Corporate and private individuals could invest in public school education with the government providing for a matching contribution.
The idea born during discussions on the 12th five year plan and being considered by the government would mean setting up of an independent education fund to receive funds from industry, philanthropy and other sources. The government will provide equal amount of money received from private sector.
It has been proposed that the fund will be managed by a board having representatives from the government and non-government sectors. “Proposals received would be subject to independent evaluation and agencies through an open and transparent system,” the minutes of the plan panel’s sub-group on elementary education said.
The new fund would primarily work for innovation in school education with an aim to develop concept and implement them in different parts of the country as per local requirements. The money could also be utilized for effective monitoring of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.
Dr Rukmini Banerjee of NGO Pratham said that there is no systematic or enduring mechanism for the civil society organizations to contribute towards quality education and the partnerships have been relatively “short term and ad-hoc”.
“The Right to Education (RTE) provides an opportunity for evolving new partnerships,” she said. The watershed law provides for innovation fund to improve quality of education around the country especially 150 educationally backward districts. “There should be revision of guidelines to utilize expertise in the private sector,” she said.
Another educationist Vinod Raina emphasized on the need to institutionalise partnerships with NGOs and suggested setting up a Council for People’s Parternship with representation from the government and the civil society to implement programmes on the ground to be provided by the government.
After the detailed discussion on the new fund, the HRD ministry has set up a task force to work on the framework of the institutionalized partnership with the civil society group and corporate sector.