The best of times, the worst of times
It is no longer possible to blame the inequalities among schools in India on parents or on an absence of demand for schooling. ‘The demand,' as this paper shows, ‘has never looked more promising'. There is ‘a new hunger for education'. This new demand highlights the continuing discrepancies between policy and provision all the more starkly. Ramachandran gives detailed comparisons of regions and of levels of provision across India. Huge classes and inadequately trained teachers may mean that investment, enthusiasm, demand and a hugely dynamic economy still leave a majority of children barely literate and with no hope of continuing beyond the most elementary level to vocational or academic courses which might genuinely alter their future prospects. The piece ends with some firmly prioritised proposals for change.
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