Adjusting education policy: opportunity for institutional reform
Sherry Chand, Vijaya
MetadataShow full item record
Educational policy-making has been motivated in independent India by a concern for equity and the belief that education is an instrument for reducing social inequalities. However, in spite of impressive achievements in school enrollments and access to higher education, the phenomena of out-of-school children, high drop-out rates and widespread illiteracy continue to provoke concern. With adjustment now underway, fears have been expressed that these problems may become even more intractable. This paper reviews the relationship between adjustment and educational policy, and the ways in which adjustment can affect educational outcomes. While it is too early to assess the full impact of adjustment on education in India, the experiences of other countries have indicated the need for containing the immediate negative impact. Policy making has already responded in this respect with protection of primary education allocations, external funding for additional projects aimed at achieving basic education for all, and financial stringency in the area of higher education. The history and persistence of basic education-related problems and the increasing pressures on financing higher education since the 1970s, indicate that problems in these areas have their roots in pre-adjustment structures and practices. Therefore, it is necessary not to let attention be diverted by responses which have focussed on financing of education or specific programmes initiated under social safety net adjustment credits. Rather, the period of transition should be seen as an opportunity for initiating institutional reform. Three themes are highlighted here as areas requiring debate (a) decentralization, less standardization and teacher development, especially in the context of primary education (B) privatization of higher education, and (c) future linkages between education and employment. Such reform is necessary for a new and more basic thrust towards equity in educational policy, and for evolving a system of higher education more relevant to the emerging economy.
- Working Papers