Ravishankar and Education



I’m quite amused that Sri Sri Ravishankar thinks that privatisation of education can save our country from the Maoists (and, by extension of the logic, from other such ‘evils’). 

I have taught in both government-aided institutions (a school first, followed by a college) and in a public school which caters to the children of the ‘elite.’ [The word ‘elite’ may need some qualification, given the qualities displayed by the children in the school.  Elitism today seems to be merely a matter of economic status, with normal exceptions.]  My experience tells me that the students of the government-aided schools were more interested in gaining knowledge and making use of the facilities available to them.  They revealed a sense of responsibility about improving their lot.  Here, again, an explanation may be called for.  I taught in government-aided institutions, and not government institutions.  Both the school and the college I taught at were run by Catholic managements.  The situation in a typical government educational institution can seldom be compared with the standards maintained by the so-called ‘aided’ institutions.  [This is by no means an endorsement of the policies of the aided-schools.  I wouldn’t have left my lecturer’s job if I could accept their policies.]

Why do the government schools fail miserably in producing reasonably good results? 

I have always been of the opinion that the government-run institutions in India tend to perform pathetically, because the very Indian mindset ensures such performance.  The Indian mindset is this: only I and my family are important and the others are there to be exploited for the welfare of me and my family.  Let me add that in spite of correcting the grammatical error in a phrase like I and Mr Manmohan by telling the students that the first-person-pronoun should take the last place in a list of nouns or pronouns, Indian students invariably write I or me first.  That’s a reflection of the egocentrism of the typical Indian. 

This egocentrism is most obvious in a public school that caters to the children of the so-called elite.  You won’t find more self-centred people elsewhere.  Even the teachers are their servants.  They speak of certain teachers as cooperative and others as non-cooperative.  Being cooperative means pandering to their egos.  I haven’t seen as much lack of character in young students in any society of people as I have witnessed in a public school meant for the so-called elite!

Coming back to Sri Sri Ravishankar’s comment, which his followers explained away by mentioning the 185 free schools run by them in Naxal-affected areas, I can only say that what can actually save the education system in India is a set of teachers with some convictions.  Some convictions.  Let them be even religious.  Even economic.  Even political.  But not egocentric.  Not the kind of thinking that reflects a proverb in my language (Malayalam): “Timbre in the forest, an elephant on hire, loot, man, loot.”

Everything is for loot, according to the Indian mindset.  That’s what I have learnt up to now.  Can Ravishankar or any godman or even God Himself change that mindset?


Read the editorial of The Hindu on Ravishankar: The Art of Schooling


About matheikal

My more regular blog can be accessed at www.matheikal.blogspot.com
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13 Responses to Ravishankar and Education

  1. hemantarora44 says:

    Truly quoted sir….I am a student of Govt college from Class 6th to my BSC..and I can find so many facts in this article…

    • matheikal says:

      Hemant, thanks for your comment. I’d like to hear from more people like you who have come from the govt school/college background. I studied myself in govt-aided institutions all through and never found anything seriously wrong with them in comparison with the public school-kind of institutions that I’m now familiar with.

  2. Raghuram Ekambaram says:


    You must ask two questions:

    How did SSRS become an expert on education system, particularly with respect to the economics of it?

    Why did he not mention anything about the home environment of the students in schools and its effect on education?


    • matheikal says:

      Raghuram, will Ravishankar ever manage to find the time for such worthwhile studies as the ones you’ve mentioned. Isn’t he too busy with his Art (and the business) of living?

  3. Totally agree with you on the Private vs. Govt. School thing.

    Lionel Robbins was dead right when he said that economics was the ‘Science of scarcity’. Indeed, the economy of a person, accounts for his relative scarcity and the resultant want for abundance.

    About Ravi Shankar – he just simply doesn’t deserve a piece of my mind. He is the Shobha De of God-men, with the will to hog limelight endlessly.

  4. //I have always been of the opinion that the government-run institutions in India tend to perform pathetically, because the very Indian mindset ensures such performance. The Indian mindset is this: only I and my family are important and the others are there to be exploited for the welfare of me and my family.//

    Wonderfully put sir. Agreed word by word on the above quote. Another trait is that all honest, outspoken people are not respected.Activists are shunned and not encouraged.
    Those who loot are not questioned. ” why should I ask” is the silent majority.

    Mera Bharat Mahaan.

  5. Most of the Godmen, have proved time and again, that they too are in for “loot”.

  6. ruchi jain says:

    Its nice to read your post, even some days earlier i attended a seminar where, a sir told that why our teachers not willing to do job in schools.. bcoz they are not paid well, give a person a package of 5 lac to be a teacher in govt school as he will mold many future, than giving for other job, he will happily join and work well..

    • matheikal says:

      Thanks, Ruchi, for this valuable comment. I commented a few days back on another person’s blog that teaching is a miserable profession in India. There are schools that pay as little as Rs3000 per month to teachers.

  7. Aditi says:

    “only I and my family are important and the others are there to be exploited for the welfare of me and my family.” Whenever I think of why the Indian rich are by and large apathetic to the plight of the have-nots, I too came to this conclusion that it is this so called ‘family values’ that is responsible. This obsession about protecting and materially enriching one’s own kith and kin is the undoing.

    • matheikal says:

      Interestingly, I winess the behaviour of the rich class students every day. I’m quite shocked by their valuse system, rather the absolute lack of a value system.

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