Seventeen students of a municipal school at Bhoiwada in Parel are facing a tough time as classes are being held from a residential building since the school was shifted there temporarily two years ago.
The 2nd October Municipal Primary School currently has 17 students on the rolls for classes I to VII. The two teachers of this school fear that the number of students will only dwindle. Shivnath Darade, a teacher, a nominated member of the civic education committee, said that parents are looking at other options as classes are being held in seven tiny rooms on the first floor of the building which is a part of the Bhoiwada slum redevelopment scheme.
Last week, the civic education panel ordered a probe as to why BMC has not been given an independent school building. A 1992 government notification requires that if a civic school plot is included in a slum redevelopment scheme, the civic body be given a school that can accommodate 500 students.
Darade who had raised the issue at the committee meeting said that before redevelopment work started, there were 200 children in the school. “By the time it moved in here, there were 38 children. Now there are only 17,“ he said. “The education department has been very lax in following up on the construction of the school building. In 2012, BMC's building proposal department had approved the new school building proposal, in 2014 the chief executive officer of SRA okayed it and in 2015 BMC's education department approved the plans. By the time the building comes up, there may be no children left to teach.“
When the rehabilitation scheme was inaugurated in 2014, it was attended by local political leaders but none seems to have realised that a civic school had been accommodated in a residential building.
Aspokesperson for Omkar Realtors and Developers said the company had always proposed to construct a separate school building. “BMC approvals took long. Four months ago we submitted the school building plans for approval,“ he said. Asked when the school will be ready once approvals are in place, he said that if land is available, the building will be ready in a year.
A senior official of the civic education department said they were awaiting a copy of the committee's decision and will then look into the matter.