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RE: [Arkitect India] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground

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  • Pankaj Jain
    Dear Anjela, I am very happy that you wrote this rejoinder, because it allows us to explore an important issue. I understand the spirit of your argument that
    Message 1 of 47 , May 31, 2010
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      Dear Anjela,

      I am very happy that you wrote this rejoinder, because it allows us to explore an important issue.

      I understand the spirit of your argument that non-profit initiatives must be differentiated from profit oriented enterprise, but it is equally important that these non-profit civil society initiative should not exist only because a well meaning politician and bureaucrat has interpreted the existing rules in a manner so this initiative could exist. Non-profit civil society institutions must be encouraged to exist in a proper legal framework, as a matter of right, as long as they meet the stated and approved social goals. The PPP in irrigation and social forestry are examples of such schemes which have enabled hundreds of NGO-civil society institutions to make important contribution in these sectors. These schemes are not touted as PPP schemes, but technically and legally these are PPP. When I suggest PPP, my reference is precisely to such schemes.

      Another important point that you have alluded is to the design of PPP. The PPP that gives the same money to a PPP school as the Government school is the worst type of PPP, which has been designed by an intelligent bureaucrat to dis-credit PPP or to make a lot of bribe money. Such a scheme will only become an instrument of State Cronyism, because you can make so much profit by getting the cost of Government schools, that a part of profit will have to be shared as bribe with the concerned bureaucratic and political boss who would approve the agreement.

      Many organizations, including mine, would volunteer to run PPP schools in Mumbai for 50,000 children at Rs. 4500/- per child per year ( i.e. 1/10th of BMC school cost), and guarantee that as many of its students get into the best of professional colleges as from all international schools combined. But, of course, in doing so,  we will have to spend each of Rs. 4500/-, and some more, that we shall get from the Government and no money will be left to pay bribe or grease money to get our agreement approved.

      I think you/ your organization must definitely oppose PPP that would give to PPP school Rs. 45000/- per child per year, i.e. the cost of BMC schools, but must support such PPP that would reach poor and disadvantaged, and guarantee an education equal to what is given in good, or even elite, schools.

      I will be happy to share details of such real and guaranteed possibilities.

      Pankaj Jain

      --- On Mon, 5/31/10, Anjela Taneja <Anjela.Taneja@...> wrote:

      From: Anjela Taneja <Anjela.Taneja@...>
      Subject: RE: [Arkitect India] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground
      To: arkitectindia@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Monday, May 31, 2010, 12:52 PM

       

      Dear Pankaj,

       

      There is one point of agreement, and one point of disagreement here.

       

      Firstly, I agree that it’s essential to differentiate between civil society initiatives and corporate initiatives. These have existed before the coming of the new neoliberal wave of policies and promotion of PPP. They will probably continue to exist. It is precisely because of the nature of partnerships is changing that we are now opposing PPP. These are not philanthropic institutions established by well meaning visionaries, but corporate (or quasi corporate) chains intended to be run in a manner that they are able to sustain a viable margin of profit.

       

      Secondly, I am unable to understand how the PPP schools are going to be cheaper than government schools if the funding formula is clearly spelled out (in the context of model schools) to be the same as that of the government schools. I mean, seriously, if the government is contractually bound to pay the same as it does for its own school, how does it make this arrangement cheaper? It may be argued that it is no more expensive than government provision, but is not under any circumstances less. Secondly, some of us may remember the perfectly outrageous estimates that we being made for the setting up of PPP schools by the Planning Commission when the model school concept was being floated. Even the MHRD Ministry was opposed to this kind of excessive costing. Consequently, track record of PPPs (not tiny “budget private schools” aka unrecognized schools with poor infrastructure and untrained and underpaid teachers) is that they are NOT cheaper than government initiatives, and are often more expensive.

       

      When resources available for education are limited, I am unable to understand the rationale of allotting 5% of the budget to PPP- when the provisioning isn’t going to be any more cost effective. At the same time, when the funding of the entire RTE Act in the first year is expected to be achieved through principally a 16% hike of the central budget (2010-11 Budget statement of the Central government), setting aside 5% would be an extremely significant loss of revenue to serve a very insignificant number of schools, especially considering a lot of states are already giving out a large share of their revenue under the grants-in-aid scheme to normal existing private schools (again, not counting extremely subsidized land being given to private schools). How about investing this proposed money in the schools that already exist and are in desperate need of resources instead of creating multiple layers and systems of schools (and creating multiple overhead costs as a result)?

