Friday, April 19, 2013

RTE-scared schools put expansion plans on hold

RTE-scared schools put expansion plans on hold

Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012, 8:34 IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
These Acts have forced schools to hit the brakes on their expansion plans and now even foreign companies are hesitating in collaborating with Indian schools, say consultants.
City schools are caught between a rock and a hard place. 
After the implementation of new Acts, such as the Right to Education (RTE) Act and School Fee Regulation Act, running a school is no longer a “lucrative’’ business, rue managements.
These Acts have forced schools to hit the brakes on their expansion plans and now even foreign companies are hesitating in collaborating with Indian schools, say consultants.
Among those who have put their expansion plans on hold for now is the Children’s Academy Group of Schools.
“On one hand the government expects schools to provide free education to 25% students, and on the other hand we cannot hike fees. In such a situation, it is no longer feasible to run schools. Where  will the funds come from?’’ asks Rohan Bhat, chairperson, Children’s Academy Group of Schools.
“Initially, we were planning to expand in a few more places, but looking at the current atmosphere, we have decided to put those plans on hold.’’
Even foreign companies are thinking twice before collaborating with Indian schools. 
Two international residential or boarding schools were to collaborate with a British school in the country. But soon after the Supreme Court judgment in April upholding the RTE Act, even union HRD minister Kapil Sibal had made a statement that they will make  RTE mandatory in residential schools and minority schools.
Subsequently, the British school lost interest in the project. ‘’The promoters of the school were reluctant as they were unsure of the future of school education in India. Similarly, a few more schools have also withdrawn their expansion plans,’’ says Raj Mohindra, managing director of a private consultancy that helps international schools set up in India.
According to Mohindra, the reason for the slow behind this is that schools fear increasing interference from the bureaucrats as the schools have to show their books to them.
“Earlier it was only the school inspector who could interfere in school matters. But now School Fee Regulation Act and provisions of the RTE Act, such as the school management committee, and other such laws will have an impact on the running of schools. Managements fear political and bureaucratic interference,’’ he said.
Stakeholders in private education are now forming an all-India foundation to protect private education in the country, adds Mohindra. “We need to find solutions to such problems else, the RTE impact will lead to no perpetuity. Schools cannot rely on corporate for funds.’’
However, a few schools are going ahead with their expansions by getting the parents on their side.
Swati Popat Vats, director of Podar Jumbo Kids, says: “We are not putting any of our plans on hold. We realised that the solution lies in making the parents understand the problems and they are willing to co-operate with us for a quality education. Other schools should do the same.’’

No comments:

Post a Comment