Education: A ‘Family’ Business
Created by geromic on Fri, 2012-01-20 01:40
It is all in the family. It is a principle being followed religiously by a number of private budget schools in Rajasthan. To run a school, one requires teachers, administrators, etc. and they need to be well paid keeping in mind the competition. And the easiest way to quickly set up a small (up to Class 5) private budget school is to hire your own family members as teachers and administrators.
There are many advantages to this practice. As Mr. Sanjay Joshi, the headmaster of Dimple Public School (in Jhunjhunu district), simply put it – there are only pluses. Dimple Public School, a private school established in 1988, has classes for students up to Class 10. As a Hindi medium school, it doesn’t have to pay high salaries to its teachers in comparison to English medium schools. But more importantly, out of the ten teachers it has including the headmaster, three teachers are family members of the headmaster. The headmaster’s wife, daughter and son, all of them teach in the school as well do all kinds of odd jobs. Therefore, the headmaster doesn’t have to bother about high attrition rates because his family members would always remain loyal to his school. Nor does he have to worry about paying high salaries to his family members. Only his son is paid among the family members who work with him there.
The school is run from an old run down haveli which the head master had bought a long time ago. The headmaster doesn’t have to worry about accommodation either as his family lives in the haveli. The conclusion from all of this is that he keeps his costs low, really low. However, this has a cost to it, his school has not managed to grow and keep pace with the rest of the competition. The primary reason is that he hasn’t hired good teachers and this has resulted in his school achieving only average academic performance. His school, when it was first established, was one of the first private schools of the region. But over the years, it has steadily lost the first mover advantage due to plain short sighted cronyism.
This doesn’t bother Joshi. Like many others like him following this practice, he is content with what he has achieved and actually feels that it would be better for the family to move out of this ‘family business’ later on as his son got recently engaged and would be moving to Gurgaon. He may well have to shut down his school then. Joshi, though, doesn’t have much emotional attachment towards his school. For him and many others like him, it is just business and nothing else.
Having said this, the issues of low quality education and nepotism are not that closely linked with each other and it would be wrong to conclude that they are closely linked with each other from the above case. In the same region and elsewhere, there are schools which do a good job in providing quality education at low costs only through ways such as the ones employed by Mr. Joshi, stated above.
GeromicGeorge Joseph P Overton Fellow for Rajasthan