National Educational Reform Commission needed


‘Only five children from government school in tamilnadu could make to medical admission’- a recent headline after one of the girl aspirant committed suicide.
Disenfranchisement of children of the Poorest families going to government schools is not going to be tolerated for too long. The country can not be run only by those who can afford tuitions, coaching and private education in #school and public #education at higher level.
Indian Paradox is that the best #educational institutions in almost every discipline at higher level are public (IITs, AIIMS, IESER etc;) best at school level are private. Masses get excluded despite merit. Priorities of the nation will need to be changed urgently.
Best school education must follow in government school where teachers per se are not of less calibre. Many of them get paid better, have higher qualifications than in private schools and are often recruited through fair public exams. But then they get caught in political machinations. Transfer to a favourable location, appointment polling agents in elections, doing errands fr local leaders, numerous state non-educational duties etc.; become major concern of many teachers rather than teaching well. There are exceptions and an extraordinary database of teachers as transformers is available at . But the quality of education in government run schools is a countrywide concern. In some of the hill states, situation is slightly better.
Someday parents of the children in government schools will protest and change the polity of the nation to correct this distortion. May be we create a wider engagement of elite beneficiaries of the current distortions to do something to dissolve some of their privileges. They would also benefit if competition increases, merit will prevail. It is tragic that some of the leaders talk about justifying dynastic logic, so pervasive in society to be the guiding principle of indian democracy. No, never, will any society grow, and become meritocratic through a politics based on Connections, coterie, and Contravention of basic human rights and values. Only when we create a level playing field in all walks of life, education included, can we hope that genuine meritocracy and not the one manufactured through coaching institutions and connections will prevail.
Japan sent several delegations soon after onset of Meiji restoration to different parts of the world to study how did they educate children. During those days, shipping was the only means of long distance travel. It took about a year and a half and a report was made: 200 year perspective plan for education. By the turn of the century, Japan became the first Asian country to be hundred per cent literate.
Long term goals give energy to achieve them much faster than possible otherwise. Our constitution also provided several such assurances but we have found ways of creating exceptions.
There is another lesson to be learned from Japan. When Raj Kapoor’s film made the song, “’joota hai Japani, sir pe lal topi, phir bhi dil hai Hindustani”, there were too many manufactures for which Japan was famous. After world war two, nuclear bomb attack and other damages inflicted by the war, Japanese economy was in doldrums. Partly due to defence umbrella extended by USA but mainly due to hard work, attention to detail, extraordinary quality control movement , tremendous commitment to nation building, Japan transformed itself in the same period we also embarked upon our five year development plans. One of the social systems Japan is famous for is that workers worked more when they wanted to protest against some corporate policy. There are many problems like high suicide rate, alienation and discrimination against victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima for no fault of theirs. But there are too many lessons that we can learn from Japan. When I wrote a paper in 2003, on how the centre of the world was moving eastward, based on an analysis of herbal patents, it might have appeared as hearsay. But today, the world is increasingly recognising the dawn of Asian Century. Will India with such a poor performance in school education find its rightful place in the future world? A news today might shock a few that India tops the countries with highest death rate of children under five, almost a million such children died in 2016. WE have poor survival rate, poor educational quality and high malnutrition among children under five. All of this can and must change. Teachers, parents and communities set this problem right. Political system will need to move from governance based on patronage to probity and social parity.

I hope we will constitute a National Educational Reform Commission to reprioritise the quality of school education and fostering of merit at all levels.


Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place