Mumbai: The money's here, but where are the students?

Updated: Dec 08, 2016, 19:00 IST | Silky Sharma

Praja Foundation’s report card for civic schools reveals that while the budget has tripled, the enrollment has decreased and dropout rate has increased

Report reveals that parents prefer private schools over public ones as they feel it opens more opportunities. File pic
Report reveals that parents prefer private schools over public ones as they feel it opens more opportunities. File pic

Turns out, more money does not imply more efficiency. So despite increasing the annual civic budget for education, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) appears to have failed in curbing the continuous decline in the number of students enrolling in the municipal schools.

Every year, the Praja Foundation, using the RTI Act, prepares a report card, and this year, the data related to civic schools reveals alarming trends.

It concludes that while the budget allocation for BMC school has almost tripled — from Rs 911 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 2,5,67 crore in 2016-17 — the number of students enrolling has declined by 15% or 68,325 lesser as compared to 2008-09. The reason has been attributed to parents preferring private schools over municipal schools.

Additionally, the dropout rate of students has increased by 2% from last year.

More concerning, however, is that the passing rate for Secondary School Certificate exams in civic schools is 14 per cent less as compared to private schools.

Where are the scholars?
Meanwhile, the Scholarship Holder report of 2014-15 reveals that out of 3,799 BMC school students, only 12 are capable of cracking the High School Scholarship exam.

“The need of scholarship is more amongst the students studying in municipal schools, but the report says that very few students are appearing for the scholarship exam and merely 0.3 per cent student are able to crack it. In private schools, the number of applicants is high and the scholarship holders are also 8.5 per cent higher than the BMC schools,” said Nitai Mehta, managing trustee of Praja Foundation.

Official Speak
“Since last year, the government has come up with many resolutions and policies to improve the quality of education in municipal schools and we are trying to raise our schools standards to international level. After a few years, one will see the positive effects of the steps taken by the BMC to curb dropout rate and increase enrollment,” said municipal education officer, Mahesh Palkar.

55%
Parents unhappy with the quality of education in civic schools

46%
Parents feel BMC schools narrow opportunities for their kids

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