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RE: Pl. do not go!

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
Hi Sanjeev, 

Thanks for your message. It is understandable that people who put in so much
time and efforts in studying and articulating a detailed and meaningful,
fact based policy proposals, may get defensive and protective of their
points of views. It's just the stupid democracy that calls for patience and
putting up with people of lesser understanding such as myself, and in fact
being respectful, or else we lose on the very basic principle we set out to
champion here, that is, bringing real democracy to India.

I read Dr. Parth's article as much as I could within the limited time I
could spare, and I must confess, my cursory skimming through the good work
of his and subsequent comments do not do justice with his labor, and so you
can take my comments as my bias, of course, with my limited understand of
the subject. I commend the level of detail and convincing support of
statistics that he has presented. I don't discount the statistical
information as irrelevant, but do believe that individual human beings are
lot more complex and ought to be treated that way, and statistics may not
show you complete picture. 

I base most of my arguments on my personal life experiences, my hometown and
poor villages that I still visit every year, the little known and yet
dedicated charity organizations that work at the grassroots levels with whom
I am involved, and yes, the faces of individual people that I see when I try
to argue on their behalf. Unfortunately I don't have the statistics to
counter Dr. Parth Shah nor am I talking about Kerala or West Bengal.

to your point :

"The poor need their children to work/earn."

I don't care too much about your national survey, because I know the extent
to which such surveys are made the so called advanced places where at least
Buses ply, and press people can go on their motorcade. My hometown is
surrounded by at least 50 villages, and every other town in the neighborhood
is surround by umpteen such villages, where there are no roads, nobody
visits them other then those who have some interests, such as land owners,
or those who still find ways to exploit such villagers, and I have visited
such villages, and we do maintain regular contact with people of these
villages. The whole families, including children, go out for work, engage in
hard manual labor all day just to ensure that they have something to eat at
night. This is rule rather then exception in such villages.Those who try to
make exceptions,and try to send their kids to school, the poor children have
to walk at least three miles in hot Sun, dirt roads or muddy tracks on
barren mountains!

When I suggested people ought to have rights to demand school in their
villages, or else the local government ought to be made answerable, I had
just these people in mind, the real faces and not the statistics. Parth
ridicules such "Good intention" laws saying who would implement them? Well,
I can tell you now that most of these villages I am talking about are
labeled as SC/ST dominated areas, called "Reserved" constituencies,
"supposed" to have gotten preferential treatment by the government in the
last fifty years! Your voucher policy is going to face the same fate,
somebody else is going to take away all the vouchers with fake records and
your statisticians won't even know. (My only childhood dream was to
represent these poor people,but then New Delhi thought however local I was,
being a "Brahmin" I would not be qualified to participate in political
process in these villages sorry for the distraction!)

My suggested approach was more practical and implementable one where there
would certainly be local control, but the rights of poor children would not
be left at the outdated beliefs, poverty or mercy or the parents who cannot
fend for themselves and are extremely poor. 

"People are ignorant of the benefits of education."

Dr. Parth seems to agree with researchers that "the supply and not the
demand factors make people less interested in education. ". I think he and I
agree upto this point, my view on providing the "supply" is different, and I
am biased towards mine. 

"People do not have money or are unwilling to spend on education."

Dr. Shah, I don't know about the statistics you present, nobody performed a
survey in my hometown, my own parents didn't have money to spend in my
education,and I know 100s if not more families, who still struggle with the
choices of whether to spend on food, shelter or clothing, and that's just my
hometown and neighboring village people that I personally know. I cannot
ignore them and read your statistics. May be I am not fit to talk policy

"Make elementary education compulsory"
I have presented my views on this topic.

"Increase government spending on education to 6 percent of GDP."

I never advocated this idea, and I don't support government funding for
higher education, what I care about is every village must have a school that
every child can go to, and I don't care who pays for it, if the parents can
pay, good, if not, then that ought to be the governments duty to ensure that
there is a school. Vouchers ? Think about it, I am sure you can find
problems yourself. In fact even the United States Federal government doesn't
have the guts to risk the scarce funds that it has for its public schools by
doling out school vouchers,and it is incorrect representation that Dr. Parth
Shah makes when he says that Voucher scheme works in the United States, even
though your favorite Kato Institute for public policy, or Republicans would
have you believe that.

"Liberalize, abolish the license-permit raj in education"

I am with you. Except for sharp differences in detail. Requires more
detailed writing, some other time. 

"Institutionalise accountability of government and private educational

This is like double talk. On the one hand you don't seem to support
bureaucratic control, on the other advocate controlling funds based on
bureaucratic "performance" standards?

I appreciate the good work of Dr. Parth Shah, and once again, I feel bad for
being unable to spend the time it deserves to analyze, so take my reactions
with a pinch of salt. However, his statistics and arguments have failed to
convince me just as radical republicans here in the united states have
failed to convince me on their arguments about private schools and school
voucher programs. 

Thank You. 

Umesh Tiwari

-----Original Message-----
From: Sanjeev Sabhlok [mailto:sanjeev@sabhlokcity.com]
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2000 9:27 PM
To: UKTiwari@pcgb.com
Subject: Pl. do not go!

(my note sent out just now on the debate)

Dear Umesh is offended:

"now I realize myself that anybody wanting to be part of IPI would
have to first agree with your point of view before talking anything. I
respect the opinions of those whose articles you choose to publish in
Indiapolicy homepage, just as I respect your opinions,and that is quite
different from agreeing with you or them. I am not impressed with your
arrogant attitude towards anybody who possesses a different opinion."

a) Touche'. Point taken. 

b) Absolutely NO ONE is required to agree with me in order to "talk
anything" on IPI. Your own statement going thro' effortlesly to everyone is
proof. Free and frank discussion is what we want here. 

c) I re-send to you what I wrote to Parr when he used the word 'obscene' [I
did not get offended, mind you, by his use of the word, but instead, after
what I thought is a polite rejoinder, I added: "I hope my efforts to
persuade have not offended you nor found to be 'obscene.'"]. 

Please do not take offence so quickly. A little thick skin is of some use

We await your rejoinder (and Maja's) to Parth's article or to the MANY
issues I have raised, on primary education.

This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
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