India will set up 2,500 new model schools designed after the existing state-run Kendriya Vidyalayas to provide quality education to students in "every block of the country".
"We are rolling out these 2,500 schools from August," said Arun K Rath, secretary in the human resource development (HRD) ministry.
"They will be quality schools like the existing Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs). Our ministry wants that all blocks across the country must have at least one model school," Rath told IANS.
He said the HRD ministry and the state governments have agreed on all arrangements, including financial matters.
"Every school will need an investment of Rs 30 million. While the central government will bear 75 per cent of the cost, the state governments' share would be 25 per cent," the secretary said.
Rath said KVs are known for quality education and discipline. They have been doing well in both the Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations. "We have modelled these new schools after KVs to keep the education record high."
Since their inception in 1965, the Kendriya Vidyalayas have come to be known as centres of excellence in school education. Run under the HRD ministry, India currently has 981 such central schools.
He said all these would be co-educational schools and set up over a period of three years. "The selection of students will be taken care of by the state governments."
"We want to make sure that all deserving students have access to some good schools," he said.
Rath said apart from these 2,500 model schools, the HRD ministry was in talks with private parties to set up 2,500 additional model schools on a public-private participation (PPP) model.
"Nothing has been finalised on the PPP model schools. But efforts are certainly on. At this point, I cannot give a timeline on when these PPP schools will begin," he said.
The secretary said his ministry is striving to reduce the number of out of school students and the government is achieving steady progress through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a programme aimed at universalising elementary education in the country.
"Through SSA we have managed to achieve considerable progress. While in 2005 there were 40 million out of school students (6-14 age group), currently only 4.5 million students of school-going age are out of school," he explained.