Their technical expertise is growing thanks in no small part to a wealth of well-organized, well-funded, tech universities in India. Where there is tech expertise there are jobs being created. This certainly explains the recent successes of the Indian economy, but is it sustainable? In order to sustain growth of this sort India needs to see some real reform in its public education system. Teacher absenteeism, quality of instruction, and the like all plague a public education system with terrible results.
Cue: school privatization and vouchers. A recent Philadelphia Bulletin editorial piece sheds light on the most recent advancement in K-12 schooling abroad. With the successes of their free-market driven pilot program in New Delhi, India will no doubt be expanding vouchers to more and more cities.
Certainly India doesn’t have the same barriers to reform that we see here in the States, right? Wrong. In fact public teacher unions are a huge factor in the downfall of their school system. What’s different? They are willing to admit the problem and seek a real change.
Oxford economist Francis Teal examined the effect of teacher unions on academic performance in India for a 2008 study. “We thus have in this data clear evidence that unions raise cost and reduce student achievement,” he bluntly states.
If the U.S. won’t take the lead on reform, lets hope it knows how to follow.