Privatization of Higher Education: Merits & Demerits

Puja Bahl


Higher education is a powerful tool to build knowledge based society for any country. With growing size of higher education in field of management and technical courses, it has become utmost important to build an efficient database on higher education. Higher education has witnessed tremendous changes in education system, privatisation is one of them.  Privatization of higher education in India was initiated in 1991 with the initiation of the Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) Policy. Gradually over the years the policy has worked its way to bring about the targeted change with the constant support of the government. Across the country more and more private unaided courses are flourishing. Government has been supporting this agenda vigorously.

Privatization in education has been widely embraced by governments around the world and often supported by certain inter-governmental organizations, transnational corporations, and non-governmental organizations. However, the idea of privatization has been interpreted and translated into educational practice in many ways and the forms that privatization takes at different levels of education varies across systems, as do the rationales used to justify them. This paper provides an overview of the debates around the privatization of education; it presents the arguments that have historically been laid out for and against this process, and problematizes its effects on social inequality and the uneven distribution of educational opportunities. The paper concludes that, since education can no longer be entirely funded and provided by the state, the question is less about whether or not private engagement in education is commendable, but more about the extent to which the activities of private actors

should be regulated by the state, how this should be, and to what end.

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