India has the largest
number of youth in the 17-25 age group. They are our potential
intellectual capital. A limited number of government establishments
cannot cater to the growing demand of the economy and aspirations of the
According to a report
of an expert committee appointed by the HRD Ministry, in the next five
to seven years, the demand for management graduates would increase
sharply. In this situation, government-run institutions would be able to
meet only a fraction of the requirement.
The limited government
re-sources are a constraint. A large segment of our population is
deprived of primary education. Private investment in higher education
would contribute the much-needed resources and opportunities for the
Academic content needs
to be designed to respond to market changes, which is much faster under
In addition, deletion
and modification of the programmes becomes complicated in a
government-controlled system. For example, Delhi University does not
offer an undergraduate programme in biotechnology. But there are about
400 biotech companies in India and several worldwide which require
qualified manpower in this field. Similarly, the entertainment industry
is growing at the rate of 15 per cent. Government-run institutions like
the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and the MCRC Jamia
with their limited seats alone cannot meet market needs.
service sector and external sectors of the economy have been growing at
a pace much higher than the average GDP growth. These sectors generate
tremendous employment opportunities.
India has the potential
for becoming a training hub for the rest of the world because of its
world-class institutions and the medium of teaching. Private
participation would facilitate this process.
The fear about the
quality of education getting adversely affected if we open the
floodgates is valid but ultimately only good institutions will emerge
lead to commercialisation of education: Only students who can pay would
be able to get higher education. This would affect poor students who
have merit but are unable to afford higher education.
This would deprive a
vast section of society of the benefits of education. If education is
available to all at a minimal cost, there would be a sense of parity
between the privileged and the less privileged persons.
By limiting education
to those who can pay, we will drive out a good section of students from
participation in developmental and economic activities.
education would sound the death knell of invention and research
activities as the private sector would not be interested in such
activities; and the underprivileged would not get a chance to
Ethics would cease to
matter to, say, a doctor who makes it on a paid seat.
Those subjects and
disciplines would die whose study is not financially rewarding, like
literature, history or social sciences. Few would be willing to pay an
exorbitant fee for these courses.
As far as primary
education is concerned, politicians present a wrong picture. By saying
that after privatisation of higher education the government would be
able to divert money to primary education, they are misleading the
public. No action has been taken on the Kothari Committee report, even
though every political party unanimously agreed that 6 per cent of the
GDP be spent on education.
At present, only 3 per
cent to 3.5 per cent of the GDP is spent on education and merely 0.5 per
cent on higher education. If the government follows the Kothari
Committee report, privatisation of education would not be needed.
It is misconception
that all private institutions give quality education. In the Capital,
where Indraprastha University was started to develop private
professional colleges, some of them had to be closed down due to lack of
infrastructure. Even the majority of institutes that are running do not
have a permanent faculty.