Schools in the state that have been scrimping and saving to buy chalks and dusters (and there are many) ever since the state government stopped its non-salary grants in 2004, finally have cause for relief.
The state government has finally decided to release non-salary grants for aided schools the next academic year onwards, which schools can use to pay for maintenance, stationery, electricity bills and the like.
The government has decided to release Rs 266 crore to 23,000 aided primary and secondary schools in the state from April 1. The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Schools in the city have welcomed the grant with relief, saying that it has been an uphill task maintaining schools without the non-salary grants that the government used to offer them till 2004.
Till 2004, every aided school, whether primary, upper primary or secondary, used to get a non-salary grant, calculated at 12 per cent of the salary grant.
School Education Minister Rajendra Darda, said, “The government stopped giving non-salary grants to schools after 2004. In 2008, the government formed a cabinet sub-committee to consider the matter. The sub-committee reported that five per cent of salary grant should be given to schools. The file kept moving, and meanwhile the ministers changed. I had been pushing it for the last six months, and finally on Wednesday, the government agreed to give a 5 per cent non-salary grant to schools. For example, if the salary grant of a school is Rs 1 crore then a non-salary grant of Rs 5 lakh will be given.”
J S Saharia, principal secretary for school education, said, “In the state there are 23,000 aided schools and Rs 266 crores will be released
for them as non-salary grant next year.”
Reacting to the development, aided schools in the city said that the grant came as a relief, as their trusts have been struggling to pay for maintenance of the schools.
Sabina Zaveri, principal and convenor of South Mumbai Schools in the south ward, said, “There are many schools that do not have funds for proper maintenance, or even for chalk boxes in their classrooms, because their trusts may not be that financially strong. Hence, if the government releases this non-salary grant next year, it will bring great relief to many schools.”
Echoing Zaveri’s sentiments, Amol Dhamdhere, secretary of the Indian Education Society, said, “We welcome the government’s move. However, we wonder if the government, which was not able to give us our non-salary grant for so long, will suddenly be able to pay us Rs 10,000 for every child admitted under the 25 per cent quota for weaker sections.”
The total number of aided schools in the state
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