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The Karnataka Learning Partnership was formed as a framework for nonprofits, corporations, academic institutions, and citizens to get involved in improving government schools in Karnataka. Our work has touched thousands of children in the state.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

HRD Ministry Proposes Public-Private-Partnership in Government School System

Via The Times of India
For lakhs of children studying in government schools across the country, here is some cheering news.

In a historic move, HRD ministry has proposed Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) in government school system. Simply put, children in government schools could study in fully equipped classrooms. Interestingly, all benefits for the children — free uniforms, midday meal and free textbooks — will continue to be extended under the PPP model. Just that, the government control will be limited to monitoring.

“There is a large unfulfilled need for quality education in the secondary education sector. It does not appear feasible for state governments to fill this gap in the short term due to constraints on budget and capacity. PPP emerges as a viable alternative to improve access to quality school education while ensuring equity and social justice. We also felt quality of education can be significantly enhanced as there will be accountability,’’ official sources told TOI.

The HRD ministry believes that a public-private participation (PPP) model in government schools will benefit the students. There is a perception that the accountability of teachers in private schools is much higher compared to government schools because of the inherent structure of management. That is why even lowincome families make their best effort to send children to private schools by paying a much higher fee compared to government schools which have nominal or no fee.

Secondly, many state governments have stopped opening high schools in the last decade due to acute financial constraints. The private schools have stepped in to bridge this gap. But those in rural and interior areas lack in quality.

Thirdly, the processes for construction of school building, recruitment and deployment of teachers, filling up of vacancies take unduly long time in the government set up. The private sector will be able to enhance efficiency in these areas and can bring professionalism into the system.

Fourthly, involvement of private sector would generate healthy competition among many private parties and this would lower cost and improve standards.

The ministry has worked out two models: Basic model where the private partner has the responsibility only for providing building infrastructure and its maintenance and has no role to play in providing educational services. Therefore, these schools are purely government schools except for the fact that the schools are not built by government agencies nor is government fund used for construction. “This is aimed at getting over budget constraint and getting infrastructure ready in a short period of time,’’ sources said.

The second method is the ‘Whole School Management’ where the private partner constructs school buildings, appoints staff and manages educational services against payment on per capita basis for the number of students sponsored by the government.

All new government schools sanctioned will have a PPP component for provision of physical infrastructure. The land would belong to government. A private partner would be selected through competitive bidding to construct school building alongwith associated facilities like electricity, water and sewage.

The private sector will maintain the infrastructure during the contract period which would usually be of 20 to 30 years duration. An agreement is entered into between the government and the private partner to deliver the agreed services. The private partner is responsible for both construction and operation. Thus, the capital cost is fully borne by the private partner.

Once the school starts running, the recurring cost of students sponsored by the government is reimbursed by the government. The private partner has full autonomy to recruit its staff and for determining their service conditions and also for the smooth running of the school.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : Santosh Korthiwada

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