The honourable chief minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee announced the uniforms of public schools in the state will feature the ‘Biswa Bangla’ logo. Though the announcement has sparked controversy being termed as a political agenda and promotion of Banerjee’s party, she clarified, it has nothing to do with TMC. The Biswa Bangla logo is of the state government and not of the TMC. Also, it would inform the general public that uniform forthe student is providedby the government. It’s a great thing, isn’t it? Along with free one time meals, the states are providing a set of uniforms too. It brings uniformity among students of government schools across the state. Though the government is doing a lot of efforts to encourage students to come to school and also reduce their cost of education, the scenario is completely different for privately run schools.

There is a notion that only the poorer section of the society enrol their children in a government school. For others, since they have to maintain a standard, enrol their children in private schools adding a segment to their monthly budget. Is it so? Do parents send their children to private schools to maintain a standard or is it because they are assured about the good quality of education their wards will receive in private school? We already know the quality of education received in government schools are worse than the worst. The students go to school just for the sake of it. Unless the student is exceptionally bright, the education received in government schools is not going to take him anywhere. Earlier, maybe we can say during the British rule, the education sector was not an industry (it is a multibillion-dollar industry in India now) and schools run by the government aimed to manufacture factory workers for their businesses. And during that time bright minds like Ramanujan, Ambedkar and Chandrasekhar extracted the most out of their government school education. They even went abroad to study and practice their work. They would have not needed transcripts then, but today’s government school students might not even know what a Pune University Transcript is.

Few governments are trying to raise the educational standard of their schools such as the Delhi government and Atmananda government schools in Chhattisgarh. But how effective they will be, we will get to know in due course of time. We can always blame the government for its inefficiency in raising the standard, but what about private schools? The cost of education in government schools are least. The students only need to spend on their notebooks and writing materials, and in some states not even on that too. Whereas private schools are businesses and are converting the cost of education into the expense of education. Firstly they have high tuition fees, then the students are required to maintain 3-4 sets of different uniforms, then they have to spend on educational materials like notebooks, books, writing and drawing materials, etc. whose costs are soaring high every day. Not only that, fancy bags, lunch boxes, pencil boxes, etc. add more expenses to the parent’s budget. Okay, that’s fine, it’s parents’ responsibility to provide the best education to their children. And in return, they expect a bare minimum good quality of education. So, are the schools meeting their expectation? Convent schools are one of the few popular schools in the area and I just randomly asked one of the students how do you spell ‘compulsory’? And I was very much surprised he didn’t know it. I started asking more questions related to maths, geography, biology, etc. and the result was the same. Even after spending so much, the schools can’t teach the basics.

Is the quality of education only limited to expensive schools in cities then? In India where per capita income is Rs. 10,000, the average yearly school expense is 6000 and graduation course expenses are no less than 60000. It is only the expensive schools in cities that teach their students what the latest trends are, how to go abroad, what to study and where to study after school, what transcripts and ECA are, how to get Pune university transcripts if they want to go abroad and all such stuff. Students from government schools might never know these as their teacher never tells them because they were just other government school students who cleared B.Ed exams to become teachers. And this cycle continues. So, we saw the cost of education has become an expense of education but the standard of education is below par, what do you say?