Special Subject Group on
Policy Framework for Private Investment in
Education, Health and Rural Development
A Policy Framework for Reforms in Education
DEVELOPMENT IN OTHER SELECT COUNTRIES
2.1 Selection of
A review of the
development of education in some comparable
and/or successful countries will provide useful
lessons for India.
countries have been selected:
- Sweden -
Sweden ranks 6 in human development.
It has the highest expenditure on
education at 8.3% of GNP.
Singapore ranks 22 in human
development. It is an example of the
wide use of information technology in
education and of a concerted effort
in building a knowledge society.
Korea South Korea ranks 30 in
human development. It achieved
independence, in 1948, at around the
same time as India, but has been far
more successful in education.
Thailand ranks 67 in human
development. It has had a similar
legacy as that of India in terms of a
British system of education.
China ranks 98 in human
development. It is comparable to
India in terms of the magnitude of
the education development
countries are ranked ahead of India in human
development. (Indias rank is 132 out of 174
countries). All the five countries have primary
school enrolment in the high nineties. (Table
2.1). Incidentally, except Sweden, all other
countries have diversity in terms of ethnicity,
religion and language.
Sweden covers a
total area of 450,000 km2. It has a
population of 9 million. The national language is
Swedish. For many centuries, Sweden was
ethnically and linguistically very homogeneous.
There were two exceptions though - the
Finnish-speaking population of the northeast and
the Sami (Lapps). Today, approximately one
million of Swedens total population are
immigrants or have at least one immigrant parent.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a
parliamentary form of government.
fundamentally believes that everybody must have
access to equivalent education, regardless of
sex, ethnic and social background and place of
residence. The education system is based on the
premise that education and welfare are linked.
Sweden has reformed its system to bring about a
structurally uniform education system.
Education Act, local bodies are required
to provide pre-school activities (public
or private) for children in the
age group of 1-5 years. Pre-schools are
open to all children and the attendance
of children is voluntary. As a complement
to pre-schools, childcare is also
and responsibilities of the pre-school
are set out in a national curriculum
formulated by the Government.
Experiential learning is underlined as a
key factor for learning.
no evaluation of the outcome of the
individual child in pre-school. Grades
and assessments are not issued.
There is a
9-year comprehensive compulsory education
for children aged 716. However,
there is an option for the children to
start compulsory school from the age of
six years or from the age of eight years.
elementary schooling was formally
introduced in Sweden in 1842. A process
of reform began in the 1940s with the aim
of expanding compulsory schooling. The
9-year compulsory comprehensive school
was introduced in 1962 and fully
implemented in the academic year
197273. The compulsory school
system comprises compulsory school and
special schools for handicapped children
and linguistic minorities.
Education Act provides for parents and
pupils to make a choice concerning
compulsory education. Parents can choose
between public and private schools. The
municipalities are obliged to provide
pupils with all the materials necessary
compulsory schooling is co-educational
and provided free of charge.
to support integration of activities, a
common curriculum for compulsory school
and pre-school class is followed. The
national syllabi states the
objectives, which are to be achieved by
the end of the fifth and ninth year of
school. This provides an opportunity for
nationwide evaluation of school
achievements after the fifth year.
are free to decide the organisation of
the school, the teaching arrangements,
size of classes etc. Pupils may be taught
in groups of the same age or as mixed-age
groups. Teachers are given freedom in
planning their teaching and in choosing
their working methods and subject matter.
are obliged by law to provide upper
secondary schooling for all pupils
leaving compulsory school.
at the upper secondary level is voluntary
and free of charge. Almost the entire
compulsory school leavers continue
studying in upper secondary school.
sixteen nationally determined programmes
in upper secondary schools. All study
programmes provide a broad-based general
education and gives general eligibility
for entrance to higher education and
prepare the students for working life.
