In a move aimed at controlling the high dropout rate in municipal schools, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) will start classes VI, VII, and VIII from the next academic session. Currently, municipal schools only have nursery to Class V.
Leader of the Standing Committee of SDMC, Bhupendra Gupta, Monday said that one school each in the four zones in SDMC has been identified, where the move will be implemented on a pilot basis from 2018.
Meeta Singh, additional commissioner (education), SDMC, said, “The Delhi government’s mandate was to educate children from Class VI onwards while corporation schools taught students up to Class V. But now they have classes from nursery onwards in many schools, which is affecting our dropout rate as the parents prefer to send children to schools where there is continuity.”
Sources at SDMC said they have decided to start this till Class VIII as of now on a pilot basis because they need to see “how much infrastructure they have to support” the move. “Later, the decision will be implemented in other schools, after we develop infrastructure,” Singh said.
Gupta, meanwhile, said the move will help students because by the time they reach Class VIII, they will be in a better position to move to other schools.
The dropout rates in corporation schools have been worrying, with enrolment going down by 10-20% in all the corporations over the last five years. According to NUEPA, around 5.69% students dropped out of school in Delhi in class V in 2015-16. The EDMC had the highest dropout rate — 17.3%. In North corporation, the dropout rate stood at 11.7% and in SDMC schools, it stood at 8.3%.
While the North civic body has 765 schools, EDMC has 365 schools and SDMC has 581 schools. After that the students migrate to Delhi government schools or private schools.
In August, the SDMC had announced that it will have one English medium section each in nursery and Class I, with Hindi remaining as an option.