Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Schooling & The State

The Economist has come up with an interesting article this week, supporting the use of vouchers for improving parental choice for better school education.

"Few ideas in education are more controversial than vouchers—letting parents choose to educate their children wherever they wish at the taxpayer's expense. First suggested by Milton Friedman, an economist, in 1955, the principle is compellingly simple. The state pays; parents choose; schools compete; standards rise; everybody gains."

Despite opoostion from the educational establishment there is increasing evidence to show that it works. Columbia is distributing the vouchers through a lottery system while in Sweden, the government pays the parents for educating their children wherever they choose. Both methods have shown a significant improvement in quality and access to education but has also proved that "those who work in state schools are just like everybody else: they do better when confronted by a bit of competition."

It makes you wonder about school education in India…about the controls imposed by a paranoid bureaucracy and rent-seeking politicians; about state schools that exist only on the bureaucrat’s files; classrooms without teachers and children without books.
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