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Mumbai’s civic schools equipped with all amenities, say college students

While many students, who had signed up for the activity, did so for a chance to attend a musical concert by rock band, Coldplay, the activity turned out to be a fulfilling experience.

mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2016 09:16 IST
Musab Qazi
A college student  interacts with students of a civic school during the study visit. The students inspected classrooms, laboratories and toilets and, on Saturday, submitted a report of their findings to the BMC.
A college student interacts with students of a civic school during the study visit. The students inspected classrooms, laboratories and toilets and, on Saturday, submitted a report of their findings to the BMC.(Global Citizen)

Last month, when students from various city colleges visited schools run by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), they were in for a surprise. Contrary to their expectations, they found most of the schools equipped with the required infrastructure.

The visit, which was part of an effort to involve youth in achieving United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, was arranged by the Indian chapter of Global Citizen, a non-profit in New York. Under this initiative, the students visited 100 BMC schools across 24 wards and took stock of their infrastructure. They inspected classrooms, laboratories and toilets and, on Saturday, submitted a report of their findings to the BMC.

While many students, who had signed up for the activity, did so for a chance to attend a musical concert by rock band, Coldplay, the activity turned out to be a fulfilling experience.

Arfa Shaikh, an MBA student of KJ Somaiya College, Vidyavihar, said, “Our visit to Pali Chimbai School in Pali Hill was an eye-opener. The school has good computer facilities, and even a virtual classroom. The students are taught basic computer programming, which is not taught in many private schools.”

Ankita Bhatia, a volunteer from IEC College, Bandra, said this initiative turned out to be a good learning experience. “We got to observe how the underprivileged children learned. We spoke to them and their teachers, who told us about the pros and cons of studying in civic schools.”

The students also said that these schools need to improve their infrastructure. In some schools, the children are cramped into small classrooms, while the toilets are unhygienic, they said. “I would often complain about facilities in my school, but now, I am grateful,” said Bhatia.

Arnav Sahni from the policy team of Global Citizen India said that the organisation is trying to mobilise youth to work for quality education, gender equality and water sanitation — three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals — in the country. “We use popular culture as a hook to ensure mobilisation on a large scale. We want youngsters to not just come for the concert, but also to get involved in social causes,” he said.

Following its study of BMC schools, the group hopes to make industries allot some of their corporate social responsibility funds towards filling the gaps in public education.