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The Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan (SSA) scheme, of the Government of India, aims at ‘Universalisation of Primary Education for all by 2010’. Under the SSA, Pratham was chosen by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as a resource agency to conduct a survey of over 3 million households in the city of Mumbai. The findings would form the basis of a citywide plan to implement Universalisation of Primary Education.

The results were submitted by Pratham to the BMC in May 2004, complete details of which, are not yet public record. On the positive side, statistics revealed that 96% of children are enrolled in school – which is a great achievement for the city of Mumbai. On the other hand, there are concentrated pockets of ‘out of school’ mainly in the northern suburbs of the city and an amalgam of street and working children primarily in South Mumbai.

In addition, the figures indicated a strong need for a pre-school education program in the entire city. This would help in the enrollment and retention of children in primary schools. In a very prompt action, to Pratham and other stakeholder’s recommendations, the BMC has principally agreed to launch a ‘balwadi’ in each one of its 1493 primary schools. The logistics and implementation procedures are still in the process of being finalized, but the Corporation is aiming at commencing this from July 2004.

This is a landmark not only for Mumbai but also a milestone in the quest for universalisation of primary education. pl let us have email id's of those involved in this. 
Thanks. Vinay,
needs of municipal schools is a nice site giving details about Municipal Schools e.g.
- BMC is running 18 schools for mentally retarded students since 1980.
- Science curiosity development home has been started at City of Los Angeles Municipal School, Mahim.
- School Community Development Project aims at reducing the dropout rates, providing nutritious food, collecting the donations in kind like books, uniforms and stationary through NGO’s.
- there are 1493 primary schools + 51 Secondary Schools.
- an organisation can adopt schools by spending minimum Rs. 75,000/- per annum.
Help is needed via:
  1. Providing Furniture
  2. Providing Audio-visual and Teaching aids
  3. Development of Laboratories
  4. Development of Libraries
  5. Development & Mathematics Library / Workshop
  6. Supply of sports material
  7. Maintenance of playground
  8. Maintenance of garden
  9. Minor repairs
  10. Providing water coolers, water purifiers
  11. Providing instruments, ceiling fans, electric items etc.
  12. Providing jute matting
  13. Beautification
  14. Provide educational material (writing material, uniforms, note books, school bags, shoes, geometry box, slates, drawing material)
  15. Supply of mid-day meals
  16. Opening of Balwadis, study classes, vocational classes.
  17. Arranging medical camps and distribution of medical equipments and medicines.
  18. Sponsorship schemes
  19. Starting centres of Computer Education
I am curious to know about your experiences and opinions on the current working and possible ways of improvement or collaboration between these schools, ngo's, corporates, volunteers, and residents in the area of the school.
Are the school authorities generally responsive? Are the procedures to help schools cumbersome? Are local residents apathetic or ignorant about how they can help? etc.
I would like a full list of the school addresses. I will try the contacts mentioned in the website. But if you know where I can get it from, do let me know. 
hello - this is sriram from the akanksha foundation.
we have been working over the last year through this program of adoption at 3 BMC schools. we have been trying to provide a 4 level support in terms of educational support, infrastructural support, extra curricular support and community outreach to the school.
it is not smooth sailing at all. there are hurdles at all the stages and as external agencies, we are at the mercy of the whiums and fancies of the all the different stakeholders invovled. and the situation varies from school to school.  
to a large extent, the bureaucracy makes it difficult for the things to move in speed.
the parents are however a potential source of support if they can be mobilised in an appropriate manner. 
but the needs are real and the kids are losing out big time and something large scale and serious needs to be done.
thanks and regards,
REAP  adopted a municipal school in kurla two years ago.  our objectives: to raise up the educational levels of the students, bring about all round development, prevent drop-outs and create parent-teacher motivation.  the programme itself went well, except there was absolutely no co-operation from the school authorities, infact, they considered our presence a hindrance  as their callousness would be exposed.  there is no teaching being done at all in the school and our intervention was not appreciated.   flimsy reasons to block NGO's intereventions. 
REAP painted the front of the school with colourful pictures to make the school welcoming and creating a learning enviornment.  however, no value and appreciation for the infrastructure development.  their idea of 'adoption' is to that NGO's only prorvide material goods and money, not quality education.    bureaucracy and lazziness charactereice municipal schools, hence the state they are in.  they find every excuse to prevent quality education intervention.
due to unpleasant experience with bmc, REAP moved to thane municipal corporation and this year to navi mumbai mum corporation with two schools adoption.  their cooperation is  heartening.  bmc is too corrupt to be bothered about quality education.
t. miranda sj
REAP     -  22075761
Municipal schools have the problem of apathy and private schools / missionary school have the issues of having too much activity in their calender year to be able to slot value education of any kind... inspite of having allocated times for the same like Value education periods, SUPW as part of the cirriculum in which ridiculous things like Sewing are taught to the kids... It is great if th ekids know how to sow... though most of the times it is mothers who finish up the work they start in schools because the pressure of studies hardly gives them any time...
BUT more is it Socially Useful Productive Work???!! Education system need to look into this.... this should be a perfect time for children from private schools to interface with the community... old age homes, childrens homes, adult litreacy, cleanliness so they know what it takes to move communities ahead. When i worked with the Andakshi ashram I would sometimes take my children with me who were quite young then... but i know that the women in the Ashram used to llok forward to their coming and just small interactions as hugging them, holding them, talking to them. These places are so starved for human touch and affection... that when we sit and theorize about them the problems that one might see would probably be the ones related to money... but that is not the only thing...
It is not without reason that solitary confinement is considered the worst possible punishment in a prison.  In society, people live  alone for long periods without any social interaction... how dehumanising it that??
This is important  especially for people who think that money is the solution for everthing... money is important no doubt, but other ways of giving exsist and need to be tapped.
Punam Sawhney

