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The Meghalaya cabinet on May 28 approved new norms and criteria for providing grant-in-aid and recognition to schools in the state.

“One of the norms is, a school must be established in an area of 2.5 acres in urban areas, and 3.5 acres in rural areas,” Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui told reporters after the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

“For availing grant in aid from the government and to get permission and recognition, schools have to meet the norms and criteria which would come with prospective into effect,” he informed.

Under the new norms and criteria, Rymbui said the sponsoring body of the school should have a reserved fund for three months to pay the salary of teachers, teachers’ welfare fund, appointment of teachers should meet the NCTE norm, and the school building should meet the safety norms approved by the deputy commissioner or superintendent of police.

“Therefore, if the government has the resources to help the schools, it should be as per laid down norm and criteria,” Rymbui said.

Admitting that schools have been established in the past without norms or rules, the education minister said that there were instances where deserving schools established many years ago did not get aid from the government whereas some schools set up three or four years back, managed to get aid from the government as there was no norm or proper criteria in place.

“This is injustice and the norm and criteria are in place now because we feel that deserving schools should not be denied aid from the government. Therefore, in order to have uniformity we thought that there should be minimum standard for setting up of schools,” Rymbui said.

On the existing schools that did not meet the newly-approved norm and criteria, the education minister said that there are schools that did not have playground or enough space, and such schools which has not been granted permission, will remain as it is.

There are over 900 schools of different categories that have received grant-in-aid from the Meghalaya government.

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