It may sound strange,but after signing an agreement with the state that they will never knock at its doors for grant,the 4,000-odd permanently unaided schools are threatening to move court now,alleging the government is not providing them any help despite they having proved themselves eligible for support.
The state had stopped giving permission for aided schools in 2001 and announced that all schools allotted thereafter would not get any grant. Around 2,000 secondary and 2,000 primary schools were allowed between 2001 and 2009 primarily on one condition. They were allowed to set up schools only after they signed agreements that they will never approach us for aid. All of a sudden,from 2009,these schools started pressurising us to bring them on a par with aided schools, said N B Chavan,deputy director of school education,Mumbai.
Given their incessant demand and pressure from a section within the government,the school education department opened a window for providing them grants,but with stiff pre-conditions. They were asked to apply for a self-evaluation process to make themselves eligible for aid. However,of the 4,000 schools across the state,only 448 were found eligible. The situation in Mumbai is the worst with only three of 551 permanently unaided schools clearing the evaluation process in 2012. But the state government has neither accepted their proposals nor started disbursing grants.
The terms and conditions set by the government are unacceptable. It is impossible for any school to fulfil all the eligibility criteria. Vested interests are at play. If they are really interested in inducting more non-aided schools into the aided category,they have to revoke clauses mentioned in the November 2011 GR, said Prashant Redij,president,Maharashtra State Permanently Unaided Schools Action Committee (MSPUSAC). The GR relates to the norms the schools have to meet to be eligible for grants.
Redij said,As soon as the three schools in Mumbai were declared eligible,proposals were sent to the state education and sports department for getting the grants. The government refused to accept the proposal and told us it did not have enough money. If this continues,we will have to take legal action.
The three schools declared eligible in Mumbai are only secondary schools,two in west zone and one in the south zone.
Of the 4,000 schools,only 3,484 (1,399 primary and 2,085 secondary) are currently operational. The remaining shut closed down in 2009.
Following the GR,the Directorate of Education (DoE),secondary,initiated an online self-assessment process on their website. The November 2011 directive requires schools in tribal areas and rural pockets to score 65 per cent in the evaluation; for schools in other areas,it was 75 per cent. Few schools have been able to claim aid because of this criterion. We will press for deletion of certain conditions in the circular. They must at least disburse funds to schools declared eligible, said Ramnath Mote,BJP MLC from teachers constituency.