This is Kala from GIVE Foundation. As part of GIVE's Corporate Philanthropy Services, we had helped one of our coporate adopt a municipal school in Mumbai with the help of a Mumbai based NGO. Initially we thought that getting approvals from BMC to work in school is an easy process. But soon we found out that the corporate NGO partner was struggling hard to get approvals from BMC allowing them to to work in a municipal school. Ofcourse ultimately they succeeded in their mission.

BMC acknowledges their responsibility to improve conditions of municipal schools but what is happening is that due to insufficient staff/poor salary structures, they are unable to retain teachers in these schools. As a result, children's education suffers and thereare more drop out cases. For example: When we were working with GIVE corporate NGO partner, we realised that most classrooms were oversized, they were too many children and few teachers. One of the biggest problem municipal schools face today is less teachers, no training to teachers to upgrade their knowledge, poor infrastructure and poor learning environment for kids.

With more and more corporates coming forward to improve municipal schools, BMC feels all the more irresponsible to add to the schools infrastructure.

I think, the most important need today is to create awareness among BMC and make them understand the importance of improving the schools. If BMC and civil society organisations work out a strategy whereby each party attend to those needs which the other party cannot provide, we can really add value to the education system.

dear kala,

in the second para you say that teaching suffers due to 'poor salary
structures of the bmc staff ...'. you will be surprised to know that bmc
teachers are the highest paid, more than even private schools. even their
peons get about rs. 8000. so why should they work!! the problem is not
salary, the problem is accountability. the whole system is corrupt. you
be surprised to know that bmc recruits only 'merit' teachers, but the system
strangles any creativity.

many more ngo's would have come forward to adopt bmc schools, but
unfortunately the bureaucracy and delays puts off good intentions. bmc
think of handing over running of their schools to good ngo's and keep the
with them. in this way atleast quality education is assured.

t. miranda

This is Sriram from the Akanksha Foundation.
I realise that this is a real hot topic of debate. I wish to add information of a good program that have worked with the BMC. Those who are already aware of this, kindly excuse.

