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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Government School Adoption Scheme

Sharing my views on the recent government decision to allow adoption of government schools by corporates.

According to the Right To Education Act 2009, four types of schools are recognized in India - (1) Schools owned and run by the Government; (2) Schools privately owned but fully or partially funded by the Government; (3) Minority and special schools; (4) Privately owned and self-funded schools.

The corporates and private players already have an option to invest in (and earn from) the education sector under category 2 and category 4 schools. The category 1 schools primarily ensure universal access to elementary education for every child in the country. The government is responsible for making all resources available in category 1 schools.

The recent decision by the state government seems to be the next phase after (i) Voluntary donations by individuals and companies, (ii) Public Private Partnerships, and (iii) Compulsory public contribution (Lok Sahabhag). This will further reduce the stake and say of the government in primary education, along with reducing financial provisions in the budget. This is expected to lead towards costlier (not necessarily better) infrastructure, discrimination and restricted access for children, especially from vulnerable backgrounds, higher dependence on the will and changing interests of the corporates, etc. If you check the contents of the Government Resolution dated 18th September 2023, the corporates are invited to supply everything from chalks to uniforms, textbooks to drinking water, and student counselling to teacher training.

The corporates will be benefitted by the principle of low investment for higher returns, as they will get the land and established school structure (including the goodwill and knowledge base) to project their contribution to the society at a multiplied proportion. For example, a corporate has to invest a huge amount for building and running a private school (under category 4 mentioned above). They can now distribute the same amount to multiple government schools, against which all those schools will be renamed after the corporates with the accountability still remaining with the government.

I feel that corporates should be allowed to build and run schools under category 2 and 4 under the principle of choice of the parents, and the government must run the schools under category 1 under the principle of rights of the people. People in power are trying to sell the public-owned systems for their own and corporates' benefit. This doesn't look good in the present and sounds scary for the future.

Mandar Shinde


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