      Anjela R V Taneja
      Program Officer, Education Theme,
      ActionAid India Country Office
      Mobile: 09958087043


      From: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:arkitectind ia@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Pankaj Jain
      Sent: Monday, May 31, 2010 9:23 AM
      To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
      Subject: Re: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground

       

       

      Dear All,

      It seems that the debate about PPP is now caught up in the politics of hate (of private sector), wrong stereo typing, and plain disregard of facts.

      First, let us understand that some of the most reputed and successful educational ventures in India were/ are of PPP origin or are purely private sector. TIFR/ TISS came out of Government partnership with Tatas, IIM, Ahmedabad came from partnership with Sarabhai and Arvind group of industries. Most of good secondary schools, which are fully aided, represent partnership with a large number of small private trusts, whose numbers run into many thousands.

      Closer home, Eklavya Project of Hoshangabad of Arvind Ji, Pratham program and Doorstep schools of Mumbai, Naandi program in AP, and Gyan Shala in Gujarat are all examples of PPP in education doing a reasonable job of improving education of poor or average children. In near abroad, BRAC in Bangladesh is PPP which has propelled Bangladesh ahead of India in girl child's education. These examples are only in education, the good examples of PPP in other sectors, (ALL NGO programs, by definition are PPP) are much too many to count and mention.

      Please disabuse your self that PPP only means creating 'international schools' of the type you mention, because PPP in education also means running classes for the poorest and in areas where even the Government does not enter. 

      Second, many are right in voicing the fear that PPP schemes could be misused by vested interest, but this is true of Government schemes also, and anyway, we have civil society and non-authoritarian political system to take care of that.

      Incidentally, 5 budget for PPP, because of lower cost of good PPP schools, could mean a coverage of 10-20 million children. Surely, there still remain another 200 million in 6-14  yr. age group, but raising the probability of improving education quality for 10-20 million children is not a non-issue, and any way, people like Nitin Bhai are working on improving Govt. schools to try to take care of the remaining 200 million.

      It is indeed ironic that even though the cost of education in Mumbai Government Schools is Rs. 45,000/- per child per year (by Niyin Bhai's own data), without counting the cost of land and building, but still he supports setting up only such schools to take care of India's school problem. 

      There is no contradiction between trying to improve Govt. schools, and setting aside 5% of education budget for 'well designed and accountable PPP', so please do not oppose PPP on principal, but do highlight bad design of existing or planned PPP schemes.

      Pankaj Jain


      --- On Sun, 5/30/10, nitin wadhwani <nitin_29w@yahoo. com> wrote:


      From: nitin wadhwani <nitin_29w@yahoo. com>
      Subject: Re: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground
      To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
      Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010, 12:39 PM

       

      Dear All,

      If PPP is a model which needs to be implemented specially in the case of primary education and budgets should be assessed/controlled again by independent agencies appointed by the Government authorities, then what is the sanctity of this system and how do you stop people with vested interests in connivance with authorities, from not controlling the system and primary schools getting out of reach for people who can't afford.
      Moreover even assuming that a small percentage of PPP in education may probably help, how does it benefit the millions of children who do not even have access to proper schools.
      We do not need to be selective when it comes to providing free providng education to all.
       
      Education has already become a very lucrative business and PPP will only thrive in metropolitan cities where it definitely makes good business sense.
      How many D Y Patil's/ Sharad Pawar International/ Ambani/Tata schools have actually invested in education in small towns and villages in our country?

      The increasing list of vanishing municipal schools in Mumbai are very good examples of how the PPP has been misused and our interaction with the Education Authorities in BMC has shown us that there is a total lack of concern on this issue and no accountability system in place.
      The systems have been designed to fail.

      In a city like Mumbai if you start adding the cost of land on which the 1177 odd BMC schools exist to the current budget for primary education which is almost Rs.1700 crores and another Rs.300 crores for gender budgeting this year, the cost of providing primary school education in a municipal school to approximately 4,50,000 children currently enrolled in the government schools will not make any sense.
      At the same time, it is a matter of great concern that how many citizens in our country are actually aware of all these figures and express their concern by active participation.

