223 BMC schools to provide free education till Class 10

Mumbai: In order to provide complete education and curb the dropout rate, the civic education committee has decided to provide 223 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools with up to Class 10 education, instead of just catering till Class 8. Currently, a majority of BMC schools function from pre-primary (Balwadi) till Class 8 to provide free elementary education.

In the city, there are a total of 1,180 BMC schools. Out of which, 223 are secondary schools including Mumbai Public Schools (MPS). Anjali Naik, chairperson of the BMC education committee, said, “Out of the 223 secondary schools, some schools have already begun classes till the 10th standard. We will check if there are vacant classrooms and empty spaces in the remaining schools and begin lectures of Class 9 and Class 10.”

This move was first initiated in 2018 to curb the dropout rate and increase enrolment as students either quit or do not secure admissions in BMC schools because it caters only till Class 8. Vinodini Patankar, a parent said, “Once our children complete Class 8 in a BMC school, we have to search for another school in order to secure admissions for Class 9 and Class 10. It is quite a struggle as state-run schools do not have vacancies of seats for Class 9.”

Also, parents revealed it is better if BMC schools cater till Class 10 as that is considered basic education in India. Hatim Momeem, a parent said, “Our students need to study till Class 10 in one school. It helps students to understand concepts, form peer groups and also excel in academics. It also saves the trouble of looking for another school midway.”

Sources from the civic education department revealed there will be no fees from preprimary till Class 10. A senior officer of the department, said, “Currently, we are providing free elementary education (from Class 1 till Class 8) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. But we do not want parents and students to go through the unnecessary struggle of finding another school, shifting and securing admissions. We will extend this basic free education till Class 10.”

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