Educationists and teachers feel that unaided educational institutions in the city are thriving as opposed to aided ones, which have to function within a framework set by the state government
An increasing demand for educational institutes has led to a spurt in setting up of unaided schools across the city. However, this trend seems to have affected the importance of government, aided and municipal schools. As part of the Shikshan Katta meeting, representatives of many schools across Mumbai division got together at the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre on Saturday to discuss the challenges before government and aided schools in the state.
Principals and parents point out that aided schools (pictured above) lag behind in terms of overall performance. File photo
A school principal told sunday mid-day, “In many ways, aided schools are restricted to the framework provided by the state education department. To make matters worse, with no non-salary grants since 2004, aided schools cannot initiate extra-curricular activities for students, which unaided schools focus on quite well.” Many also pointed at the change of mindset amid parents as one of the main reasons for the slow but gradual shift of students from aided to unaided schools.
Unaided schools doubled in 10 years
According to figures provided by the education department, in 10 years from 2002 to 2012, the number of aided schools in the state went from 16,058 to 20,791 whereas the number of unaided schools almost doubled in the same period from 7,531 in 2002 to 14,978 in 2012. Many school principals highlighted that to attract more students to aided schools, major focus needs to be given to quality of teachers.
“There’s a lot of complacency in aided schools as there is no competition with others, in terms of quality and overall performance. Unaided schools are always competing with each other and therefore, they end up working extra hard to ensure certain standards. There has to be accountability in aided schools,” said Fr Francis Swamy, former principal of Holy Family High School in Andheri East and currently part of the Jesuit Group of Schools.
Lack of accountability in aided achools
Experts in the field of education, who were also present at the meeting on Saturday, demanded the need for teacher as well as academic audits in schools. “With no authority looking over the quality of teaching in schools, there is a lack of accountability. The government needs to come up with a framework that ensures regular audits,” said educationist, AV Iyer. All representatives submitted their views on this issue to the Shikshan Katta committee. “We take into consideration all the responses that come to us from principals, experts as well as teachers and these recommendations will be sent to the state education minister as well as other senior officials from the department,” said Vasant Kalpande, chief organiser of the committee meeting.