      I feel let the Government be made more responsible and accountable in running the education system in the country and this can only happen when active like minded citizens get involved in looking into the system and demanding accountability.
      Let us start demanding accountability not only from the education department in every town and city of India by creating a network of concerned citizens, but also from every representative of political parties who only come to all during election time but are least accessible to discuss on this very important issue.  

      Regards

      Nitin-M4CR

              

       

       


      From: Pankaj Jain <pjain2002@yahoo. com>
      To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
      Sent: Friday, May 28, 2010 20:31:27
      Subject: Re: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground

       

      Dear Naaz,

      Thanks for a very thoughtful response, which gives me an opportunity to expand on an important point.

      Government admittedly has succeeded in creating many islands of excellence, be it Navodaya Vidyalaya, IITs, IIMs, Space Commission. I have been an insider and personally beneficiary of many of them, so I know their excellence. But, Government has generally failed to maintain good quality whenever it has tried to replicate/ extend such a success to a large scale, whether it is the case of schools, state funded universities/ colleges, or public sector. (Incidentally, the real cost of educating each student in IIT/IIM runs into many lakhs per year, and if you include the cost of land and other facilities provided free, this would rise further. I know this for sure for IITs and IIMs, and am reasonably sure that the total cost in Navodaya Vidyalaya too would be at least Rs. 30000/- per child per year, if you add all the costs. Anybody who thinks that Government has money to spend on this scale and cover all children in India is living in a fool's paradise).

      It is too complicated an issue to be resolved on this forum, as to why the Government can not do good quality work on a large scale, but it is useful to recognize and accept this fact, as a current reality of Indian Government. May be in future, Indian Government too will learn to do quality work on a large scale, but we can not wait for that and let millions of children go through their school going age without learning much from the Government schools, in the meantime.

      My appeal to all who care about children's learning is to find and accept 'currently effective' mechanisms to teach children who are in learning phase today. If PPP is a way to do that, please opt for that. There is a big IF in that but people like me have argued for effective regulation on PPP, and asked for linking any budgetary release to them on their attaining the specific quality and social targets, assessed by independent agencies, appointed by the Government.

      I recognize that any scheme can be subverted by vested interests, but then the government too is being subverted by vested interest, as all of us know and accept. Still, as an abundant caution against such possibility in the schemes of PPP schools, people like me have suggested to limit PPP to no more than 5% of Government budget, with 95% still going to Government schools.

      What do you find irrational, on logical, historical or ideological grounds, in this?  

      Warm regards.

      Pankaj


             

      --- On Fri, 5/28/10, naaz khair <naazkhair@gmail. com> wrote:


      From: naaz khair <naazkhair@gmail. com>
      Subject: Re: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education- Ideoplogy Vs. Facts on the ground
      To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
      Date: Friday, May 28, 2010, 11:42 PM

       

      Dear Pankaj,

       

      The government through its Novodaya and Kendriya Vidyalayas has demonstrated that it can be a great service provider in education. These schools are much sought after in the local communities and children work very hard to get admission in these schools. The idea in the eleventh plan to start quality schools in the backward areas is a good one (Prof. Tilak's article). But the government does not have to go the PPP way in order to implement this plan. It can open Novodaya and Kendriya Vidyalayas in the remote areas. These schools have an efficient management system. If such a thing were to happen, the community would come forward with any shortfall in resources (donate land etc.), if not a big share, atleast a decent amount. In fact the State should declare that all government schools convert into the Navodaya and Kendriya Vidyalaya mode. The teachers in the regular government schools, in any case are drawing the same salary as Central School teachers (I know this to be the case in Uttar Pradesh). It is the State's responsibility to provide education to all. The State alone can do it. And, I have no political agenda or ideology when I write all this. This has been the position all along.

       

      Thank you and regards,

       

      Naaz 

       

       


       

      On Fri, May 28, 2010 at 7:44 AM, Pankaj Jain <pjain2002@yahoo. com> wrote:

       

      Sir,

      There is a fundamental error in the assumption that Government Employees work for Aam Admi any more than those who are private citizens. Afterall, a government employee becomes a private citizen the day he/she retires, surely, his/ her view and commitmenmt to the society does not change overnight.