Avehi Abacus runs a life skills program called 'Sangati" with around 70 schools in G/South and G/North wards. They train the BMC teachers who deliver the same to the kids. Available for Std 4/5 (not 100% sure) in Hindi and Marathi. Program is facilitated with high quality teaching support for the BMC staff. Inspite of this adding onto the workload of the teachers, this project is being received with more than average success. What it proves is that perhaps there are still some level of service mentality attached to the job of a teacher among the BMC cadre (they are mostly middle class Maharastrians and Gujrathis). Give them the correct tools and motivation and they could become inspired to deliver !!

I am gathering information on the training dept of the BMC's Education Dept. Will send across some details later if you require.

In several forums, top brass of the BMC have stated that they do not have the interest to run services like education, which I consider blasphemous.  Interventions like we NGOs do (with all noble and honest intentions), seems to encourage them along this path.

The ideal approach is to enable the system to deliver what it is installed for. Our interventions should not try to create a parallel system within the system (like for example putting in teachers etc to cover for teacher shortage).

There are approx 15000 teachers for around 6 lakh enrolled which is a great 1:40 ratio. Problem is distribution between mediums. Marathi and Gujarathi are over-staffed, while other mediums bear the brunt of over-crowded classes.

Over the last year, we at Akanksha have been brain-storming infinitely trying to come with a replicable model to impact education in BMC schools. 
And we are still in the process of learning.

There are so many NGOs working with the BMC schools across this city. We should really network and put together a joint face to impact the BMC. 
Thanks and regards,
Very interesting to read the experiences with municipal schools.
My naive and idealistic thought flow is as follows:
- Rs. 75,000 / yr is needed to 'adopt' a municipal school
- This is a small amount for companies, associations, groups, trusts, individuals, etc.
- So all the 1191 schools can get 'adopted'
- Some corporate or big NGO or the Rotary District should take up this cause jointly with BMC
- The sponsors of 'adopted' schools should form a forum along with BMC, etc.
- The forum then disseminates info in their local areas and via the media about what they have agreed to achieve, help needed, etc.
- Then problems of resource shortages, apathy, corruption, etc. and structural problems will get resolved relatively easily.
What would be the critical mass of 'adopted' schools?
Maybe 25% i.e. 1 in 4. The Rotary Clubs have adopted about 100. The discussions here seem to indicate that NGOs and other Orgs have adopted another 100.
So critical mass is not difficult to reach.
And it seems worthwhile for someone to come forward to initiate such a forum now itself!
What say you?







Thank you for the informative emails sent to us.

We are a 27 year old NGO engaged in the education of children (mainly slum dwellers) and the treatment of Leprosy and TB in the L and M Wards of Mumbai. 
Our organisation was started and is still headed by an Italian priest Fr. Carlo Torriani and Ms. Orsola Marchesi. Mr. Paul Alemao is the Director.

I have been reading the various emails from different NGOs with regard to their views on the standard of education in Municipal schools. We have around 300 schools in the L and M wards of Mumbai and I agree that the system is bad. We have found out that a VII Std. child is unable to recognise numbers. When these children are promoted to the VIII and have to be admitted to a private school they start failing and eventually become school dropouts. Hence we decided to do something. Since the education of quite a few of the children in these two wards are sponsored by our organisation we decided to start study classes and we are pleased to tell you that there has been a marked improvement in their studies. We also run 3 pre-primary centres (balwadis) where a free meal is supplied daily and once a year we have a Christmas Party for them in Everard Nagar, Sion. During the year they receive clothes, medical treatment etc. We have also started tailoring classes for school dropouts and intend to provide other vocational courses in the course of the year with the help of Govt. agencies, the spade work for which is in progress.

Housing for our poor leprosy / TB patients is a major problem. Right now with the finances that we have we provide them with plastic sheets to cover their houses to shelter them from the rain.

Rehabilitation of all our patients (make them self sufficient) is our ultimate goal and we are working towards this.

We would appreciate any kind of support in our work. Be it by way of providing school material (books, pencils, slates, chalk) , sewing machines (second hand will do), computers.

