This refers to the article, “Privatising professional education” (May 7), which seems to be a thinly veiled attempt to glorify a certain institution in the guise of advocating privatisation of professional education in the country. What India needs are professionally trained men and women who can man coveted posts in various administrative services and use their talents to steer the country to the pinnacle of prosperity. It is a fact that many private educational institutions — under the umbrella of minority status — are not only fleecing students but also hoodwinking inspection teams visiting their institutions for according recognition (especially the Medical Council of India). Many of them have become deemed universities and have their own style of working.
S.P. Thirumala Rao,
It is awkward to compare Mr. Nadella or Mr. Suri with Mr. Kejriwal, Mr. Khemka, Mr. Nilekani or any civil servant or politician. Can any private institution serve underprivileged sections the way the government is doing? Can paying money generate talent? One already has the ugly scene of children from underprivileged groups being denied admission under the RTE route.
The writer seems to be glorifying private, professional institutions using just two examples while forgetting about the countless professionals passing out from the portals of government institutions (IITs, IIMs, NITs) which have been working day and night from the early 1960s to make sure that the world realises the knowledge potential of India. This has been achieved because of the government’s long-term vision in understanding that professional education is the key to unlocking global opportunities and its commitment to facilitate education for all. Had it been done the writer’s way, only the privileged would have enjoyed the fruits of globalisation.
Today “inclusive development” is a key word in policy-making worldwide. By saying “higher and professional education can now be left to the private sector to provide education to those who can pay for it,” the writer is vouching for a system which perpetuates economic and social inequality. Government regulations and government-funded institutes create a level playing field for all. Germany has abolished tuition fee for undergraduate students. Higher education costs in France are met almost entirely by the government. Then why should India shy away from public funding of higher education? We need more subsidised education.
Shravana D. Rayala,
While the thrust and focus of the opinion piece is appreciable, arguably the process of transformation has to be considerably nuanced. Moreover, these well-intended pursuits of wealthy philanthropists and the community endeavours of those days never had any commercial blinkers. Moreover, the quality of education also matters. The scale of the publicity blitzkrieg unleashed by some of these institutions is overwhelming. It is high time the regulator thinks of a common arrangement through which the public gets to know about these institutions and what they offer. There were some sweeping generalisations as well. For instance, not all IIT-ians make it to public service and not all MIT-ians make it to the top in Microsoft and Nokia.
I am surprised by the demeaning and deeply flawed arguments. To say that IIT-ians, funded by the public, are not giving back to the country because a few went into politics or civil service is laughable. These are crude generalisations and reflect a very narrow understanding of the entire educational system. Equally so the argument that IIT-ians like Nandan Nilekani have been a burden on taxpayers. In fact, Mr. Nilekani’s contribution to the Indian economy and the taxpayers is more than what the government has spent on all the IITs since their inception. And that’s just one IIT-ian!