Government schools may soon be run by private companies

Mostly schools which are dilapidated or or having a poor strength will be thrown open to companies.

Mumbai: If state education minister Vinod Tawde has his way, government-run schools in the state will soon be handed over to big private companies to be run as “corporate schools”.

Mostly, schools that are dilapidated, poor or having less strength will be thrown open to companies. The schools will be run on a “no profit, no loss basis” and there will be zero interference by the state government in the school management’s decisions and activities.

However, all norms laid down by the government for running the schools will have to be followed. A bill to this effect has just been passed in the Nagpur session of the legislative assembly.

The schools will be run independently according to section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, which says that any company can establish an organisation for promoting commerce, art, science, education, religion or any other such option, provided profits or any other income is applied solely to promote the company’s objectives and no dividend is paid to the members. Mr Tawde said, “The companies will buy land, schools and run them on their own. They will be responsible for the schools’ teachers, students and other staff.

However, they should follow all guidelines formed by the government like any other school and it will be on a ‘no profit, no loss’ basis.”

To keep check whether these schools are run as per government guidelines, their books of accounts will be audited and proof will be submitted to the government to make sure that no profit is being made. “We won’t kill education or make education a business. However, this is a medium to improve education in the state,” said Mr Tawde.

The minister said that in the last three years, over 6,500 zilla parishad schools in Maharashtra have been adopted by companies either on CSR basis or simply to improve school education. “Instead of just CSR, we are planning to give away the entire school to be managed by these companies,” he said.

Like regular schools, these schools too will have parents-teachers’ associations once they start functioning. The PTA can complain to the District Fee Regulation Committee (DFRC) in case of any discrepancies.

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