Taking cognizance of the news article published by The Free Press Journal (56% MBMC school students still do not have smartphones, computers), highlighting the woes of municipal school children who were deprived of online education facilities, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has finally decided to provide free tabs to the students ahead of the upcoming academic session.
The decision was taken in an all-party meeting headed by Mayor Jyotsna Hasnale and senior municipal officials on Monday.
“Initially, as many as 3,367 students enrolled in Class V to Class VIII of MBMC-run schools will be given free tablets with a year-long internet subscription. Apart from existing budgetary allocations, we have expressed our willingness to allow utilization of our corporators fund, if needed as financial barriers should not become a hurdle in ensuring continuity of academic learning of students,” said BJP corporator Dhruvkishor Patil.
All private and public schools across the twin-city have been closed since March-2020, following the countrywide classroom shutdown as part of measures to contain the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. While privileged students from private schools are taking online classes, a large number of MBMC school students, especially those belonging to the lower economic strata of the society are staring at disruptions in their studies sans access to much needed gadgets.
Presently, 6,151 students are enrolled in 36 MBMC run schools. However, in a startling revelation only 2,692 have access to smartphones. While 1,565 students have basic mobile phones, 958 have no phone at all, compelling them to skip online classes. MBMC’s education department had started imparting education to its students on the Zoom, Diksha and Google Meet app since July-2020.