The Complete Guide to Starting a School in India

Establishing a private school in India is a difficult and lengthy process.From planning to budgeting to getting all the permissions, it can be an arduous journey.When you look closely, you’ ll realize that starting a school is a significant undertaking as it takes lots of time, money, and effort.
Fortunately, there is much to learn from the expertise and advice of people that have been through this process and are running schools successfully. In fact, when you want to start school, it’ s always good to understand the process and then proceed.

Today ‘s Private School Environment

Before you begin to think of starting your own private school, you must understand the environment of the private school sector.
According to a 2017 report in the Outlook, over 260 million children go to schools in India— the highest in the world and this number is increasing rapidly.Nearly 50 % of the students in urban areas study in private schools with the rest going to state – funded schools.A fifth of rural students study in private schools. The craze
for private schooling is so much that admissions in government schools dropped by 13 million between 2010 – 2011 and 2015 – 2016 and increased by 17 million in private schools in the same period.
The increasing number of students is an indication that more and more people are sending their children to private schools, regardless of their financial status. Below is the process to start a private school.

Understand the laws

The first thing you need to do is to understand the laws.All schools in India are governed by central and state government laws.While the central government laws are formulated by the Human Resources Ministry, the ones at the state are prepared by the state’ s education department.The state laws differ with each state and can be changed at any point in time.
As per rules, private individuals or organizations cannot own and operate schools in India.The schools have to be operated by a society that has been formed as per the Societies Act of 1860 or by a trust that has been formed as per the Public Trust Act of an individual state.Private organizations that want to start schools can set up a company based on Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956.
The laws have been created to ensure that the school is run as a non – profit entity and not as a business venture.

Identify the kind of school you want to start

The first thing you need to do is to determine what kind of school you want to start.There are several options here: playschool, pre – primary, primary, secondary or K – 12 school.That’ s because affiliation and registrations / recognitions are different for each level. One point to note is you need to start the school first and then get recognition from the department of education or boards like the state board or CBSE / ICSE.That usually happens one or two years after the school has started functioning and all academic and non – academic infrastructure is in place.

Have a business plan

Running a school is a costly affair.There are several overheads that you need to consider while planning to run a school.Rent is the biggest factor followed by infrastructure, laboratories, libraries, teachers and staff salaries, and other expenses.Keeping these in mind, you need to make a rough sketch of the business plan.The business plan should account for profits and investment for at least a minimum of 10 years in advance. You will need to get licenses and permissions from relevant authorities at different stages.

Form a Trust or Society

As mentioned earlier, you need to have a trust or a society in order to run a school.The trustor society can be pre – existing one or can be formed for the sole purpose of starting the school. The trust or society needs to have a minimum of three members to get registered and must include a‘ School Governing Board.’It should have a President, Secretary, and Chairman and two to three additional members.In order to fasten the approval, the members should have a background in education or social work.After the school board has been assembled, they should acquire a‘ Memorandum of Association’ from the educational trust.

Land acquisition

You can purchase or lease the land for establishing the school.If you already have the land, then you must get approval from the municipal authorities to use it for educational purposes.The minimum size required for a school depends upon the location— sizes differ for urban and rural areas.All boards also have their own specifications for the minimum land size required for the school. Once you’ ve shortlisted the land, you’ ll have to get a No Objection Certificate(NOC) / ‘Essentiality Certificate’(EC) from the relevant authorities for raising a school building.The NOC is given only after the authorities are sure that the school is not competing with other schools in the area / locality.There are other licenses and clearances that you will have to get at this time such as fire and emergency approval, drinking water approval, and others.You must start the construction of the school building with three years of getting the EC or it lapses and you will have to reapply.As the school is a non – profit venture, most municipal authorities give land at a highly subsidized cost.

School building plan

You have to get the school building plan approved by the municipal authorities and the education department.The School building plan must include the number of classrooms, laboratories, library, auditorium, offices, assembly hall, and playground.In some instances, the plan approvals also depend on the type of board selected.

Recognition and approvals

All schools must be affiliated to a board in order to function.The affiliation is always provided in stages.As mentioned earlier, a school has to function for a couple of years and then need to apply for backing by either of these boards – state / CBSE / ICSE.The application process is different for each of the boards and the time taken to approve also depends on each board. First, a provisional affiliation is provided for classes 1 – 6 after an inspection is done by the inspection committee of the board.If the committee finds any deficiency, the same will be informed in writing and time will be given to remedy that.

Consider these

Usually, it takes a year to get all the paperwork done, but in some instances, it can take more than a year.Add to this a minimum of one year for the construction work to be completed and 6 – 7 months extra for the infrastructure to be completed. If you are running the school until the 5 th standard, then municipal approval is what you need.If you are planning for higher grades(6 – 10 th standard), then you need the approval of the state’ s education department for the state board.This may take at least two years.If you are planning to run CBSE / ICSE school, then you will have to follow the board guidelines in areas of curriculum, textbooks, exams, and even salaries.

Eduvate advantage:

Eduvate has been providing consultancy services in the schooling sector since 2012 and has worked with hundreds of schools across the country— right from the planning stage to the launch and everything in between.

Our domain expertise includes:
  • Academic Support
  • Teacher Training
  • Technology Support
  • New School Set – Up

Their hands – on experience of running their own schools gives them a complete edge over others.This initiative was started by IIT and IIM alumni, after their corporate success and with the vision to transform the complete school education system.For more details and understanding of how we can add value to your school— if you are running at present or if you wish to start a new school— you may visit

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