Mumbai civic body cracks whip on 193 illegal primary schools

Mumbai city news: It has identified 193 schools across Mumbai running without government permits

mumbai Updated: Jun 17, 2017 01:14 IST
Puja Pednekar
Puja Pednekar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,BMC,Illegal schools

After declaring controversial preacher, Zakir Naik's school as‘illegal’, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now cracking its whip on other unauthorised primary schools in the city. It has identified 193 schools across Mumbai running without government permits and has sent show-cause notices to shut them down. Their students might be moved to municipal schools.

Out of the 193 illegal schools, 140 offer English-medium curriculum from classes 1 to 8, some are attached to secondary schools up to class 10. Most are located in slum pockets of the city such as Antop Hill, Sion Koliwada, Jogeshwari, Behram Baug, while the rest are scattered from south Mumbai to central and western suburbs.

The civic-body has come up with this list after a period of four years- 29 illegal schools were asked to shut down in 2012. “Parents take note that these schools are not recognized by the government. So do not approach them for admissions,” said Mahesh Palkar, education officer, BMC.

BMC is consulting with the state’s legal department on the implications of closing the schools down. They will be fined Rs 10, 000 to Rs 2 lakh daily for operating without authorisation, stipulated under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. “If necessary we will move the students to our civic schools,” added Palkar.

READ: Zakir Naik’s ‘illegal’ school in Mumbai faces penalty

Palkar said that the BMC will consider giving them approvals if they send their proposals for recognition. However, approvals can only be given if the school meets with the 14 infrastructure norms of the RTE Act, such as having a compound wall, student teacher ratio of 1:30, prescribed number of classrooms, headmistress, and drinking water facilities, among others.

But most of these schools are not likely to meet the required criteria, so it will be tough to give them approvals. “Many of these schools are operating from a couple of rooms. They do not have their own building or any infra-structure,” said another education officer.

Activists are in favour of moving the students to civic-schools, enrolment in which is declining as parents prefer to admit their students in private schools through the 255 quota for economically weaker sections. “Civic-schools have the infrastructure and teachers, which is being wasted right now as students are moving to private schools. Transferring the students here will be a good idea,” said Nitin Wadhwani, founder director, Citizen’s Association for Child Rights, which works closely with child rights.

First Published: Jun 17, 2017 01:14 IST