Proponents of the OLPC assert that it is “changing education”, transforming students into self-learners, and making “discussions about whether to have computers in the classroom” obsolete. But in a world where schools still struggle to have a building and a blackboard, surely such enthusiasm is overstated.
The state of the US primary education system has important lessons for Indian policymakers. India’s goal should be to decouple educational performance from socioeconomic background. But this requires treating the problem of access to, not just quality of, education.
A 10-year survey of elementary education reveals the good, the bad and the ugly of India’s education system. Since 1996 much has improved yet teaching quality remains abysmally low, it seems. And privatization is an illusory solution.
The WSJ says that Indian universities are suffering from overregulation. But what is the solution? To have it withdraw or to hold the government accountable? One is easy, the other an essential part of a working democracy.
Natasha argues for pragmatism in this debate. While there may be a theoretical case for public education, there is no inherently better model. Universal public education, as a value, should not interfere with choosing whatever works best in a given situation. Let the perfect not be the enemy of the good.
My last two posts (here, here) on the role of the state in providing education and conversely questioning that of the private sector, resulted in some very illuminating responses from both sides of the spectrum. As a result, I will soon followup with an additional post highlighting previously unaddressed issues in this debate (and welcome other [...]
Liberal economists suggest our public schools are terrible, and private schools are the answer. Yet, sufficient evidence exists that public schools are, in many cases, even better than private ones.
The failure of India’s primary education system deserves a solution. Yet, privatization is neither necessary, nor sufficient, and cannot be embarked upon without debating the desired balance between quality and equity.