Friday, February 7, 2014

Focus on drop-out rates, Rs 2,660 crore set aside

Focus on drop-out rates, Rs 2,660 crore set aside

Written by Dipti Ramesh Sonawala | Mumbai | February 6, 2014 11:20 am
The dropout rate, according to the paper, has gone up from six (out of 100 students) in 2008-09 to nine in 2012-13. The dropout rate, according to the paper, has gone up from six (out of 100 students) in 2008-09 to nine in 2012-13.

Summary

The dropout rate, according to the paper, has gone up from six (out of 100 students) in 2008-09 to nine in 2012-13.
To curb the high drop-out rate in civic schools, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is in the process of implementing an innovative and ambitious semi-English pattern of teaching in its primary sections from class I to VII. According to BMC’s education budget for 2014-15 fiscal, the civic body has entrusted the British Council with the responsibility of training its teachers.
“A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the British Council for training 9,600 BMC teachers, starting from 2013-14 to 2017-18. Under this programme, every teacher is given 20 days’ training per year for two years. Currently, 2,400 teachers are being trained,” says the statement. A provision of Rs 1.78 crore has been made in the budget to cover 250 civic schools.
According to a white paper on the “status of municipal education in Mumbai”, released by NGO Praja Foundation in December 2013, despite a substantial increase in BMC’s education budget over the last six years, it has failed to reduce dropout rates. The dropout rate, according to the paper, has gone up from six (out of 100 students) in 2008-09 to nine in 2012-13.
“The dropout rates are high only in vernacular schools. There is a rise of 31 per cent in admission in our English-medium schools. This year, we had set up 117 new English medium schools and we are planning to set up 60 more such schools by next academic year,” said Manoj Kotak, chairman of BMC’s education committee.
Failure to use allocations for three years in a row, however, did not stop the BMC from increasing the education budgetary provisions from Rs 2,472.53 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 2,660.44 crore in 2014-15. In the current fiscal, BMC has failed to spend almost a quarter of its budget — just Rs 1,894.61 crore out of the Rs 2,472.53 crore allocated has been the utilised.
With a view to have statistical information and analysis of civic school students, teachers, monitoring of various welfare schemes at one platform, the budget proposes to develop and implement ‘child tracking system’ as prescribed under the Right to Education Act, 2009, and a ‘School Management Information System’ (SMIS) to make information available online. For implementing the project, a provision of Rs 5 crore has been made.
This year, the education budget also focuses on the health of students and teachers. It has made a provision of Rs 20 lakh for two vital health initiatives, which include a school intervention programme for control of diabetes, to be implemented in private schools. Further, free diagnostic camps will be conducted under the revised national TB control programme. Teachers and students diagnosed with TB will receive free treatment.
Further, BMC has planned to establish a well-equipped training centre at Chandivali with requisite educational, technical and other facilities. A provision of Rs 4.10 crore has been proposed for 2014-15 for the project.
dipti.sonawala@expressindia.com

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