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  • Priyank Sharma

How the non-state actors can impact the state driven education system?

There has been an increasing intervention of non-state actors in the domain of education. Arguably, what was previously a work of the government, is increasingly being outsourced to outside organizations. In this post, we analyze how the two impact each other? Does one leads to the capacity building of the other or degenerates it?

To understand better, we can take the example of a state that funds an NGO to help in achieving foundational literacy and numeracy. Or another example could be - state joining hands with a non-state organization to conduct mass career counselling sessions for high school students.

Now, every state is obligated via RTE to provide elementary education to every child through schools already. And not everywhere, but in a state like Delhi, every govt school already has a well qualified and well paid counsellor (We can separately discuss how these counsellors have to deal with 2-5 schools alone, and how terrible is the situation of counselling in Delhi govt schools, but theoretically, there does exist someone to guide students).

So, what is the role of a counsellor or a school teacher when an external agency is given their job or a part of their job? Moreover, how does this impact the teacher or the counsellor? Does it weaken the system or strengthens it?

We can be sure of one thing: This produces externalities in the system. Now, whether these externalities are in the favor of the existing system or weakens it depends on several factors:

1. The level at which the intervention is

2. The participatory nature of the intervention

3. The readiness of the state for the intervention

4. Who intervenes and what for - as in the intention of the intervenor

5. And what happens after the intervention?

These are some important aspects to understand how the non-state intervention could impact the system.

Going ahead, as we massify the education system, particularly the higher education system, it's a big question if the state would be able to deliver to make it a reality.

So, I feel we would need to stop thinking in binaries, but also remember that education is increasingly seen as a ripe space for profit making, and in our quest to provide an affordable accessible education to every citizen, we need to cautiously tread on the intervention of non-state actors' - making sure that it adds and strengthens the system and not the other way round.

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