Students with interests other than the 16
national programmes can opt for specially
of marks in upper secondary education is
a continuous process, i.e. marks are
awarded on the completion of every course
and not for individual subjects or for
the Higher Education Act, the
requirements of the individual
students and the achievements of the
individual institutions influence the
capacity of different programmes and
the allocation of grants between
measures were taken to reform upper
secondary schooling in the 1980s to
match the needs of the market and the
aspirations of the students. This was
implemented fully in 1995.
public higher education is free of
charge. Students who need help to
finance their cost of living can
receive assistance from the central
government for this purpose. This
support consists of a non-repayable
grant and a larger repayable loan in
combination and may be awarded for
both full-time and part-time studies.
education in Sweden is wide-ranging
and based on a long tradition. It is
provided in many different forms
ranging from national or municipal
adult education to labour market
programmes and personnel training and
competence development at work.
overall responsibility for education
in Sweden is borne by Parliament and
the Government. The entire
educational system is under the
Ministry of Education and Sciences.
The county councils, municipalities
and private organizers are
responsible for the provision of
education under the Ministry of
Education and Science. The
municipalities operate almost the
entire public education in Sweden
below university level. Most of the
higher education institutions are run
by the central government although
decisions in several important areas
have been decentralized to the
universities and university colleges.
in Sweden has traditionally been
organized within the public sector.
In the middle of the 1980s the
system was opened up for private
organisers to receive public funding
for childcare. The number of private
pre-schools has increased steadily
since then. There are a few private
institutions in higher education
State has gradually switched from
laying down rules to the approach
based on goals and results in the
educational system. The local
authorities have been given extensive
autonomy in administering the schools
within the framework set out by the
Government. Decisions in several
important areas were decentralised
from the central level to the
institutions of higher education.
funding of school-level education is
shared between central and local
governments. The municipal tax
revenue is the main income of the
local government. Additionally, the
local government receives a state
grant of dual character, consisting
of both pure grants as well as tax
and structural equalisation. The
structural equalisation part is
determined by population and
structurally related cost
differences. Each municipality has
the right to decide on the allocation
of resources and the organisation of
materials and school meals in
compulsory school are free of charge
to the student. The municipalities
are obliged to provide free school
transport for compulsory school
support to students at upper
secondary level comprises a general
study grant, representing a
continuation of child allowance,
payable to all pupils from the age of
16, and a need-based grant towards
the cost of studies and daily travel.
education is financed directly from
the state. Appropriations for
universities and university colleges
are based on proposals from the
Government and given to each
institution. The basic principles of
the allocation system are that
appropriations are made as
remuneration for results achieved.
Results refer to the number of credit
points earned by students and the
number of full-time equivalent
students taught at the institution.
Government accords the institutions
the right to award degrees.
The education system
of Sweden is presented in Exhibit 2.1.
an area of 648 sq. km. It has a population of 3.5
million. There are three major ethnic groups
Chinese, Malay and Indian
accounting for 76 %, 15 % and 6 % respectively.
The major religions are Buddhism, Islam and
Hinduism. The official languages are Chinese,
Malay, Tamil and English. Singapore is a republic
with the President as Head of the State directly
elected by the people.
The vision of
Singapore for meeting the challenges of the
future is summed up in four words: THINKING
SCHOOLS, LEARNING NATION. It is a vision that
aims to inspire Singapore as a nation of thinking
and committed citizens capable of contributing
towards Singapores continued growth and
prosperity. It focuses on the development of
human resources to meet Singapores need for
an educated and skilled workforce.
child in Singapore undergoes at least 10
years of general education. This
comprises six years of primary education
(four years of foundation and two years
of orientation) and four years of
numeracy, bilingualism, physical and
moral education, and creative and
independent thinking are emphasised by
the school education system. The
bilingual policy requires that each child
learn English and the mother tongue. The
system is oriented to foster strong bonds
among students and to develop in them a
sense of responsibility and commitment to
family, community and country.
programmes are introduced in schools to
ensure that pupils are ready to meet the
challenges of the 21st century.
Technology is used widely as teaching and
learning resources to develop skills in
communication and independent learning.
schools are expected to be fully
networked by the year 2002, through the
information technology masterplan.
Teachers and pupils would have adequate
access to multi-media computer resources,
courseware, the Internet and digitised
media resources. The target of the IT
Masterplan is to provide one computer to
every two pupils from primary one to
junior college, and for IT to be used for
30 % of curriculum time.
at the foundation stage follow a common
curriculum, which provides them with a
firm foundation in English, their mother
tongue and Mathematics. Also included in
the curriculum are subjects such as
Music, Art and Craft, Civics and Moral
Education, Health Education, Social
Studies and Physical Education. Pupils
are also encouraged to participate in
formally streamed according to their
learning ability at the end of Primary
Four. All pupils then advance to the next
stage of primary education, the
orientation stage. At the orientation
stage, pupils are placed in one of three
language streams, namely EM1, EM2, and
EM3, according to their abilities.
