School education minister Vinod Tawde on Saturday announced that the state government would work out a way to grant aid to unaided schools across the state. This means, contrary to their status, unaided schools too will receive government aid. If this becomes a reality, thousands of teaching and non-teaching staff working in these unaided schools will get their salaries directly from the state government.
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With the Budget session of the Legislative Assembly under way, Tawde assured the managements and teachers of the unaided schools that they would receive financial aid from the state government soon. “Based on the available budgetary provisions, the state government will work out ways to provide financial aid to unaided schools. The government is putting in all efforts to save schools that have been suffering due to lack of funds,” Tawde said.
The state government had stopped giving permission for aided schools or extra divisions in existing schools, since 2001, and announced that all schools and additional divisions started thereafter would not get any grant and would be run on an unaided basis. At least 2,000 secondary and 2,000 primary schools had been given a go-ahead between 2001 and 2009 on one condition – they would never approach the state government for aid. From 2009, these schools had started pressuring the state to bring them at par with aided schools and sanction salary grants to them.
Hence in February 2015, the state had decided to provide financial assistance to ‘permanently unaided’ private schools and unaided private schools in the state if they fulfilled a list of criteria according to which they were graded. However, the matter had remained pending, prompting the school managements to protest.
Meanwhile, principals of unaided schools said Tawde’s assurance should be followed up. “Mere assurances are what we have been getting. The announcement sounds good, but when will it come on paper and be implemented?” said Prashant Redij, convenor and spokesperson of Maharashtra State Secondary and Higher Secondary School Principals’ Association.