Privatization of Higher Education

“Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”

Mark Twain

Knowledge is the driving force in the rapidly changing globalised economy and society. Quantity and quality of highly specialized human resources determine their competence in the global market. Emergence of knowledge as driving factor results in both challenges and opportunities. It is now well recognized that the growth of the global economy has increased opportunities for those countries with good levels of education and vice versa.  Simultaneously the demand for higher education has been growing rapidly.

In the globalised world today it is very difficult for the government which is just for a short span of 5years to plan a long term plan for education and the next government which would come up may not take the issue with the same zeal. Government run institutions do not fulfill the vacancies of teachers whereas privatization of this education has to a great extent cleared this obstacle giving the people a fully functional education system.

“School building collapses due to heavy rainfall, students forced to study in the open”, a headline regularly seen in the newspapers. A government which is short lived faces difficulty to maintain the government run institutions and fail to built new wings, schools etc. As the government mostly depends upon the taxes collected from the public at large, imposition of higher taxes to meet the needs of education will create chaos in the society. While privatization clears this large scale problem distributing the burden on various companies and firms, making it easier to construct the infrastructure needed for the rising population.

Unnikrishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1993), the Hon`ble Supreme Court laid down a formula to bring about a partnership between the Public Sector and the Private Sector to work together for the development of higher education.

The Parliament accordingly inserted in the Fundamental Rights Article 21A dealing exclusively with the Right to Education by the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act 2002, and same was also incorporated under the Fundamental Duties Article 51A clause k.


Environmental & Consumer Protection Foundation v. Delhi(2012), in this case the Supreme Court held that, under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act(2009) and the Indian Constitution, central, state and local governments have an obligation to ensure that all schools, both public and private, have adequate infrastructure.

Our educational system does not only need physical and financial infrastructure. It today requires a philanthropic moral infrastructure. We are in a country where till today in some parts education is considered as a wastage of time and privatization through its advertisation, preaching etc can bring to the knowledge of the people the benefits of higher education. As the government is already providing the children with free primary education as a Constitutional Obligation has invested large amount of money so investment in secondary and higher education becomes impossible for it.

From, the globalized point of view, we can see that privatization today is a boon to our education system and the need of the hour is a privatized modern education system with better facilities, better student teacher ratio, better framework and off course better education.

People are of the opinion that privatized education is expensive. Well, with the privatization of education a huge competition will start in the economy which will help drop the rates as well as certain part of the expenses can be met by the government just as the UGC`s is working.

As it is said “Everything that is good, comes with a cost”.

Seema Agarwal

Research Asst. in Law

Indian Institute of Legal Studies



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