State government under criticism over its proposal to increase private, unaided schools in Maharashtra
As per the proposal, companies established under the Companies Act, 2015 can set up schools in the state on a permanently unaided basis. The proposed amendment to it, will allow these self-financed private companies to open schools without seeking approval of the charity commissioner.pune Updated: Dec 07, 2017 15:18 IST
The state government’s proposal to allow setting up of private schools without the approval of charity commissioner has come under severe criticism at a time when Maharashtra is about to shutdown 1,300 zilla parishad schools.
Talks to amend the landmark Maharashtra Self-Financed Schools (Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2012, to allow an increase in private schools in the state, emerged at the winter session of the state legislature which began on Monday.
As per the proposal,companies established under the Companies Act, 2015 can set up schools in the state on a permanently unaided basis. The proposed amendment to it, will allowthese self-financed private companies to open schools without seeking approval of the charity commissioner.
Further, a registered trust can also start a school. These can be set up utilising less than 500 sq ft municipal area, in both urban and rural areas of the state.
Responding to the amendment proposal, students organisation Chhatra Bharati president Datta Dhage said,“This is an outright confirmation of the fear of privatisation of education that the current decision to shutdown zilla parishad schools had on students. How can the government just push the burden of quality education on private players now? If this is approved, it would mean great harm to students, especially those coming from financially backward classes.”
In condemnation of the amendment, social worker Priyanka Dabhade said,“The truth is if this amendment gets through, students from economically backward classes will be greatly impacted. This would even create a huge divide between these students and those who can afford the expensive private education. It is an outright violation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. With the number of ZP schools going down and the increase in private school facilitated by this proposal, students from rural areas and the disadvantaged sections of society will be deprived ofopportunities for higher education.”
However, some also refused to connect the two issues at hand.“Both the issues are not really connected. The government’s move was not to shutdown schools but to relocate the students to a bigger and better school. This makes sense, because then there will be an even distribution of resources. Further, it was clearly mentioned that students and teachers will not lose out in this,” said civic activist, Vijay Kumbhar.
“While the government’s move to relocate students involves rationalisationof resources, the proposed amendment to the act although not connected to the shutdown of 1,300, could be actually dangerous on several levels. It will create a conflict of interest in schools as profit making and ensuring student’s learning always do not go hand in hand. This will also create ground for segregation of students, with these schools vying for those with better grades only, while others with lesser opportunities to better their grades will lose out on education,” said Soumya Jain, founder and CEO of iTeach Schools.