The future of three lakh school students from the state is at risk, with around 3,115 schools, including 500 in Mumbai, to get notices to shut down as they have been operating without government approval since 2010.
On Wednesday, around 500 teachers from the schools observed a hunger strike at Azad Maidan to draw attention to the issue.
The private English medium schools received permission from a state committee to start classes in 2010. They were assured that they will get final approvals within two months, but these did not materialize as the state mandated fresh infrastructure norms for all schools on September 25, 2012, which these new institutions were not in compliance with.
The Maharashtra State English Medium Schools Association (MSEMSA) which represents the schools, claims these norms do not favour private English medium schools.
“One of the fresh rules stipulated requirement of a one-acre ground in urban areas and a three-acre area in rural parts of Maharashtra. Most schools have already purchased land, sometimes below the minimum requirement, and have started developing it.
It is impossible for us to expand now as the adjoining land is either owned by someone else or utilized for some other purpose,” said DS Lahane, state president of the association.
“If we do not get permission to run a school, what should we do with these kids? We have already collected money from them to improve our infrastructure,’’ said Amol Dahake, vice-president of the association.
Dahake added that they feel the state government has changed the rules to favour schools run as chain institutions. The association also claimed that many schools have given admissions to children in kindergarten and these students will have to be promoted to Class 1 in the academic year starting in June.