Faced with proposals from 15 primary schools that want to offer inexpensive educational facilities to students beyond Std VII, PMC is thinking of ways in which the institutions can fund new divisions
At least 15 PMC-run primary schools have submitted proposals to the corporation, asking for assistance to convert their institutions to high schools, so they can offer educational facilities to students up to Standard X.
While the PMC thinks this is a commendable idea, turning the vision into reality is bound to be a challenge for them, as they fear that government would not shell out aid to the added divisions of the schools.
A couple of months ago, the PMC even rejected one such proposal submitted by a civic school based in Kondhwa, citing that starting three new divisions would require Rs 10 lakh. But as the demand from parents and schools increases every day, the PMC has realised the need to give this matter some serious thought.
“Till date, we have received proposals from at least 15 English and Marathi medium schools to extend their institutions up to Std X. In the absence of government aid up to the high sections, we can take help from NGOs and corporate houses. If the PMC Commissioner approves of this option, we can go ahead with the extension of schools,” said Meenakshi Raut, PMC education officer.
In contrast to the 300 primary schools under the PMC, there are only 28 high schools. This means that after completing primary education up to Std VII, students have no option but to switch to private schools. The exorbitant school fees in private schools deter many from continuing their studies.
“Besides taking help from NGOs, we would also approach the state government to seek aid for these proposed extended schools. If the government could change its policy and start funding private unaided schools, why would it not fund civic schools, which are already in the semi-government sector?” asked Bapurao Karne, chairman of PMC standing committee.
Asked if it was possible to extend all 300 primary schools up to Std X, he said, “The proposal for this is in its primary stages. There are no problems of infrastructure and other resources. So, by using the assistance of NGOs, the government and PMC funding, we can at least cater to the demand of those schools who really want to be converted to high schools.”
Corporator Asmita Shinde in Bibwewadi area has already started Std VIII in all the civic schools in her vicinity. “With the help of an NGO, I had started Std VIII, and the school will be extended to Std X subsequently. I think all corporators should take the initiative to convert primary schools in their area into high school, to cater to the increasing number of students.
At present, many students – especially those studying in PMC English medium schools – have no option but to stop their education at Std VII as they just can’t afford to pay fees at private schools,” Shinde said.