After permitting private companies to open schools in Maharashtra, the state government is now considering allowing educational trusts in the state to start their own education boards and set their own curriculum and examinations, said education minister Vinod Tawde.

The private boards and their affiliated schools would function the way autonomous colleges and private universities do. The government is currently discussing the proposal with experts, said Tawde.

“The standardised curriculum of the state board restricts schools that may want to add subjects according to their local requirements. It is difficult for a single education board to offer a wide variety of subjects,” said Tawde.

The proposal comes at a time when the state government’s recent moves pertaining to school education have become contentious. The state assembly recently passed a bill to amend the Maharashtra Self-Financed Schools Act, 2012, allowing private companies to open schools. Earlier, the government had decided to shut around 4,000 low-enrolment schools and transfer the students to nearby schools.

Basanti Roy, former Mumbai divisional secretary, Maharashtra state board, said, “The education sector has been privatised to a considerable extent, and one feels that the government is slowly withdrawing itself from education space.” She said that a certain degree of standardisation is necessary school education. “The government should conduct a proper study before allowing private boards,” she added.

Jesus Lal, chief executive officer (CEO), Universal Education Group, has welcomed the proposal. “ The requirement of skill sets is changing very quickly. Educational organisations with a proven record must be allowed to run their own boards,” he said.