Students forced to sit on floor at Govandi civic school
The overcrowding issue in BMC schools has intensified since 2021, primarily due to an influx of students from private schools, prompted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
MUMBAI: Almost 100 students of Class 4 and Class 6 in a BMC-run Urdu-medium school in Shivaji Nagar, Govandi, are reportedly compelled to sit on the floor in class due to a shortage of desks.
Shaikh Faiyaz Alam, the convenor of the Govandi Citizens Welfare Forum, expressed dismay at the situation. “We have a well-established school complex in Shivaji Nagar,” he said. “However, when we visited the school on Friday to distribute face masks to students to protect them from the city’s poor air quality, we were shocked to discover students sitting on the floor in their classrooms.”
The overcrowding issue in BMC schools has intensified since 2021, primarily due to an influx of students from private schools, prompted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The rise in numbers can be attributed to this fact,” explained education activist Nitin Dalavi. “While the BMC deserves praise for giving admission to financially disadvantaged students whose education was interrupted due to unaffordability of fees, they must simultaneously enhance infrastructure to accommodate these students properly.”
Sources from the BMC education department acknowledged the challenges, stating, “The intake in the primary section has increased, which has cascaded into the secondary section. Unfortunately, there are not enough benches to accommodate all the students.”
In the 2015-16 education budget, the BMC had allocated a budget of ₹7.5 crore for desks and benches with the explicit aim of ensuring that no students would have to sit on the floor. However over the past four years, BMC schools have witnessed a significant surge in enrolment, particularly during the two years of the pandemic. The number of students in BMC schools has risen from 300,746 in 2018-19 to 318,002 in 2021-22, with an additional 26,000 students enrolling in the academic year 2022-23.
Shaikh Faiyaz Alam also highlighted the discrepancy in facilities between Urdu-medium schools and those in the Marathi and Hindi mediums within the same complex. He pleaded with the BMC, saying, “We request the BMC to provide benches and essential facilities to all students in the school.”
Additionally, addressing the need for alternative educational options, Shaikh proposed the establishment of CBSE and IB schools in the Govandi area, emphasising that numerous students from Govandi were currently attending BMC schools. At present, the nearest CBSE school is located in Chembur, approximately 6 kilometres away from Shivaji Nagar. Shaikh urged the BMC to consider launching at least one CBSE or IB school in Shivaji Nagar to cater to the educational needs of the local community.