The state government of Pune is now all set to conduct an audit by government officials in all aided and unaided schools. The audit would also include ashram shalas. The audit, which will start in October, has been conducted to keep a check on the schools which show more number of students than the actual number in order to have the government aid. The move has been initiated by Ratnakar Gaikwad, chief secretary of state, after the incident of Nanded where bogus students were reported by schools to seek additional aid.
After this incident came into light, the state conducted a survey in primary and secondary schools in Nanded district and it was found that out of 7 lakh students in the district, 1.35 lakh were bogus.
According to Gaikwad, “It's a practice among most schools to report more number of students than the actual count so that additional expenditure on school facilities, teachers and food can be submitted. The aid received for these bogus students goes directly into the pocket of the school." All schools, except unaided private ones, are provided government facilities.
To stop such practices, government has decided to conduct an audit so that government can get an actual number of students of schools who get government aid.
Presently, the state spends Rs 1,000 every year on every student and a total of Rs 1,400 crore is spent on the midday meals of students. In total, the Maharashtra government annually spends almost Rs 27,000 crore on education and loses almost Rs 2,500 crore in the name of the bogus students.
Gaikwade said, “The pilot project to detect bogus students was conducted in Nanded on August 31. A total of 490 teams, comprising senior revenue and education department officials and 31 flying squads were set up to check 3,475 schools. The audit of all schools in the state will be conducted on similar lines.”
An official from the state education department added, “the government anticipates that 15 lakh students out of the 2.16 crore students registered across the state may be bogus. The state will ultimately save nearly Rs 1,000 crore from the amount currently spend on books, uniforms and midday meal schemes."