Looking forward to receiving a response,

Ethel D'Souza
Lok Seva Sangam <
education to a hundred children
In Maharashtra and Gujrat they should certainly look at the institutions who are working with the post Godra  riot victims. There is a school in BOrli in Raigadh district, Maharashtra, which had adopted 125 such kids and was looking after their boarding , lodging and education!! The Trust , I am sure, closely monitors the progress of the kids and make sure that the funding is used for them effectively.
 An area where funds are much needed and seldon allocated are to provide councelling through sensitive people for these traumatised kids many of whom have seen rapes, murders by bullets, fire, swords at the young age of 8-12 years.THat too of their own family. It is very important that these children are not exploited by fanatic groups and for that they must realise that it is not whole communities that perpetuate such things. It is individuals with vested interest who do this.... and everyone in society needs to gaurd against this and especially remove this impression form young mouldable minds ......which can easily go astray.
I am worried that the riot victims of the 1984 riots in Delhi who were ghettoised in West Delhi must have gone through the same traumas..... if the worried and fears whcih are so genuine can not be got out of the system what they would lead to is truely a scary thought.
I would have liked to put these thoughts across to the Loomba trust but they dont seem to have any place ont heir site where i could have written. I hope you have soem way of passing this on , Vinay.
with warm regards
Karmayog wrote:
UK-based businessman Raj Loomba, the founder chairman of the Pushpawati Loomba Trust, a UK-based charity aims to provide education to a hundred children of poor widows in each State in India.
(How they managed to get so much publicity would make a marketing case study. See )


Mira Road is a new township situated at the outskirts of Mumbai. Township is surrounded by Jungle (National Park) and seashore. Original residents are Adivasis and fisherman living in villages though the new locality compromises of middle class people.
There are some schools in Mira Road run by Municipal Corporation and Adivasi Mandals for children's of these folks. But these schools are in dilapidated condition because of short of funds. No proper, roof no drinking water, no proper teachers, insufficient class rooms etc. though lot of open space is available.
We want to know what kind of help anyone can provide these or one of this school and what will be the role of our Rotary Club of Mira Road.

The Bombay Community Public Trust  
Municipal School Education in Mumbai – A meeting of VOs


A meeting of Voluntary Organisations (VOs) working with the schools of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (BMC) was convened by BCPT. The meeting was held on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. at the Smt. Premlila Thackersay Committee Room, SNDT Women’s University, 1 Nathibai Thackersay Road, New Marine Lines, Mumbai 400 020.

The objectives of the meeting were:
· Understand the different approaches used and activities conducted
· Avoid duplication of efforts
· Share best practices
· Liaison with MCGM

Twenty-eight organisations participated in the meeting. Also present were Mr. Bhimrao Gaikwad, Chief Community Development Officer, Education Department, BMC and Ms. Rukmini Srinivasan from Times of India. List of participants and VOs is enclosed.

After a welcome and a brief introduction to BCPT, three speakers addressed different facets of working with MCGM Schools. Initially, Mr Ramesh Joshi, General Secretary, Centre for Public Education (CPE), an organisation of municipal school teachers, talked about the initiatives taken by the Centre to improve the quality of teaching and the mindset of teachers. Mrs Bina Lashkari, Director of the Society for Door-step Schools (DSS) spoke about the work of DSS and its efforts at collaborating with the MCGM administration. Mrs Farida Lambay, a Founder Trustee of Pratham spoke about the survey undertaken by Pratham in Mumbai city under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (a scheme floated by the Govt. of India to ensure free education for all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years).

The findings of the survey were:
· 97% of the children are in school today
· 54% of these children drop out between the 3rd and 7th standards, some reasons being:
a) no exams till 4th std.
b) Limited access to free education after 7th std.
c) Parents prefer to enrol their children into a private school in standard fifth so that completion of school education is ensured. Securing admission in 8th std is more difficult.
· 22% of children in std. five do not know how to read and write
· 89,000 children were out of school at the time when survey was completed, of which 10,000 were street children

She also outlined measures that could be initiated to make the VOs work more effective and to upgrade the schools.

