Though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation spent an additional Rs 10,000 on every civic school student in 2009-2010 compared to the earlier year, the number of students who dropped out of school went up in the same period, says a report released by the voluntary organisation, Praja, on Thursday.
In 2008-09 the student dropout figure was 6.32% while in 2009-10 it stood at 6.63%.
The report, released on Thursday at the YB Chavan centre, lists the student, teacher ratios in schools, ward-wise dropout rates and student numbers in every class for a three-year period. “The data we have collected paints a dismal picture of the corporation’s education department,” said Nitai Mehta, founder-trustee of Praja. “By compiling the white paper, we hope to create awareness about the major issues. We plan to monitor whether the BMC is putting into practice the programmes it has in place to evaluate itself.”
The data show that every year the number of students enrolling in Class 1 goes up but the number of dropouts increases with every higher class. “The big drop in the number of students is from higher primary (Class 7) to secondary school (Class 8 onwards),” said Mehta, founder-trustee of Praja. “Girls tend to drop out because of puberty or because they are given household jobs to do. Boys drop out as the family feels they need to contribute economically.”
The city has 1162 primary municipal schools up to Class 7 but there are only 42 secondary municipal schools in the city that have Classes 8 to 10. From Class 7 to 8, the number of students falls to approximately one fourth.
“The problem in Maharashtra is that the municipal schools end at Class 7, whereas the Right To Education Act guarantees education till Class 8,” said Farida Lambay, co-founder of Pratham, at a panel discussion at the report’s release. “Can the state add Class 8 to the primary schools? Otherwise after Class 7 the child has to go elsewhere.”