Distortions in primary and secondary education system of India are there for everybody to see. Education, especially up to secondary level in the rural hinterland is totally dominated to extent of being monopolised by the government-local, State or Central (Federal).
The triangle of education delivery i.e. financiers (taxpayers), administrators (bureaucracy and teachers), and beneficiary (students and their parents) does not work efficiently; for those who are putting their money into education (taxpayers) have no say in running of the affairs of education system. While those who have a complete control over the affairs have least interest in running these institutions efficiently because their wards do not study in schools run by them.
Education system run by the governments are basically employment generation programmes for the unemployable but politically strong people forming a formidable lobby of teaching aristocracy.
The poor beneficiaries of the education system, students and their parents, have absolutely no say in running of these institutions because they are not the consumers in the sense that the fee they pay for education is nominal. They cannot put pressure on the system for the better delivery of services because they are poor and powerless. Education is their right, of course, but in effect it is more as a favour bestowed on them by the powers that be.
Teachers, as an arm of bureaucracy, are answerable to the higher ups and not to the parents and their wards.
Between taxpayers’ money and students, the layers of bureaucracy absorb the maximum benefits, so much so that the taxpayers are directly or indirectly subsiding the teaching bureaucracy and the political class, delivering so less to the beneficiaries.
This is in contrast to the private sector, where they charge sustainable to hefty fees from the parents, depending on where their schools are located; pay their teachers a fraction of what their government school counterparts receive, and have people flocking to their schools. Even the teaching fraternity of the government schools is sending its wards to these private schools. You may be surprised to see that none, repeat none of the salaried government teacher send their wards to the schools run by the government. And they are not embarrassed by it. The crowd of the deprived going to the government schools are counted as the dregs of the society. In these schools, teachers do not teach and students do not want to study, while parents want merely two hands to support them economically after becoming merely literate.
In these circumstances, there is little or no room for reforms in the government school system because all the players are interested in anything but the education.