Cambridge Assessment International Education

Lifetime Achievement in Education Leadership Award 2020: Dr. Kulbhushan Sharma

EducationWorld March 2020 | Pictorial Essay

President of the National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), Dr. Kulbhushan Sharma is India’s foremost and most committed champion of budget private schools (BPS). These are low-fees primary-secondaries that provide affordable education – including English language learning – to children of low-income households. Currently, there are an estimated 400,000 BPS with a massive aggregate enrolment of 60 million children across the country.

Although BPS serve the national interest by providing an alternative to dysfunctional government schools to low-income households, their promoters are being persecuted by state and local governments for not adhering to provisions of s.19 and infrastructure norms detailed in the Schedule of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. As President of NISA for over four years, Sharma has been in the vanguard of the collective struggle of BPS promoters in Parliament and the courts.

A commerce alum of Panjab University, Sharma is also the promoter director of the class I-VIII SBBM Middle School, Ambala Cantt, ranked among the Top 10 budget private schools of Haryana in the inaugural EW India Budget Private School Rankings 2020.

A relentless critic of the RTE Act, in 2007 Sharma was obliged to spend ten days in judicial custody in Haryana for agitating against s.19 of the RTE Act. Nevertheless he is firm in his belief that BPS promoters are providing good quality education to bottom-of-pyramid households countrywide in the spirit of enlightened self-interest.

“It’s now a proven truth that 45 percent of school-going children in India are enrolled in affordable BPS. Yet despite a growing number of parents exercising their choice in favour of BPS, the Central and state governments have forcibly shut down over 20,000 BPS across the country. However, we are determined to exercise our fundamental right to engage in the vocation of education which has been upheld by the Supreme Court of India. We believe BPS are providing valuable service to children from low-income households. Under the NISA banner we shall continue to demand recognition for BPS as legitimate education providers and architects of the country’s future,” says Sharma.

For his excellent leadership of NISA and determination to provide children of low-income households alternatives to government schools, the Editors and Board of Directors of EducationWorld are proud to present the EW Extraordinary Education Leadership Award 2020 to Dr. Kulbhushan Sharma.

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