I started telling you my thoughts about private schools in India these days and the elaborate admission process that they use. One aspect that I have only shortly mentioned but which is the biggest problem with the Indian school system is, as so often, the money. Education has become a big business. A big, corrupt business.
We see again and again how people from the west react surprised when they get to know about the cost of education here in India. When we tell that our school is for children who cannot go to schools where they have to pay money, they ask ‘What, you have to pay money to go to school?’
In many other western countries, education is free. You may have to buy your books and your stationary but there are no admission fees, no education or exam fees. In India, things are a bit different.
Yes, there are state schools and they are free as well – or at least supposed to be free. There are no school fees and the government makes big advertisement with the free lunch – but the sad truth is that there is mostly no value to the education they provide! Teachers often don’t come to school at all or just sit next to each other and chat, the classrooms are used for storage or even as stables. Many times, teacher even send a representative, a less educated, less qualified person whom they pay a part of their own, guaranteed salary which they get by the government. In the meantime, they are busy in their private business and thus earn money from two places. The education for children at the government school? Nobody cares.
It is so obvious that even the uneducated parents of very low financial means notice. They have never been to school but they see that their sons and daughters pass one class after the other but still cannot really write their names. Cannot read a short sentence, even in Hindi.
Some of these parents do know about the value of education and want their children to learn more than they themselves could ever learn – but they don’t have the money for sending them to a private school! A school where they would actually get taught! The uniforms and books are too expensive, the monthly fees are too high, about 30 to 50 US-Dollar per month. This is what the families of our school children sometimes earn in one month – how could they send their child to such a school?
Even higher is what is not written in the official pamphlet: the unofficial admission fee, a donation to the school, a bribe to ensure that your child clears the admission process and gets into the school. 700 to 850 US-Dollar is a normal amount to be asked for. And if you love your child and have the possibility, you probably decide to comply.
Without giving a significant ‘donation’ to the school, you stand no chance to get your child in any of the good schools. Every single person who wants to get a place has to give this donation – and the corrupt administration of the school will take good care that the donation reaches the right hands.
Books have to be bought only from the school – who make a little extra money with every book they sell. Cloth for their uniforms is only available at the school – more expensive than any other uniform you could easily buy in the market.
Corruption. Money. Business. That is what is happening with education in India.
Definitely not the way to go for a bright future of this country and the next generation!