Millennium Post

Non-performing govt schools should be handed over to private players

New Delhi: In an attempt to improve the quality of education in the country, the government's think tank — Niti Aayog — in its recently released report has recommended that all underperforming government schools should be handed over to private players under the public private partnership (PPP) model.
As per the report, the number of government schools is increasing, but enrollment in those schools is decreasing, while the trend is totally different in private schools as enrollment in private schools has increased drastically in recent years.
"Between 2010 and 2014, about 13,500 government schools have been added but total enrollment in them fell by 1.13 crore. In the same period enrollment in private school rose by 1.85 crore," said Niti Aayog in its report titled 'Three Year Action Agenda, 2017-18 to 2019-20'.
The report also highlighted that even though there is a manifold increase in the government spending on public schools, results are very disappointing. "There are about 1 lakh such schools which have less than 20 students enrolled in it and the government spending on every teacher's salary is Rs 9,440. The government is spending Rs 80,000 every year on every single child in such schools," the report said.
The report, which is part of the vision document of Niti Aayog, also stated that there are about 3.70 lakh such schools with less than 50 student enrollment and the government spending on the teachers' salary in all such schools is Rs 41,630 crore annually. The annual spending on every student is Rs 40,800 in all 3.70 lakh such schools.
The think tank also recommended setting up of a working group with the participation of states to explore and pilot other bolder experiments by interested states. These could include education vouchers and local government led purchasing of schooling services.
"PPP models could also be explored where the private sector adopts government schools while being publicly funded on a per child basis. This latter instrumentality may provide a solution to the problems of schools that have hollowed and are incurring massive expenditures per pupil," the Aayog said in its report.
Suggesting corrective measures to improve deteriorating education system, the think tank said, "The government must focus on school leadership, administrative tenure, basic monitoring by administrators to resolve school level issues such as teacher absenteeism, and transparency in teacher appointments and postings."
"In terms of regulation, states should regulate only based on outcomes and transparency requirements, not through regulating inputs like library, fees and playground. Both private and government schools should be regulated in the same way," the Aayog stated.
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