Around 204 private primary schools in Mumbai are illegal, said a reply to a Right to Information query.
Of these, 35 are in Kurla and M (West) ward which comprises Chembur and Tilak Nagar.
There are 20 such schools in Malad, 12 each in Ghatkopar and in M (East) ward — which includes Govandi and Mankhurd — and around 10 each in Matunga, Andheri (East) and Bhandup among others.
The schools, most of them English medium and some Hindi and Marathi medium, function without adequate infrastructure and teachers.
The RTI reply revealed that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is aware of the existence of such schools as they have sent notices to them.
According to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, such schools will have to pay a fine of Rs1 lakh for operating without approvals and then Rs10,000 a day if they still continue operations.
But, none of them have been fined, said the RTI reply.
The number of students studying in such schools is not known.
“The BMC knows about such schools but no stringent action is being taken by them to shut down the schools even though they are ignoring their notices,” said Anil Galgali, RTI activist, who had sought information on the unauthorised schools.
Galgali has written to the education department to take steps to fine the schools. “The section 18 (c) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, empowers the government to fine the schools,” he said.
“But the BMC officials are not taking any action because they said that they need more clarity over the clauses in the Act.”
Education officials said the schools have not received permission to run as they do not meet the 10 infrastructure norms stipulated by the RTE Act. The Act stated that schools must have a compound wall, teacher-student ratio of 1: 30 in primary and 1:35 in upper primary, separate toilets for girls and boys, safe drinking water and playgrounds among other facilities..
“The schools are located in the slum pockets of the city and do not have proper infrastructure and qualified teachers,” said a senior official from the BMC education department.
“We have issued notices to these schools time and again but they have not acted on them.”