In Gujarat, the applications for secondary and higher secondary private schools have declined to their lowest level in the last ten years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and regulations, the applications have seen a steep plunge in the past two years.
According to government data, the state affiliating body for schools, Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB), has received 350 applications.
The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB)–the state’s affiliating body for schools–have received nearly 350 applications for the current academic session 2022-23. Compared to the 600 applications received during 2020–21, the number of applications from trusts and organisations to open new Class 10 and 12 private schools was at its lowest in 2021–22, at only 290.
“The new schools applications are few in the past two years as the condition of parents affected due to Covid-19 pandemic is still not stable. Hence, they prefer government schools over private ones–a trend more evident in the urban areas,” said Gujarat Self-Financed School Management Federation President Bharat Gajipara.
Since families cannot recuperate from the financial pressures caused by the epidemic, there is a “preference for government schools over private ones.” Both private schools and the approving authorities have agreed to the statement.
With the additional difficulty caused by the stricter criteria for new schools beginning in 2019, there is also “no scope for non-sustainable smaller private schools.”
Echoing similar views, GSHSEB Chairman A J Shah said, “Children are now going to government and grant-in-aid schools than private ones that can be attributed to the decline in numbers.” With the new regulations for 2019 applications to new private schools, Shah continued, it is now the survival of the fittest.
Nearly 37% of the 350 applications for new schools—including 140 for secondary and 210 for higher secondary—submitted this year have just gotten preliminary permission from GSHSEB and have already begun operating. Although it typically takes the board one and a half years from the time of application for a regular licence to be awarded, provisional approval or affiliation is given to the school to start operations and is effective for a year.