November 30, 2021

All about building Schools

Open / Start a School in India and CBSE Affiliation

Any school which is affiliated to the state board and has the ‘No Objection Certificate from the State can apply for CBSE Affiliation. Let us go through this post and understand how can you start a CBSE School in India.

Schools in India has to function as a “NOT FOR PROFIT” in the form of Society / Trust or a Section 8 company. I have written a separate post on the formation of the Trust & Society. Click Here to read about it.

How much does it cost to build and run a school?

The minimum land requirement by CBSE is 1.5 Acres but there is a host of factors which can play a part in this requirement such as Type of City, Population, Location of the land, Type of Property etc.

S. NoLocation of SchoolLand Requirement (Minimum) (Sq Meters)
1Anywhere in India6000
2In municipal limits of cities with the population
(Exceeding 15 Lakhs)
3In Hilly areas prescribed by the planning commissions (NITI Aayog).4000
4In Municipal limits of the State Capital Cities4000
5In the North Eastern States4000
6In the State of Jammu and Kashmir4000
7In Municipal Limits of Ghaziabad, NOIDA, Faridabad & Gurugram cities. 4000
8In the Municipal limits of  Panchkula and Mohali/SAS nagar. 4000
9In the Municipal Limits class-X cities (Ahemdabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune)or on the Hill stations.
(For Secondary Level)
10(For senior Secondary Level)
In the Municipal Limits class-X cities (Ahemdabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune) or on the Hill stations.
11(For Secondary Level)
In the Municipal Limits of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata,
Mumbai Or the state of Arunachal Pradesh
or the State of Sikkim or the Islands
12(For Senior Secondary Level)
In the Municipal Limits of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai Or the state of Arunachal Pradesh or the State of Sikkim or the Islands
13Union Territories4000

Location is Urban or Rural, the area will be determined by the above. For more information, you can read this post here. Click Here 

Cost of building a School

A school normally requires construction in phases (Here I am talking about a Budget CBSE School meant for a 1000 students)

  • Phase 1: 20,000  sq ft to 25,000  sq ft construction – Year 1
  • Phase 2: 12,000  sqft- 15,000 sq ft – year 3
  • Phase 3: 6,000  sqft – 10,000 sq ft – Year 4

You multiply these numbers with Rs 1000 – 1,400 per sq feet and this will give you a ballpark costing of construction plus furniture. Over and above this you can spend on Marketing, Landscaping, Sports Facilities etc. That is completely dependent on the promoter’s vision.

State Board Affiliation

A School has to have the affiliation from the State Board. It doesn’t matter if it is eventually affiliated to CBSE / ICSE or IB Board. Education is a state subject, hence the can have any affiliation but State BoardAffiliation / Permission is MANDATORY.


Starting any Brand Franchise: There are a lot of franchise (Brands) to choose from like Brighton International School, DPS, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Everonn, Manipal, Shamrock, Mayo College, Kangaroo Kids etc.

All these have a proper corporate office where there are teams involved with the expansion of the chain. Their website is the way one can get in touch with them. Typically they charge a Security Deposit (to be fixed for a stipulated period) a Licence Fee (chargeable every year) and a Revenue share per student. None of this is fixed and may depend from organization to organization. They will help you in setting an elementary process and curriculum right.

Starting the School (Essential Steps)

Form a Trust/Society/ Section 8 Company

As per the government’s norms, the administrative power of the school should be vested in a Not-for-profit society or trust. Every state has an office of Registrar where a society can be registered. This is the address of the few of the offices across different states; for more, you can read here

Chhattisgarh –

Madhya Pradesh –

Similarly one can start a school by forming a Section 8 company. For more on this, you can read my post here

Register/ Lease the Plot of Land

The Land on which the school will be built has to be either leased out or should be in the name of the society or the trust. The documents should be certified by the local land registration office. For a CBSE school inside the city limits the minimum area should be One Acre and outside the city limits should be 1.5 Acres. 

