BMC Budget: Free Covid protection
gear for all students
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With a slight increase in the amount compared to last year, a budget estimate of Rs 2,945.78 crore has been allocated for the education sector for the academic year 2021-22, announced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday. Considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus has shifted to digital education, providing free masks and hand sanitisers to all students and extending schools till Class 10.

As schools are expected to reopen offline soon, the BMC has allocated a budget provision of Rs 15.90 crore to provide soaps, hand wash or hand sanitisers and face masks for individual students for free. Also, all municipal schools will be provided with infrared thermometers and pulse oximeters for body temperature checks as a precautionary measure against Covid-19.

In this year, 10 new Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools will be started as an amount of Rs 2 crore has been allocated. Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer said, "We have identified 10 locations across the city where MCGM run CBSE board schools will be made operational starting from 2021-22 onwards."

Out of the 10 CBSE schools, two schools will be located within city limits, three in western suburbs and five in eastern suburbs. These schools will consist of 40 students per class from Kindergarten (junior and senior KG) to Grade 6. The admission process for these CBSE schools will commence in February 2021.

To reduce the dropout rate, BMC has decided to start 24 new secondary schools upto Class 10. Currently, BMC schools cater to pre-primary to Class 8. Ramesh Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner, BMC, said, "Students often face inconvenience to secure admissions for Class 9 and 10 once they complete their elementary education till Class 8 in municipal schools. Often, students drop out so we want to extend municipal schools till Class 10."

In addition, 20 playgrounds of civic schools will be developed with a budget allocation of Rs five lakhs. While, 963 upper primary municipal schools and 224 secondary municipal schools will henceforth be called "Mumbai Public School" (MPS) supplemented by the original school name with a new logo.

Also, all BMC schools will have a standard colour code to portray a strong identity. Under the budget plan, 326 new water purifiers worth Rs 1.31 crore will be bought and installed in BMC schools. While, Rs 1 crore will be granted to the Mumbai Marathi Granth Sangrahalaya for running 29 libraries, announced the civic body.

Students will be provided with scholastic materials such as notebooks, textbooks and pens as and when schools reopen offline as the BMC has dedicated an expenditure of Rs 88.87 crore for this purpose.

This year, the budget allocation of Rs 2,945.78 witnessed a slight increase as last year's BMC budget for education was pegged at Rs 2,944.59 crore.

Currently, 2,16,450 students are studying in 963 BMC primary schools while 41,386 students are enrolled in 224 secondary schools. Around 7,653 teachers are catering to the primary section while 1,394 teachers work in secondary schools. Also, 785 specially-abled students are pursuing their education in 17 special civic schools with the help of 82 teachers. The BMC also runs two D.Ed. colleges consisting of 136 students.

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