Indian education is one of the last areas still in the clutches of the licence raj. A new committee appointed by the centre to provide advice on education policy should make dismantling controls in the education sector one of its primary tasks. The committee will be headed by space scientist K. Kasturirangan.
The issue is not just about whether education should be provided by government or private institutions. There are no such binaries. India is a complex country that should allow different types of schools, colleges and universities to flourish. Newer options such as online education should also be encouraged. The unfair provisions of the Right to Education Act—which favours minority schools—also need to be done away with.
Institutional diversity cannot grow unless regulatory dinosaurs such as the University Grants Commission are shut down. States, too, must have a greater say in education policy. What works in Uttar Pradesh may not work in Tamil Nadu. What works in a remote tribal area may not work in a metropolitan city. The broken education system needs urgent attention.