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Pedro Rico
Perparim Gutaj
Corruption and Oppression Agents of Social Chaos
1. Introduction

I suppose when talking about education in these two nations we can not ignore the

prevailing issues of government and corruption. Although these nations might not share a history

of war, downfalls, or triumphs they do however collaborate intimately in the global commons in

addition to that, they also share a similar cultural problem that has impeded a common good, that

being their educational system. Like I have said these nations due partake in the global commons

in which they have immensely benefited from. For instance, Mexico ranks 15th in GDP (gross

domestic product) while India ranks number 7 (Statistics, 2018). According to research, India has

been performing well in governance and economic quality, the biggest change came from their

business environment which saw an exponential growth (Legatum, 2017). Whereas, Mexico

performed similarly with a slight variation, such as doing well in the business environment and

seeing positive changes in economic quality (Legatum, 2017). Regardless of all the positive

economic prosperity, they have been slow to invest in human capital. Of course there are several

facets of social welfare that is lacking in these two countries but education being the topic of this

paper is what I’ll be focusing on and any causal factors that will impede peoples accessibility to

quality education.

2. Theoretical Framework

Education has always been a big debate in the United States, always trying to find a way

to optimize the performance of students through standardized testing, divestments of art

programs or extracurricular activities but this isn’t a conversation about how to improve the

performance of our students so that we can final beat Finland. This conversation is about Mexico

and India, and how come those nations who are excelling in GDP are failing to provide adequate

education to the masses. During this paper I would like to answer these questions: Why is it that

education in these countries are ranked low? Who are most affected by educational oversight?

What is keeping education from flourishing? Finally, is education fundamental to a society, in

other words is it a common good?

3. Analysis

Diving into these countries we can see that both of them have established democratic

governance that are considered robust, they have also excelled in business, and economic quality.

They have also established and solidified diplomatic relations, that has given rise to several

bilateral agreements; all of which has resulted in high GDP for the two countries. Not only are

these countries sharing and enjoying economic prosperity they are also demonstrating their lack

of investment in the social welfare of their people; ergo quality education. Although these

countries share similar aspects in economic and social welfare, the mode in which education has

deteriorated looks different in each place. However, there seems to be a common theme

throughout these countries, which is government corruption. The institutions that were built to

better society have been powered by actors who have been susceptible to several forms of

corruption (i.e. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery).

a. India

India’s case is that it lacks social welfare which has contributed to the poor quality of

education and a finite number of schools. The problem is that India continues to invest very little

back to the people, compared to other countries, the GDP per capita is $1,900, ranking them at

145 (Statistics, 2017). Now, what keeps India from investing back to its society? Well, there are

two reasons that I have contributed to the lack of enthusiasm or impediment to education;

corruptions and the caste system that has influenced government institutions.

The case of India is an interesting one because the inequities were built on a foundation

known as the caste system, not to confuse this with a class system even though they do share the

same qualities of exclusion (ideally in modern-day socioeconomics people ideally can move

throughout the spectrum and are not limited by class). The issue with the caste system was that it

created a hierarchy in which people couldn’t escape from and was designed to target people who

were not Hindu. They were then categorized as the untouchables, which of course resulted in

them being ostracised by segregating them from the mainstream by social custom or legal

mandate (BBC, 2017).

Although the caste system is no longer legally practiced in India it still plays a heavy role

in their society. Well, what does this have to do with education? Well everything apparently,

because of the history of oppression it has limited many people from obtaining economic and

social prosperity. As a result poverty is the highest among scheduled tribes at 49%, then

following suite are the scheduled castes at 29%, other backward castes at 21%, and finally, 12%

are others (India’s Poverty Profile, 2016). Another report also asserts that “about 60% of India's

nearly 1.3 billion people live on less than $3.10 a day, the World Bank's median poverty line.

And 21%, or more than 250 million people, survive on less than $2 a day” (CNN, 2015).

Now in addition to the poverty rate, 80% of India’s population live in rural areas (India’s

Poverty Profile, 2016), and with the richest 10% who now have control over 80% of India’s

wealth (CNN, 2015) government has had little want or incentive to invest in infrastructure in

these rural areas. Due to the lack of infrastructure and maintenance of public schools, this has

encouraged corruption among teachers, a study reveals that absenteeism among instructors is up

by 25% compared to the global average of 20%(UNESCO, 2017). Not only does the practice of

ghosting result in poor quality education for the community but it has also cost the government

$1.5 billion a year (QUARTZ, 2014). To make matters worse these instructors have also

exploited the most vulnerable by offering private tutoring as a means to succeed in their

education, and the majority of instructors who are complicit in corruption are highly educated

(UNESCO, 2017).

