Maharashtra’s students will pay a dear price for government’s crackdown on private tuitions

While most parents will welcome government's crackdown due to the widespread ‘tyranny’ of private tuitions, it will make the situation worse for everyone.

Do you send your children to private tuitions in Maharashtra? Are you happy with the quality of teaching, even if it is a little expensive? Can you find tutors easily? If you are a parent in Maharashtra, your answer will likely be a yes to all these questions. But soon that may not be the case.

Since late last year, the state government is planning to crack down on private tuition classes. Recently, the final draft of the Maharashtra Private Tuition (Regulation) Bill, 2018 has been circulated. The law is likely to be tabled in the Vidhan Sabha in the next Winter Session.

Before we get into the unintended consequences of the proposed legislation, let us note some of the salient features of the bill –

  • • The state government will be authorised to regulate the fees for private institutions if they are found high

  • • Private tuitions will have to register themselves and get a No Objection Certificate from the local government every 5 years

  • • A levy of 1 percent will be charged on private tuitions’ profits

  • • For violations, the government can impose a penalty or take police action

  • • Integrated coaching centres will have to be separated.

While most parents will welcome the legislation by the government due to the widespread ‘tyranny’ of private coaching centres. The law will make the situation worse for the parents, teachers, and students. Let me explain why.

First, the government has no ability to enforce laws, it can barely catch rapists and murderers, we should not expect it to be able to enforce any law for our benefit. Second, the law will increase the cost of providing private tuitions and ultimately the parents will pay for it. The tutors are not going to pay money to the government and follow all the paperwork from their own pocket, they will just pass them to the consumers.

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Third, the compulsory registration will cause many centres to shut. In India, most tutors do not have formal training and resources and hold classes at homes. It is unlikely that the government will let anyone without a formal training in teaching run a coaching centre. Consequently, a lot of neighbourhood aunties will lose their main source of incomes and the students will suffer from lack of high-quality education that is not available at schools.

Lastly, and most importantly, the law will lead to large-scale corruption. When a police officer or bureaucrat knows that a neighbourhood auntie is running an ‘illegal’ coaching centre, he will use this knowledge to extract bribes. Similarly, if you think the license to run a coaching centre can be obtained from a local authority without paying a bribe, you could be delusional. The proposed legislation is a step back to the inspector raj of pre-1990s era.

Instead of regulating coaching centres, we should focus on why we need them in the first place. They provide valuable educational services that the government cannot. Our governments are incapable of bestowing good education to our future leaders, the least they could do is to not stop those who can.

Do you think the government should regulate private tuition centres? Let us know in comments below.