By Pratik Goyal:
Education is the key driver for growth and development, be it for an individual or the entire society. And in our country where barely 15% of the students reach to high school and merely 7% college, the importance of equitable education system cannot be emphasized enough. And while government is taking quite a number of initiatives like “Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009” to address to this grave issue, problems like constant fee hikes in private counterparts have cropped up and are taking a serious shape throughout country.
According to ASSOCHAM, the cost of sending children to schools has risen by 160% over last 8 years, the same period where the average annual income of their families has increased by some 30%. And when government is taking initiatives like making education free for children of age 6-14, the private counterparts of these government schools have been hiking the fees at a constant pace, thus making a mockery of the whole system and making equitable and quality education to all children a distant dream. The rise in tuition fees over the years besides the various “miscellaneous costs” has compelled the parents who can do nothing else but lighten their pockets and cough up more money if they want to provide their ward with the quality education. And though the government has come up with all these initiatives for child education, the trust issues remains and even the poorest of families devote as much as they can to support their child with the so called “quality” private education, and thus these government initiatives and government schools are low balled by these private schools.
And it hasn’t been the case for the last few years that these constant fees hike have showed anywhere else besides maybe the salaries for the teachers and at best the infrastructure facilities. And at last the entire aim of parents is getting defeated. Besides these, what use would be the subsidized college education is put to if only 7% of students make it to them. While all this may provide a dismal disheartening picture, the situation is well within grasp if appropriate steps are taken both by parents and governments. We will have to respond ourselves and not let the private schools have their say and way. Governments need to address the problems by forming regulation and implementing them forcefully because we are all witnessing their deregulated side. After all we let them take this shape and now it is up to us whether we want to tolerate and endure or we want to mend the situation.