It is the end of the two month Summer Research Internship Program Researching Reality at CCS. So I call upon this intern who had been working on education legislation in Delhi and ask her “So Shruti, what has been your understanding from this project?”
She replies “Naveen, I have started believing in God after this study. Only God can account for what is happening on the education scene in Delhi. There are problems galore and it is a miracle that whatever little is happening is actually happening.” I couldn’t contain my surprise at her emotional outburst to a standard question that is put across to every intern. She went on to elaborate “Government primary schools are dismal. However nobody recognizes the problem is with the governance of these schools. They still talk of more government. Officials target the private schools for the ills of the government schools. Government officials deny data or even info off the record regarding problems of schools…”
It is worthwhile having bright and industrious students (amateur policy researchers in this case) to go out and test their assumptions regarding governance rather than have an intellectual discourse. The point that is missed is perhaps this: that a government can do something does not in any way mean that it will actually do it!