Praja Foundation’s report card for civic schools reveals that while the budget has tripled, the enrollment has decreased and dropout rate has increased.
Mumbai: The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s initiatives to attract children to municipal schools, such as distribution of tablets, have failed to yield results and the drop-out rate has reached an “alarming stage”, finds Prajafoundation, a city-based NGO. The drop-out rate reached 15 per cent in 2015-16, and standard of education also deteriorated despite the fact that the country’s richest civic body was spending Rs 50,000 per student per year, the NGO said, relying on figures obtained through the RTI. In its annual report, Praja Foundation said that in 2008-09, there was fresh enrolment of 63,392 students in civic schools, which dropped drastically to 34,549 in 2015-16. If this trend continued, there would be enrolment of just 5,559 students in 2019-20. The number of students in municipal schools was 4,39,153 in 2011-12 which fell to 3,83,485 in 2015-16. Managing trustee of Praja Foundation Nitai Mehta said, “Budgetary allocation towards municipal education has tripled in the last eight years from Rs 911 crore to Rs 2,567 crore. But enrolment of students has fallen sharply which is the indicator of poor standard of education and primarily due to unaccountably of senior municipal officers.” Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja Foundation, said the entire system, be it corporators, legislators or officers, has a pathetic attitude to the quality of education and even after submitting the report to the administration, neither corrective actions were taken nor the Foundation received any reply to the concerns it raised. “55 per cent of parents of students of MCGM schools are dissatisfied with the quality of education, while 46 per cent are not happy with the future scope of education in MCGM schools,” Mhaske said.
“We can empower and strengthen School Management Committees to improve the standard, beside fixing the responsibility on the concerned officers and teachers. Most importantly, an independent third party audit is the need of the hour to monitor and evaluate learning outcomes of students,” he said.