Corporate India and the central government on Saturday sealed a pact to start 2,500 model schools across the country in public private partnership (PPP) mode, giving a decisive push to a six-year-old plan to change the face of secondary education.
“The first set of schools under this new model would start from academic year 2015-16,” human resource development minister MM Pallam Raju said after a meeting with stakeholders and Planning Commission officials in New Delhi.
Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the agreement for these schools — Rashtriya Adarsh Vidyalayas — would be approved by an inter-ministerial panel on July 31.
Trusts, societies or not for profit entities set up by private companies will build and manage these senior secondary schools, one each in 2,500 blocks, that would serve as a benchmark of excellence for other schools.
Each school would have to admit 40% students from under-privileged sections of the society. The Centre will pay their schooling costs. The school authorities will be free to fix the fee for the remaining 60% students, but cannot admit more than 1,500 such students.
The Centre would reimburse about Rs 22,000 for each sponsored (under-privileged) student every year. This reimbursement would annually increase by 5%. The schools will have to be affiliated to CBSE to seek funds from the Centre.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the initiative to set up 6,000 model schools, one in each block, in his Independence Day address in 2007. Around 3,500 of these schools are being funded by the Centre and state governments on a 75:25 basis.
The remaining 2,500 were to be started under the PPP mode, but the plan got delayed due to differences between the government and private sector over the specifics of the model.
Ahluwalia said the differences were sorted out through a series of meetings in which concerns regarding financial viability of these schools, quick clearances and minimum government regulation were discussed.
There was consensus on setting up a separate body with private participation under the HRD ministry for overall regulation of these schools.