Govt plans law for self-financed schools in state

The Times of India, Mumbai
News Dated: 
29-Jun-2011

MUMBAI: The government is in the process of formulating a Self-Financed Schools Bill, opening a window for organizations to set up private schools in the state.

The bill aims to give private organizations permission to start schools on a self-financed basis. The bill, which may be tabled during the monsoon session, will lay down norms that such schools will have to follow. These institutions will never get any grants from the government.

The need to formulate such an act stemmed from the fact that private organizations seek permission from the state to set up new schools. Though they agree on the criteria of not getting grants from the government, they later apply for the same. The state had been, in the past, dragged to court for denying grants to such schools. As a result, the school education department wants an act to be formulated, which will ensure that such cases do not come up every year.

If the private organizations agree to the norms, then the state will help provide them recognition and affiliation.

School education minister Rajendra Darda said, "The government has done a mapping of the state to find out the areas where there are no schools. We will ensure that every area in the state has at least one school. After the condition is fulfilled, if there are any parties interested in setting up schools in addition to the existing ones, they will have complete access. The act will lay down the norms to run such schools."

Darda said: "The private unaided schools at some point or the other come to the state seeking grants. Last year, one of the associations dragged the department to court for using the word 'permanent' unaided for them. We are hoping the new bill will ensure that such schools do not seek grants at a later stage."

The school education department claims that several schools propose to open new branches and, after getting permission from the government, seek grants. An official from the department said, "Eighty-five per cent of the money that the department has goes towards salary grants. The department is unable to give non-salary grants to schools for several years. To add to the budgetary woes of the department, schools that agree to run with unaided status seek grants."

In 2009, the government denied permission to more than 4,000 Marathi schools in the state. The idea of instituting the Self Finance Schools' Act was first floated then.