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Lesssons for US Regulation from Plight of Government Schools in Rural India

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Jan 17, 2014
Updated Sep 03, 2023
An article titled “Education Scam” in today’s Financial Express speaks about the poor service delivery from government schools  wherein relatively well-paid government school teachers don’t go to school to teach. Students of these schools have been found fare much worse in terms of educational performance compared to those attending private schools in rural India. The former  do much better when given tuition but that means parents having to spend themselves in spite of the state funding school infrastructure and regular teacher’s salaries. It has been concluded that it would be much better to allow private schools to flourish and give poor parents cash to pay school fees. 
This reminds me of the billions of Rupees pumped by USOF/Government into rural land line infrastructure (incumbent owned) with abysmal results in terms of improvement in voice or data connections.
On this analogy would it not be better to address the Market Efficiency Gap in rural telecommunications through effective regulation and resultant competition and then to focus targeted subsidies only where markets fail either because there is no viability for suppliers or certain population segments cannot afford required services. 
 I would much prefer a situation where there are a multiplicity of suppliers for the public to choose from, even if in terms of various (less than state of the art) technology platforms, than one in which much money is spent on a supposedly ideal technology platform but with sub optimal  results.  This could well be  the fate of ambitious government sponsored roll outs of OFC networks which recreate monopolies and limit competition at huge costs.