Overall India’s governmental institutions have been susceptible to corruption due to lack

of rule of law, a poor judiciary system and the impunity towards violence against the most

vulnerable members of their community. India shows clears signs of economic division where

the top 1% owns half its wealth and politicians who cater to caste sentiments and or bribery

(CNN, 2015). In conclusion, because of these factors, government corruption and the cultural

acceptance of discrimination of the most vulnerable has resulted in producing 34% of its

population who can not read or write, with the second largest population following China. Means

that it houses a third of the world’s illiterates (The Times of India, 2017).

b. Mexico

The case of Mexico has followed the same trend of amassing high GDP which has placed

them at 15 among other countries, and controversy has ranked them low in GDP per capita

putting them at 73 on the list (Statistics Times, 2018). How is it that a country so rich in

resources continues to provide poor quality education to its people? Well from what I’ve been

reading there are two major themes in Mexico, corruption, and violence that has managed to

influence their government. Before I step into the themes of violence and corruption I want to

address their weak institutions; Mexico in the past has had several upheavals, 1910 being a

revolution. Mexico has seen many people trying to spread the wealth to the poor but in the end,

the movement was hijacked by conservative actors that gave the impression of promoting social

change within their country. Inevitably clientelism was implemented by Lazaro Cardenas, who

claimed that this system would facilitate power-sharing and participation but this system simply

made it easier for private interest groups to exchange wealth. Conclusively, Cardenas system

expanded into an overlarge bureaucracy, that exacerbated the problem of income inequality.

Clientelism is hard at work in Mexico and continues to widen the disparities, which

paints a stark contrast to the haves and have-nots. For instance, 1% of the richest people own

half of Mexico’s wealth (telesur, 2015), leaving 40% of its population to live in poverty

(childfund, 2013), this proliferation of wealth to the top has given rise to corrupted actors. One,

in particular, was the head of the teachers union Mexico who was incarcerated for embezzling $2

million dollars, she has since been released claiming that she is now working with the one who

put her behind bars President Enrique Peña Nieto (The Guardian, 2017). Their goal is simple, to

make cuts to education where they can.

Of course, there has been a lot of opposition to the cuts or lack of funding to education,

which results in a violent confrontation with the state. One example of this was in Oaxaca,

Mexico, that sparked “a deadly police crackdown against teachers that left nine people dead and

more than 100 wounded” (Democracynow, 2016). This constant vilification of teachers by the

government only hurts the people of Mexico, especially considering that only 37% of adults

(ages 25-64) have completed secondary schools (OECD, 2017). Not only do teachers, students,

and protesters face violence from the government but they also contend the violence from

organized crime. Take for instance the case of the students that disappeared in 2014 from the

town of Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, the students were all activists who were getting ready to ride

the bus to Mexico city to join in a protest but were then kidnaped by a syndicate (freedomhouse,

2017). The government has done very little to pursue the case, which has given rise to protest

and distrust.

In conclusion, corruption and crime continue to weaken the institutions of Mexico, giving

rise to the excessive force by police, disregarding the rule of law, a judicial system that adheres

to money, and economic instability. Mexico's government claims that it want's to provide high-

quality education but it's hard to be optimistic about Mexico’s educational prosperity when their

institutions are susceptible to corruptions and are complicit/ignore the violence that is imposed

on its people.

c. Comparison

The comparison of the two nations are quite similar with a slight variation here and there,

one thing was clear though, each nation had institutions that were susceptible to corruption. For

India, corruption was aided by an oppressive caste system that explicitly didn’t exist but was

used as fodder to rally up votes and sentiments of division among the people, all in which

contributed to the lack of accessibility for many people to acquire an adequate education. As for

Mexico they to had a government that thrived on corruption which ensures business, as usual,

they were complicit in facilitating violence on the people who dissented, either through state

force or via organized crime, all of which has contributed in divesting from education. These

nations talk about improving the quality of education but it's obvious by their GDP per capita

that they are suffering from cognitive dissonance.

4. Conclusion

Conclusively corruption and oppressive forces have contributed to the poor education in

Mexico and India. Another thing to mention is that these countries were built not with the

intention to better their society but reserve certain rights to an exclusive group. As education was

introduced in modern-day society we witnessed the enlightenment of people to become agents of

social change. However, with a government that rises from a history of oppression, the people

will need to continue to strive hard to reform their institutions. From what I have read, education

is a common good (huffpost, 2012), for it is more than a means of a vocation, it is avocational as

well, providing the ability to better our lives and our communities. Knowledge raises our

consciousness and allows us to remove our chains in order to combat oppression, tyranny, and to

overthrow despots. Which is probably why corrupted oppressive governments fear its potency.

My final verdict is that education needs advocates, and we must defend it from those who want

to keep society in a stupor.

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