Upcoming schools want govt to scrap half-acre campus rule

Upcoming schools want govt to scrap half-acre campus rule

Upcoming schools want govt to scrap half-acre campus rule
Upcoming schools want the state government to roll back a notification that mandates half-acre campuses for all primary and secondary educational institutions that are started after 2015. The notification was issued by the Department of Public Instruction last year.

The institutions have formed a body called ‘Proposed Primary and Secondary First to Fifth Schools’ Association’ and held a meeting in Bengaluru on Sunday. They resolved to submit a memorandum to Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait, seeking rollback of the notification.

The association’s president, A R Salik, argued that the rule would only burden the students. “Students may end up paying higher school fees because land prices in a city like Bengaluru are too high,” he told Deccan Herald. “It would be just impossible for schools to purchase such huge plots of land.”

Opening half-acre campuses will also be costlier in rural areas where land prices have gone up, he claimed. The association wants the government to modify the notification and allow upcoming schools to operate on 3,000-4,000-sq ft campuses.

Child rights activist Nagasimha G Rao, however, said the association’s demand would hamper the overall growth of a student. “We see most schools growing vertically. Children need to have enough play area. Nowadays, we hardly see any child excelling in sports. It is unethical of schools to say they will pass on the (monetary) burden to students,” he said.

Ajay Seth, Principal Secretary (Primary and Secondary Education), said the government had not yet taken a decision on the association’s request. “We are in the process of collecting information on how other states are dealing with the matter. There is a need to strike a balance,” he said. “Fee will certainly be high in schools that are asked to have half-acre campuses.” According to Seth, no new school had violated the notification since 2015.

The government had earlier mandated one-acre campuses for new schools, but brought down the condition to half-acre last year.