      Instead taking the words of ideology driven or representatives of Government employees, we need to check facts on the ground if Government employees are driven as much by their 'self-interest' , as any other citizen, including private entrepreneur.

      The recent (AI, BSNL) and continuing story of the failure of most public sector units in failing to serve national interest compared to their private competitors shows that there is no fact on the ground to believe that Government/ public sector employees wanted to serve the citizens more than private sector employees. If that was not the case then more privileged BSNL and MTNL would have given better service to India 's citizens and would not have lost the battle to private sector enterprises.  If Govt. teachers were teaching children better than private sector teachers, then most parents would not shift their children and grand children to fee charging private sector.

      I suspect that a majority of people on this forum, who oppose private sector, preferred private schools over government schools for their own children or grand-children; how can then they support zero fee government schools over zero fee PPP schools, for children of poor?

      History does not show that Government Employees are less selfish and more committed to serve Aam Admi than the profit making private sector. Please do not distort history to make your preferred political point.

      Pankaj Jain
       

      --- On Fri, 5/28/10, naaz khair <naazkhair@gmail. com> wrote:


      From: naaz khair <naazkhair@gmail. com>
      Subject: Re: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education
      To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
      Date: Friday, May 28, 2010, 12:33 AM

       

      Thank you for sharing this...gives important historical perspective to the issue on hand. How can the government act unilaterally on an issue as important as this? How can the eleventh plan contain strategies largely un-supported by those who have been working so closely for the AAM AADMI??

      On Tue, May 25, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Prof Tilak NUEPA <jtilak@nuepa. org> wrote:

       

      PPP in education, appeared in Hindu 25 May 2010

      http://www.hindu. com/2010/ 05/25/stories/ 2010052551031200 .htm

       




      --
      Naaz Khair

       




      --
      Naaz Khair

       

       

       

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    • Pankaj Jain
      Dear Anjela, I think I have to stop at this point, as I have nothing more to add by way of facts. You are welcome to interpret these any which way. It was good
      Message 47 of 47 , Jun 4, 2010
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        Dear Anjela,

        I think I have to stop at this point, as I have nothing more to add by way of facts. You are welcome to interpret these any which way.

        It was good to have this exchange of facts, inferences and opinions.

        Cheers.

        Pankaj


        --- On Fri, 6/4/10, Anjela Taneja <Anjela.Taneja@...> wrote:

        From: Anjela Taneja <Anjela.Taneja@...>
        Subject: RE: [Arkitect India] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground
        To: arkitectindia@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, June 4, 2010, 12:35 PM

         

        Dear Pankaj,


        What you are actually saying is that considering that the share of children in the education system is greater for Grades 1-8 in India than in the countries where everyone goes upto the equivalent of Grade 12 or higher, the share of funding for said grades is higher as well. Considering that 50% of the population finishes Class 8 and only 1 child in 10 finishes high school, it is only realistic to expect that the share of elementary education in the overall education budget (and therefore its share compared to GDP) is higher. There is also the well known fact of overage children in classes in schools (started schooling late, former child labourers, dropouts etc) which inflates the needs of the elementary education budget. And if that is not enough, the share of population of children under 14 is also greater in the developing countries than in the west with its negative population growth. Your figures to me appear to be incontrovertible evidence for the need to enhance the education budget for these schools which are making do with less for post-secondary education (especially the government schools which are the ones catering to the poor), and say absolutely nothing about the efficiency of the elementary education system in India.

        Anjela R V Taneja
        Program Officer, Education Theme,
        ActionAid India Country Office
        Mobile: 09958087043


        From: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:arkitectind ia@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Pankaj Jain
        Sent: Friday, June 04, 2010 10:54 AM
        To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
        Subject: RE: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground

         

         

        Dear Anjela,

        I would love to stand corrected, so why don't you give evidence/ numbers to show that "
        Every piece of evidence shows that the statement is factually incorrect. Please refer to my previous email. We are actually spending far less than most countries with remotely decent education systems."

        My evidence is following.

        Most countries in the World who have attained universal school coverage through government school spend around 6% of their national income or GDP as education spending, which includes spending on schools and higher education (Refer any official UN  or WB document). The spending on School education is not more than 2/3rd, i.e. 4% of GDP,but this typically indicates universal school coverage up to grade 12. Assuming a proportionate cost across the grades, actually it is higher for higher grades, the spending in these countries on education up to grade 8 would turn out to be 3% of GDP. In the last few years, India is spending more than this on its elementary education up to grade 8. Now if we spend as much as most countries, and almost 50% of our children in the relevent age group are out of Government schools, then obviously, we are spending more than any country per child attending Govt. school.