Kindly remember the Land should all be at One Place and in One Piece with Pucca Boundary Wall (minimum 6 feet high) on all the sides

I get the maximum amount of queries regarding the size of the land, especially from Metros. CBSE has amended the bye-laws regarding the requirement of land. Kindly go through the circular. It specifically states the land required for starting a school in Metrosshould be greater than 1600 Sq Meter (about 0.4 acres) for Pre Primary to Class X, and about an acre for Classes up to Class XII. For the rest of India, the rule has stayed the same as described above. I have written a separate post on this topic, here is the link. If the land is leased out to the ‘Not For Profit’ entity the minimum LEASE DURATION should be 15 Years. In case of ownership, the land title documents is a Sale Deed/Conveyance Deed/Gift Deed/Lease Deed/Sub lease/Allotment Letter etc. duly registered before the Registration Authority concerned of the State as per rules.

GET THE STATE BOARD AFFILIATION(Get an approval from the local Education Office ) – Once the building and the staff is ready, open admissions. Simultaneously go to the local education office in most cases DEO (District Education Office) and register by paying the fee. Post inspection of the school premises and after taking the relevant information they will provide the society/trust with required certification. The school will first take-off after the permission from the state board. This is essential, there has been a ruling by the court on this aspect. I have written the details about various states and their education boards in a separate post here.

The above mentioned steps simplistically captures, how you start school in India, now moving to ‘How to get CBSE Affiliation for your school’?


For a NEW School applying to CBSE for the first time, there are five options to choose while applying for affiliation;

  1. Approval for Middle School Syllabus
  2. Fresh Affiliation Up to Secondary Level
  3. Fresh Affiliation up to Senior Secondary Level
  4. Switch Over Category (school which has been churning out Class X or XII with the state board and now wish to get converted to CBSE)
    • Secondary Level Switch-over from other boards
    • Senior Secondary Level Switch-over from other boards

Which one should you choose – This depends on the

  • how ready is your infrastructure – Senior Secondary Level requires Labs and it will require classrooms for all the classes from Class I to Class XII
  • how ready is the market in terms of demand – It is very unlikely in a competitive market that a school opens and students will shift in large numbers in higher classes. So choose wisely.
  • how much can you spend on the staff  – To employ PGT i.e senior teachers one has to pay good money, as partly explained in point 2, to get affiliation you have to show the entire Staff as well up-till Class XII, hence most of the schools grow slowly.

The best option: The best option is to choose the Option number 2, Fresh Affiliation Up to Secondary Level. This will secure school affiliation till Class X and later after a year, school can re-apply for Senior Secondary Affiliation.

This entire process of affiliation is a very transparent process and in case one is ready to do the paperwork, you really don’t require any touts or middleman. With effect from 07.01.2021, the dates for application are as follows

Category of ApplicationTimelines for each calendar year
Fresh Affiliation & Up-gradation of AffiliationSchools can apply during the Three Windows

  • Window No. 1: 1st March - 31st March

  • Window No. 2: 1st June - 30th June

  • Window No. 3: 1st September - 30th September

Extension of AffiliationSingle Window : 1 st March - 31st May

  • Additional Subject

  • Section Increase

  • Change of the name of the School

  • Change of the the Society/Trust/Section-8 Company of the School

Opens on 1st March and shall be open THROUGHOUT the year
Special Provision under Chapter 15 of the CBSE Affiliation Byelaws 2018

  • School in Two Shifts

  • Shifting of School from one campus to the other

  • Restoration of Affiliation

  • Closure of the School

  • Starting Class I if the school is only affiliated from Middle Class and onwards

Opens on 1st March and shall be open THROUGHOUT the year

From 18th March 2021, CBSE transformed its Affiliation process and renamed the process as SARAS (School Affiliation Re-Engineered Automation System). SARAS looks to do the following;

  • Timeline for affiliation reduced to 4 months time
  • Automatic Approvals based on Data Analytics for Extension/ Upgradation/ Section increase etc
  • Use of Machine Learning / AI to read documents
  • Relies on self certification and public disclosures
  • Provision of Virtual inspection
  •  Instant flow of information to applicants

CBSE provides the school with a list of bye-laws to be kept in mind while applying for CBSE Affiliation. The entire manual can be downloaded from the CBSE’s official website. Here is the website – CBSE e-Affiliation Website and choose SARA, link to download the  Bye-Laws – Affiliation Bye-Laws

Step 1 – The School before getting into the online form filling, should be ready with the following;

  1. Digital Signatures – to authorise your final submission. The Chairman/ Member/ Trustee/ Director or any representative can use its digital signatures. How to get Digital Signature, click here.

