Reducing corruption across sectors is the only way to fund education reform

Education reform needs a significant amount of money. Governments' lack of seriousness in reforming education is definitely an issue that prevents them from going the extra step to allocate necessary funds. But, there is another important issue as well - we simply don't have enough funds for education, even if a committed government comes to power and desires to allocate funds.

In some states, the money required to fill up vacant posts itself would amount to significant part of the current budgets. If one were to calculate the total money required for all the reform and presume that it should come only from the annual budget, it would hardly leave anything to spend on other sectors.

Politicians and bureaucrats commonly cite this as the reason for the State's inability to increase its expenditure on education. Such arguments seem reasonable but one should note that such arguments consider the status quo of inefficiencies and corruption as default, which needn't be the case.

A significant amount of money can be saved by reducing inefficiencies and corruption in expenditure across all departments, not just education, and also collect additional money by reducing inefficiencies and corruption in tax collection. It requires administrative reforms of massive scale accompanied by political reforms that correct the political economy incentives.

For instance, it requires reducing corruption and delays in infrastructure construction, which is interlinked to political funding because many contractors are funders of political parties. It means that political parties should reduce their dependence on such people for funding. It further requires a transparent electoral funding and a break to the practice of distributing money and liquor in elections, which puts a huge burden on the parties. Reducing inefficiencies is thus interlinked to political reforms.

Given that the scope to raise money through additional taxes is limited, saving money by reducing inefficiencies and corruption across government departments is the only way to make enough money available for education and related sectors.

The education reform is thus invariably linked to broader governance and political reforms. It would be great if education policy advocates realise this aspect and thus contribute their voice to the broader reforms as well, along with the education.