Schools exist for the main purpose of delivering quality education to students to make them quality citizens who are independent.
The current K-12 school system in India is one of the largest in the world with more than 1.4 million schools with over 250 million students enrolled, reveals an EY-FICCI report on the education sector in India. India has the highest number of schools and the highest number of students enrolled in the K-12 system as compared to the US or the UK.
India’s public policy think tank, Centre for Civil Society (CCS), in partnership with National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), organised the 8th edition of School Choice National Conference (SCNC 2016) on the theme New Education Policy: Budget Private Schools.
Delivering the opening remarks, Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Biju Janta Dal Party member and Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, said, “The government should separate its role as a provider, financier and regulator of education. Over the years, the government has looked at private schools as competition. What we have today in education is not delivering and we require more participation from the private players. Our government should act as contributors and should work in tandem with private players to deliver optimal results. Budget private schools are filling the space and government should work in tandem with the private sector to provide access of quality education to all. I am a proponent of the voucher system and believe that the choice should be given to parents to choose and send their children to the schools of their own choice.”
The session speakers included illustrious names like Centre for Civil Society President, Dr Parth J Shah, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Research Foundation Director, Dr Anirban Ganguly, Nishith Desai Associates Head Vivek Kathpalia, City Montessori School Head; Susmita Basu, National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) President Kulbhushan Sharma, Economist Geeta Kingdon, Central Square Foundation’s Bikkrama D Singh, Muni International School Founder Ashok Thakur, Centre for Civil Society Associate Director Amit Chandra and iJustice Advocate Prashant Narang who shared some of their personal experiences and anecdotes from real life situations to suggest and propose ideas to meet the challenge of the changing needs of the newer generation for the upcoming new education policy.
The sessions critically examined the education policy issues and deliberated on the possible, practical and innovative solutions. The panellists discussed the regulatory challenges, research evidence and innovations in classroom at length.
Dr Parth J Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society, appealed for a separate examination board for low cost and budget private schools. It is out of their purview to cater to the demands of CBSE and other boards which leads to their closure.
According to Basu, “Schools exist for the main purpose of delivering quality education to students to make them quality citizens who are independent. We should ensure that the quality of education delivered by them all should be consistent as there should not be much difference between students passing their school.”
Thus, the education received in Kendriya Vidyalaya and that in one of the top schools according to Forbes should not have a vast difference. This would ensure equality and consistency in terms of delivery of education and growth of various segments.