Public vs. Private: To discard or to improve?

Education is agreed to be an equalizer of inequalities originating at birth thus putting the government at the central role in ensuring education to all its citizens. The state still remains the service provider of education to the majority of children (65%) thus playing a huge role. However, the quality of this service provided by the governments is seriously questioned, with ASER reports showing that students are much below their grade level in terms of learning and poor performance of India in international assessments like PISA (73rd rank out of 74 participating countries). One can term this as failure of public education.

Failure of public education has made people look for private schools as an alternative. It was traditionally believed that private schools do better than public schools but recent studies have raised questions on this proposition. An important question on private school has been - can private schools deliver education to the profile of students that typically attend public schools? When given vouchers for students of public schools, thus transferring them from public schools to private schools, it is found that they did not learn significantly more on Math and Telugu, as compared to their counterparts who continued their studies in the public school. Another study finds that, after accounting for initial differences in learning levels of students who attend public and private schools, there is no significant difference in value-added per year of education by schools of both types. This suggests that the low-cost private schools as the they are today, may not guarantee quality. This is the case of low-cost private schools but some may argue that the situation is better in elite private schools, which is comparable to the rest of the world. Assessment of 23,000 students of 89 elite schools in metros of India finds that at grade 4, average scores of these children is below the international average of PISA. Citing this evidence, one can argue that private schools are also a failure.

FAQs on IIT fee hike - Perception isn't the reality

The tuition fee of IITs is increased from Rs. 90,000 per annum to Rs. 2,00,000 per annum with exemptions to SC, STs, differently abled students and those whose income is below 1 lakh per annum.

There is a lot of discourse on the desirability of the decision and its possible effects. This post aims to put numbers to some of the assumptions and highlight the effects of this decision which are being missed out in the discourse.

IITs have 4 year courses and 5 year courses (dual degrees - B.Tech + M.Tech). So, the total expenditure comes out to be 12 lakh for 4 year courses and 15 lakh for 5 year courses, assuming 1 lakh per year for expenses other than tuition.

Moving on to the FAQs.