Mumbai: BMC to provide free notebooks to civic schools to avoid dropouts
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In an attempt to pique the interest of students and reduce dropout rate, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to distribute free notebooks to students from August 10 to September 9 instead of waiting for the physical reopening of municipal schools. Parents of students can collect these notebooks from their respective municipal schools in batches.

With the start of the academic year through online mode, students studying in municipal or Mumbai Public Schools (MPS) faced the constant need of notebooks to practise daily lessons. Usually, notebooks, stationery and other essential items are provided by the BMC to students for free at the beginning of every academic year. But now, due to Covid-19 situation, schools are yet to begin physical classes.

Authorities of BMC education department said that the free notebooks will be distributed ward wise to all municipal schools. Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer said, "We will distribute free notebooks from August 10 to September 9 to all schools in respective wards of the city. The schools can then contact parents and call them in batches to collect the notebooks while maintaining physical distancing and safety measures."

Attendance is a major issue in online schooling, said Uma Patil, a municipal school teacher. Patil said, "Often, children are irregular in attending online classes because some of them are helping their parents in household chores while others are working outside with their parents. Notebook is a basic requirement which plays a pivotal role in a child's life. Providing notebooks will help students to stay in tune with their lessons and practise their homework."

This initiative aims to help avoid dropouts and maintain the interest level of students. Bhupendra Kumar, another teacher said, "The performance of students studying in municipal schools has improved considerably this year. We are working in crucial times where every student and teacher has a distant connection through virtual classes. We hope books and stationery will pique the interest of students and avoid dropouts."

Other essentials items such as schools bags, uniforms and footwear will be provided when municipal schools reopen physically, Palkar stated.

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