Forget the outlays, give us outcomes

Education is even more contrastive. Our public expenditure on education is 3.1% of the GDP. India claims to have enrolled 95% of all children in the elementary school going age into school. Our literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%. We now even have a Right to Education. But none of our universities is rated among the Top 200 in the world in the QS World University Ranking. The average period of schooling for adults is still only 4.4 years.

Most worryingly, the quality of that education remains questionable. India ranked second last among the 73 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conducted annually to evaluate education systems worldwide. Comparing PISA scores, an Indian eighth grader is at the level of a South Korean third grader in math abilities or a second-year student from Shanghai when it comes to reading skills. We might skip further PISA tests to avoid embarrassment but Pratham’s ASER reports show similar results. We are mandat