With several failed public-private partnership initiatives in the past, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s proposal to involve private organisations in the management of civic schools drew flak from both activists as well as opposition parties.
The education department tabled the proposal in the civic standing committee on Wednesday.
While the policy is aimed at providing better facilities to students, the exploitation of the BMC’s premises for private gain in the civic hospital and open spaces project in the past, has made most people sceptical about the move. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader, Sandeep Deshpande, said, “Why do we need a private body to attract more students. Showcasing the extra-curricular achievements of BMC students, too, can bring about a change.”
The policy states that there would be regular checks on the functioning of civic schools. Rais Sheikh, group leader, Samajwadi Party, said, “The committee to screen the work will have members only from the ruling alliance. We all know what happened to open spaces after they were handed over to private trusts. Civic schools might meet with the same fate”.
Activists believe the involvement of private players might leave the BMC with little control over its schools. Nitin Wadhwani, member of Mumbaikars for Child Rights, said, “We don’t need private organisations. We just need to work on infusing efficiency and better accountability in the current system.”