Friday, March 24, 2017

Ideas on Education

Disclaimer: This post was made on Bharat Rakshak Forum on 1st April 2010. I request interested readers to visit the forum to read associated discussion and participate.


The conventional wisdom in Indian strategic community is that India is a poor nation and it cannot afford to have both butter and guns so Bharat must sacrifice its security (territorial - PoK, Aksai-Chin, Tibet etc; Civic - terrorist attacks, law and order; Civilizational - Reclaiming occupied temples etc) for economic growth. 

I disagreed with that conventional wisdom and wrote a series of posts on how Bharat can plan achieve all rounded glory using existing economic resources.

This post is on the topic of Education.


There are three parts to the Education focus area

1. National Literacy Program: (Budget: Rs 10,000 Crore Per Year for 10 Years)

Objective: National Literacy Program is to achieve near 100% literacy throughout India. The definition of the literacy program is to make an individual learn to Read, Write, Understand any Indian language, in addition to obtaining a National-ID plus Voter Card/Ration Card.

Methodology: All undergraduate and graduates students can join this voluntary program and earn Rs 500 for each illiterate member:
  1. A volunteer joins NLP by applying its teacher-membership.
  2. The volunteer member identifies the illiterate people and submits their forms. If the students (illiterate) do not have National-ID cards, volunteer makes sure they obtained them. The Program Officer confirms that they are not duplicate entries after checking the National ID database and NLP Database.
  3. The volunteer helps educate the beneficiary on prescribed course work and helps the beneficiary prepare for the exams.
  4. Examination: Pro-metric type computerized test centers in all towns. The participant has to show national ID card (Aadhar) as proof. Must get 70% correct answers to pass. Can take exam as many as times needed till passes.
  5. Course content includes

  • Language Skills - Reading, Writing and Comprehension
  • Math – Simple Arithmetic 
  • History – National History, Geography
  • Governance – Local/State/Central governance structure
  • Law and Order – What are their basic rights and responsibilities
  • Form Filling – How to fill a Voter card, Demand Draft, Ration Card form, etc.,
  • Civic Sense – Basic understanding on civic sense – Rights and responsibilities

Cost Structure:
  1. Book – A single handbook – Rs 250
  2. Examination costs – Rs 250
  3. NLP volunteer – will receive Rs 500 for each passed student
  4. The participant will receive Rs 1000 cash upon passing the exam.
TOTAL = Rs 2000 per illiterate.
With an annual budget of Rs 10000 crore, we can have at least 4-5 Crore people become literate every year.

There will be a significant amount of corruption in the beginning by already educated people. So be it. If an educated person is willing to learn the above items and pass the pro-metric exam for a Rs 1000 benefit, it is worth the investment. 

2. Primary Education (Budget: Rs 97,632 crore including 2 meals a day and 100% Health Insurance)

Note: These were 2010 estimates based on 1.13B population.

  1. Any graduate and above who completed their BEd (Bachelor of Education – How to teach, method and art of teaching) can participate in this program.
  2. A group of 10 graduates must join and apply as a group to start a school. Govt of India will offer them Rs 5Lakh as loan to kick start the school. This amount becomes FREE GRANT if the school continues for minimum 3 years.
  3. Each school can have as many students as required. They will receive Rs 250 for each registered student, with National-ID as proof, per month. They can charge additional fee if the parents are willing to pay the additional amount.
  4. The current public school system will be modified to make a village as a unit. In towns each municipal ward will become one unit. All schools in that unit, primary/secondary/high schools, will be combined to make a single unit for efficient management.
  5. A school must maintain maximum 1:30 teacher: student ratio. 

Cost Structure:

Note: All existing govt. schools will be combined within a village up to 12th grade and will be converted into residential schools operated by GOI.

  • A School with 1000 students (30-35 teachers) will receive ~Rs 30 Lakhs per yer from Govt grants.
  • Offers employment opportunities for upto 4.5 million graduates. If graduates are encouraged to have similarly qualified spouses, the family income would be around Rs 1.5-2.0 Lakhs per year, bringing them into the 15% IT bracket above Rs 1.5 Lakhs.
  • Will open ~13,500 Akshayapatra type modern kitchens (each kitchen supplies 10,000 students or 20,000 meals a day). Offers employment to at least 135,000 non-graduates. If we can integrate the supply-chains of this Aksyapatra kitchens with my Farm subsidy returns (Rs 10,000 or 30% of crop returns, whichever is smaller will be collected by govt from 4 crore acres of food grain crops) then we can achieve an efficient food-management supply chain within India.

Standardization. Each school may have a different style of education (within approved structures) to achieve and maintain differentiation. But it could a boon in disguise having non-standardized education up to 10th grade.

Further work

  • Collect data on Central and State budget allocations for primary and secondary education, health-care and mid-day meals program. 
  • Revise estimates based on 2017-20 population data and demographics.
  • Compare the cost structures and supply-chain employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled labor in Mid-day meal programs and primary health-care sectors.
  • Define the course framework to be implemented across the nation while giving scope for differentiation by schools.

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