6 documents 

  1. No Objection Certificate – Its a certificate issued by the State Education Department (Secretariat) to the effect that State Government has no objection to the affiliation of the School with CBSE . For a brief period of time this certificate was revoked by the CBSE but in December 2016, it has again made the entry. I have detailed it in a separate post here. Click Here.
    1. The School basically have to write an application to the State Education Secretary Office (located in the state’s capital) and ask for NOC so that the state allows a school to follow CBSE. This can be a simple application where a copy of the application goes to local DEO office.
    2. If NOC/Recognition certificate is in vernacular language, then the school must upload its duly notarized translated copy in English/Hindi along with the signed copy of NOC/Recognition certificate in vernacular language. Kindly note, there is specific department in the state government responsible for transaction.  
  2. School Recognition Certificate from concerned State Education Department as per extant rules and provisions contained in RTE Act 2009. This is also called Affiliation Certificate by the State Board.
  3. Land Certificate as per the Appendix X of the Affiliation Bye-laws : The Competent Authority t o issue the land certificate is DM/ ADM/ SDM / Tehsildar/Naib Tehsildar/ Registrar/ Sub Registrar or any other equivalent authority competent to issue such certificate. Download the format here. 
  4. Fire Safety Certificate to be issued by the Fire Safety Department of the State Govt./ Competent Govt. Authority such as Municipal Corporation etc. as per prescribed norms with validity (validity as on date of final submission of application).
  5. Building Safety Certificate To be issued by competent government authority or the empanelled engineers authorised to issue such certificates by the appropriate Government. For e.g. Empanelled engineer by Municipal Corporations /Development Authorities (PWD)/ Roads/ Building Department etc.
  6. Certificate of Registration of Society/ Trust/ Section 8 Company running the school.
  7. Get your School Website Ready with the information as per the CBSE requirement. Check the requirements here. The website should have the curriculum details, TC Sample, Norms for fixing Fee, Affiliation Status, Students details, Address, List of books prescribed along with undertaking by the Principal, Annual Report, School Circulars, Fee Details, Details of Teachers Training, Academic Achievements, Self Affidavit of the School (This usually is getting made on 100 Rs Stamp Paper. Here is a sample for your perusal.).
  8. Information about UDISE Code
  9. Scanned copies of Audited Balance Sheet
  10. Video Clips & Geo Tagged Photos
  11. Transport Safety Certificate
  12. Soft copy / Scanned copy of Academic Calendar

Step No. 2: Start filling the Online form 

  1. KYC Form 
  2. Initial Part Payment of Rs 10,000
  3. Part A – input the information of the 6 forms listed above
  4. After submitting all the information as per Part A of the application, school will have an option to generate System generated Self-certification or System generated DEO certificate on the basis of data filled in Part A. In case the school opts for Self-certification, the school is required to upload the same with digital signature of the school. However, in case school opts for DEO certificate, the school is required to get the DEO certificate duly signed by DEO/DIOS/Any other officer authorized by State/UT Education Department and upload the signed copy of DEO certificate with digital signature of the school. The registration of the school once completed after filling part A shall be valid till last date of submission of application for the respective session.(i.e. for the session 2022-23, registration of the school shall be valid till 31st October, 2021). If the school fails to submit part B by the last date of submission of application for the respective session, then the registration shall automatically be termed as invalid and the registration fee, if any, shall be forfeited.
  5. Part B – Upload the 6 documents and input all the other basic details and other information
  6. Make the Part and the Final payment

Step 3 – Within 15 Days of Submission of Online Application Inspection Committee will be formed

The Physical Inspection of the school has to happen Within 22 days of the constitution of Inspection Committee.

Along with the inspection committee letter, the Board shall give three dates of inspection. Inspection can be conducted on any of these three dates as mutually decided by the Inspection Committee and the School.Without wasting any time, get in touch with them and arrange for them to come. Mostly one of them would be a Central School (Kendriya Vidyalay) Principal and the other one an experienced hand from any aided or un-aided school.

