Chennai Corporation is set to permit private players to manage Chennai Schools to cope with a decline in the number of students.

Speaking at the Corporation Council meeting on Friday, Mayor Saidai Duraisamy said private players would be permitted to manage schools for three years. “The number of students in the 284 schools is 87,374. We do not have plans to merge schools having fewer students,” he said.

The Corporation will also create awareness about the welfare schemes in place at its schools to attract students.

The number of students in Chennai Schools was more than one lakh a few years ago. The resettlement of slums in many areas has resulted in reduction in the number.

A range of options under the PPP mode have already been discussed for optimum use of the civic body’s infrastructure. The PPP mode was suggested to cope with the challenge due to competition from private English-medium schools.

A total of 31 Chennai schools were merged in 2009 because of inadequate numbers in each class. The merged schools were found to be located near slums relocated to newly-developed tenements on the outskirts.

Staff protests

Corporation workers on Friday held a demonstration against a proposal for privatisation of conservancy operations in Valasaravakkam, Alandur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur zones. Over 280 members gathered at Ripon Buildings, demanding permanent jobs for “908 employees who have been working in the zones.”

“We will take the protest to the next level. We have already requested the government to help the workers,” said P. Srinivasulu, a representative of Red Flag Union.

The Corporation recently decided to launch the first phase of the privatisation project for waste collection, segregation and disposal without bins and transfer stations.