Somini Sengupta has a piece on India's publicly funded school system [if you prefer visuals, here's a bleak slideshow]. Here's a quote from a volunteer from Pratham, an NGO that has done extensive national surveys of educational outcomes in our primary schools.
“When they get older, they’ll curse their teachers,” said Arnab Ghosh, 26, a social worker trying to help the government improve its schools, as he stared at clusters of children sitting on the grass outside. “They’ll say, ‘We came every day and we learned nothing.’ ”
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It is always worth reiterating two other pieces of data about India's government-funded schools (taken from Pratham's Annual Status of Education Report (ASER-2007):
The school’s drinking-water tap had stopped working long ago, like 30 percent of schools nationwide, according to the Pratham survey. Despite the extra money, the toilet was broken, as was the case in nearly half of all schools nationwide.
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Thanks to Amardeep Singh for the pointer.