Maharashtra: Reliance Likely to Adopt 5,000 Govt Schools

Maharashtra: Reliance Likely to Adopt 5,000 Govt Schools

The development comes after Maharashtra introduced a scheme to let philanthropists and businesses adopt government schools for a period of five or 10 years by pledging to spend anywhere between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 3 crore on these institutes

Musab QaziUpdated: Monday, December 04, 2023, 10:48 AM IST
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Maharashtra School Education Minister Deepak Kesarkar | Sanjay Tambe

A city-based multinational conglomerate is looking to adopt 5,000 government-run schools in the state, school education minister Deepak Kesarkar said on Saturday. 

Sources have told FPJ that the business house referred to by the minister is likely Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited. The schools are expected to be adopted by the corporate house's charity arm Reliance Foundation.

Kesarkar said that the business group expressed its willingness to look after at least one school at a school centre, which consists of around 8-10 institutes, to the chief minister Eknath Shinde. If materialised, the move will see Reliance spending a substantial amount on improving the infrastructure and providing educational facilities at these schools over the next few years. 

Govt's scheme

The development comes after Maharashtra introduced a scheme to let philanthropists and businesses adopt government schools for a period of five or 10 years by pledging to spend anywhere between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 3 crore on these institutes. In this period, the guardian organisation will be able to associate their name with their adopted schools. The programme is aimed at streamlining corporate social responsibility (CSR) donations on educational causes.

The minister said that the state has an immense potential for attracting private philanthropy. "Every year, business houses spend thousands of crores on education and health. The state, on the other hand, has limited resources. While the district administration allocates money to upgrade schools, it's not enough," said Kesarkar.

According to the scheme, which was introduced in September, the guardian organisations and persons won't be able to make monetary donations and can only provide help in the form of goods and services, including basic amenities (water tanks, toilets, protection wall), electric appliances, educational resources (boards, books and desks), digital equipment (computers, tablets, smart TVs), healthcare facilities and counselling and training to students and teachers.

Donors will not be allowed to interfere in management of schools

The government has, however, clarified that the donors won't be allowed to interfere in the management of these schools. The donations will be unconditional and won't create any obligations on the school management and the donors won't be able to claim any ownership of the articles provided by them but will have to arrange for their periodic maintenance, said the government resolution about the programme.

Some educationists have expressed apprehension about the programme. They believe believes that it will allow the government to withdraw from the education sector while exacerbating its disparity. They are also concerned about sustainability of the scheme, pointing out the past instances where donated educational equipment were left unused as the teachers weren't trained to utilise them.

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