To make it easier for new schools to begin operations from this academic year itself, governor K Sankaranarayanan approved major changes in the rules for setting up self-financed schools on Wednesday.
The Maharashtra Self financed Schools (Establishment and Regulation) Act, which came into force in January, governs the opening new schools in Maharashtra which will be permanently nonaided.
As of now, 2,417 schools have received approvals under the new Act.
Some stringent provisions of the Act required applicants to meet infrastructure parameters stipulated by the Right to Education Act, 2009 — such as a minimum requirement of a half-acre plot of land in urban areas and an endowment fund of Rs3 to Rs9 lakh — and were considered “unrealistic”.
The schools were also required to submit documents relating to purchase or renting of land, presence of a school building etc. at the time of application.
But now, in case the schools have not yet met one or two parameters, they can still get the approval and meet the requirements after the nod.
Moreover, schools that have less than a half-acre plot will be able to get approval, provided they acquire more land later.
Sarjerao Jadhav, director for education, said, “Schools will now be able to start this academic year, instead of waiting to acquire all the stipulated infrastructure.”
Several associations had complained that meeting these norms before the schools were even given the approval was too strict since the owners would incur huge losses if their proposal was rejected.
“We have relaxed these parameters because they were too stringent for all schools to meet. Schools will be allowed to submit documents related to infrastructure after they receive the approval of the state government,” Jadhav said.
However, some education activists feel the relaxation of rules is a tactic to appease certain politicians.
“Many of the schools backed by politicians were not meeting the infrastructure norms and hence were not given approvals.
These changes have been made so that these schools can start operating,” said an owner who has also opened a selffinanced school.