Andhra Pradesh Private Educational Institutions Grant-in-aid (Regulation) Act, 1988, Act No. 22 of 1988 was introduced as a measure to increase the literacy rate in the state. With the ordinance, many private educational institutions received grants to improve their infrastructure and pay the salaries of Teaching and Non-Teaching staff. For decades aided schools and colleges have facilitated access to education to thousands of students hailing from Lower economic strata and remote locations. As of 2021 more than 2300 schools and 700 have been receiving grants from the government and employ more than 10000 staff. While the institutions have been receiving grants the promotions for faculty had halted years ago causing much dissent in the teaching staff.
Many have started to wonder if the government is facing a lack of funds as the state cited subsection 46 in the Andhra Pradesh Education Act 1988 as the section states that the government can withdraw grants towards any educational institution in regard to the funds at the disposal of the government. While the clause does permit the withdrawal of grants it does protect the institutions from unethical conduct by incorporating several clauses which explicitly state the criteria to be met in order to withdraw the grants.
Most of the aided schools and colleges started out as private institutions or were funded by certain groups. They were established in locations that lacked public schools. Public schools were not established in these regions due to their presence. Now with the withdrawal of grants the schools will either have to convert to private institutions or close altogether which makes education inaccessible to hundreds of students.
In a press conference, the education ministry called the Aided institutions a scam and that the closure was long due. However many MLA’s from the ruling party have protested against this ordinance which further shows that the state government has not garnered enough support from its own members. This only shows the division of the state government on its policies.
The only parties in schools who are currently welcoming the state government’s current ordinance are the faculty in the aided institutions and this can be attributed to the fact that the promotions have been withheld for these faculty for quite some years but the same faculty are expressing doubts as to how the government will determine their seniority as they haven’t been promoted in several years but have been working dutifully all this time.
With the withdrawal of grants thousands of students will find it difficult to pay the regular fee for education and those who work with their parents will find it even more so difficult to travel for hours a day just to attend school. while the state government is citing the low enrollment and misuse of funds it has to yet provide a means of assurance to the students who’s education solely depends on the aided institutions.