CPR Dialogues 2020- Challenges in Public Education: Balancing State and Non-State Actors

13 March 2020
CPR Dialogues 2020- Challenges in Public Education: Balancing State and Non-State Actors

Watch the full video (above) of the panel discussion on ‘Challenges in Public Education: Balancing State and Non-State Actors’ featuring NV Varghese (Chancellor, National Institute of Education Planning and Administration); Rashmi Sharma (Senior Visiting Fellow, ICRIER and Former IAS Officer); Priyadarshani Joshi (Global Education Monitoring Team, UNESCO); Parth J Shah (Founder President, Centre for Civil Society) and moderated by Kiran Bhatty (Senior Fellow, CPR).

Public education has been under the scanner in the last few decades for failing to deliver the goals of education and enhance learning levels. The efficacy of state provision has been questioned, as state supply of education has consistently fallen short of meeting demand due to fiscal and other constraints. As quality declined, those who could, have sought non-state options, fuelling their proliferation. The entry of private, quasi-public, and public private partnerships has led to what has been called a ‘pluralisation of the state’, as the power and authority of the state are shared with a multitude of non-state actors. This raises a plethora of questions regarding accountability, regulation, and public interest. Which of these actors is accountable to citizens and elected governments? Do the same standards apply to them as do to state actors? What are the terms on which power is shared between them? How are the non-state actors to be regulated? What are the implications for the role of the state in this changing dynamic? Most importantly, as Minnow (2003), notes, ‘what happens to the scope and content of public values when public commitments proceed through private agents?’ In a country such as India, where persistent social inequalities continue to pose a challenge, the entry of non-state actors is not a simple matter of increasing resources. As we enter a new era with a new education policy, conversations on how best to manage the trade-offs have thus become pertinent. This panel bolstered/added to/deepened that conversation by bringing together enlightened and experienced minds to debate the different aspects of this issue.

The panel was organised as part of the second edition of CPR Dialogues, held on 2nd and 3rd March 2020 at the India Habitat Centre. Addressing the theme of Policy Perspectives for 21st-century India, CPR Dialogues 2020 provided a window to the India of the future. Experts from around the country and the world engaged with and debated these very significant development and policy challenges that India faces in the coming decade.

ThePrint India was the digital partner for the event. 

Videos of other panel discussions organised as part of CPR Dialogues 2020 can be found below:


The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.