The number of self-financed schools in Maharashtra could increase three-fold by next academic year. In the past three years, the numbers have jumped to 1,085 in 2015-16 from 779 in 2013-14.
In the coming years, 3,151 more schools could get clearance once they fulfil all the infrastructure norms stipulated in the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. This huge jump in their numbers has become a cause for concern among government-aided institutions.
Mumbai is likely to get 17 more unaided schools this year. While five are likely to come up in south Mumbai, western suburbs may have 12 more. Twelve schools reach in south Mumbai and the western suburbs will have additional classes.
Maharashtra Self-financed Schools (Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2012, came into force in January 2013 paving way for self-financed institutions. The act stipulated opening of schools, classes on the condition that they will not receive government grants.
Associations of aided schools have urged the government to put a check on the rising numbers. “If self-financed schools continue to grow in an indiscriminate manner, aided schools that offer affordable education might soon have to shut down,” said Anil Bornare, spokesperson of the state teachers association.
The government could draw up master plans to open such schools in areas that are short of schools, the association said. “The self-finance act was framed in the spirit of the RTE Act so that there is at least one school in every neighbourhood. But all the new schools are coming up in areas where already there are plenty of schools,” said Sudhir Paranjape, member of the Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti.
However, school managements said self-financed schools are growing as there is a huge demand. “We sought permission to open self-financed schools as we wanted to start international curriculums,” said Father Francis Swamy, joint-secretary, Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), which runs 150-odd schools in the city.
Swamy added that these schools will not affect aided schools. “Only students who can pay high fees will opt for the self-financed schools. There are still many who will continue to go to aided schools,” he said.
Not eligible for govt grants
* Maharashtra Self-financed Schools (Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2013 was enforced last year to make provisions to establish new schools and upgrading existing schools on self-financed basis
* It also makes suitable provisions with regard to requirement and norms for establishing such new school or up-gradation of existing school and for creating an endowment fund for this
* Under this Act, new institutions or new divisions to existing institutions have been allowed to be set up on a permanently-unaided basis. This means that they will not be eligible for any kind of government aid.
* These schools or classes charge a higher fee than the government aided ones.