No relief from heavy school bags for TMC studentsUpdated: Jan 24, 2020 00:38 IST
Thane While efforts are being made to make school bags lighter by the state board, Thane Municipal Corporation is also struggling to get the proposal approved by the general body.
Recently, the general body rejected the proposal for the second time, claiming that the budget proposed by the administration was exorbitant and can be reduced.
The education department also goofed up on student count, leading to more opposition from the general body.
The government has passed a resolution to lighten weight of school bags. The state’s school book publishing bureau has proposed integrated textbooks.
TMC’s education department too had put forth a proposal to prepare monthly syllabus and integrate all subjects in a single book.
Students from Class 1 to 8 thus would have to carry only one book a month and will have 10 books for the entire year. This will also ensure uniformity in syllabus taught in all civic schools.
Shiv Sena corporator Ruchita More raised the issue in the general body.
“If we are getting free textbooks from the government, then why should we spend ₹2.2 crore on tearing and binding of books?”
BJP corporator Manohar Dumbre said the proposal mentions that binding one book will cost ₹72. “However, I enquired and found out that the cost is around ₹25 a book. Civic schools have other problems such as lack of proper benches, washrooms and other facilities. Without considering these issues, they have put forth an expensive budget to lighten school bags,” said Dumbre.
The general body pointed out that the budget was prepared for 28,000 students whereas the total numbers of students in TMC schools are 35,000.
Vikas Repale, Sena corporator and chairman of education committee, said, “The proposal was made based on the number of students in 2017-18. We will prepare a revised proposal for 35,000 students,” said Repale.
The education department said the general body has not rejected the proposal but has asked for a revision.
Manish Joshi, deputy municipal Corporation, said, “In the first proposal, the budget was Rs3 crore for one and half years. We have revised this to ₹2.2 crore for one year. We will have to separate the books received from the education department and rebind it month-wise. We will spend ₹72 per book.”
Activists find this unnecessary expenditure
In a move to lighten school bags, Maharashtra’s textbook publishing bureau, Balbharti is planning to introduce one textbook for all subjects. Under the policy, Class 1 to Class 7 students from the academic year 2020-21 will have a single textbook. Initially, the pilot will run in Marathi medium schools, hence activists are finding it an unnecessary move by the TMC.
“If Balbharti themselves is going to provide textbooks as per monthly syllabus, there is no need for such a proposal by the TMC. They should wait and take a call based on the state education department’s decision. The amount that has been set aside for the textbook binding can be used rather to provide additional facilities to the students in civic schools,” said S Mulani, educational activist, Mumbra.
Committee to improve quality of education
Thane mayor Naresh Mhaske has formed a committee of corporators to improve the quality of education. “An integrated school improvement programme should be set up and put forth in the upcoming budget that will help improve TMC schools. Every civic school’s structural audit should be conducted to ensure students’ safety,” said Mhaske.
Number of students in TMC schools: 35,000
Number of TMC Schools: 120
Number of teachers: 900