The chairperson of the municipal corporation’s 26-member committee, Rukmini Kharatmol, did not ask a single question during the committee’s meetings in the past two years, says a report released by the voluntary organisation, Praja, on Thursday.
Other committee members on an average asked 0.77 questions in the period 2008-09 and 0.95 questions in the year 2009-10.
The main responsibility of the education committee, which comprises corporators, is to ensure primary education to all children in the city. It takes decisions on educational activities and forwards budget estimates to the corporation.
“The corporators need to get a lot more involved in the functioning of the committee,” said Nitai Mehta, founder trustee of Praja. “The questions that they ask in the meetings were also irrelevant to the actual issues,” she added.
In the year 2009-10 a total of 22 questions were asked in 19 meetings, whereas for the previous year 21 questions were asked in 16 meetings.
The attendance of committee members also showed a decline from 2008-09 to 2009-10. Most of the members attended about 11 meetings in the first year, while attendance dropped to about 8.5 meetings in the next year.
At the release of the report on Thursday, a panel discussion was held on the state of municipal school education, featuring B.G. Deshmukh, former cabinet secretary, Farida Lambay, co-founder, Pratham, Amit Chandra, managing director Bain Capital Advisor, Samir Somaiya, vice-chairman, K J Somaiya Education Trust and Ramesh Panse, former head of the economics department at SNDT University.
“Three things need to be done,” said Panse. “There need to be partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and NGOs, the change has to be manifested in the education system from the lowest to the highest classes and education has to be made attractive for students.”