At the end
of Primary Six, pupils sit for the
Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE)
which assesses their abilities for
placement in a secondary school course
that suits their learning pace and
aptitude. Pupils who obtain the necessary
standards are then admitted to the
Special, Express or Normal stream in
secondary level, pupils have the choice
of three courses designed to match their
learning abilities and interests. Pupils
undergo four to five years of secondary
education with different curricular
emphasis. The majority of pupils undergo
the Special course or Express course
whilst the rest enter the Normal course.
the Normal (Technical) course are
prepared for technical-vocational
education with the Institute of Technical
completion of their secondary level,
students can apply for entry to a junior
college for a two-year pre-university
course, or a centralised institute for a
three-year pre-university course.
At the end
of the pre-university course, students
sit for the Singapore-Cambridge General
Certificate of Education
"Advanced" (GCE "A")
Level Examinations. Their eligibility for
tertiary education is determined by the
results of their GCE "A" Level
are six types of schools in Singapore.
schools enjoys autonomy in
setting its own scale of fees, in
the admission of pupils, in the
selection and appointment of
teachers and principals as well
as in curriculum matters. They
conform to national education
schools are either government
or government aided schools. They
are given additional funds and
more leeway to execute their
mission of providing quality
education. They, too conform to
national education policies.
Special Assistance Plan (SAP)
schools are established to
maintain high standards in both
English and Chinese whilst
preserving the traditional ethos
existing in the schools. The
secondary SAP schools
offer the Special course where
pupils learn Chinese at a higher
level and English.
School Cluster Scheme was mooted
as a management model to enhance
the management of schools by
reducing centralised control and
decision-making. Under the
scheme, a group of schools forms
a cluster co-ordinated by a
Superintendent with the
responsibility of facilitating
networking and collaboration
among the Principals of the cluster
schools. The Superintendents
are also in charge of developing
and supervising the Principals.
of the schools are double-session
with two groups of students
making use of school facilities
from 7:30am to 1:00pm and 1:00pm
to 6:30pm. By the year 2000, the
Government of Singapore has set a
target of converting all
secondary schools into single-session
schools. Schools are expected
to use the available facilities
for extra-curricular activities
and enrichment programmes in the
with physical or intellectual
impairment go to special
schools, which are run by the
voluntary welfare organisations
and heavily funded by the
government. Trained teachers are
seconded to teach in these
primary level do not have to pay school
fees. They only pay miscellaneous fees
that go to their respective school, to
help cover the cost of equipment and
special programmes for the benefit of the
pupils. Pupils at secondary and
pre-university levels pay subsidised
school fees and similar miscellaneous
training for teachers is conducted by the
National Institute of Education (NIE), an
institute at the Nanyang Technological
to the two universities, the National
University of Singapore and the Nanyang
Technological University, is based on GCE
"A" level performance and, in
some cases, interviews as well. A third
University, the Singapore Management
University, is being established and
expected to offer academic programmes
Ministry of Education appointed the
Singapore Institute of Management to run
the Open University Degree Programme.
The education system
of Singapore is presented in Exhibit 2.2.
2.4 South Korea
South Korea covers
a total area of 98.480 sq. km. It has a
population 46.9 million. It is almost homogenous
in terms of ethnicity, except for a minor
presence of Chinese. The major religions are
Christianity and Buddhism. Korean and English are
the most frequently used languages. South Korea
is a republic and is headed by a President, who
is elected by the voters directly. The Prime
Minister is the head of the government and is
appointed by the President from the National
established knowledge, human welfare and
open-mindedness as its ultimate goals to be
delivered to the individuals from the education
system. The vision of the education system is to
develop a self-reliant individual equipped
with a distinct sense of independence, a creative
individual with a sense of originality, and an
ethical individual with some sound morality and
the establishment of the Republic of
Korea in 1948, an education law was
enacted on the basis of democratic
principles. Accordingly, an autonomous
educational structure and a compulsory
education system were introduced.
education in the 1980's endeavoured to
enhance the quality of education. The
government set the formation of a sound
personality through education and reform
of civil education, emphasising science
and life-long education as the
nations top priority.
