By Parvathy V K
An educated and enlightened generation shall be the greatest asset of any nation. It is with this vision that the Government of India is giving much importance to the policies related to educational sector. The Right to Education Act which has been implemented and basic education has been included under the fundamental rights are the results of these reforms. Latest among them is the plans for setting up schools under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Recently, the HRD Minister has announced their plans for setting up 2500 model schools under PPP by 2015-16 academic year. On a pilot basis, fifty such schools shall be set up in non educationally backward areas of nine states. Big corporate business houses such as ITC, Bharati, Educomp etc Shall be partnering with the Government to set up these model schools. Private players will invest in land; buildings etc and they will manage the schools. Under this model minimum 40% of the students will not have to pay the fees. The centre would pay operational cost for teaching these students which is same as the operational cost for the students at Kendriya Vidyalayas. The operational cost for a student in a year in Kendriya Vidyalayas is RS. 21000.
According to the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, PPP is often described as a private investment where two parties comprising Government as well as a private sector undertaking form a partnership. Though PPP model has been experimented and found successful in many other areas in the economy, we cannot reach into a conclusion from this because, educational sector is a unique sector which needs special care and attention. In India schools generally fall under three categories: Schools run by Government/Local authorities, aided private management schools, unaided schools. The merits and demerits of each of these classes ended up in the development of this new model-PPP model. Private sector is considered to be the synonym of quality, good governance, expertise and efficiency. Many of the features which cannot be possessed by the government schools can be maintained by a private school. But, the fees charged by the private schools may not be affordable to all classes of people. Hence, the features indicated earlier will be un accessible to the marginalised section of the society. Educational inclusion, which is quite essential for the development of marginalised communities, can be achieved only by providing affordable and accessible education. Public Private Partnership is formed with the objective of blending these two features to a common end and thereby attains the vision of educational inclusion.
Recently in Government schools we can see private participation mostly on a one-time basis. It can be seen as an engagement in computer education, mid day meal program or sports activities etc. The outsourcing of these activities to private players may not be affordable at all circumstances. Here comes the importance of PPP model schools where at the same time income and inclusiveness are measured with a common scale. PPP model help to set up more number of schools by partnering in capital expenditure and the functional efficiency, organisational hierarchy and accountability of a private set up make it different from other school categories. Though there can be drawbacks and difficulties for this model, in our Indian set up it is much suitable and adaptable. Hence, Let us wait and see the performance of the pilot schools and then welcome the new model schools for our kids.
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