Education has seen a major shift in the last 15 years. Historically parents sent their children to aided schools, where the school fees were minimal and girls received free education. The teacher child ratio was 1:50 (or even more) and these schools were deploying a curriculum that was developed by government appointed universities which was not updated thereafter. With large classroom numbers the schools could only follow a rote method of learning.
Parents were at the begging end for school seats willing to go through interviews and pay hefty under the table donations. Another aspect that needs to be highlighted is that many politicians run educational institutes, since these educational trusts have charitable objectives; they receive numerous government concessions and benefits, financial grants and tax waivers. The biggest of these are large tracts of land at throwaway prices on practically indefinite leases.
As aided schools were very less in number and the demand for schools was skewed a few enterprising edupreneurs (educationist entrepreneurs) like Pavan Podar, Pinky Dalal, Vicky Oberoi, Jesus Lal and I stepped in to reinvent the educational space. At our heart level we know that education is not only about memorising information but rather a tool to define your success and hence we took the responsibility of bringing about a change. We introduced experiential learning for the holistic development of the child; we made sure that children got individual attention which means our teacher child ratios are 1:12 in some schools to 1:30 in others. We focused on the creation of spaces and activities that were inclusive and open across the range of a child’s capability.
Today, there is no longer a lack of schools thanks to entrepreneurs like us. Now parents have a choice of schools with different price points, infrastructure, pedagogy and philosophy. However, parents and the Government are missing the forest for the trees! They are choking schools with continuous interference. On one hand you want to dictate to us reservation of seats and provision of books etc that we have to find funding to pay for. You want to enforce teacher pay commissions and you want to control our fees! Without taking into consideration that we pay commercial bank interest rates, commercial rentals for the schools we operate in, commercial electricity etc etc!
There are loads of examples that I can quote one of them is the Right to Education act of 2009. Another example is the2017 Ruling on fees structure for private schools in the state of Gujarat.
The government needs to realise that creating blanket archaic unreasonable rules to control independent schools will only hamper in the smooth functioning of a school.
Only by encouraging investments and entrepreneurship in education does this country have a hope of increasing schools that focus on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship
Wake up media. Wake up parents. Wake up government