Thursday, 1 March 2012

Public and Private Educational Institutions

Recently, I was with two friends of mine, and we were all discussing our experiences of teaching at under-grad level. One is doing her Phd in the US (and teaching as well), and was giving her assessment of students there. Another, was teaching in a private university in Delhi.  I have (fortunately or unfortunately!) the experience of teaching in both government and private educational institutions in Delhi.

 My husband related how he had gone to a private university (for a recruitment drive) and there students were paying around 6 lakhs per year for management course but could not spell basic English words properly. I tried to offer the auto-correct option on computer as the reason for tech-savvy students' these days. Just like we do not remember phone numbers anymore, like we used to when we had push button phones. (It also could be because they are 10-digit long and there are just too many mobiles now!). My friend from US said that students in US are very good with spoken English (since, it is their native language) but even they have very poor writing skills! (Just like our Hindi, I thought!)

 In the private under-grad institutions where often students sit in pigeon holes, they are paying huge amounts of money for getting a degree. Here, one teacher takes two to three subjects and they are asked to be lenient while giving marks. It is almost like (as my husband remarked) they are buying their degree for the amount they are paying. It is usually very rare for a student to fail, unless he is really beyond basic intelligence.

Many private institutions are coming up today in India, we cannot obviously say all are the same, but many are!

In public institutions, teachers are most laid back. A lot of teachers, like students bunk their classes in many small towns. The technical gizmos apart from mobile phones, social media (Facebook, etc.) on the Blackberrys and I-phones with I-pads have more of students’ attention than the poor teacher.

Recently I visited a big school in Delhi, where the poor old blackboard has been replaced by the projector. Use of technology with virtual classrooms has changed the face of education today, with number of projects happening online, with the help of Google of course!  

Public education is of course cheap, but the level differs in India. At the middle and primary school level private education is miles ahead in terms of quality and facilities they provide. This is totally reversed when it comes to undergraduate and higher level education where it is difficult to make it in a public institution- college/ university. Here, private has to go a long way still to come near the public institutions (value for money in terms of quality of education, faculty, etc.) but they are fast catching up!    

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