The central board of secondary education (CBSE) in India is in a fix over the leak of mathematics and economics papers of standard X and XII respectively. After the leaks were revealed, students already gave their exams by the time the news of leak came out, CBSE and the HRD minister decided to retake these exams, which has created a storm of protest among the students. Parents of these kids are also enraged. Everyone is saying, why punish the students by retaking their exams when the culprits are the insiders of CBSE itself who leaked papers for money.
For someone who is aware of the true nature of the state and its central planning economic system this event is not a surprise. As Ludwig von Mises showed more than a century ago, any kind of central planning is bound to fail because of its inherent problems of failure to economically calculate and Hayekian knowledge problem. The real focus of protest here should not be that the papers were leaked, but that the government and its education board CBSE is enforcing uniform standard of education on millions of students across India. This collectivization should be the major worry issue for everyone.
We know that all individuals are different and have different personalities. This fact demands a personalized individual education system where choices of each and every student are taken care of. As Murray Rothbard said,
One of the most important facts about human nature is the great diversity among individuals. Of course, there are certain broad characteristics, physical and mental, which are common to all human beings. But more than any other species, individual men are distinct and separate individuals. Not only is each finger print unique, each personality is unique as well. Each person is unique in his tastes, interests, abilities, and chosen activities. Animal activities, routine and guided by instinct, tend to be uniform and alike. But human individuals, despite similarities in ends and values, despite mutual influences, tend to express the unique imprint of the individual’s own personality. The development of individual variety tends to be both the cause and the effect of the progress of civilization. As civilization progresses, there is more opportunity for the development of a person’s reasoning and tastes in a growing variety of fields. And from such opportunities come the advancement of knowledge and progress which in turn add to the society’s civilization. Furthermore, it is the variety of individual interests and talents that permits the growth of specialization and division of labor, on which civilized economies depend …
Since each person is a unique individual, it is clear that the best type of formal instruction is that type which is suited to his own particular individuality. Each child has different intelligence, aptitudes, and interests. Therefore, the best choice of pace, timing, variety, and manner, and of the courses of instruction will differ widely from one child to another. One child is best suited, in interests and ability, for an intensive course in arithmetic three times a week, followed six months later by a similar course in reading; another may require a brief period of several courses; a third may need a lengthy period of instruction in reading, etc. Given the formal, systematic courses of instruction, there is an infinite variety of pace and combination which may be most suitable for each particular child.
It is obvious, therefore, that the best type of instruction is individual instruction. A course where one teacher instructs one pupil is clearly by far the best type of course. It is only under such conditions that human potentialities can develop to their greatest degree.
The education system in India should be as close as possible to the one to one mentoring system mentioned by Rothbard above. The present centralized system of schooling is far removed from this ideal and, in fact, is exactly opposite to it. By collectivizing the education system, the Indian government wants to create a kind of a society which adheres to its own ideologies. This is not education. This is propaganda where future citizens of India are brainwashed and bred for exploitation. The great American journalist icon H L. Mencken very aptly said,
The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
Indian parents and students should worry and focus on this basic issue of central planning and collectivization of education system in India. If the education system is more personalized then issues like the present paper leak will never be a problem as students will be studying those varied subjects in which they excel the most. They will never be giving exams of same question paper all over India. In fact, in such more and more personalized education system there will be myriad of ways in which students will be able to test their abilities in a right way. In the absence of government’s uniform collectivized system of education parents will have freedom to either homeschool or unschool their children. And when every child will get a chance to develop his/her personalities fully, they will excel and with them India will excel.