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Scrutiny
 
POLICY: BUDGET SCHOOL
No Frills Education
Private Budget Schools Should be Encouraged in a Big Way, as they can bring Quality Education of India’s Middle Class
Issue Date - 26/05/2011
 
Today, school fees (in decent schools) are beyond the middle class. Add to this, the ever increasing add-on costs viz. tuition, co-curricular activities, computers, projects, sports, development, et al and education becomes too expensive.

According to Jan Sjunnesson Rao, former Associate Director of School Choice Campaign, there are about 200,000 budget private schools catering to around 20 million children. Most of them cannot afford to go to expensive private schools and at the same time, they do not want to settle for the poor standards in most government schools (per month fees for private budget schools range from Rs.70-150 in rural areas to around Rs.350 in big cities). They are mostly centred in rural and semi urban areas and of course in slums of big cities. The government has also recognized the virtue of privately run budget schools. They are planning to build 6000 model schools, out of which 2,500 would be built through PPPs. Following nations like Sweden, Chile, Columbia, Bangladesh, US & UK, the government has started funding students in budget schools with Education Vouchers. In East Delhi’s slums, there are more private budget schools (28%) to government schools (27%) and in the squalor areas of Hyderabad, 64% of children go to budget schools.

In a nation where budget airlines have been a blessing for the middle class, budget schools can do wonders too! Their focus should be quality education & soft skill training; keeping frills like swimming pool, football ground, dance classes, et al at bay. The government should aid budding entrepreneurs in launching more such schools and do our education statistics a great favour.

 

Sayan Ghosh           

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