A school is a place where kids learn the etiquette, the discipline, the manners, the obedience and other social habits. That may be the reason why parents search for a good school for their kids. But how does one define a good school?
- Is a good school the one that drills a big hole into your pocket?
- Is a good school the one that has a bigger infrastructure or the one that is part of the chain of institutions?
- Is a good school the one that produces good academic results?
It is ironical that in our country we have so many choices when it comes to school. There are schools available as per your budget. Just take out your purse and purchase the one you can afford. Isn’t it pathetic?
With the purchasing power of parents on the rise, the schools chosen for the kids are also getting better and better. Adding to that, the options too are increasing day by day with one school or other being available at every nook and corner of the country. The irony is that the availability of the schools is linked to the purchasing power of the people than the requirement of the education. This is a true commercialization of education.
When money becomes the prime concern of the people, they find ways and means to earn more, whatever colour it may possess. In our country the educational institutes rely mostly on the donation fees, building fees, infrastructure fees and all such sorts of fees which are the titles given for the black money. The management of these institutes is too smart in that sense. Post demonetisation, they insist that the donation fee has to be given in cash. For regular purposes, the tuition fee is collected online or by cheque/draft so that the traceability is maintained. All the guardians are made aware of this, but then who will go against the system? The school/college management had even hired brokers/agents to collect the money on their behalf so that they can escape unharmed in case of any complaints. What a shame?
Recently one of my colleagues tried for the admission of his kid to a public school. They agreed to admit provided the donation of Rs. 1.5 Lakhs is provided in cash! Imagine a parent of a nursery kid arranging cash of the order of 1 to 1.5 lakhs to get the kid admitted. For schools/colleges this amount varies. Just think of the plight of parents who want their wards to get admitted to colleges, medical institutes or engineering colleges. This is one of the reasons why politicians invest on engineering or medical colleges or want to remain in the management committee of such colleges.
Now if we calculate the amount of black money at school levels especially the private just by simple mathematics by multiplying the number of private colleges with the number of seats offered and the amount of black fees asked. We will see that the figure may reach somewhere close to Rs. 1800 billion assuming 300 kids are entertained every year for a donation of Rs. 1 lakhs each in every private school. The real figure may be still higher. Such a huge black market exists in this divine field of education at school level. If we summarise for private medical colleges this capitation fee or donation may touch Rs. 15 billion assuming 100 seats intake per college. For private engineering colleges this figure may be of the order of Rs. 630 billion assuming an intake of 300 students per college. So tentatively the amount of black money involved in the field of education may be of the order of Rs. 2.5 trillion for which the government may not be getting a single pie. Such is the cost and the plight of fetching education in our country. No one can really predict the accurate figures as there are no written records available for such payments.
So, which world on this world are we living in? We have a separate lower, higher and technical education department with ministers in charge designated. What do they do? It is true that India is a very big country with a huge population but is the education model should be dependent on this? There is just a small and smart solution. Fix the fee of each standard starting from pre-nursery to medical to engineering first year to final year etc. Let the guardian deposit that fees directly to the government and the government pay it to the schools/colleges as applicable. There should be no money involved between the students and the schools/colleges. Will that help? Sure! All the muck will be converted into a place to live in, a place to learn, a place to get educated. Uniform education code for all.