Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bharti, Adani and IL&FS among educationalists qualified to set up PPP schools

Last year, HRD ministry had invited applications from private sector for construction of 459 schools
, and IL&FS and Technology are among 127 educational institutions that have been qualified by the development (HRD) ministry to partner the government in constructing 459 model under the public-private partnership mode.

The government will make the final selection through bidding later.

Last year, the ministry had invited applications from the private sector for the construction of 459 schools. According to the model, the government will fund the students it sponsors while the private sector players will acquire land, construct infrastructure and appoint staff and select students. The schools will have to admit 40% of the students from under-privileged sections of the society and the Centre will pay their schooling costs.

The schools are meanwhile allowed to fix the fee for the remaining 60% students, but cannot admit more than 1,500 such students according to the plan. The Central government will reimburse close to Rs.22,000 annually for each sponsored student. This reimbursement would annually increase by 5%.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the initiative to set up 6,000 model schools, one in each block, in his Independence Day address in 2007. The schools will be named Rashtriya Adarsh Vidyalaya and are to be affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

“The whole idea is that the government would spend what it would have otherwise spent on them in a public school. The same school can charge different fee for other students. The whole idea is that if you have to attract students for private schools, you have to maintain standard. In that case, other students will also benefit”, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of Planning commission, had earlier told Business Standard.

“The government will be paying from the existing budget and has not made any special separate budget for the same. We are not paying for the capital payment”, Ahluwalia added.

Last week, The Annual status of Education report (ASER), published by Delhi based NGO, Pratham had said that the quality of school children in the country remains poor despite major push from the government to improve education in the country. According to another report last year, states such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand continue to have poor school infrastructure and enrolment in the primary school level.

“At the all India level, for standard III, the proportion of children able to read at least a Std I level text has risen slightly from 38.8% in 2012 to 40.2% in 2013 and is driven by improvements among private school children. The proportion of children in Std. V who can read a Std. II level text remains the same since 2012 at 47%”, the ASER survey said.

India’s education sector has been widely criticized for the lack of imparting quality education and the HRD ministry has been looking at means including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to improve quality of learning in schools.

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