Hindustan Times: Mumbai: Monday, February 20, 2017.
Concerned about the falling enrolment in schools run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the state’s education department is looking to private schools for help. The department has approached an India-UK school network to raise the education standard in civic schools through twinning programmes and resource sharing with private schools.
If all goes to plan, around 20 civic schools will take part in a pilot, along with 30 private schools, to create national leaders of education (NLEs) scheduled to begin from June, 2017 to March, 2018. The programme is conducted by the School Leaders Network (India) and Education Development Trust (UK) in association with the Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), which runs 150-odd schools in Mumbai.
Leaders from these schools will be paired with each other to improve the quality in their schools. They will be mentored by 19 private schools that have been trained under the same programme in the past and they will act as hubs to support the new school leaders. “This will create a positive relationship between our schools leaders and the government, which will go a long way in improving the perception of private schools in the government circles,” said Francis Joseph, co-founder, School Leaders Network.
A report released by Praja Foundation, a Mumbai-based NGO, in December 2016 had showed that enrolment rate in 2014-15 in BMC schools dropped by 3%, and by 13% in Marathi schools over the last five years.
According to information acquired by the NGO through RTI queries, around 3.8 lakh students studied in municipal schools in the academic year 2015-16, 3% fewer students compared to the 4 lakh who enrolled in 2014-15 in Marathi-medium schools. “We are trying to improve the overall quality of government schools in Maharashtra,” said Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the department. “We are considering this programme because it has been carried out across the globe.”
After the pilot, the department wants to extend it to other government schools and especially those with poor grades in the state accreditation programme — Shaala Siddhi. “Schools getting C or D grades will be asked to go through the leaders programme so that their quality can be raised,” said Kumar.