The sorry state of Mumbai’s municipal schools is a reflection of the public education system in the state. According to a report by Praja, a non-profit organisation that seeks to establish transparency and accountability in governance, over the last five years, enrollment in schools run by MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) has dropped by around 40,778 students, an aggregate drop of 9%. What’s worse, enrollment for class one is decreasing at a more alarming rate than ever.
“In fact, by using a time series-regression, we estimated the year when in 2008-09, 63,392 students entered class 1 and for 2014-15 39,214 students entered, this figure is estimated to drop to 31,096 for academic year 2018-19. At this rate, the day is not far when municipal schools will probably have more teachers and other employees than students,” the report states.
Why is there an exodus from municipal schools? The reason is simple. Lack of quality education and quality teachers, going by Praja’s citizen survey 2015 of 22,850 households, which listed these two as top reasons for dissatisfaction among parents of municipal school students, with 44% and 42% respondents.
The report questions why parents are shifting children to private schools when the Mumbai civic body — the country’s richest — plans to spend Rs. 50,534 per child according to the budget estimates for 2015-16. Students in these schools are not only given free education but also 27 free items including school uniforms, books, raincoats.
The report states that there is a gap between quality of education in MCGM and private schools. Only 1.6% of 4th standard students and 0.3% of 7th Standard students who appeared for scholarship exam from MCGM schools received scholarship in comparison to 9.8 % and 8.8% respectively for students of private schools; while the gap between MCGM SSC passout and private schools is 13%.
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