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How to Start a School in India?

Standing out in the school sector has become venturous and competitive. Sure, owing to the state policies that involve securing multiple patents and permissions, starting a school can turn inordinately demanding. This need not always be so daunting. We have laid down an in-detail phased process on how to start a school in India. This article is to educate educators and entrepreneurs on everything they need to know to start a school. The private school venture, both to institutionalise and to procure ROI, largely relies on the policies drafted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and states’ education department. Educational Establishment and Recognition Laws in India are made by both the state and the centre, with certain aspects differing from one state to another. The process of opening a private school is pretty straightforward but the steps involved are manifold, demanding time and dedicated resources. A cornerstone is a mandate to set up a new school successfully.

Guidelines to Start a Private School in India

Determine the School Type Whether you want to establish a Playschool, Pre- Primary, Primary, Secondary or K-12. At this initial stage, the resolution of how many grades you want to start with. School Promoters can start a school with fewer grades, keeping the vision to expand with time or can also fore-think to launch the with both lower and higher grades. Primary school will not be affiliated to any board of education instead it should have the recognition from the State/UT DOE. Once the primary school starts running grade V, it can apply for approval for Middle Class Syllabus form Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and start grades VI to VIII. These educators/school promoters/entrepreneurs can also start an International Baccalaureate (IB) School or Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) school. The school has to first commence in order to attempt to get affiliated by any given board. In case the school promoter starts a school till class VIII or higher, it is required to get affiliation from the state board. Eventually, it can apply for secondary and/or senior secondary affiliation from CBSE, CISCE, IB or IGCSE.

Identify with a Trust or Society or Section 8 Company

In pursuance to start a private school, an alliance with either a Trust/Society/Section 8 Company is mandate, be it a pre-existing trust/society or even a newly established one. All trusts/societies that operate schools in the Indian States must be registered under the respective state’s Trust Act or Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860. The trust or society established should be a non-for-profit organization. If an entity is sponsoring the new school, it should be registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013.

The trust/society has to have at least three members to get registered. That said, it must constitute ‘School Governing Board’ with three officially declared members namely the President, the Secretary, and the Chairman. Besides which the board has two or three other members. It is preferable for these members to have an educational or social work credentials.

The school board must secure a ‘Memorandum of Association’ (MOA) from the educational trust.

Procedure to Acquire Land
The land to establish a school can be purchased or acquired on a lease. If the school promoters already owns land, an approval for its educational use by the respective state’s municipal and Department of Education (DoE) must be granted. The minimum land area requirement is largely based on the type of school and location. Not to forget, different boards have different minimum land area requirements.

Before moving to procure land for the school, the need for a new school in the given area must be recognized and considered by the state’s Department of Education (DoE). For this, the department issues an Essentiality Certificate (EC), acknowledging the essentiality of school in the given area as genuine and not redundant. This certificate acts as No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for the school’s construction. Municipal authority’s certification is also a requisite. Other determinants include the host environment and availability of resources/amenities that makes it fit for children. The construction must begin within 3 years after Essentiality Certification lest its bound to expire. As education industry is out-lined by its non–profit aspect, the land for the school building construction can be acquired from an agency at great subsidised rates after a Letter of Sponsorship is obtained from the municipal authority.

School Action Plan and Architecture
School’s master plan must be approved by the state board and if the plan is to obtain national board affiliation, respective by-laws must be kept in tact. The specifications applicable to the school architecture include the no. of classrooms, library, assembly hall, offices, labs, auditorium, facilities and size of the playground/play area, for CBSE and ICSE schools the minimum land requirement is specified.

The masterplan facade and interior must be complete and ready when the application for the state board affiliation is made.

Defining Aim and Objective of the School
There must be distinctly defined and drafted institutional set of aims and objectives. The guiding principles and school’s ideology are outlined in the aim and objective statement elucidating the relevance of the school with regard to community, where the students are drawn from.

The educational outcomes envisaged by the school and the curriculum orientation must be lucidly set forth along with the assessment method of the scholastic and co-scholastic progress of the students and school’s efficacy. It is customary to define the social objects of the private school as an undertaking in the educational sector.

Recognition and Affiliation Application
It is mandatory for any new school to have State Board affiliation/recognition. This affiliation is granted to the school if the NOC, infrastructure, amenities as proposed are in place. Once the school is functional, an application for Provisional Affiliation can be made to the CBSE. In case you are seeking for an ICSE affiliation, the time passed after institution and state recognition is additional. The application for recognition/affiliation must be in accordance with the by-laws of the board.

The list of licenses that are to be acquired with the application can be secured from the board’s website. First, Provisional Affiliation is granted after a stringent inspection by the Inspection Committee of the Board, who visits the campus and makes necessary recommendations. In case of any inadequacy, certain amount of time is granted to remedy the same. In case of assessment failure, a reapplication has to be made only after a year or more, with respect to the board.

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