Sword of closure hangs over 1,000-plus Haryana schools

The status of those institutions with temporary affiliation hangs in the balance as the State government imposes the minimum area criterion

Updated - April 01, 2023 07:42 pm IST

Published - March 26, 2023 01:16 am IST - Gurugram

Representational file image

Representational file image | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Rajbir Singh Gehlot, 55, has been running a private secondary school in Hisar’s Barwala for more than two decades on temporary affiliation to the Board of School Education Haryana.

However, it may soon be shut down along with 1,337 other private budget schools in the State that run on temporary affiliation, which is renewed on an annual basis.

These schools were granted temporary affiliation for the 2022-23 academic year on condition that the following year they meet the criteria for permanent affiliation to continue running.

With the government not relenting, the fate of these schools now hangs in the balance.

For poor students

The shutting of these budget schools, mostly catering to economically challenged families, would impact thousands of students and teachers.

Private School Sangh, Haryana president Satyawan Kundu said that most of these schools had permanent affiliation till the middle school level, but not for the secondary and senior secondary levels.

“Despite these schools meet the rest of the criteria for permanent affiliation, they do not have the minimum area required. With buildings coming up around these schools, there is no spare land left for them to expand to meet the minimum land requirement,” Mr. Kundu said.

Land requirement

He added, “Though successive governments have relaxed the norms and the present government too reduced the area required for primary schools from 500 square metres to 250 square metres, 1,338 schools are still not eligible for permanent affiliation.”

The president of the private schools body said that most of these institutions are situated in Bhiwani and Hisar districts.

Mr. Gehlot said the mushrooming of budget private schools in the State over the past four decades had helped bridge the yawning gap between the growing demand and lack of infrastructure for school education.

“I have permanent affiliation for my school till class VIII, but fall short by a few square hundred metres to meet the criterion for secondary school affiliation.

“If I am not allowed to open admissions for class IX and X, students for these classes would be forced to travel around 10-15 km to another budget school. Most of these schools cater to poor families in the vicinity, and closing them down would serve no purpose,” he added.

He demanded that the government allow affiliation to schools running prior to 2003, when the State education policy was first brought out.

For his part, State Education Minister Kanwar Pal has, in various media interactions, maintained that temporary affiliation to schools was extended for 2022-23 on the condition it would not be extended the next time and that the decision was taken after meetings with various associations.

He had also said that the students of the temporarily affiliated schools could shift to government or recognised private schools.

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