In a huge leap for government-funded education, Mumbai is set to become the first city in India to have a Cambridge-affiliated municipal school that will be free to its residents and impart quality education and learning to students.
“We hope to initiate the academic year 2022 with the Cambridge chapter of MPS (Mumbai Public Schools) that will pave the way to make international education accessible to students, free of cost, regardless of their economic background, thus promoting a strong culture of teaching & learning,” Maharashtra’s Environment and Tourism Minister, Aditya Thackeray said. Mr. Thackeray’s party, Shiv Sena is currently in power in the BMC and says an effort is being made to revamp the BMC-run schools to provide access to central boards and international syllabuses to the most marginalized and under-privileged sections of society, who depend on BMC schools for education.
This is the first time an international-syllabus education is being taught in a civic-body run school. Traditionally, the BMC-run schools have been affiliated with the Maharashtra State Board. “The inclusion of an international board makes for a special moment in the history of BMC and will go a long way in developing a strong culture of teaching and learning to students at Mumbai Public Schools,” the BMC said in a press release.
Several BMC schools already teach the ICSE and CBSE syllabus in civic body-run schools. Two ICSE and 12 CBSE Mumbai Public Schools have been already set up and are now educating students through the online mode. The opening of the first ICSE School in 2020-21 reversed the trend of dropping enrolment in civic body-run schools, the BMC says. In turn, these schools witnessed a huge demand for admissions leading to a lottery system being introduced for student enrolment.
“They are getting a good response because of the good facilities. The infrastructure is being upgraded. But this policy needs to be adopted in more of the 1200 schools the civic body runs. This is a good step and we need to focus more on quality of learning and parental engagement,” Farida Lambay, Co-Founder of NGO Pratham.
“Due to the pandemic, many parents have been forced to send their children to government schools. The administration should use this opportunity to sustain children’s enrolment in these schools,” she added.
Along with the state board, ICSE and CBSE have partnered with the BMC for quality education in Mumbai. The tie-up with Cambridge International will ensure that the international curriculum reaches out to every child, says the BMC. “It is my dream to ensure that every child, beyond then economic capacity or background, has access to world-class education in all municipal schools and to free education,” Aaditya Thackeray said while announcing the tie-up with Cambridge Partnership for Education.