Pimpri: The number of students enrolling in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC)-run schools has been declining consistently over the past 10 years despite crores of rupees being spent on providing quality education. Moreover, expenditure on school purchases has been increasing. On the other hand, the number of students is increasing in private schools.
The PCMC school board runs 128 schools in the city. Thermax company has been running five English-medium schools under the corporate social responsibility. In 2007-08, in total 50,196 students were studying in the municipal schools, which has come down to 36,542 in 2017-18.
The Right To Education (RTE) Act, which was introduced in 2010, has provided an option for the parents, who want to send their children to private schools in nearby areas. The PCMC distributes uniforms, raincoats, school bags, books, notebooks, shoes, sweaters to the students in its schools to retain their numbers.
In this year’s budget, the PCMC has allocated Rs 151 crore for the school board, of which Rs 37 crore is meant for the distribution of these items. But, due to a recent diktat by the State government, there is confusion about purchases of these items. The government has directed local bodies not to distribute any such items. Civic officials are saying that the government order is not binding on the civic body. As the school board has not recruited teachers in its schools for the past several years, the PCMC schools are facing crunch of over 240 teachers.
When asked about the declining number of students in municipal schools, school board administrative officer BS Awari said, “The number of students is declining as many students are getting admission in nearby private schools under the RTE. Also, more and more parents are choosing English-medium schools over Marathi-medium schools.”