Non-English secondary schools are endangered

With lack of assimilation into English medium, vernacular students hit hard

Much has been said of Marathi medium schools heading into their twilight years, but statistics show that they are not alone. Other regional language schools are breathing their last too, with students being forced to study English or Marathi in secondary or higher secondary.

For 69 Gujarati medium primary schools in the city, there is only one secondary school (above class V) that teaches the curriculum in Gujarati. Due to this, students are unable to cope, leading to high drop-out rates.

According to data sourced by this reporter from the BMC's education department, Marathi medium primary schools top the list (368) in numbers while Telugu medium primary schools come last (30). There are 34 Kannada medium schools, 37 Tamil and 69 Urdu medium schools across Mumbai. However, when it comes to secondary schools, it's a poor show of numbers. There are only 34 run in Urdu medium, 32 in Hindi and one each in Gujarati and Telugu medium. There are no Kannada or Tamil medium secondary schools as per the data.

Shivnath Darade, a member of the civic education committee, said, "The lack of enough secondary schools severely impacts students' careers. Several children have been found unable to cope and their performance drops in class X."

Education committee chairman, Ritu Tawde was quick to pass the buck. "Our department is equipped to have more schools [secondary schools that offer education across mediums]. We in fact, have excess staff. But it is the parents who are responsible for this state of affairs. They either want to discontinue the child's education or are keen to send them to English medium schools. That is why regional medium secondary schools are dwindling. According to RTE, there should be a minimum of 15 students in each class. We don't get these numbers, so what can we do?"

Shambhavi Jogi, deputy education officer said, "We don't have enough trained teachers in these vernacular languages in Maharashtra. Even if we get teachers from other states, their caste reservation policies are different from ours which leads to problems."

Ranjit Dhakne, deputy municipal commissioner (education), was unavailable for comment.

Dipping vernaculars in secondary schools

Medium Number

Total no. of students

English 16 4,278

Urdu 34 11,021

Telugu 1 84

Marathi 61 20,717
Hindi 32 10,882
Gujarati 1 917

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