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14258Re: [Arkitect India] Politics of Education

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  • Satish Jha
    Sep 2, 2012
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      That is a novel way of looking at the challenge indeed.

      The fact is that most markets compensate per the "value" created or "productivity " as measured in terms of what comes out of any activity.

      Teachers in India include both the teachers who know what they know, who are smart enough to cash in on their skills and those who are not really equipped to teach at all.

      Most teachers in government schools are unlikely to get the salary they get now in the private school system and yet the private school teachers in villages and small towns are gaining momentum as they have pressures to perform.

      However, what they teach does not usually qualify them to teach your children or mine. They are good for only teaching the children of the 95% Indians who do not have the capacity to seek alternatives that are helpful in exploring a new future.

      Let us not call what is imparted in Indian schools for the 95% any kind of education at all, any more than one would call rural roads any kind of modern road at all.

      The only test I believe any thinking person should apply is whether they would send their children to learn at these schools from the teachers they have? If not, let us bring them to a standard acceptable to them before calling these schools educational institutions and their teaching employees as teachers.

      On Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM, Guru गुरु <Guru@...> wrote:

      On Thursday 30 August 2012 07:29 AM, Pankaj Jain wrote:
      The teachers constitute the largest and most powerful interest group in school system, so their share of education spending is THE LEGITIMATE issue in analyzing the politics of education.
      School policy exists to provide education to children, not to provide employment and benefits to teachers alone. Since education requires many things, it is legitimate to demand that a minimum of 5% is spent on school maintenance, 5% on children's books, 5% on children's transport, 5% of administration-management, 5% educational tours for learning outside the classes, 5% on better furniture and better school facilities used by children etc.
      Some additional facts before we get into sloganeering:
      1. India now spends MORE THAN MOST COUNTRIES in the world, as a share of total national income, on 'elementary education', and on 'teacher salary'. 

      As they say, there are three kinds of lies, the third one being statistics... I have heard this arguments many times... which is a neo-liberal (pro choice/voucher et al)  one - that teachers salary as a share of national income or per capita income is much higher in India... implying teachers earn more than they should!! and this needs reduction...

      the problem here is not that teachers earn too much. naturally in a poor country where percapita income is very low, this ratio will be high. but this will be the case with all salaries in the organized sector.

      For eg. if one were to take income of a NGO head in India the similar share of the income over percapita national income would be much much higher than that of a developed country. Mr Jain would this not apply to your own compensation as well? compared to a similar role in a developed country?

      I have heard this neo-liberal argument which is a statistical decoy to push for reducing teacher salaries and promoting the poor private school model (low salaries with 'accountability' through insecurity and exploitation of teachers).

      of course the government school system has scope for reform, but that reform has to be through higher investment including into its accountability and transparency and into genuine teacher empowerment ... not by slashing public expenditure on public education. We need to increase overall expenditure (the 6% of gdp on education itself has never been met) to increase the share of the other items, not reduce salaries..


      2. India gives its teacher a salary almost 700% of World's average in terms of per-capita income.
      3. India's defence budget is significantly less than its education budget, and is much smaller than of China and Pakistan, in terms of % of national income. 
      4. The reason why the share of education budget in TN might have declined is not a reduction in the size of education budget but rise in other legitimate expenditures such on women and children's health, social infrastructure, mid-day meal, public infrastructure etc. 
      5. I am not saying that problems and waste does not exist in other sectors, but to hide the politics of children's exploitation by our school system, under the pretext of problems in other sectors, or by the politics of teacher empowerment, is not correct.  
      Pankaj Jain

      Satish Jha 
      T: 301 841 7422
      F: 301 560 4909 

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