Privatization of Education and Literacy Rate

Privatization of educational institution has increased literacy rate Agree or disagree

Privatization is one of the hottest issues in the education sector. Privatization can be beneficial to parents, who are given more freedom and choice when deciding on schools for their children, and greater control over the way their children are educated. We agree that Privatization of educational institution has increased literacy rate. But before we will go in to detail first let us see what the definition of privatization.

Defining privatization
The term ‘privatization’ is an umbrella term referring to many different educational programmes and policies.  As an overall definition, ‘privatization is the transfer of activities, assets and responsibilities from government/public institutions and organizations to private. The trend towards privatization is strong: it is taking place in many countries and within many sectors of the economy.

The education sector – because it is a large expenditure item in government budgets – often faces pressure to privatize. This pressure comes in many forms. For example, education can be privatized if: (a) students enroll at private schools; or (b) if higher education is privately funded. In the first case, schooling is no longer provided by the government; in the second case, the government is no longer funding education through taxpayers’ money or loans. So private school students’ parents may press for privatization, as may the taxpayers who fund higher education. In general, it is helpful to think of privatization in three forms.

Private Provision
Education can be provided by private agencies, such as privately owned and managed schools or universities. It need not be provided through government-run institutions; instead, private schools could be operated by religious groups, for-profit entrepreneurs, charities, or other interested parties. Indeed, many families already prefer the private option and choose to forgo the free, public education systems. Internationally, the proportion of students who are educated by private providers varies substantially.

Private Funding
Education can be funded by private individuals rather than through government subsidies. Privatization may therefore mean that parents pay for schooling rather than the government. Often, private schools are supported directly through tuition fees paid by students’ families, but in many cases, both families and governments contribute funds in a cost-sharing approach. Public universities in the United States charge tuition fees, but these only cover approximately half of the total costs, the remainder being covered by government subsidies.

Private regulation, decision-making and Accountability
Education services can be monitored by those who receive the services directly, i.e. the students and their families. They will make sure that the education is of satisfactory standard – either by refusing to enroll at poor quality schools (‘exit’) or by demanding a better service (‘voice’). Thus, privatization can include giving parents more choice over what goes on in schools, or what types of school are available, even where all these choices are within the public sector. Also, governments can regulate education: states often set compulsory schooling laws and monitor schools’ performance through inspection systems, audits and accountability frameworks.

Privatization in many Forms
Most privatization policies fall into one of the above three forms. So, education privatization can be undertaken by either: (a) increasing the number and proportion of private providers; (b) raising the amount of funds contributed directly by the users of the services (i.e. students and their families) and lowering the amount contributed through subsidies; or (c) enhancing parental monitoring of schools and school choice over government rules and regulations. Each of these approaches may be taken simultaneously, but they can also be balanced against each other. In the Netherlands, for example, the majority of schools are privately run, but government regulation of these schools is strict: the state specifies the curriculum and the use of materials (as is also the case in Denmark). This balancing allows for schools to be set up by any group (either in the public or in the private sector) that is motivated and sufficiently competent; but it also ensures that schools meet certain educational standards.

Productive Efficiency
Education privatization may be an important way to enhance efficiency: economists have given many reasons as to why private agents use resources in a more efficient manner than government agencies.  (It is necessary here to distinguish efficient resource usage from efficient goal setting: doing something efficiently may not mean one is doing the right thing efficiently.) Many of these arguments about the relative efficiency of private schools over public schools can be applied to the education sector.

First, in order to run education systems effectively, governments would need to gather huge amounts of information. Government agents would need to be aware of the educational preferences of parents, the effort levels of students, the costs of managing a school, and the prices of key inputs such as teachers, materials and buildings.  The school and the parent would have a mutual motivation to share the information they have in the absence of a government intermediary: parents would declare the educational services and styles they prefer; and schools would indicate what resources and funds are needed to meet these demands.

Over all we can say that one of the reasons why government school systems do not appear to be efficient is that they must gather all this information themselves, and then translate it into an effective educational service that parents want.
The experience over the last few decades has clearly shown that unlike school education, privatization has not led to any major improvements in the standards of higher education and professional education. The fact of the matter was that school education was already privatized to the extent that government schools became an option only to those who cannot afford private schools mushrooming in every street corner, even in small towns and villages.
Nevertheless, successive governments over the last two decades have only pursued a path of privatization and deregulation of higher education, regardless of which political party ran the government. With the result, the last decade has witnessed many sweeping changes in higher and professional education: For example, thousands of private colleges and institutes offering IT courses appeared all across the country by the late 1990s and disappeared in less than a decade, with devastating consequences for the students and teachers who depended on them for their careers. The teaching profession today attracts only those who have missed all other “better” opportunities in life, and is increasingly mired in bureaucratic controls and anti-education concepts such as “hours” of teaching “load”, “paid-by-the hour”, “contractual” teachers etc. With privatization reducing education to a commodity, teachers are reduced to tutors and teaching is reduced to coaching.



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