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The Global Slowdown Affects Education in Rural India

February 19, 2009

-State of Rajasthan, India.

As factories that are in the export sector are closing down (some temporarily) in rural Rajasthan and the rest of India, workers are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Their children seem to be the silent victims of the global crisis that has seen a piling up on inventories causing foreign import firms to differ or cancel orders. This is so as their parents are finding it difficult the bear costs of education, and are eventually not paying school fees, which are relatively high as private schools make a bulk of the primary centres of education in certain regions.

There is a serious short fall of public education in the villages of India and this has growingly been met by private schools. Keep in mind that private schools in rural areas don’t compare with the ones in urban areas. In villages, it is the government schools that are preferred to private ones as the private ones are run by teachers who could not get themselves a government teaching job, and they have to do so with scanty infrastructure and meagre pay as the spending capacity is low in rural India. Parents too prefer sending their children to superior (relatively) government schools free of cost. Private schools are a second option in most cases.

As parents who have been retrenched (who says that the lay-off laws in India are strict? Besides, they don’t apply as a lot of export units successfully manage to keep out of government record books) stop paying fees (because they can’t), teachers who run the schools find it increasingly difficult to sustain paying rents for the schools (which are sometimes nothing more than a couple of houses on rent), which in turn causes landlords to suffer. But the landlords usually are in a position to pass the problems onto the teachers, hence making it increasingly difficult for them to run their schools. Children in India’s villages hence have become the silent victims of the crisis, in a way triggered by ideological stances by the previous US administration, among others.

The only way out for the children at the moment is if these private schools get a direct subsidy from the government. Unfortunately for them, (in light of India going into the polls in a couple of months) they are not a vote bank. At the moment then, it looks like teachers and parents are all taking a step back and trying their best to make the system work. Interestingly, it is the ‘hoarded’ gold, that rural India has been keeping as a safety net (as the penetration of banks in the villages is far from satisfactory); the hoarded gold that contemporary economics has criticised as a “leakage” from the spending stream, is coming to the rescue of the poor. India’s conservative save-for-the-rainy-day culture is doing what rocket scientists from Wall Street aren’t.

Afterthought: It is ironic that we get dozens of calls being asked to take loans from various banks, when the ones who need loans, and are even capable of repaying them back, are left wanting for credit.

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Also Read: Will capitalism end?

What’s wrong with economics today.

Does prayer work?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2009 9:58 pm

    Same here, my friend. It’s just that I am sick and tired of being told I am a right wing Nazi by the Barkha Dutt types, who would rather report on the Mangalore pub incident than on the rape of the 8 yr old by cops in Uttar Pradesh.

  2. February 21, 2009 12:01 pm

    Indeed.

    Just like I am constantly told I am anti-India by nationalist parties for not agreeing to their philosophy.

    I suppose the world just finds it convenient to label people rather than engage in dialectical processes.

    I’ve found a very good blog in yours, and do keep dropping by once a while.

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