1985, the Presidential Commission on
Educational Reform was established under
the direct supervision of the President.
To achieve the goal of educating Koreans
as the Prospective Leaders in the 21st
Century the Commission recommended major
reforms in school system, facilities,
teacher training, content and investment.
nineties and the following years are
expected to advance education by
realising quality education and
educational welfare. The major concerns
are the pursuit of qualitative, rather
than quantitative, growth of education,
and the fulfilment of high public demands
for education through extending
compulsory education, popularising
secondary education and increasing
opportunities for higher education.
childhood education is largely provided
by private institutes or those affiliated
to public primary schools. Parents are
expected to pay the entire costs of this
education. At present, opportunities are
not yet universal. Children are admitted
to the kindergartens in their residential
areas on the basis of parents'
applications and is purely voluntary.
government has concentrated on building
public kindergartens in rural areas while
encouraging the private sector to
establish kindergartens in major cities
where a large number of kindergarten-aged
children are concentrated.
education in Korea is free, compulsory
and provides the general basic education
necessary in daily life. Practically all
children are provided with primary
education. This consists of six years of
objective of middle school education is
to provide general education to build on
the foundation of elementary education.
All applicants are allocated to schools
near their residences.
of education is free and compulsory. Free
and compulsory middle school education
was first introduced in 1985 to
agricultural and fishing villages, and
was extended to the entire nation within
a few years.
to high schools is through grades
obtained in a national level selection
examination. This was modified in 1995 to
enable the schools to consider other
factors in addition to the examination
grades for admission.
private schools with self-supporting
ability, which is managed by a school
foundation and on fees paid by the
students, are given the autonomous right
to set their tuition fees and select
high schools aim at providing advanced
general education as well as vocational
training in agriculture, technology,
commerce, fisheries and ocean sciences.
addition, foreign language, science, art
and athletic high schools are also
operational to educate future leaders in
these specific areas. Under strong
governmental support, these schools aim
at identifying the gifted at an early age
and developing their potential to the
education aims at teaching and studying
fundamental academic theories and their
various applications as applicable to the
progress of the society. The period of
study for college education is four or
scholastic achievement test is
administered on a national scale. Private
universities are free to administer their
One of the
unique features in South Korean education
is the utilisation of modern technology
to improve education reach even at the
primary school. The Educational
Broadcasting System (EBS) was inaugurated
in 1990 to support school education and
expand the opportunity for education.
one television and radio channel and a
staff of 630.The Ministry of Education is
responsible for policy making and
financial support. EBS is in charge of
planning, organisation, production and
delivery of the education broadcasting.
Educational broadcasting programs are
aired on television for 8 hours and 30
minutes every day (18 hours on Sundays)
and on radio for 20 hours a day.
a land area of 514,000 sq. km. It has a
population of 60.6 million in 1999. The major
ethnic groups are Thais (75 %) and Chinese (14
%). The official languages are Thai and English.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. The King
is the Chief of the State. The Head of the
government is the Prime Minister and he is the
leader of the party enjoying majority in the
House of Representatives.
education as centric to long term economic
development. The National Education Development
Schemes are evolved to meet needs of a changing
education is provided for 3-5 year old
children through child care centres,
nursery schools and kindergartens. The
Ministry of Education has established a
kindergarten in every provincial capital
to serve as a model for the private ones.
Since this level of education is
voluntary, the private sector has played
an active role.
education is compulsory and free of
charge for the children in the age group
between 6 and 11 years. Primary
school curriculum is an integrated
curriculum comprising five areas of
learning experiences, namely: basic
skills development, life experience,
character development, work oriented
education, and special experiences.
student backgrounds in the various parts
of the country are different, a basic
national core curriculum allows certain
flexibility for regional diversification.
secondary education is divided into two
levels, each covering a period of three
years. There is a common curriculum
across the nation.
who complete upper secondary school
successfully are eligible to enter higher
education courses. The higher education
institutions can be classified into four
categories. They are public universities
and institutes, private universities and
colleges, technical institutions and
specialised training institutes.
