I read an article “Public-private partnership in education” by Prof. Jandhyala B G Tilak of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi, in this morning's edition of "THE HINDU" (published from Chennai). The writer explains the new model and analyses the possible pros and cons of the Public private partnership in education as proposed in our Eleventh Five Year Plan. According to the proposal, 2500 schools are to be set up by 2014. Each school will have about 2500 pupils out of which 1000 should be admitted from deprived sections of the society. These pupils will be charged a token fee. This seems to be in line with the recently introduced Right to Education Act. This is a welcome move in the right direction.
As the writer says, there is also a shortfall in the proposal: Autonomy given to each of these schools in filling the remaining 1500 seats. As the government will not have a say in regulating this part of the admission process, schools may continue charging donations and unreasonably exorbitant fees, just because parents are willing to pay, irrespective of whether the schools impart quality education or not.
We need to develop an effective system to monitor quality issues in schools, on the lines of National Accreditation and Assessment Council. I think that the Schools Education wing of the Quality Council of India should be geared to handle issues in a more focussed manner than at present, as after all, the characteristics of quality in K-12 education is very different from what they are in manufacturing industries.