In the post lunch sessions, small groups of participants were formed to have discussions on the following subjects:

Enhancing Learning Effectiveness

2. Retention of students and Preventing Drop outs

3. Enabling Environment
4. Igniting Minds
5.  Ensuring Completion of School Education
6. Community Participation, Collaboration and Sustainability Issues

Some salient points that emerged during the discussions were as under:

Current status of education in municipal schools in Mumbai

· The most marginalised sections of society populate BMC schools
· Enrolment rate in BMC schools is dropping particularly in schools located in city proper.
· Lack of adequate teachers; a large number of teaching posts have not been filled
· Teachers faced problems of large classrooms (in some schools), administrative responsibilities and additional non-teaching assignments regularly

· Physical  infrastructure in many schools is in pitiable condition

The above situation exists despite the fact that BMC teachers are all qualified and well trained and the systems are in place. What is lacking, as perceived by the participants was:
· Interest of the administration in the education process
· Accountability on the part of the teachers and administration
· Proper mind-set of the teachers, principals and others directly connected with schools

The School Adoption Programme (SAP)

The SAP was formulated by the BMC in 1991. A large number of VOs have partnered with the BMC on the SAP.
· Despite inflow of resources - monetary, human and material through VOs, the impact of SAP on improving the quality of education has not been visible.
· VOs and BMC administration and staff rarely work as equal partners in the SAP; due recognition has not been given to the work done by VOs.
· VOs are largely perceived as ‘money-bags’ which are there to give donations for items required by the schools staff.

3.      Issues need to be tackled at three levels:

Administrative Level
a) streamlining the BMC’s Education department; in terms of general attitude, decision making, accountability and communication with all stakeholders
b) Delegation of authority and decentralisation of the BMC’s decision making process was required and active involvement of citizens needs to be encouraged.

School Level
c) improve the quality of education imparted; to impact actual learning to take place
d) provide and maintain basic amenities and infrastructure such as water, toilets, lights, fans, telephones in the school premises
e) create and develop a clean and attractive environment which would encourage students
f)  develop links with local anganwadis and balwadis to ensure enrolment of students in standard 1.

VO Level
g) demonstrate their work and show visible results to parents, school, sponsors
h) ensure the sustainability of their efforts
i)  come together to address issues with a single voice, share good practices and avoid duplication of efforts and services
j)  Revamp the SAP – VOs need to network,


i.  A Forum of VOs under the aegis of BCPT should be initiated.
ii. Formulate a common goal and work towards this. It could be:
a) Making BMC Schools No.1
b) Ensure all children read and write and are par with their standard’s syllabus
c) Every child in school, every school beautiful and every child learning
iii. The Forum will develop a partnership pact (or a BMC-VO Bond) which will identify the different roles and responsibilities.
iv. The Forum should liaison with the two Committees appointed by the Mumbai High Court to look into problems faced by BMC Schools. These are:
a) Academic Standards Committee
b) Infrastructure Committee

The meeting ended with participants agreeing to meet in smaller groups to continue the discussions and take the process further.


For further dialog, email Ms. Harsha Parekh, Executive Trustee 

Each One Teach One Computer Lab
Each One Teach One Computer Lab 
A charitable foundation in India's commercial capital Mumbai is keeping school children in touch with the latest developments in technology. Each One Teach One uses its small computer lab to offer daily classes to municipal school students who otherwise cannot afford computer training. The Each One Teach One Charitable Foundation grew out of a deep commitment to help under-privileged children in Municipal Schools. These children are provided with daily necessities such as uniforms, books, stationery, extra coaching and a healthy mid-day snack.

Contact: Kiki Tanna, Each One, Teach One, 32,Gope Nivas, 275,Sion East Road, Mumbai-400 022. INDIA Tel: 91-22-409 4778/ 91-22-409 4510 Fax: 91-22-401 7430 E-mail: