NRI moolah: Andhra's strategy to get funding for state govt schools

The AP govt is promising to name schools after NRIs
NRI moolah: Andhra's strategy to get funding for state govt schools
NRI moolah: Andhra's strategy to get funding for state govt schools

In a move that could signal a significant step in the Andhra Pradesh government’s public-private partnership model, the state has decided to name government schools and classrooms after NRIs who come forward to adopt them. 

According to the Times of India, Srinivasa Rao told mediapersons on Wednesday that the government will name the state’s educational institutions and classrooms after NRIs, on the condition that they donate a substantial amount for creation of infrastructure in these schools.

When asked about reimbursement of tuition fees, he said that the state government will introduce a biometric authentication system for students to extend them the benefits of the said proposal.

And this is not the first time it’s happening. In 2010, the TN government too had launched a similar scheme to finance infrastructure in government schools in the state, through public-private partnerships with domestic and overseas institutions.

The then principal secretary of Education M. Kutralingam signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the state government and the Tamil Nadu Foundation (TNF) -a Tamil association based in the United States.

As per the MoU, the foundation would regularly invest funds for school infrastructure projects in various districts. 

The TN government and TNF had formulated a public-private partnership framework under which ‘anybody can adopt a school for these purposes i.e. to provide classrooms, furniture, computers, laboratories, libraries, and boundary walls.”

The MoU was applicable to the entire state, and for many donors, it was seen as an opportunity to give back to their country of origin, while encouraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 

The Andhra government has allocated a budget of Rs. 17,503 crores for the state’s education sector in the financial year 2016-17. This budget also includes Rs 1299 crores for Sarva Shiksha Abhyan (a Central initiative to universalize education).

With NRI funds flowing in, the state will soon have classrooms with better infrastructure as well as sophisticated digital ones. 

This novel move by the government however has drawn its own share of cynicism, with many wanting to know whether funds would be solicited for the same citing patriotism, or would just end up as yet another status symbol flaunted by NRIs.

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