A post here from Atanu again supports my position that my education has been highly subsidized.
Just an approximate calculation of my education :
Rs. 350 per month for first 6 years, Rs. 550 per month for the next 4 years and Rs. 800 per month for the last 4 years = Tuition+Food+Transport = 350 x 12 x 6 + 550 x 12 x 4 + 800 x 12 x 4 = Rs. 90,000 + books + misc. = Rs. 1,100,000.
None of the above was ofcourse subsidized – Little Rock is a private school and the Army School in Assam though a Govt. school charged us civilians rates comparable to other private schools.
What was subsidized was Undergraduate Education at KREC – Rs. 10000 per year x 4 = Rs. 40, 000 == $800.00. I would think the subsidy is to the extent of about 90%. So I owe the Indian tax payer atleast Rs. 4,00,000.
I will remember that amount.
Compare that to the education here at Carnegie Mellon – undergraduates pay $40, 000 per year. ( My research work pays my tuition and pays me a stipend that is more than enough for a reasonable lifestyle.) Assuming a dollar to be equivalent is Rs. 15 ( not the official exchange rate mind you !), its about Rs. 24,00,000 for 4 years of Engineering. And no, not that they are all rich and pay up – most of them have a debt of $120,000 on their head. And no, its not their parents that pay up. Typically, people take 5-8 years to repay these loans.
Its time to think of Education as a business – only then will the government be able to charge full fees to those who could afford it. More importantly, only then will the public understand that while primary education might be a fundamental right, higher education is not. You have to pay for what you get. If you can afford, pay. If you cant afford but are credit-worthy, raise a loan. If you arent credit-worthy, government can lend at very low or zero percent interest rates. No, virtually nothing should be free.
P. S : On a totally unrelated note, this post by Atanu Dey best summarizes my position on the Art of Living ‘Guru’ Ravi Shankar.