Data has again underlined the migration in Mumbai from civic schools to private schools. Praja Foundation's annual report on municipal education revealed that 55,668 students left in the last five years, of which 44,632 were from Marathi medium. Last year, 13,000 moved out.
According to data obtained by Praja under the Right to Information Act, the number of students in BMC schools dipped by 3% to 3,83,485 in 2015-2016, compared to the previous academic year. The report also reveals that the dropout rate has gone up to 15 per 100 students compared to 13 last year. Fresh enrolments in class I dropped to 34,549, which are 11.9% lower, com pared to the previous year.“Through a time series analysis, in last year's report, we predicted that in 2015-16 the number of students in class I will be 38,329, but the real figure is much lower. By 2019-20, we predict class I enrolments will be only 5,558.Everyone who can afford to move out of the civic education system, immediately does so, especially to private English medium schools,“ said Praja founder Nitai Mehta.
Civic schools fared well on infrastructure parameters of the Right to Education Act, 2009, with all having a building, separate toilets for boys and girls and drinking water facilities.Activists said despite infrastructure being in place, the numbers continue to drop due to public perception of the system. “Not everything at the schools is wrong but over the past few years, the image of civic education has taken a beating due to some factors.The BMC needs to work on the faults and publicise their strengths as there are private schools where teachers and infrastructure are worse,“ said Citizen's Association for Child Rights founder director Nitin Wadhwani.
The Praja report found that 158 councillors had not asked any question on education in 2015-16, but education-related questions went up to 193, from last year's 149.
The report includes findings from a survey of 2,676 city households. Among the most common reasons why parents are unhappy with civic schools are quality of education, limited scope for the child's future and facilities provided. “There needs to be more accountability.The civic body needs to undertake third-party monitoring to evaluate learning outcomes and focus on teacher training and capacity building,“ said Praja project director Milind Mhaske.