Claiming a shortage of funds, the BMC education department instructed its schools to send only the top 3 rankers from each class for school picnics in the last three weeks.
Only the top-ranking students from classes 4 to 9 - those who ranked first, second or third - were allowed to go for the "Mumbai Darshan" picnics held between February 20 to March 10, said teachers.
The picnic included visits to places like Gateway of India, Jijamata Udyan, Aarey Milk Colony, Sanjay Gandhi National Park and other landmarks in the city.
A letter issued by the BMC's education department said: "Education officers from every division should send 50% students from secondary section and 20% students from primary section for the excursions. One teacher and one peon should accompany the students."
"Students who hold the top three ranks in the class should be chosen for the excursions.''
Ramesh Joshi, head of the BMC Teachers Union, said he was shocked by the circular. "How can the BMC practice such discrimination when the Right to Education Act, itself, says that education is the right of every child?"
Joshi and other teachers are surprised that the BMC is citing lack of funds as an excuse for not including all the students in such excursions.
They said that last year the civic body has utilised only 40% of funds for education."Its surprising that the department is facing a shortage of funds, when last year itself they had utilised only 40% funds of funds allotted for education. The funds are being wrongly used to send officers on trips across the country and not towards educating the children," he said.
BMC Education officer Ravindra Bhise was unavailable for comment, despite several attempts to reach him.