Licence-Permit-Quota Raj Crushing India’s Private Schools

Education World | April 2016

Instead of focusing their attention on the country’s crumbling dysfunctional 1.2 million government primary-secondaries, politicians and bureaucrats of the Central and state governments are tying up the nation’s private schools in swirls of red tape even as admission queues lengthen outside their gates  Summiya Yasmeen

Excerpt from the article:

“An estimated 14-32 permissions are required for starting private schools in states across the country. This makes it very difficult for honest entrepreneurs to promote for-profit or not-for-profit schools. The plethora of licences to be obtained is the main reason why politicians and real estate barons who know how to game the system, dominate the private education space. The RTE Act, 2009 has further worsened the regulatory regime by stipulating rigid infrastructure norms for recognition of schools. As we complete 25 years of economic liberalisation in India and celebrate the choices it has allowed us in goods and services, it’s imperative for education to be liberalised as well,” says Dr. Parth Shah, founder-president of the Delhi-based Centre for Civil Society.

According to Shah, delicensing and allowing for-profit companies in the education sector would attract capital and talent into education. “Communist China allows for-profit schools and colleges, why shouldn’t India? Even though food and water are far more critical for human survival than education, farmers and retailers are permitted to earn profit. Even pharmacies and hospitals are run for-profit. Therefore why the bias against commercialisation of education? Allowing for-profit enterprises in this sector would attract genuine educationists and capital which will contribute to raising primary-secondary education standards. This will also reduce the power of existing schools to extort high fees from parents. Increased competition will improve quality and lower rents, as has happened in many other sectors of the Indian economy,” says Shah.

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