The Political Economy of Education in India

  • Jandhyala B. G. Tilak


The chapter presents a critical review of educational developments in India in the overall framework of educational policies, plans and programmes and discusses rather somewhat inexplicable divergences between policies, plans and their translation into action. As an illustration, a few major financial policies in education are discussed. Concentration on financial aspects does not mean that problems of Indian education lie squarely in finances and can be satisfactorily resolved, if financial solvency is attained. But “educational finance is probably the most controversial issue in the economics of education.” After presenting a critical review of the achievements and failures of the education system in India, it analyses a few financial dimensions relating to Indian education. In the context of growing financial squeezes, one may hope that private sector may play an important role in easing the financial problems in education particularly in a mixed economy like India. Besides analysing the nature and contribution of private sector to educational development in the country, it outlines a pragmatic policy in financing education that may enhance the contribution of private sector to public schooling on the one hand, and on the other hand may make the system less regressive.


Educational explosion Allocation of resources Inequalities Private schools Private sector Inter-sectoral allocation Intra-sectoral allocation Fees Discriminatory pricing 



Paper presented in the Seventh World Congress of Comparative Education Societies in the Panel on Assessing the Impacts of Educational Policies of Third World Nations at the University of Montreal, Montreal (July 1998), and also in the 1989 Research Symposium on East Asian Educational Reforms: East Asian Education in Transition (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, (November 1989). Grateful acknowledgments are due to George Psacharopoulos, Theodore W. Schultz, Edward Shills, Philip G. Altbach, Peter Hackett, Uday Desai, Kazum Bacchus and N.V. Varghese for their intellectual help, encouragement, and comments on earlier drafts of the paper. The views expressed here are those of the author alone.


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  • Jandhyala B. G. Tilak
    • 1
  1. 1.New DelhiIndia

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