        Pankaj


        --- On Fri, 6/4/10, Anjela Taneja <Anjela.Taneja@ actionaid. org> wrote:


        From: Anjela Taneja <Anjela.Taneja@ actionaid. org>
        Subject: RE: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground
        To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
        Date: Friday, June 4, 2010, 7:28 AM

         

        Dear Pankaj,


        USA Govt. funded school, on an average, were no where as bad as average Indian Govt. schools, so the whole argument of limited/ contested improvement due to PPP is not applicable to Indian situation. The need to find effective alternative to poor performing Govt. schools is far more pressing than it ever was in USA .

        Therefore, there is an infinitely more pressing funding need for government schools since their situation is worse than that of the higher funded government schools of the US .

        The movement towards PPP is not limited to USA , but is slowly being accepted in increasingly more number of European countries too. Anyhow, we need to look at the Indian situation and find effective solutions for our problems, without copying others.

        Yes, the beginning of the PPP movement was in Chile , when the government schools were privatized during the Pinochet coup and vouchers were introduced for the first time by the military regime. The same have since spread to other parts of the world. Thus, in the UK a lot of private academies ( Model School style PPP schools by another name) were opened. A large number of them are being nationalized once again for non performance since the government realized that the government management is working better. Similar trends are being experienced in other countries as well.


        No body can now deny three fundamental facts (i) Indian Govt. now spends more money on education up to grade 8 than any country Govt. in the world as % of their respective GDP,

        (ii) since almost half of eligible age children in, 6-14 yr. age group, are outside the state funded schools, it means India govt. spend more than 100% on each child studying in its  school as % of per capita GDP, compared to most other countries who have succeeded in universal school coverage,

        Every piece of evidence shows that the statement is factually incorrect. Please refer to my previous email. We are actually spending far less than most countries with remotely decent education systems.

        (iii) the quality of education in an average government school is unacceptably poor even after such high spending.

        The funding is extremely low, resulting in low quality. It is being further pulled down since the higher performing students (the village elites) have left the government schools to avoid mixing with lower caste, poor learners.



        The conclusion is obvious, the policy answer does not lie in spending more on and/ or expanding more the existing type average govt. schools, but in starting another type of programs which shall produce better results for children for each Rs. that the Govt. spends in the name of children's education. If you can make a case that KV type schools constitute the answer, please do so, and we can then examine its feasibility. My contention is that BRAC type NGO-PPP program in India has a much better chance of meeting India 's social goals than the expansion of poor performing and fairly expensive existing government schools.  There is enough Indian evidence of the feasibility of this option, without relating that to policy review of what happened in USA .

        We should learn more from Bangladesh than what happened in USA or Europe . Bangladesh has broadly similar socio-economic problems as India has, and in spite of that Bangladesh has moved ahead of India in the education of poor children, particularly girls, even after spending less than India .
         
        Pankaj Jain




        Pankaj

         

        --- On Thu, 6/3/10, Vinod Raina <vinodraina@gmail. com> wrote:


        From: Vinod Raina <vinodraina@gmail. com>
        Subject: Re: [Arkitect India ] PPP in education- Ideology Vs. Facts on the ground [1 Attachment]
        To: arkitectindia@ yahoogroups. com
        Date: Thursday, June 3, 2010, 1:10 PM

         

        Please find attached a report (in pdf format - will need Acrobat reader) of the consultation on MHRDs note on PPP; that might be of interest because of the ongoing submissions on the subject on this listserve. It incorporates parts of a longer paper I had done on the experiences of privatization of education in other countries, particularly the US (which is a source of uncritical inspiration for many privatization enthusiasts in India ). Those who wish to read a fuller account of the disastrous consequences of privatization (education, health, transportation, governance) in the US during the ideologically inspired 'neo-con' Bush era, which resulted in the US Government spending enormously more than the promised reduction in government spending, may, for example, look up: Brown and Jacobs, 2008; The Private Abuse of Public Interest, University of Chicago Press

        Vinod Raina

         

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