I just received this article (thanks again to Paul) about the Indian Parliament passing a bill that calls for free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six and fourteen. According to the article, around 70 million children are currently without access to school education in that country.
This is interesting to me because a few weeks back an administrator from a local school district here in the RGV made a comment regarding America’s education ranking in the world. When told that we are ranked behind the likes of China and India, she made the point that those countries do not educate every child, whereas we do. It struck me as an interesting comment because I assumed (apparently correctly at the time) that those countries were not educating their poor and that this administrator may have been suggesting that if we did the same, our rankings would be better. Maybe that is not what she meant, but it did sound like she was suggesting that by opening our doors to every child we were hurting our rankings.
The poor are not inherently incapable of achieving high standards of learning and it is unfair to assume that they are the cause for low test scores in schools. This administrator may not have been consciously asserting this, but arguably, at least on a subconscious level, this sort of thinking was taking place when she made that comment.
In any event, this is good news for the people of India, though I wonder what difficulties they will encounter by not mandating early childhood and secondary education.