41pc drop in Class 1 enrolments in BMC schools in 5 years: NGO

Mumbai: Municipal schools in Mumbai have recorded a drop of 41 per cent in new enrolments to Class 1 in the past five years, a trend that shows parents are preferring private institutes, an NGO claimed today.

The enrolments have gone down despite Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)'s budget for education rising two-fold during the same period, Praja Foundation said citing data collected by it.

According to data published in Praja Foundation's 'White Paper' report, BMC's education budget has increased two times since 2009-10, but there has been an overall drop of 11 per cent in the number of children taking admission in civic body-run schools in the same period. Also, not all children in these schools complete their academic year.

However the civic body, whose annual budget is more than the budget of some smaller Indian states, was quick to reject these figures and asserted the corporation is doing everything possible to ensure steady enrolments in its schools.
"Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, of every 100 students enrolled, 12 have dropped out. Quality of education imparted in BMC-run schools and the standard of teachers employed there might be the reason why parents are apprehensive of sending their children in these schools.

"It is likely that parents who can afford, send their kids to private schools instead," Milind Mhaske, Director of Praja Foundation, told reporters here.

In 2009-10, 67,477 children took admission in Class 1 in BMC schools. In 2013-14, the admissions dropped to 39,663 (down 41 per cent). At the current rate, the number of students taking admission in Class 1 is likely to fall to 23,072 by 2016-17, said the report.

Moreover, 21 per cent of the students who enrolled in Class 1 in 2009-10 did not make it to Class 5 in 2013-14. The
percentage of students passing out of these schools is only 67, far behind the 83 per cent mark in private ones, it said.

"The high and middle school scholarship results paint a more sorry picture. Only 1.3 per cent of Std 4 students who appeared for middle school scholarship exam, and 0.1 per cent of Std 7 students who appeared for scholarship exam received scholarships in 2013-14 as compared to 9.4 per cent and 8.1 per cent, respectively, in private schools," Mhaske said. Trashing the report, BMC Education Committee Chairman Vinod Shelar said the figures in it are incorrect.

"I do not know how have they arrived at their figures. Their report is incorrect. Enrolments in Marathi and Gujarati schools are dropping not only in Mumbai but in entire state.

But as far as English or semi-English schools are concerned, we are having an overload of admissions," he said.

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