Mumbai: Civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal termed education as one of the pillars of the municipal budget this year but marginally sliced the allocation to Rs3,347 crore in comparison to the original Rs3,370 crore in 2022-23, which was later revised to Rs3,181.48.
The share of education in overall expenditure has also been reduced from 7.3% to 6.4%. Despite the cut, a few new initiatives such as vocational courses in civic schools have been introduced. This is a sacred part of education in countries like Germany, where it’s called ‘Abitur’.
The education budget was presented to Mr Chahal on Saturday by Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Bhide.
The education department runs 965 primary and 249 secondary schools catering to over three lakh students.
The reason for a smaller budget is the reduction in capital expenditure (meant for infrastructure and other long-term projects) from last year’s Rs500 crore to Rs320 crore. However, revenue expenditure (regular expenses) has seen a rise from Rs2,870.24 crore to Rs3,027.13 crore.
BMC Education Officer Rajesh Kankal said, “The allocation is as per our requirement. Revenue expenditure has increased as the number of students at BMC-run schools has risen. Last year, capital expenditure was higher for constructing school buildings and providing tablets to students. There are no plans for such projects this year.”
This year, the budget includes a skill development training programme for students in various trades such as electronics, hotel management, apparel, fashion designing, food service, health and hygiene, automobiles, tourism and hospitality. These certificate courses will be a part of BMC’s secondary school curriculum, with such schools being named ‘Mumbai Public Schools and Skill Centres’. An allocation of Rs28.45 crore will be rolled out in a phased-manner, starting with 41,774 Class 9-10 students in 249 schools.
The BMC said this initiative is in line with the National Education Policy’s (NEP) objective of making students self-reliant through skill education and reducing the dropout rate. For this, the civic body last year signed an agreement with various state government departments and bodies. Chahal said, “Courses also include coding, robotics, tourism, and artificial intelligence, to name a few.”
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)