Monday, November 14, 2005

Educational Improvements

Many suggestions have been floated on how to improve our education system, particularly at the primary level. More teachers, teacher training, mid-day meals, even a law that punishes parents who don't send their kids to school.

Here is my suggestion. Incentivize parents to send their kids to school. Pay parents to send their children to school. The reason why parents don't send their kids to school is because they are only looking for short-term gains. Send the male child to work and you get a few rupees for either your dinner or your drink. Keep the girl child at home, and she'll help with the household chores. Now, there is an incentive to send the child to school - money. There are ways to make this scheme work. Pay more if the girl child is sent. Don't pay the parents in cash - instead, open a bank account, and provide access through the "fingerprint" ATMs that are being developed in India.

Critics of this plan will point out the revenue implications of this scheme. I don't think this scheme has any worse revenue implications than the "National Rural Employment Guarantee Act" that is being proposed. In fact, it should be more welcome as it is now possible to kill two birds with one stone - give money to the poorest of the poor, while letting their children get an education.

What says y'all?


Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with the Rural employment act you mentioned, but how could the government possibly pay for this plan? And what about the possibility of fraud (and the cost of investigating such fraud)?

In theory, though, it sounds like a great idea. I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up before.

Gops said...

Well, people say that its going to cost 40k crores to fund the program. So, instead of building 3rd rate 'infrastructure' with so much money, I would like it to fund primary education. The 'fraud' problems are the same with other government funded projects...still, with some IT, and some good people (NGOs), it should be feasible.

Balbir Singh said...

Yes, but I am against paying parents simply as mentioned before - parents can make their living by producing 10 children - No?

We are good at exploiting loop holes. I think I would prefer the educational system promise job opportunites to children. In the US, students make money by working part-time, why not have that in school - its a WIN/WIN situation.

Gops said...

Well, obviously, my solution needs fine tuning...for example, we can say, this will be allowed only for a single child. Or single girl child.

The advantage US students have is that there are too many jobs people don't want to do that are available to the students. Not the same in India...unfortunately.

Also, what kind of jobs will a student in rural India be able to get?

Balbir Singh said...

Well, the government is coming up with rural employment guarantee programs, so I think students must be considered for simple things like

1. Accounting
2. Teaching smaller classes
3. Helping in the panchayat

But of course, this is going to be a little difficult

In Urban India I know many many students taking up jobs in BPO and getting paid decent enough.

The one girl thing might be unfair to the other siblings.

We still fine tuning :-)

Gops said...


What kind of accounting job can a 5 year old do? Also, when there are thousands of older candidates available (10+, 12+), wouldn't you rather consider them for the job?

Can't disagree with the fact that we still need (a lot of) fine tuning though! :) But its not like the government is listening, so why bother?

sandeep said...

finally i am commenting on your blog :). Well...the idea seems to be very noble but who will pay for the school, uniform, books and stuff...(yeah i know you want the govt. to pay but is it really possible...).
I would say the first step towards such a dream will be to raise the standards of teaching in govt. schools. After this we can think of increasing the literacy percentage in the state.

Gops said...


Finally I wrote something that interested you enough to comment on!!! Nice!

Yes, it is absolutely essential to improve quality - no doubts about that. But, how do you make parents send their children (particularly girl children) to school? Currently, it is against the law if you don't send your child to school - but try telling that to a daily labourer!

IMHO, Maybe, just maybe, sometimes quantity scores over quality...