[Previous post: Part 9.]
The liberalization of the education sector in India, that is, allowing free entry – especially for-profit firms – will result in increased supply of educational services. Here I will explore the predictable consequences of this. We begin by recognizing that education is not an undifferentiated homogeneous good; there are distinct levels within it, from basic primary education to post-secondary and tertiary levels. Each level has different pay-back periods for the “return on investment.” Furthermore, different people have different abilities to pay for the various levels of education.
I came across this site lee-kuan-yew.com which appears to be a portal with information on Lee Kuan Yew, his speeches and his writings. I am pretty pleased that right up there is a link to one of my favorite series of posts on this blog: Lee Kuan Yew on India. Read it but be warned that it is a bit long and it is not a pretty picture. But then, when it comes to what I write about, it ain’t pretty anyway.
By liberalizing the education sector I mean that it has to be made totally free of government control and involvement. Whoever wants to provide educational services must be free to do so, be it domestic or international, for profit or not for profit, at the primary, secondary, or tertiary level. What would be the expected benefits of doing so?
The supply of educational services will increase, the quality will improve, and prices will come down. These are all everyday first-order efficiency effects of letting markets work. The second-order effects will be increased productivity, increased production, and better allocative efficiency within the sector. The third-order effects will arise from the increasing returns to scale associated with the production of education. Finally, there are very important forward and backward linkages that bind the sector with the overall economy. One of them is the use of information and communications technology (ICT) tools. It will give a boost to the IT sector in a way that is unthinkable in any other endeavor.