Bengal Govt considering to introduce PPP model in schools

IANSUpdated: Thursday, February 17, 2022, 01:44 PM IST
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In a recent development, the West Bengal government has formulated a draft policy where unused properties of the state education department can be handed over to the private entrepreneurs so that they can reuse it for the development of school education in the state.

"The school Education department has prepared a draft policy on setting up schools in the PPP (public-private-partnership) mode and sent it to other departments concerned for their views. Based on the feedback, the policy could be redrafted and placed before the state Cabinet for its approval," a senior official of the state Education department said.

According to the draft policy, the state government may, subject to availability, provide required land and buildings or infrastructure on certain terms and conditions.

The state will extend support to private partners in obtaining required clearances. The state can allow private partners to use classrooms and laboratories (of some state-run institutions) with the permission of the school Education department to make the model viable.

On the other hand, the private investors need to make necessary investments in buildings and other infrastructure and meet recurring and non-recurring expenses. The private investors will also have to hire high quality teachers and other staff.

The investors will have the liberty to get affiliation from boards of their choice.

The state government will only extend required support to secure the affiliation of their choice. The fees structure and the medium of instruction will be settled by the private investor and the state will have no role in it.

Though, the educational experts cry foul over the state government's proposal to allow private players fearing that the cost enhancement after privatisation will take the right to education away from the underprivileged and poor students.

However, according to senior government officials, the state Education department will allow this in schools which have been closed because of the unavailability of students.

According to a senior state Education official, from 2011 the state was forced to close 79 junior high and high schools in different parts of the state because of unavailability of students. The teachers in these schools were transferred to other schools.

"At present, these school compounds and buildings are lying vacant. We have received some proposals whether these properties can be used and we are thinking about that. Nothing will be finalised unless we receive clearance from the state Chief Minister," another official said.

"If private players can be brought in, these schools will have a future. The government will incorporate clauses like 30 per cent of admissions through its channels to ensure that students from weaker sections can also avail themselves of the benefits of quality education," the official added.

However, sources close to the development indicated that Karan Adani -- son of industrialist Gautam Adani during his recent meeting with Mamata Banerjee has shown interest in investing in the education system of the state. The Adani's came into education business in 2003 and have shown interest in opening schools in the state.

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