Primary Education in Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata: Governance by Resignation, Privatisation by Default
(Chapter 6 Mooij and Jalal 2.doc, 0.1MB)
1. Introduction As described in the earlier chapters, one of the entry points in our study of urban governance was the supply and demand of services. Education is one important service that we studied in three of the four cities (Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata). Our focus was on primary education. Many changes have taken place in the area of education in the past fifteen to twenty years. First, universal primary education is increasingly viewed as a major important policy objective, both in order to enhance individual capabilities and as a way to stimulate economic growth. This is reflected in the adoption in 2002 of the 86th Constitutional Amendment, making free and compulsory education a fundamental right. The Planning Commission regards education as ‘the most critical element in empowering people with skills and knowledge and giving them access to productive employment in the future’ (GoI, 2006: 45). Second, the demand for education has significantly increased. As the Probe report (1999) observed, many parents, also from sections of the population that were hitherto excluded from education, would like to send their children to school. Literacy rates have gone up significantly, which is why the 1990s is labeled as the literacy decade. Third, there has been a rapid increase in private providers. Especially in urban India, but also in rural India, many children go to private, often English-medium schools. Fourth, civil society actors have become more prominent in the field of education. There are a number of very large and influential and a lot of small NGOs that work with or complement the government, or that monitor progress in a critical manner. Fifth, in order to improve the quality of education and in conjunction with the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, there have been efforts to decentralize school management.