14 Jun 09 Education Musings
Isn’t it great how education has become a mainstream media subject? Notwithstanding some of the completely retrograde political opinions, for once, we’re actually seeing a debate on this subject. Even those who lay the blame for this heightened interest in malafide corporate greed, must agree that increased awareness and discussion is a positive.
So much so, when Mr. Sibal recently unveiled his initial plans for the education sector, his ideas appeared tame – even though some might call them revolutionary, as compared to the views of his predecessors in the Education ministry.
There is no doubt that education (or the lack of it) is one of the crucial drivers of economic growth and equality. However, muddled views on private participation and regulation, still conspire to constrain supply.
There is a basic law of economics – that when supply exceeds demand, then competition will force prices to fall and quality to improve. Moralistic arguments against profiteering only serve to limit supply, and encourage profiteering by the incumbents. Shortages mean poor quality and disproportionate profits for existing suppliers.
If the government does not have enough money (or spends it elsewhere) to educate every Indian, then let the private sector expand freely. The resulting over-supply will by itself, engender the survival of the fittest – and cost and quality are the two metrics usually associated with the fittest.