Tuesday, February 27, 2007

doubling the budget for higher ed?

The Indian Express reports that the government is slated to increase the budget for higher education by as much as 150% to increase the number of students the system can accomodate and thus temper the effects of new quotas for the so-called Other Backward Classes. On the one hand, it goes without saying that higher spending on education is a good thing. But I can't help wondering whether the government is making a crucial misstep at a watershed moment for the country by blundering further down the top-heavy investment pattern it has followed in the past. Unless the increase in the budget for higher ed is accompanied by a similar boost in spending on primary ed--and/or vital reforms to facilitate more fairness and greater access in the private primary schools--I fear that adding university places will only weaken the overall quality and once again enshrine the inequalities that exist between rich and poor. Quotas or no.

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