There is a general perception that private schools provide better education than government or public schools. And this seems to be becoming an universal perception. In India this is a recent development because private schools have mushroomed in the last two decades. Earlier the choice was limited to government schools and some NGO/foundation run schools. The Kendriya Vidyalayas were considered elite schools (not expensive) and if you ask Bindu and her KV friends, they swear by them even now. The teachers were great in a government school because the government job provided security and they could focus on their teaching without fear of job loss. Missionary run “convent” schools were and are very popular because their medium of instruction is English.
Perception is reality !!
All the perceptions about government schools and private schools have undergone a sea change. With corruption in hiring teachers for the government schools, the quality of teachers declined. Private schools offered fancy infrastructure and were expensive. The general perception is that expensive things are of better quality.
Private schools in India
In general, private schools have better Infrastructure compared to government schools. The quality of teachers is also believed to be better than those in the government schools. Its believed that these teachers are better qualified, more trained, have higher motivation and are paid better. The student-teacher ratio is lower so more focus on each student is possible. They have the latest and best technology available to them (smart classrooms, laptops, computer labs, projectors etc). Parents of children studying in these schools receive regular feedback and interact with the teachers and the school regularly. The universal perception that private schools offer better education thus gets fortified.
Also the gap between the well-heeled and the less-heeled has widened significantly and its not considered appropriate in the well-heeled economic strata to send your children to government schools. Some middle class folk send their children to private schools in the hope of better education because the govt. schools suffer from the opposite perception.
Government Schools in India
Bindu and I have travelled across India, visiting several government schools. Meeting students, parents, teachers and principals. In the states of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi NCR, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. We have also visited schools run by NGOs in some of the above states. Yes, infrastructure wise, private schools score heavily over government schools. Some of the NGO schools though match private schools on almost every point.
We have met extraordinary students, teachers and principals in many of these government schools. It’s because of their commitment and contribution, you can see a qualitative difference in these schools. With minimal infrastructure, negligible access to technology they still deliver top notch education. The students are well informed and make the most of whatever resources they can utilize.
Breaking News !
Shocking, right. I too was shocked when I read this news item in The Indian Express newspaper. I was very eager to understand the details of the report. The news item has many interesting points totally contrary to our perceptions.
Education in private schools DOES NOT seem to be better than the government schools !
I then accessed the report published by, Central Square Foundation based on which the news item was published. Its a detailed report that brings forth the point that private schools are more expensive and have better infrastructure, but that doesn’t always result in better education.
Central Square Foundation’s report – Private Schools in India.
Time to change our perception??