How to Open a school in India

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In India a school is considered a non-profit initiative but the business opportunities available in this case are substantially low. Several NGOs working in the domain of education have stated that in Delhi at least 14 lakh kids get admitted to schools in different classes every year.

Laws for Opening New Schools in India

As per laws, private organizations cannot open schools in India. The schools have to be operated by a society that has been created in accordance with the Societies Act of 1860 or by a trust that has been organized as per the Public Trust Act of individual states.

A private entity willing to set up a school in India can also set up a company as prescribed by Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956. All these legislations ensure that a school is set up as a non profit making body.

There are more to establishing schools in India than setting up an infrastructure that comprises classrooms, laboratories, and libraries. The entity willing to establish the school needs to get licenses and permissions from relevant authorities.

The laws state that the entity willing to open the school needs to create a society or trust, along with a governing board that has five to six members. The board should have a president, a secretary, and a chairman who are officially announced.

Procedure for buying land for the school

In case the entity wants to buy land from the government for the school it will be required to procure a no-objection certificate referred to as the Essentiality Certificate (EC) from the concerned state’s Department of Education.

The NOC makes sure particular areas have a proper balance of schools and that schools do not end up competing against each other. It also ensures that the society starts building the school within 3 years of getting the permission- if it fails to do so then the particular entity will be required to reapply.

The concerned entity can then head to the relevant municipal corporation for procuring the land after receiving the EC. Laws state that land should be provided to the governing body at subsidized rates that are normally determined through auctions.

RB Adityodaya Karna operates as the deputy secretary of Prarthana Society, a Bangalore based trust that operates a school in the same city. He has stated that new entities find it really hard to get land for schools as they are normally reserved for the top players in the game- ones who have set up several schools.

In case a member of a school’s governing body has his or her own land and wants to build the school over there, that individual will be required to get an NOC from the concerned state’s Department of Education. The applicants are required to state the requirement of a school in the area where they want to set the school up in the application for the NOC.

There are strict norms that have been laid down by the leading educational boards of India such as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the state government boards, and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE). One of these rules states that the schools should have a playground.

According to Adityodaya, the owners of a school need to consider several important factors such as the opportunities available in a location, possible competition and the target group of the school.

Time taken to build a fully functional school in India

Under normal circumstances, it takes a year to start the school’s construction after creating the governing body but it often takes more than a couple of years as well. The infrastructure for the school can be completed within a period of 6-7 months following which the school authorities have to make applications for recognition.

Till Class 5, the approval provided by the municipality is deemed enough but for classes 6-8 the consent needs to come from the Department of Education, which also provides recognition for the higher classes. However, the approval for the latter stages is not provided before at least 2 years.

School authorities can also get approval from CISCE or CBSE but they will have to follow the guidelines laid down by these boards, especially in areas such as curricula, text books, and salaries paid to the teachers.

Process of affiliation to schools

In case of private schools, the affiliation is provided in stages. Normally, provisional affiliation is provided for classes 1-6 and the guidelines are provided by the concerned education board. An inspection is conducted once all the facilities are in place and permanent affiliation is given after the inspectors are satisfied with the facilities.

According to Adityodaya, inspections are not as tough once a school receives permanent affiliation. However, the school still needs to be operated as per rules laid down by the board in question.

Important documents and licenses required while starting a school

In India a lot of legal processes come into play with regard to starting a school. When the school trust or society is being formed there should be a Memorandum of Association. This document proves to be useful at all the later stages. The owners also need to have a well laid out project report of their school. The following details are regarded as being important as well:
  • Building the land details
  • Water certificates
  • Hygiene certificates
  • Auditor’s statements
  • Bank statements of governing body and the members
  • Completion of building certificates


Last Updated on May 13, 2015