Mid Day, December 01, 2004

BMC wants English to save Marathi schools

By: Krishnakumar

THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wants the English language to rescue its Marathi schools.

Alarmed with falling enrollment in the Marathi medium schools, the education committee of the BMC is contemplating making English a compulsory subject.

"We believe that if we implement this rule, the number of children opting for English medium schools will be reduced, as they would be getting an English education even in the Marathi medium schools," said BMC education committee chairman and Sena corporator Mangesh Satamkar.

Satamkar said the civic body has realised the urgency of the issue and will call a meeting of education officers and senior civic officers within a day or two to work on the proposal.

Satamkar's urgency stems from the fact that 400 Marathi divisions have closed down in the past two years, while 300 more are on the verge of closing.

The suggestion to make English a compulsory subject was introduced by education committee member and Congress corporator Rajendra Chaube.

"It's a serious issue. On the one hand, the Sena says it's committed to the Marathi cause, but then it is neglecting such an important issue," said Chaube.

Chaube said that, in the past three years, over 1,000 Marathi medium divisions have been shut due to poor enrollment as more parents are opting to put their children in English medium schools.

Satamkar, however, doesn't blame them. "Everyone wants their children to study in an English medium school, even I. It is a universal language; students who study in an English medium school are confident and have a command over the language," he says.

But the education committee chairman feels other factors are also responsible for the poor numbers in Marathi medium schools.

"Our schools are not in good condition; the toilets are bad and always leak. The attitude of teachers towards students is unsatisfactory. They are not concerned about the students"performance and they take their jobs for granted," Satamkar said.


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