[Via Solomon Arulraj] In a paper on Privatization of Higher Education in India, Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, a senior economist at the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration in New Delhi traces the privatisation process over the last 15 years and is critical of the Government's policy on privatization of higher education in India.
The Government of India’s 1997 discussion paper on Government Subsidies in India provided a revealing insight into government thinking. For the first time, higher education (as well as secondary education) was classified in the discussion paper as a "nonmerit good" (and elementary education as a "merit good"), government subsidies for which would need to be reduced drastically.
In a sense, the public policies and action that preceded and followed this statement seemed consistent with such a view, though the Ministry of Finance has partly modified its earlier classification of goods. It reclassified higher education into a category called "merit 2 goods," which need not be subsidized by the state at the same level as merit goods.
The casualty of the reckless growth in private institutions is not just equity, a well-known fact, but also the quality of higher education. Few private colleges offer quality higher education and many have been started with the sole goal of making quick profits. Philanthropy, charity, and education, which were considerations of the private sector in education in the past, no longer seem to figure as motives. Government’s inability to regulate private institutions is becoming increasingly obvious.