Friday, February 26, 2010

Why purely private education is Bad and Never will Work

I know the current low down in India is privatization is good, mandated by god, good for the economy, look at america etc etc. And that government institutions tend to bring about mental images of creaking fans, files stacked up to the roof and depressed corrupt people.

However here is my point, a for-profit organization may have strange incentives when comes to providing a service like education. For example: A private university might actually BENEFIT by deliberately failing students in large numbers, its a good source of income, re-evaluation, re-exam and maybe a repeated sem, its all profitable. I am not saying that this is what happens, I am just saying since the sole pupose of the body is profit, in dire times the motivation to move towards general good will be rare.

Plus, an education isnt like getting a cup of coffee, its a life altering experience that shapes human lives. Packaging and marketing are not terms which should come to mind. In the future may be private institutes will start referring to good students as "dead beats" (taking a cue from credit card companies), as they are not profitable. Also the above mentioned motivations, even when non existant tend to plant seeds in the minds of "customers" of the insti. This leads to overall dissent.

Further, the lecturers become wage slaves and the management pressures get to them, u may say that in Government institutes lecturers barely come to class, because of no fear of reprimand, however I say thats what leads to great research. Scientific research is done with profit on the backburner, and a desire to expand horizons is what inspires most scientists. However when you become a worker at an assembly plant churning out engineers you lose sight of why you are there in the first place.

Infact according to me Free market and Democracy were always and will always be incompatible. I mean think about it, ow matter how democratic India is, when "workers" in colleges go to to teach, they are automatons who do stuff at the beck and call of the management, there goes democracy down the drain, this will be true for almost every free market enterprise.
Doesn't that sound a bit like communist china?

In another instance, most private institutes have the policy that all UG and PG work done as coursework, legally BELONGS to the institute, so there goes open source, and you yourself are unable to lay claim to your work later, it just belongs to them. Will any one in their right mind really innovate?

In comparison government institutions may be uninspiring and will sustain roten apples as a part of the tree, and may embody corruption, however there is inherent freedom. U know that u are not beholden to any management, this in itself should lead to the germination of few free-spirited ideas.

I therefore consider such an answerable-to-no-one-not-even-the-community model of education a Mc-Donalds fast food joint, food for the masses, not the connoisseur.


Gautam Muduganti said...

Great article. In fact, reading it made me proud of being a student of a government institute.

It's true that we have a lot of freedom to do what we want to do. At the same time, I believe that it is a misconception that lecturers do not teach in government institutes. There are a lot (maybe not all) of professors who are very good at what they teach, but I guess it's the students who don't exploit them to their max.

By the way, I fully agree with you that the private education sector should be more ethical and education should never be commercialized.

Rohit Mishra said...

I don't agree with your view that private institutions are at a disadvantage compared to Govt. institutions. You may perceive that failing students deliberately, avoiding good students etc. works for a private college, but it can't. No mobile company makes bad mobiles so that people buy their phones sooner. Moreover, the best academic institutions world-wide are not Govt. run, but private institutions. The problem with our institutions is that they are run as family-businesses whereas a more self-sustainable approach is needed.

Rohan Sehgal said...

@rohit: u seem to place lot of trust in corporation, let me give u a reminder of what power can do in the wrong hands,

were u aware that the tobacco industry abroad (till 2000) and till today in india adds compounds to its cigarettes to allow for faster absorption of nicotine (4x natural rate)so as to give their customers a quick high and addict them more. They don't care that they are KILLING people at a faster rate than any war.

So similarly what stops a misguided management from performing unethical deeds.

My point simply was free market is against democratic principles. There can be good dictators too!! But majority become blind with power.

Rohit Mishra said...

I am aware of what power can do in wrong hands. There definitely are corporations like tobacco, oil etc which are completely run against general-good. But, looking at the odds, one can safely trust the free-market system. Kapil Sibal has done good work opening up the education sector in India and making a better framework for the private institutions. Lets hope it works out well for us.