24 public universities and institutes and
41 private universities and colleges
comprising of 23 universities and 18
colleges. They do not depend on
government support and have freedom in
operating their institutions.
the above, several ministries operate
higher education institutions in their
own fields such as medicine, agricultural
sciences, physical education etc. The
respective ministries administer these
addition, Thailand has three specialised
training institutions, viz. the Asian
Institute of Technology and two Buddhist
Universities, which are popular and
attract students from all parts of the
world. They are completely autonomous.
public university or institute has its
own Act empowering the University Council
to function as the governing body.
China occupies a
land area of over 9. 5 million sq. km. The
population of China is over 1.25 billion. The
country is divided into 23 provinces, 5
autonomous regions and 4 municipalities. The most
popular languages are Mandarin and Cantonese.
Buddhism and Taoism are the most popular
religions and the minorities include Christians
and Muslims. The country is a Communist State
headed by a President. The National Peoples
Congress elects the President and the Vice
President. The President nominates the Prime
Minister who is later confirmed by the National
The focus of
China's educational policy is to improve the
country's intellectual outlook and bring about
competent students in all aspects of China's
1978, China has adopted an education
policy of nine-year compulsory schooling
system, which means that all children are
required to attend school for at least
nine years. During this period, students
will finish both the primary school
program and the junior middle-school
aged from 3 to 6 usually attend
kindergartens near their neighborhood,
where they learn the basics of their
mother tongue. The inculcation of values
in the children is one of the top
priorities on the teaching agenda among
kindergartens and childcare centres
throughout the country.
primary school education was for a period
of five years earlier and has now been
increased to six years.
school education is divided into two
parts: three-year junior high school
program and senior high school.
to higher education is through the
national college entrance examination.
Usually, two sets of examinations are
designed. One is for the science stream
and the other for the arts stream.
provides free education at the university
level, and those students whose families
have financial difficulties receive
subsidies. The students union runs
the dormitory, which is an integral part
of student life in China. The dormitory
is provided free of charge to the
students. Attempts have been made to
charge students from the economically
superior classes in the past few yeas. In
recent years, the number of pay students
increased because of the education
Chinese have established three components
to address major issues and constraints:
Access to Nine Year Compulsory
Education Component to remove
barriers to access (particularly
for girls and minorities) by
rehabilitation, construction of
new schools, furniture and
assistance programmes and a pilot
textbook rental scheme at the
primary and secondary levels.
Education Quality Enhancement
Component to enhance the
quality of education particularly
for minorities and girls by
providing books and materials,
upgrading staff programs,
establishing pilot teacher
service networks and supporting
the dissemination of information,
training of education staff,
administrators and technicians.
Improvement Component to
develop education systems and
management capabilities at the
national, provincial and
institutional levels through
staff training, provision of
equipment and expert services,
training of local education
managers and project
implementation authorities, an
education management information
education system is presented in Exhibit 2.3.
2.7 Lessons for India
Based on the above discussion, the
following are the implicit lessons for India:
As a nation, we have to
prepare ourselves to graduate to a
knowledge based society. A vision for the
nation has to embrace the development of
competent human resources.
Creative and independent
thinking must be emphasised across the
education system in order to promote a
The inculcation of values in
children has to be on top of the teaching
agenda in pre-school and primary
Primary education has to be
universal, compulsory and, if possible,
There has to be a mix of
government and private initiative.
Government should directly participate in
all the education segments, but focus
more on primary and adult education.
Private participation should be
encouraged in pre-school education.
Higher education must
involve private initiatives including
setting up of private universities.
A strong emphasis on
vocational education and education that
is market-oriented, especially in
secondary and higher education, is called
An obsession for the use of
technology, particularly information
technology and communications technology
must pervade the education system.
A common curriculum with an
integrated education structure is
essential for progress.
A national level testing
program would be required in order to
channel students to higher levels of
education based on performance and
Admission to institutes of
higher learning should be on a
centralised testing and enrolment system.
Autonomy and freedom for
educational institutions is important to
bring about innovations in education.
Grants have to be linked to
achievements of individual educational
Reforms in education is a
EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS
: UNDP Human Development Report 1999
* - NSSO data states that the Indian
literacy rate in 1997 was 64 %, whereas the UNDP
Human Development Report 1999 puts it at 53.5 %.
SWEDISH EDUCATION SYSTEM
SINGAPORES EDUCATION SYSTEM