Education in the dumps: Barely 50 per cent schools qualify for government aid

Pointing to a sorry state of affairs, the education department has found that a shocking percentage of private schools in the Marathwada region do not even have adequate facilities like a permanent school building

Even as the state makes efforts to support education in Maharashtra with government grants to private schools, the reality is, some of the schools are so inadequately equipped, that they do not even qualify for government aid. This is what the state education department realised during its ongoing inspections of primary and secondary schools across the state.

Many secondary schools in Marathwada did not even have basic facilities such as a permanent school building. File pic
Many secondary schools in Marathwada did not even have basic facilities such as a permanent school building. File pic

Pune deputy education director, Rajendra Godhane, recently completed inspection at 103 secondary schools in the Marathwada region, after they applied for educational grants. However, during his visit to schools in districts such as Beed, Osmanabad and Nanded, his three-member committee discovered that only half of the schools were eligible, while several of the remaining schools did not even have basic facilities.

“I have completed my task of inspecting secondary schools in the Marathwada region, and have just started inspecting primary schools. Prima facie, 50 per cent schools will be eligible for state grants,” Godhane said. In the remaining half, around 30 per cent schools had not maintained proper paperwork and records necessary for eligibility.

But, more shockingly, in the final 20 per cent of the schools, Godhane found glaring inadequacies. Some of the schools did not even have a permanent structure. “I came across three such schools which didn’t have any permanent infrastructure, and were running in temporary tin sheds. Despite flouting basic clauses that require them to have at least a school building, all these institutes had applied for government aid,” he said.

The education department recently relaxed its policies, and had called online proposals from private schools who wished to convert their status to a government-aided institute. The schools were asked to self-evaluate their eligibility before applying. However, after receiving several proposals from across the state, the government decided to crosscheck the actual state of affairs and launched an inspection drive which has been going on since September.

Sarjerav Jadhav, state education director (secondary), said, “The state had earlier asked schools to submit their proposals for grants through the online portal after self-evaluation. However, to verify the data they have provided, all deputy directors have been carrying out inspections.” If Godhane’s preliminary findings in Marathwada are any indication, though, the story could be much the same across the state, pointing to a worrying state of affairs.

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