Free Quality School Education till 10+2 in USA – Why India unable to match?

One of the big surprises from a capitalist country like the United States of America is its school education system. This school education system is not only known for its quality but is also free for all its citizens.

Even foreigners who reside legally in the USA like the H1 visa holders from India get free school education for their kids. While the perception that is there is that being a capitalistic country, most school children will study in private schools. After all, the USA is the hyper capitalistic country that communists and left-leaning individuals love to hate.

But the fact is that till 10+2 school education is free in Americans government schools. Not only that free bus service and subsidized lunch is also provided to every student. This situation is very shocking for many from India.

These USA schools run by the USA government are called ‘public schools’. To add insult to injury – in India, the very good and elite private schools are branded as public schools.

There are no public sector banks in the USA. All banks are in the private sector. Leave banks even defense manufacturing companies are not government organizations. The US Government just defines the specifications of defense equipment and the actual development and manufacturing are done by private companies. So from bombs to bomber planes, everything is made by private companies. It is no surprise that bullets and guns are also made by private companies. India has gone for a mixed economy with the government opting for a planned economy and PSUs to lead the command economy. Surprisingly, school education seems to have not got the attention. Despite being in foreign rule as a colony of British who faced decades of the Indian freedom movement. Somehow, the school education was neglected.

While bureaucrats want to run businesses, utility companies, and banks – they have not been able to deliver on education. When many NRIs go to the USA, they find the US government schools are excellent and most NRIs put their kids in these public schools (government-run schools). Surprisingly, these very same NRIs are unable to send to government run schools in India despite paying taxes are the highest bracket.

Even the poor don’t send their children to government schools anymore
It is not that there are no schools or school buildings. But somehow nobody wants to join government schools. The situation with government schools is such that, especially in urban areas, even housekeeping staff, maidservants, drivers, and office boys don’t send their kids to government schools. The government schools have bigger school lands and also teachers are paid many times the salary of the private teachers. But unfortunately, the educational outcomes are not good. The same kids, when they go to a private school they get better schooling.

Despite many advantages of urban government schools – Unable to deliver quality
Even more amazing is the fact that an urban posting for a school teacher is a dream job. Offering a steady government job and also the luxury of living in big cities. While regular government jobs require posting in remote towns for government employees. For an urban teacher, there is only a transfer from one neighborhood of the city to another. The government teacher is paid much more than a typical private school teacher.

Considering all the advantages and successes with government schools in other countries, the inability of government employees to deliver quality schooling in India raises many key questions about the intent,  commitment and competence of government employees in service oriented roles.

Why has the Indian bureaucracy continuously failed with quality public schooling in India?
The governments and bureaucrats in India enjoy many benefits. The cost of labor in India is cheap and wherever urban areas are located there is much government land.

As the urban areas expand, the rural land is converted in urban land. In this process the various land use regulations enable the government to get access to land before approval is given for the urban usage. Much revenue is made by state by auctioning government land to raise vast amounts of money. Due to the presence of Hyderabad city in Telangana, the state became revenue surplus state.

Despite all these advantages why is the Indian system unable to provide quality education to its citizens. This is something that needs not only deep introspection but immediate measures to address the solution.

One of the questions that keep popping in minds of NRIs and those who have travelled abroad is that when the bureaucrats have taken control of so many industries which does not happen in most foreign countries.

The central government schools are better run – the Kendriya Vidhyalayas and Army schools. But they give admission primarily to children of defence forces and central government employees.

When a government servant is incapable of delivering a basic necessity i.e. quality education, why is the government running a business entity and why is a government employee in a business entity like banks, mining companies, and insurance companies? When they have not shown any good track record in running schools, why is the government still running businesses?

Not just that, the structuring of the education is another issue. Let us look into that in detail later in another post. But why is it that 90% of the US population pass 10+2 while the number in India is one-tenth of the same. Why is it that education policies have not catered to the needs of the Indian public?

These are important questions that need effective resolutions and new approaches. Unfortunately, hardly any attempt is being made in this direction. This is what is very hurtful to the urban citizens of India.