Reactions after decision to hand over 100 Tripura schools to private

Insight Online News

Agartala, Dec 8 : Reaction among the teachers, guardians and opposition parties sparked with the decision of the Tripura government to hand over 100 state-run high and higher secondary schools to private organisations intending to convert them to ‘Vidyajyoti School’ status.

The education minister Ratan Lal Nath argued that these schools will be equipped with state of the art facilities for providing quality education. As many as 20 NGOs working in the education sector would be entrusted with responsibility for upgrading the teaching skill of teachers and learning skills of students besides suggesting the development of new and modern infrastructure.

According to a notification, all the English medium government-run schools including all those located in sub-divisional headquarters will be converted, which included the renowned and best schools of Tripura like Shishu Bihar H S School, U K Academy English medium, Henry Derozio Academy and Khudiram Basu English medium school.

Earlier, the state government had also handed over as many as 147 schools to private hands including NGOs from outside the state and 20 to ISKCON mission. The department had taken a decision to utilise the infrastructure of rural schools where the number of students is zero or less for improving the quality of education, the education minister said.

Justifying the move, he said there are 4200 schools in Tripura including 2600 run by the state government. There are three government-run schools with no students; three schools with only one student each, one school with two students and another two schools with only three students. Similarly, in ADC, four schools have no students, two schools have one student each, and another four schools have only two students each.

As the schools are facing a shortage of students for a long time, the state government has now decided to utilise the infrastructure of such schools and restart them in a new spirit with private participation aiming to create a centre of education excellence in rural areas, a new approach in learning and introducing computer and activity-based education system, Nath contemplated.

“However, the private educational organisations need to have eligibility to run at least two CBSE affiliated schools with at least 1500 students or in case of one school, the number of students must be at least 1000 anywhere in the country. The government would offer handsome discounts in case of providing land or infrastructure in lease to such private organisations based on the marks of the students,” Nath stated.

The Investment Facilitation Committee headed by the Chief Secretary would examine the proposal of the organisations and if the committee gives approval, the government would take a decision on handing over infrastructures or land in lease after three levels of scrutiny.

The state government would bear the expenditures for providing books, uniforms and other study materials to the students in case of handing over schools to private organisations. In case of admission, 25 per cent seats of such schools would be reserved for the economically backward students and the government would bear the expenditure for their study, he added.

However, opposition CPI-M criticised the move of the state government and alleged that in the name of quality education a new form of elitism will come into force at the cost of the desired uniformity of standard in school education, which will widen the disparity. The former education minister and CPI-M MLA Tapan Chakraborty alleged that the government is saying something but the notification speaks differently.

“How can the government hand over the century-old best schools of Agartala to private parties, which have no dearth of teachers and students. The ruling BJP has been snatching the right of free and compulsory education of the meritorious students in government schools by such a move of privatisation. Since all best performing schools are going to hand off private parties, the government will remain with the less performing schools – meaning if anyone wants to study in the best school he/she has to pay,” Chakraborty observed.


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