Thoughts on economics and liberty

New education policy – notes

I’m going to be writing on this issue in the coming week. A placeholder post.

GOI website

Draft policy.

I’ve converted into Word and am going through it with annotations, here.

My first impression of this draft is that it is very poor and does not accommodate the reforms that SBP stands for.  More here as I get to read in detail. If anyone has comments pl. let me have them asap.


The policy does not discuss the role of government. It just assumes it.

And this Facebook post.



teacher education

There are approximately 17,000 teacher education institutions in the country, of which over 92% are privately owned. Various in-depth studies – including the Justice J.S. Verma Commission (2012) constituted by the Supreme Court – have shown that a large proportion of these teaching colleges are not even attempting to provide a good education; instead, many are functioning as commercial shops where even the minimum curricular or course requirements are not met, and where degrees are essentially available for a price. The integrity of teacher education cannot be attained without first shutting down this practice.

Moreover, most of the remaining teacher education institutions are ‘stand-alone’ teaching colleges; thus despite their good intentions, they generally do not have the capability of providing teacher education that includes a full range of content across fields – which is truly needed for teaching in the modern day – and that also includes strong pedagogical and practicum training.


Over the past two decades, a large proportion of the socio-economic middle and upper middle class has moved its children to private schools. Thus, the parents of students in public schools are often those with relatively less political and economic influence – they have a smaller ‘voice’ in the socio-political sphere. This very unequal power equation also impacts the effectiveness of the SMCs and any other form of community engagement with the school. The DSEs across the States continue to manage and govern the schools, with only a secondary role to the SMCs.

8.3. Regulation, accreditation, and oversight of private schools
Private philanthropic schools have played and will continue to play an important role in India. These initiatives must be encouraged and not stifled by treating them with suspicion. Such schools too must be empowered and freed of the regulatory overload, and its resulting problems. At the same time private operators who try to run schools as commercial enterprises, vitiating the basic public good nature of education, will be stopped.
Education and schools are not ‘marketable goods’. There is substantial ‘information asymmetry’ – schools have enormously more knowledge about educational processes and their outcomes, than students and their parents can ever have. There are also unaffordable ‘switching costs’ – students cannot keep changing schools because of geographical, social, and economic reasons. This concentrates power in the hands of schools vis-a-vis their users. Thus, students, parents and communities must have adequate protection within this highly unequal power distribution, especially from the often and arbitrary behaviour of some schools.
The educational outcomes of private schools also need to improve substantially, akin to the public schools. This is essential for the future of the millions of children that are being educated in private schools. The responsibility for such improvement rests with the private schools themselves, including their management and owners. Those private schools that wish to receive various types of support from the public system for this improvement will be provided with this support under suitable arrangements.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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