Model schools for backward blocks on Centre table

Read more below

By CHARU SUDAN KASTURI in Delhi
  • Published 29.10.08
  •  

New Delhi, Oct. 29: Students in 2,500 of India’s most educationally backward blocks are set to receive a unique Diwali gift — model schools aimed at setting standards for others in their region.

The plan to build the schools, a part of India’s largest ever school building mission, is scheduled to come up in the Union cabinet’s discussions tomorrow, top government officials revealed.

The cabinet is expected to clear the proposal tomorrow, paving the way for the plan’s implementation, the sources said.

Under the Eleventh Five Year Plan, the government has announced plans to build 6,000 model schools — one per block across the country. A total of Rs 12,750 crore has been allocated for the project.

The blueprint for the model schools divides the 6,000 schools into three categories — 2,500 are to be built by the central and state governments together, another 2,500 are to be built in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, while the remaining 1,000 are to be funded by the Centre alone. Of these 1,000, 500 are planned to be built as Kendriya Vidyalayas, and the rest as Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Never before has the Centre undertaken such a massive school building mission. A total of 994 Kendriya Vidyalayas have been built in four decades after they were first envisaged.

But the human resource development ministry faces several obstacles in the implementation of the plan, sources said.

The government is struggling to find industry partners willing to meet its conditions in building the PPP mode schools, though over the past two months a couple of companies working in education have shown interest, an official said.

“The Kendriya Vidyalayas and the Navodaya Vidyalayas are stuck because they require more money than the other model schools, and there is a financial shortage at the moment,” the official said.

The 2,500 schools that are to be jointly built by the Centre and the state governments have however been approved by different wings of the government in principle, another official said.

“So while we cannot yet present to the cabinet the remaining 3,500 schools, these 2,500 should be cleared by the ministers as there is already a consensus on the plan,” the official said.

The UPA government has identified 2,500 blocks as the most educationally backward — blocks where the enrolment ratio in schools is poorer than the national average.

Some of the 2,500 model schools that may be cleared by the cabinet tomorrow are to have hostels, especially for girls, sources said.