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Home >Education >News >ITC, IL&FS Education, others in shortlist for opening model schools

New Delhi: The government has short-listed 65 private organizations, including ITC Ltd and IL&FS Education and Technology Services Ltd, to open so-called model schools.

The move, coming after four years of deliberations, is a crucial first step towards partnering with private organizations to open schools, the human resource development (HRD) ministry said.

“This is a key decision and tells that we have completed due diligence in selecting private partners. It’s the beginning of a long pending work which is good for the school sector," said an HRD ministry official, requesting anonymity.

The ministry has issued a notification naming short-listed organizations that includes private firms, education trusts, foundations of corporate houses and non-government organizations. Among these are Zee Learn Ltd, Everonn Education Ltd, Educomp Solutions Ltd, Jindal Education and Welfare Society, and Core Education and Technologies Ltd.

The ministry is set to issue fresh request for qualification documents to involve more private entities in the scheme, it said in its notice, which Mint has reviewed.

R.C.M. Reddy, managing director and chief executive of IL&FS Education, said government partnering with private entities will “create higher delivery capacity" in the school sector.

“We as a group feel that PPP (public-private partnership) in education is equally important, the way it is in power or road sectors," Reddy said.

With both the HRD ministry and the Planning Commission approving the framework document on model schools, Reddy said he expects the scheme to pick up quickly.

The ministry and the planning body met several industry leaders including ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd chairman R.C. Bhargava in September to discuss the scheme and persuade them to participate in the schools sector.

India’s school segment was valued at $44 billion ( 2.4 trillion) in 2011 and is expected to reach $144 billion by 2020, according to consulting firm Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

Under the model school scheme, the government aims to set up 6,000 model schools akin to Kendriya Vidyalayas (Central Schools). Of these, 2,500 will be set up with private partnership and the rest by the government with the support of state governments. While the government will set up these model schools in economically backward areas, the PPP schools will come up in richer blocks.

“The principal objective of this scheme is to set up... schools, for providing access to quality education to the rural children," another HRD ministry document.

For a pilot phase, the government has shortlisted 39 blocks where these schools will come up.

Private entities will procure the land, and design, develop, operate and manage the schools. The government will offer a 25% infrastructure grant and the recurring cost of education for students sponsored by it, according to the ministry.

Under the Right to Education Act that promotes compulsory schooling, at least 25% of a school’s students can belong to underprivileged families and are entitled to free education.

The government will pay for their schooling.

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