In an effort to improve its struggling public education system, India is turning to the private sector. The government is planning to open 2,500 privately managed schools over the next five years, the first such initiative in the country, according to LiveMint.com, a business website in India.
India’s human resource development ministry (HRD) is seeking applications from companies to open the schools under public-private partnerships, part of a larger plan to open 6,000 “model schools” beginning next school year. It’s a similar process to American charter schools, though in this case, it’s the federal government seeking out private operators for planned schools, rather than private operators applying to open new schools with a local government.
According to Livemint.com:
Private entities will procure the land, and design, develop, operate and manage the schools, the HRD ministry said in a document outlining the proposal. The government will offer a 25% infrastructure grant and the recurring cost of education for students sponsored by it.
Any company, even those without education experience, can apply to open a school, though there are some checks in place to ensure quality applicants, including a deposit system and permission for companies with education track records and graduation results to open multiple schools.
It will be interesting to see how these schools mirror similar privately managed public schools in the United States. Education Week has reported on Indian educators studying American charter schools to use as urban school models.
It will also be interesting to see if Western education companies become involved. K-12 education in India will be worth $29 billion by the end of the school year, the article notes. And, as Education Week has reported, American education companies such as K12 Inc. and Pearson have looked globally to provide content, technology, and virtual education to students.