The HRD Ministry’s Draft National Education Policy 2019 has said that private schools will henceforth not use the word public in their names and this change will have to effected in their names in 3 years’ time. “Public” schools will only be those that are funded publicly, that is government schools (including schools run by any body of the state) and government-aided schools,” says the policy.
The policy proclaims that “private philanthropic schools have played and will continue to play an important role in India. These initiatives must be encouraged and not stifled by treating them with suspicion. Such schools too must be empowered and freed of the regulatory overload, and its resulting problems.” However it further goes on to say that “at the same time private operators who try to run schools as commercial enterprises, vitiating the basic public good nature of education, will be stopped.”
The policy has tried to differentiate between the good private schools that have been set up with broader vision of providing holistic learning and purely commercial ventures, that need to be curtailed.
The policy also raises concerns about the exploitation of parents and students from the arbitrary behaviour of some schools. “The educational outcomes of private schools also need to improve substantially, akin to the public schools. This is essential for the future of the millions of children that are being educated in private schools. The responsibility for such improvement rests with the private schools themselves, including their management and owners,” says the policy.
With regard to fees charged by the private schools the policy says that although the “private schools may be free to set their fees, but they shall not increase school fees (taken under any head) arbitrarily.” The policy elaborates that “reasonable increases that can stand public scrutiny due to increase in costs can be made (like inflation related). However, any substantial increases in the fees that cannot be anticipated and/or justified shall not be made, including under any ‘fees head’, like ‘school development’, ‘infrastructure fund’, etc.” Such schools must be not-for-profit entities.
–Prasoon Pant, delhincrnews.in