education bizmess

Want to make money? Start a sham school. There is arider however you need to be politically connected and live in India. It is a very lucrative business, believe me. How does it work? Well simple: you create a school and enroll loads of bogus students. So you have 1000 + students on paper and only a couple of hundreds actually and if need be at inspection time you 'hire' the missing numbers @ 1500 a day! It is believed that 1000 of crores can be made this way.

The modus operandi is spelt out in a recent article in a leading weekly that gives the findings of a recent survey. The survey found that class nine students of Ashapuri High School, Patan, were unable to do simple arithmetic problems. When questioned they said that they were brought to the school just two days earlier.The government gives schools 04.50 per student for mid-day meal, besides 3kg rice every month. As per the norms, each school should have one teacher for every 50 students and the salary starts at Rs:14,000. Nashik has 5,154 schools and 12,14,000 students are on the rolls. But nearly one lakh students were absent during the inspection. More shocking was the absence of 667 teachers and 234 non-teaching staff. So far, government funds to the tune of Rs:1,233 crore have allegedly been swindled by the managements of these schools. Get the picture. You have loads of fake students and encash all the government goodies.

Our politicians have really mastered the art of swindling. Wish they mastered the art of ruling as well. Wishful thinking I guess. But let us go back to our story and understand what it actually means. Simply education denied to thousands of children who could have benefited from the hijacked funds. But that is not all. What is truly disturbing is the fact that education is now viewed simply as a means to gain money. At one end of the spectrum you have uber rich schools that charge astronomical amounts and at the other schools that are abysmal or even worse that simply do not exist! No one is really interested in imparting education at all. And NO one cares about the teaching children.

This fact was highlighted in another article this week on home schooling an option that sensible educated parents are opting for as no really lessons are learnt in schools that are obsessed by numbers: be it pupils or marks! But this option is for a very few very privileged children.

For the past 12 years project why has been trying to bridge the gap and the bittersweet reality is that it has managed to do so quite well with very meagre resources. Every year scores of children have learnt and achieved: be it in their school examinations or in the dreaded Board examinations. I say bittersweet because though we celebrate every single achievement with pride and joy we cannot for get the millions of children who are deprived of quality education or of any education at all.