The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to rent out classrooms in the closed down civic-run school buildings to private institutions for educational activities. The proposal for this new policy has been criticised across party lines.
According to the civic administration, it intends to provide conditional use of classrooms in municipal school buildings during the repair/renovation of dilapidated private school buildings and a new policy has been formulated in this regard.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporators have openly opposed the proposal. Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders too have questioned the civic body's intentions behind formulating such a policy. They have sought a reply from the civic Education Department on efforts being put by the civic body to increase the enrollment of its own students and have demanded a reply as to why civic schools have been closing down.
According to BMC officials, some of the dilapidated private school buildings in Mumbai need urgent repair. "It was brought to our notice that once the repair of the building begins, there is a possibility of academic loss to the students studying in those schools. With this in mind, former Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, current Mayor Kishori Pednekar and Education Minister Varshan Gaikwad had submitted a proposal to the BMC commissioner that private schools be rented classrooms in the closed down civic-run schools during the repair of their school building. Based on this proposal, it was decided to formulate a policy to provide classrooms of civic-run schools to private schools for use temporarily," said a civic official.
BJP corporators objected to the lack of clarity of the rental policy. The policy was tabled at an education committee meeting held on Monday. Education Committee Chairperson Sandhya Doshi, however, reserved the proposal until the next meeting.
Earlier, the administration had provided empty classrooms to private entities for educational activities. However, it was observed that some political organisations as well as non educational have set up their offices there. Notices were issued to some organizations to leave the premises, however, some organisations continue to operate from BMC school buildings. So far, 214 classrooms have been acquired by various private organisations.
What is the policy?
1. Private schools wishing to rent the BMC classrooms will need to submit a report that the building is dangerous and needs repair.
2. Marathi medium schools will have to pay a security deposit Rs 10 lakh for 10 classrooms, and an additional Rs 1 lakh for more classrooms. Whereas English or other regional language schools will have to pay a security deposit of Rs 20 lakh for 10 classrooms and Rs 1 lakh for additional classrooms.
3. Rent will double in the third year, triple in the fourth year and increase four times in the fifth year if the private school continues to occupy the civic school building.
4. If the classrooms are not vacated within five years, the security deposit will go to the BMC's coffers.