In case, the inspection committee is ready and the school intentionally fails ls to get the Inspection done on the stipulated dates and timespan (except for the reasons beyond control), the school will be penalized with a monetary penalty of Rs 25000 and fresh schedule shall be communicated . The school shall get another opportunity, however the application shall be rejected if the school fails to get the inspection done after three opportunities.

STEP 4 – Prepare a file

Following is the list of documents one should have for CBSE affiliation File –

Details of Annexure

  1. Society Details
  2. Constitution of the Society & Society Bye-Laws
  3. Registration Certificate of the society
  4. School Management Committee List (To know more about this read my post)
  5. Statement of Income & Expenditure Audited Account –
  6. Balance Sheet of last two to three years
  7. Bank Certificate – Mentioning this – in case you have to take some project loan from a certain bank.
  8. Staff Particulars
  9. Service Agreement with Employees
  10. Principal Particulars – Professional Resume
  11. Staff Salary Statement – Salary should be paid through Electronic Clearing Service (ECS)
  12. Letter to the bank regarding Staff Salary remittance
  13. Copy of the A/C payee cheque meant for staff salary
  14. Reserve Fund (This is a draft which one has to make as laid down in the bye-laws)
  15. Infrastructure Details
  16. Land Records Certificate of Land 
  17. Supporting Documents by Tehsildar & Patwari – This in case the school is out of Municipality bounds
  18. Approved Map and Building Layout – from the relevant Town and Country Planning Authority.
  19. School Building Room Particulars School Building – List of all the rooms along with the size and details.
  20. School Building and Facilities Photographs
  21. Physical Health Education & Recreation Facility Details
  22. Laboratory Details
  23. Library Facilities & Details
  24. Librarian Details – CV / Resume of the Librarian
  25. State Govt Related Documents
  26. State Board Affiliation Certificate & NOC from the state (Intimation will do, for more info read here)
  27. Student Details
  28. Student’s Details Record of Internal Assessment (Class Wise)
  29. Fees Structure (Kindly refer to this circular from CBSE while finalizing the FEE structure )
  30. School Time Table
  31. School Prospectus
  32. Certificate of Fire Safety & Sanitary Conditions
  33. Provision of Medical Check Up
  34. Undertaking by Manager regarding the admissions only up till Class VIII – This basically says the school is not admitting students in classes for which they do not have permission.
  35. Details of Training Modules conducted for teachers
  36. Building Safety Certificate
  37. Transport Fitness Certificate
  38. School Conveyance facility Details – If School is providing conveyance to students
  39. Optional – This is in case you want to make a stronger case
    1. CBSE Online Submitted Application
    2. Copy of the submitted bank draft
    3. Letter of inspection from CBSE
    4. Financial Projections
    5. Land Documents – Photocopy
    6. Admission Announcements
  40. Annexure II

The School has to arrange for a Videographer on the date of inspection. Here is a guideline issued by the CBSE for Videography;

For Boundary , Main Gate , Parking and other Open Area The person with videography skills should ensure wide angle coverage of video.

For Laboratory/ies The videographer should ensure wide angle coverage of video while entering the lab. Thereafter the person with videography skills should cover all equipments and other facilities in the lab. During this the concerned subject teacher should also be available in the lab to response to the queries of IC members and show the stock register.

For Library The videographer should ensure wide angle coverage of video while entering the library. Thereafter the videographer should cover all bookshelves, magazines & periodicals, reading area, and other facilities such as computers with internet connectivity in the library. During this the librarian should also be available in the library to respond to the queries of IC members and show the catalogue, accession and issue register.

For Toilets Wide angle coverage of video including WCs and Basins.

Class Rooms : Occupied and Vacant The videographer should ensure wide angle coverage of video while entering the rooms. Thereafter, the videographer should cover all fixtures, furniture and other facilities in the rooms.

Other Rooms such as Staff Room, Music Room etc. The videographer should ensure wide angle coverage of video while entering the rooms. Thereafter the videographer should cover all fixtures, furniture and other facilities in the rooms.

