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THE QUALITY of education provided by civic schools in the city has been consistently poor over the past three years despite an increase in budgetary provisions, according to a white paper released by a city-based non-profit organisation Wednesday.
Considering the SSC board exams and annual scholarship exams as indicators of students’ performance, the report highlighted the poor performance of civic school students. Only 72 per cent of such students passed the SSC exams in the academic year 2015-16, compared with 86 per cent in private schools, found Praja Foundation, based on responses received to Right to Information queries.
The percentage of scholarship holders among municipal school students too remained paltry in comparison with private schools. Only 88 students of BMC schools were successful in bagging a scholarship out of the 5,634 who appeared for the Class IV category last held in 2014-15. In the same category, not only did more students from private schools appear for the exam, 9.8 per cent of them were successful. For Class VII, too, only 3,799 BMC school students appeared, of which only 0.3 per cent succeeded.
Nitai Mehta, Praja founder and managing trustee, said the indicators in the municipality’s internal Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), too, showed poor performance. For the academic year 2015-16, the BMC found that only half the students in Class IV had scored above 60 per cent and 31.2 per cent had remained continuously absent. The CCE reports also found that 14 per cent students scored between 40 and 60 per cent. The CCE results, however, found that very few students (3.6 percent) got less than 40 per cent — a category where the schools have to invest more time on students.
The RTI replies also showed that BMC schools had decent infrastructure and students showed good response to teachers and their interaction with teachers.
Mehta said that if the infrastructure and teachers were good, the same should have reflected in the students’ performance.
He said that the performance was especially below par when put in context of the increasing budgetary provisions.
The budget allocation for BMC schools, despite reduced enrolment, increased from Rs 1,800 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 2,630 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 2,567 crore in 2016-17. While the budgetary provisions increased, only 67 per cent of them was utilised in 2015-16.
“The BMC had allocated Rs 52,326 per student per year, but one-third of it remained unspent. For 2016-17, Rs 49,835 was allocated per student despite non-utilisation in the past,” said Milind Mhaske, project director of Praja.
The paper also highlighted an increase in dropout rates and a considerable decrease in enrolment figures. Between academic years 2011-12 and 2015-16, the number of students dropping out of schools shot up by around 71.2 per cent.
Mehta said that the declining quality of education in municipal schools had been to the advantage of private schools.
“Even if the municipal schools provide free education, many parents pull their children out and enrol them in private schools, where the fee is high,” said Mehta.
The quality of education was a major concern among parents, too, found a household survey conducted by Hansa Research, a partner of Praja.