With private schools mushrooming in the country, self-disclosures on how institutions run their business will enable parents make an informed choice regarding their kids’ education. Adequate disclosures will attract the right kind of students, teachers and other stakeholders, and force schools to develop competencies and improve standards. So, the proposed move by Smriti Irani-led human resource development ministry to bring in a new law that will require schools to give a number of disclosures, as reported by The Economic Times, is laudable. Among other things, schools will have to declare their fee components on their websites, spell out their admission process well in advance, disclose teachers’ educational background and even the trust’s assets. The proposed Bill seeks to make the practice of linking admissions to donations illegal.
Disclosure on performance in academic and co-curricular activities over the years, higher education records of the students and even their placements will mark the school as a trustworthy and transparent organisation and help build a brand. Information related to teachers’ qualifications will enable the institutions to train those with insufficient qualifications and bring them at par with the benchmarks set by the institution’s academic board. Ideally, self-disclosure should be the cornerstone of any such legislation. But, the push for transparency and accountability should not lead to any harassment by babus and interference with the autonomy of schools.