F.A Hayek through his book “The Road to Serfdom” argued that in a socialist polity the worst always gets on top. To think about it, even in a social democracy, we tend to give power to the few over majority. This implies that there is a constant race among different political parties or individuals to grab power and rule over the majority.Continue reading
With Nepal adopting a nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, all schools within the country have been ordered to shut down and are likely to remain closed for an indefinite period of time.Continue reading
In the wake of the never-ending situation brought forward by the pandemic, many sectors of the economy have been hard hit; to the point that now it requires years to bounce back to normal. And on the upfront viewpoint, what could be the definition of normal anyway? And will the notion of new normal incorporate to the new façade of education?Continue reading
Veetil, Vijayalakshmi and Bose present a case on how competition fostered through for-profit ventures can bolster efficiency in the Indian Education Sector. This article sourced from Center for Civil Society’s, Spontaneous Order was originally published in Hindustan Times on 26th March 2014.
There are few areas where the difference between what Indians want for themselves and what the government of India wants for them is more alarming than in higher education. Six to eight hundred thousand Indians leave for foreign universities every year. Yet foreign universities are not allowed to set shop in India. In September 2013 the government announced that it may soon open doors to foreign varsities. However, foreign universities will not be allowed to repatriate profits. Behind this policy lies a deeply flawed view of the consequences of profitmotive. Continue reading
Vikas Jhunjhunwala explores pertinent ways to address the sidelined policy making and regulation in the Indian Education Sector in this article published originally in Center for Civil Society’s, Spontaneous Order.
Currently the governmental roles of policy making, regulation and service delivery are combined within a single entity in the Indian Education Sector. There is a need, however, for these to be separated into 3 different entities with an “arms- length” relationship between them (similar to sectors such as finance, telecom and electricity). Doing so would free up valuable bandwidth for policy making and regulation which is currently being impeded by service delivery. In turn, this would enable an in- depth understanding of the issues faced by private sector entities, leading to the healthy development of the sector as a whole. Continue reading
In advocating for equal access to quality education in Kathmandu valley, Ministry of Education (MoE) has recently devised the regulation to set maximum limit on the tuition fees of private and boarding schools based on official categorization of the schools and the grade standards they conduct. While the maximum tuition fees limit per student studying at 9th and 10th standard for grade-A school is set at NRs 3,600, the tuition fee limit is set varying for other schools belonging to different category for the grade standards they conduct.
Given that the appeal for this price/tuition fee control is justifiable in order to make sure that quality education as a fundamental need of the society is affordable to all income holders, the side-effect of such restrain regulation that distort the balancing mechanism of the market is unfathomable and historically observed. Simply take the cliché case of maximum rent price regulation practiced in different cities of the world that brought the entire tenancy housing market into dire straits. New York City stays as a classic example whereby setting maximum rent price below the usual market price at tenancy housing market not only disturbed the incentive to supply enough apartment to meet the growing demand for it, but it also resulted to degradation of housing quality as house-owners could not afford to upgrade and maintain the housing standard while depending on below feasibility rent revenue. Alas, it led the city to only offer the fiasco of inadequate-barely livable residential housing thanks to rent price control legislation.
Importantly, it is necessary to recognize that the disastrous unintended consequence of rent price control has less if any to do with the unique characteristics of the housing industry of a particular city, but more if not all to do with distortion of the governing market fundamental (i.e., price) that allows the supplier of a particular commodity to supply it in a particular quantity and in quality as demanded by the market. Similarly, in implicating the distortion of same market fundamental or price in the private education market in Kathmandu, the exact same horrendous consequences are likely to be observed.
At first and foremost, when private schools are forced to depend on limited tuition fees set by the maximum limit regulation, they are also forced to invest limitedly on infrastructure maintenance, upgrade, and in adopting innovative education practice in order to break-even. And, if the legislation prescribed tuition fees or the revenue is below what the market would offer, investment on increasing the education related infrastructure and the quality of the education will also be below the pace of what price liberalized private school market would have offered. And henceforth, the quality of the private education system is more likely to be compromised.
Likewise, the ability to charge below-feasibility maximum tuition fees as per the regulation shall also discourage new investment in private schools enough to meet the demand growth of private education possibly triggered by the guardians who are encouraged to transfer their children from public schools. A research from Samriddhi Foundation clearly states that cost structure and initial investment outlay for opening schools with infrastructure required for meeting Grade-C category cannot be feasibly fulfilled by the maximum tuition fee limit set for them. Therefore, a rational investor willing to make profit will not have incentive to establish schools of such category in order to meet the growing demand of private school education. Given the widening gap in supply and demand of private school education as the consequence of this regulation, the motive of this very regulation to make private school education affordable to normal people can instead backfire. With virtually no growth in number of private schools in compared to demand for it, the supply-shortage will rather create an underground economy whereby people with better connections and willing to pay more money off the table are more likely to get their children admitted at private schools while the marginal ones are left out.
This directive on setting maximum limit of tuition fees can be a costly constraint on growth of private educational institutes of Nepal. The directive meant for ensuring quality education to all at affordable prices, in itself can be a major factor hindering the growth of educational sectors. There are numerous reforms required in Nepal regarding its quality of education. In current scenario, the government must instead focus on improving the quality of public schools and not on decreasing competitiveness among private schools affecting its quality and lowering the possibility of low income household children to get a quality education.