1. Editorial: Vyapam’s larger lesson

Editorial: Vyapam’s larger lesson

Govt control over education has to be removed

By: | Published: July 7, 2015 1:08 AM

Given the 50-odd deaths of both those accused in the Vyapam education scam in Madhya Pradesh as well as those involved in its uncovering such as a TV journalist who interviewed the parents of a person who died mysteriously and a medical college dean who gave scam-related documents to the team probing the scam, finance minister Arun Jaitley has done well to ask for a larger inquiry into it. While only an impartial inquiry—there is a high-court monitored probe on already—can decide on whether chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his family members are involved, the larger issue relates to political control over educational institutions. Apart from conducting exams for government jobs, Vyapam conducted entrance tests for medical and engineering colleges. The controversy over the IIM Bill is the latest in those relating to educational institutions, but India has a history of problems relating to education and, more important, state control over it—the Medical Council of India chief was arrested for demanding a bribe to certify a college a few years ago. The fundamental reason for Vyapam and other such scams—the Supreme Court has just cancelled the CBSE’s all-India pre-medical test—is the shortage of top quality educational institutions.

As poor and middle-class India realises its value, the rush for college and professional degrees is probably unmatched in India’s history. Given the shortage, the premium for such education is obvious, and that is why in a large number of states, it is politicians who control various colleges. Even in cases where politicians do not control the institutions, they try and control the certification bodies, and that leads to scams of a different nature—of certifying a dubious college or of denying certifications to deserving colleges.

In such a situation, it is vital that more supply be created, and that the entire government-controlled certification process be liberalised. While many argue this will open up the country to fly-by-night operators, it has to be pointed out that the rising number of scams make it clear government certification isn’t helping contain the scams or to reduce the number of dodgy schools/colleges. One committee that studied business schools found, for instance, certification bodies had cleared colleges that were so fly-by-night, they had rented libraries on the day of their inspection. While allowing more supply, there are other ways that need to developed to control quality. Independent accreditation bodies—a Crisil for education, for instance, based on output-based criterion—could be one solution.

Another is to regulate, and then monitor, as much disclosure as possible – details of the faculty and their degrees/publications, of the alumni, of placements and salaries, etc. Encouraging third-party tests like GMAT/GRE/SAT are other possible solutions—the main thing is to liberalise supply, not restrict it.

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  1. M
    Jul 7, 2015 at 1:33 pm
    Scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi has been conferred with the Asian Athletics ociation President's award for his contribution towards the development of athletics in the continent at the AAA Gala Dinner and award ceremony on 03rd June, 2015. He was jail in connection with the 2010 CWG scam. Now a free bird and no obligation or accountability to anybody. Same with big fishes like Raja, Maran, Jindal, Moily. But see the fate of small fishes in scams like VYAPAM
    1. S
      Jul 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm
      India's totalitarian "Animal Farm" Consution, laws and "governance" that condemned India to a perpetual state of civil war have reduced India from a nation where princely states like Mysore, Travancore and Baroda had universal primary education, health services and nutrition which pressed the British to keep up, to a Third World Banana Republic below Sub Saharan Africa and Nepal in Human Social Development and 143rd out of 172 nations in peacefulness. Today India lacks basic infrastructure such as judiciary, doctors, lawyers, administrators, police, engineers and others, particularly those on Government pay roll, with competence and integrity. Abolishing Government control over education is too little too late. What India needs is equality under law, no exceptions to the rule of law, one indivisible nation in law and fact, and draconian accountability for insouciance, extortion (also known as corruption), incompetence and non performance.
      1. T
        t p
        Jul 7, 2015 at 9:15 am
        Govt control over education must be strengthened. The scammers have been ousted & situation would improve within 2-3 years.

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