Opinion Op Ed 24 May 2018 Education is meant ...

Education is meant for social good, why make it a commodity?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NIRANJANARADHYA VP
Published May 24, 2018, 4:29 am IST
Updated May 24, 2018, 4:30 am IST
Only such strong measures can save parents and children from the present daylight robbery  we are seeing in the name of education.
(Picture for representational purpose)
 (Picture for representational purpose)

Niranjanaradhya.V.P
Fellow and Programme Head,
Universalisation of Equitable Quality Education Programme, 
Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University

When education is meant for the social good and is seen as a tool for social transformation, it is  a matter of great concern when commodification and commercialisation gains prominence in the sector. It is common practice for private institutions at the beginning of every academic year to insist on students buying  textbooks, stationery, uniforms,  jackets, leggings and shoes and socks  either from them directly or from a  shop of their choice .

 

Annoyed, but helpless, parents allege that schools are finding more and more easy ways to make additional profit besides taking huge donations and school fee from them. When students and parents protest, agencies like the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (CICSE) issue orders  to schools warning them against such practices  However, the cycle repeats the next academic year as nothing changes.

The Supreme Court has time and again in several high profile cases made it very clear that within the current legal framework, educational institutions are supposed to run as non-profit charitable organisations and not as commercial entities, So there is an urgent need to find some permanent solution to this problem. One option could be  for the government to make it mandatory for the schools themselves to supply the prescribed and authorised textbooks without charging anything other than the MRP. It should be the responsibility of the management  to place an indent before the board they are affiliated to get the required number and  distribute (not sell) among the students. Any violation of the process should invite stringent legal action, including de-recognition. Only such strong measures can save parents and children from the present daylight robbery  we are seeing in the name of education.  

 

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