THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which runs about 1,100 schools across the city and suburbs, plans to go beyond its mandated role of providing elementary education to the poor and underprivileged, entering the area of mental health education, provide counselling to students and imparting life skills. In its social sector provisions, the BMC’s Budget estimates for 2019-20 include a provision of Rs 1 crore for this.
In a bid to make civic body-run schools more inclusive, the BMC has also proposed to include music, art and sports education.
Continuing with the trend set in the previous two years, the municipal Budget estimates for the health and education departments are geared towards upgrading and strengthening infrastructure. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta presented the Budget estimates for the health department with outlays totalling Rs 4,151.14 crore, a 15 per cent increase from the previous year’s allocation. A total of Rs 2,733.77 crore has been allocated to the education department.
For infrastructure works, plant and machinery for major hospitals in the city, a provision of Rs 230.51 crore has been made. In a bid to strengthen the manpower in the hospitals, the civic body has also proposed to fill 511 posts of associate professors and professors in specialty and super specialty hospitals. In 2018, the civic body undertook the long-pending recruitment of nurses by hiring 677 nurses to improve patient management. Other provisions include Rs 40 crore each for redevelopment of the Bhabha Hospital in Bandra and construction of a hospital in Govandi.
Aiming to improve the standard of education in municipal schools, the civic body has registered for affiliation to the Maharashtra International Education Board. The initiative includes building infrastructure facilities such as attractive furniture, theme-based colours, and sports training through mentors and education counsellors, among others.
For the first time, the BMC will introduce a ‘Tinker Lab’ for students in Classes V to VIII, to maximise the use of their existing 208 computer laboratories. In the Tinker Lab, 3D models can be built.