and in order to make up with it, they have to cut down on their livelihood spending which will become tough, looking at all time increasing inflation.
What will happen next is
- Corruption will creep in to fill this gap of money
- Black market will open
Here is the explanation of the above schools will need money and in completion heat they will be ready to bribe state officer who will releasing the funds in order to keep up in market.
For parents who will learn the bitter truth that it will be tough to keep up with school and pull their ward out and seats will be vacant. This will open a black market where Normal income group people who cannot afford the school will make the fake cards, which will be facilitated by the brokers to make their ward enter the school. This will setup a complete back door organisation which will deal only in making the kids from normal household to enter and for the kids which it is actually meant will be left as they are now.
Government monitoring mechanism is highly inefficient, which is proven in case of ration cards, pan cards and even in UID cards to stop and track back door entries.
Challenge :: “What will happen to kids after passing VIII standard”
No guideline is given for the students who will pass 8th standard and look for higher exams, they will left in middle of nowhere as they will not have funds to pursue the education. These kids will again be fall into the same state where they have actually started as jobs will not be available to them with this qualification.
Challenge :: “It will kill the entrepreneurial instinct in education sector ”
Already to open a school a person has to go through the License raj system and adhere to their rules and regulation rather than market driving the force to enable education. In addition to this recognition licence raj, RTE unleashes rules that lead to higher costs, corruption and above all leaving kids in lurch after 8th standard. The upcoming entrepreneur who wanted to open school to gain profit and serve the need of good school will find it very difficult to enter as government teeth will dry them out of funds. Profit is the only driving force when someone open up a enterprise but government made mechanism will drive out the entrepreneur and will create a lacuna of good schools.
These are some of the issues which will appear while implementing this bad idea of RTE in practice. Political class will hijack the issues in bad idea and propose another bad idea to fix the problem at hand. They will try to get more funds to fix issue of money with disadvantageous parents and will create a mammoth whose mouth they will never be able to fill as in the case in point Government free education school. Government do not want to fix the issue of bad performance of their own schools which have building but due to lack of teacher and their intent to teach is highly inefficient. To give education to all government should get away from the education business and let the market drive it. In the current scenario government school aid per kid is much higher than what is taken by the private institutions.
The solution for fixing the problem is government should be away or at least reduce the education business and remove the licence raj rules but should lay the norms for the school to follow.
Entrepreneurs will start up the enterprises to fill the gap and competition will return to market. Once the competition is setup in the market, it will make the school to lower the fees and provide better facilities, if they do not someone else will and take away their share in his kitty. Let the private school own the government building for opening up the school which are stranded due to some or the other excuse and this will flow new blood into the steam of hundreds of not so well working school. Fees which was the major concern to drive out this bad idea out of law will be taken care by itself without any intervention of state. Norms laid out by the government for schools to follow should be made public and it is not mandatory for schools to abide by, parents can check the school and let their kid join which ever they think fit the bill and suffice the minimum norms according to them. Parent will be given freedom in shaping the future of their young ones and determining how their children are educated, entrepreneurs and philanthropists would create education models never previously imagined, private schools and home schools would be freed of tiresome regulations, public schools would lose their de facto monopolies and competition for children would force them to improve. Government have to allow the entrepreneurs to work without the licence raj and if the school is performing badly and parents are not satisfied with it, they can change the school and hence the best school will always remain on top and failing schools has to put their shutter down.