India: The state education department in Maharashtra state in India is using a satellite mapping system to ascertain the number of primary and secondary schools needed across the state. According to the primary estimate, the department is expected to permit 3,000 primary schools and 2,000 secondary schools by the next academic year.
After the state cabinet decided to scrap 8,000 applications it had received till last year and revoked its earlier decision of allotting the schools on a permanently unaided basis, the education department has started working on its master plan. The plan will study the need of schools taking the geography and demography of the regions into account. The guidelines issued in the Right to Education (RTE) Act will also act as key benchmarks during allotment.
There are currently 75,000 primary schools and 19,600 secondary schools in the state. “The RTE has made it mandatory to have at least one primary school per kilometre and a secondary school every 3 kilometres. Maharashtra has already implemented this policy and we have schools even for areas with a population of 100 people. We have 44,000 villages and almost double the number of the primary schools,” an official from the school education department said. According to the official, the master plan will provide for education to 1.5 lakh children across the state.