The government of Rajasthan on Thursday put its scheme for public private partnerships in school education on hold.

In September 2017, the state government had cleared and notified the scheme to hand 300 government schools over to private companies to run. The government said its aim was to improve the quality of education. But that led to widespread protests across Rajasthan’s districts – by villagers, teachers and students.

Now, the department of education has set up a three-member committee, led by the state’s home minister to “examine the complaints and petitions about the policy received from various organisations”. The deputy secretary of education, Ram Swarup Jhalani, communicated this decision to the state’s directors for secondary education and the centrally-sponsored scheme, Rajkiya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, also for secondary education.

The committee will be headed by state Home Minister Gulab Singh Kataria and also include Rajendra Rathore, minister for panchayati raj and rural development, and state Education Minister Vasudev Devnani.

“Till the committee submits its report and till the state government takes a decision, the implementation of Public Private Partnership policy of 2017 will be on hold,” says Jhalani’s letter, dated February 7.

The list of 300 schools – 75% in rural areas – became public in December. Bidding opened on December 21 and closed on January 24.