After several years of protests by teachers, the Maharashtra government has decided to aid private unaided schools, beginning with covering 20% of all administrative costs that will be disbursed as salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff.
The state cabinet on Tuesday also decided the aid will be gradually scaled up to 100% in five phases of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%, but has not yet specified a timeline for their implementation. Tuesday’s decision to grant the 20% aid will cost the exchequer Rs143 crore annually.
The grant will be disbursed to 1,628 primary and secondary private unaided schools that have qualified for aid according to the state’s norms. The government expects this will benefit 19,247 teachers and non-teaching staff.
“These are schools that had given an assurance to the state government on a stamp paper that they will remain permanently unaided. Most of these schools are providing a great service educating students from all corners of the state, but teachers aren’t getting a commensurate honorarium,” said Vinod Tawde, the state’s school and higher education minister.
While it was decided to remove the word ‘permanently unaided’ attached to these schools in 2009 itself, the state government did not act on actually making a provision to roll out aid to any of these schools, he said.
“However, there are some schools that are not functioning honestly and as per procedure, so we have decided to apply stringent evaluation norms to decide which of these can be given aid,” the BJP minister said.
The schools will be required to adopt a biometric attendance system for teachers and students. All schools will also have to submit Aadhar card details of every student to their district education officer for the state to determine the exact number of students.