Mumbai civic body terms NGO report on civic schools as ‘not entirely true’
BMC education officer claims spending per child is almost half of what projected in Praja Foundation reportmumbai Updated: Dec 14, 2017 23:48 IST
Two days after a city-based NGO released a white paper on the plummeting number of admissions and expenditure on children in municipal schools, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday termed the report as and ‘not entirely true’.
A BMC education officer said that contrary to the report published by Praja Foundation, which mentions corporation’s yearly budget per child as Rs 52,142 (which reduces to Rs49,835 after first round of deduction), the civic body actually spends Rs24,589 per child.
“The annual budget allocated for education by the BMC goes through several deductions and concessions, after which we are left with Rs24,589 per student. We ensure that every penny is spent on them,” said Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer.
The NGO report also mentioned how the parents blamed poor quality of education as one of the reasons for them choosing private institutes over municipal schools. The civic officials alleged that even these numbers were skewed.
“Their survey report is based on just 400 families, which cannot represent lakhs of students studying in BMC schools,” said Palkar. He added that unlike the report, which mentions that the overall SSC passing rate of BMC schools was 68.1%, the actual passing rate was 76.97% in 2016-17.
However, BMC officials agreed that number of students enrolling in municipal schools has decreased over the years. This they said was owing to aspirations of parents and availability of free education in private schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
They also agreed that the dropout rate in civic schools has fallen owing to the efforts put in by the corporation. “We have conducted seven out of school surveys to identify students who were absent from classrooms for more than a month and have managed to get them back,” added Palkar.
Milind Mhaske project and managing trustee of Praja Foundation told HT that the annual budget figure mentioned by them in the white paper is a combined figure for both primary and secondary education.
“The BMC in it’s statement is only mentioning their budget for primary education, which is Rs 24,589. Our report states figures for primary and secondary sections. They are not really pointing at discrepancies in their statement but giving information on the various projects to curb this problem, and we appreciate that,” said Mhaske.