The Directorate of Matriculation Schools has received 56 applications from persons interested in starting a new school in the State for the coming academic year. This is about half the number of applications it has been receiving in the last few years.
In the last academic year, the Directorate received nearly 112 applications and 100-odd were granted permission to open a school.
Officials say the response to open new schools is less this year.
In some districts such as Dharmapuri, Salem, Krishnagiri, Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari and Chennai, no application was received. However, in Chennai the trend is no surprise as the Directorate does not generally receive applications from the district.
Educationists and senior officials from the School Education Department say a school affiliated to the CBSE is increasingly being preferred by most parents for many reasons.
There is a feeling among some schools and parents that the standard in Matriculation syllabus has come down, particularly after the introduction of ‘Samacheer Kalvi'. Also, it is compulsory to learn Tamil in Matriculation Schools, said a senior official.
Many school heads also think the fee structure stipulated on private educational institutions by the Private Schools Fee Determination Committee does not give a free hand for schools to decide their own fee structure.
“One reason why many have not have applied is the cost of land has gone up. In rural areas, an interested person must have three acres to start a school. If the interested parties do not meet the requirement, the application is rejected,” says K. Devarajan, Director of Matriculation Schools.
Mr. Devarajan says quite a number of schools run without its required strength and the nearly 4,000 matriculation schools are enough for the state.
It is not necessary that the request made by every applicant is accepted by the Directorate.
There is different criterion that has to be followed to get recognition.
For 2011-12, so far only one order has been issued and the others are under review.
In Corporation limits, one needs to have six grounds to start a school. With RTE Act, we need to get more stringent. It says no conditions can be laid to grant recognition to schools, Mr. Devarajan adds.
Those planning to start a school or branch out say there is lot of work involved in starting a school, but there is less hassle starting a CBSE school.
“For instance, up to class VIII CBSE recognition is not mandatory to start a school, whereas in Matriculation one has to get an NOC and then go for recognition before even starting a primary school,” said N. Vijayan, principal and correspondent of Zion Matriculation School.