Budget private schools, which serve children from low-income families, face a threat of closure under the right to education (RTE) act 2010.
According to a National Independent Schools Alliance report, since 2011, 19,414 schools have been shut or issued notices in 17 sates, affecting about 3,494,520 students. The RTE act requires private schools to fulfil norms related to infrastructure and teachers' salaries in order to be recognised.
"Budget private schools (BPS) need to get re-recognised under RTE norms. They were first recognised under state parameters and now they have to comply with RTE norms," says Kulbhushan Sharma, who owns one such school in Haryana. He claimed that though the RTE guaran tees free education to all, Kendriya Vidyalayas charge fees from students. According to author Gurcharan Das, the law has led to increased enrolment but education is still a far-fetched idea for children in the country. "While RTE is aimed at providing quality education, to the schools, sadly, the objective of schooling has been limited to mid-day meals and getting free uniforms," he said, while inaugurating a coffee-table book, Boondein, which reflects stories of hope from such schools in India.
Parth J Shah, founder president, Centre for Civil Society, said that the BPS must not be neglected.