The Duration of the Videography should be as follows

S.NoLocation/ Activity to be coveredRecommended Time duration in Minutes
1Main Gate with School name Display Boards
• Boundary wall of school on all sides
• Parking and other open area including assembly area
Up to 20 Minutes
2Playground with outdoor sports facilitiesUp to 10 Minutes
Wide angle coverage of video
3All Laboratories (Science subjects, Computer etc.) including stock register and practical files if anyUp to 10 Minutes each for all labs
4LibraryUp to 10 Minutes
5ToiletsUp to 10 Minute each for boys and girls
6Drinking water ArrangementUp to 5 Minutes
7Fire safety equipmentUp to 10 Minutes
8Class Rooms : Occupied and VacantUp to 20 Minute in total for each standard (primary, middle, secondary & sr. secondary)
9Other Rooms such as indoor games facility, auditorium, activity rooms, wellness rooms etc.Up to 20 Minutes
10Document verification :-
o Recognition certificate for running classes 1st to 8th
o Society registration certificate
o Land certificate
o Fire safety
o Building Safety
o Safe drinking water
o System generated Self Certification by Principal & Manager and duly countersigned by Authorized Signatory
System generated Certificate by District Education Officer
Up to 1 Hour
11Faculty interaction /class room interaction10-15 Minutes
12Filling of IC report2 Hours

Grant of Affiliation

Once the inspection is done and the inspection report is submitted during the inspection, the Board will grant the affiliation within 30 days of submission of Inspection report. If there are any deficiency pointed out, the school has to replay within 15 days of the letter.

I keep getting a lot of queries on this particular post. Here are some answers I am posting for everyone’s benefit; I also have a consultancy arm which helps entrepreneurs and schools start up to establish and run schools of high quality. You can send me a mail by filling the form below

Hi, if you are looking for a Consultant to help you start a School or with any issues like Affiliations, Project Finance, School Management, Project Feasibility Studies, Project Report, Contact Abhiney Singh by filling the form below or chat/call on 91 70002 40006

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Do I have to procure affiliation and then start the school?NO You can only apply for affiliation once you have started the institute. The affiliation asks for a lot of information regarding the students' strength teachers etc which can only be filled once you start the school.
My society comprises of members of my family, what do I do to make it of "Non Proprietary" nature? Off all the members in a society majority i.e more than 50% cannot be related by blood. Also while declaring the members of the society in the affidavit the Chairman will have to declare the relationship among the members who all are related by blood line.
I am running a school in a rented building. Can I apply for affiliation? The law clearly states that the school should have Proof regarding possession of 2 acres of land (pg 60 of bye laws). Hence the school can run in a rented building but the land on which the building is built should be owned or leased to the society. Society can lease the land to a company which can then construct the building and can charge the society a rent on its investments.
Do I have to take State Board Affiliation to start a School, Can I directly apply to CBSEYes you have to procure State Board Affiliation post that only you can go for CBSE Affiliation.
Is this the entire list of documents? I believe this is the list in case they need more information you can always ask for more time.
Salary drawn by Teachers at my institute is not at par with State Norms or Central Government NormsDon't worry about it. Salary is a subjective topic and can vary from city to city within the same state. It all depends upon the cost of living in that particular area. Don't worry about low salaries. You just have to be fair in showing that what you have specified in the offer letter is what is going in the bank account and the same is getting signed by the employee.
Land original documents are with the Bank as collateral Get a photocopy attested by the bank that this is a true copy of the documents pledged with them. Get the bank manager sign on the photocopy.
Approximately what is the time between submission and inspection and how much time is spent by the inspection Team on the campusIt takes about 3-4 months from submission to inspection and the team spends about 5 to 6 hours (Arrange for them to have meals either in the school or a place nearby).
What is the investment required to open a schoolThis query invites a subjective response but a thumb rule for starters / planners. 2 Acres of land at the market price plus cost of construction at about 1200 Rs a square feet.
Non-Proprietary Affidavit. What do I do when some members are related to each other?This is a very general trend across societies though advisable is very few members should be related to each other (blood relatives). Even if people are related to each other the Chairman/Head of the trust society should declare the same while submitting the Non-Proprietary affidavit that 'x' person is related to 'y' person through by 'z' relationship.
Do I know somebody who can take BRIBE in CBSE or outside and get you an affiliationThe Answer is "HELL NO".
I need your help. I am looking for a consultant who could help me start a school or to get a CBSE AffiliationYes I am available for paid consultation. You can write to me on

Abhiney Singh
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