I recently read an article calling for reforms in Indian education to roll back the deeds of the NDA government–it was written not long after the UPA government’s inauguration. As I moved towards the end of the article, I noticed the oft-cited examples of North American, European, and Japanese school systems as ones which “were built on the foundation of a publicly-funded efficient school system that ensured education of equitable quality for all children.”

This statement has become something of a cliché throughout Indian policy proposals. That is, “public institutions in the US, Europe, and Japan are functioning well; therefore, their equivalent institutions in India must be the sole realm of government.” It completely ignores the basic fact that most of these institutions were created outside the scope of government.