Legislators, educationists and civil society members on Saturday voiced their concern against education privatisation in the name of Public Private Partnership (PPP). Education and health, they said, are basic mandates of the government and should not be handed over to private players.
With India missing many of the education for all (EFA) and MDG goals, the poor and weaker sections have been more marginalised on health and education fronts. If education is privatised in the name of PPP, they will face more marginalisation, they said at a meet organised by National Coalition for Education in collaboration with Odisha RTE Forum and All Utkal Primary Teachers Federation here.
Speaking on the occasion, Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan regretted the apathy of the BJD Government on basic services like education and health. The initiatives of the government to run hospitals in PPP mode have not resulted in affirmative outcome. The so-called PPP is a mere institutional arrangement. The government should re-think strategy, he added.
NCE country convenor Dr Rama Kant Rai said the Empowered Committee on Infrastructure (ECI) for PPP projects in education in Odisha has identified tribal-inhabited Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Rayagada for model schools to be established in PPP mode. The private partners of the schools would look after all matters - from faculty to management.
“This is paradoxical to Right To Education Act as the proposed schools will collect nominal fee from students and the schools’ partners will be out of public scanner. Besides, how can government open English medium public schools in tribal districts where dropout rate is 60 per cent and above,” Rai wondered.
Former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo argued that the government is passing the buck in many cases but education and health are not for bargaining. Among others, State RTE Forum convener Anil Pradhan spoke.