It’s school time for 25,000 children in Mumbai, Courtesy of BMC’s Mission Admission

Amresh Das, a Bihar native who recently migrated to Mumbai to work in a shop, is delighted to announce that his son Ayush will go to an English school for free. This is something that was impossible, according to Das, if not for the mission admission campaign launched by the education department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

“I come from a village near Muzaffarpur district. Even a Hindi primary school is more than 15 km away,” said Das who migrated to Mumbai after the second wave of Covid in search of work.

Worried about his son’s education expenses, Das was relieved to know that his child could study for free at a neighborhood school.

Her son’s admission was finalized at Ganesh Nagar Mumbai Public School (MPS) in Kandivali earlier this week.

Like Das’s son, more than 25,000 children have secured new admissions to various MPSs under the Admissions Mission, which concluded its first phase on Saturday. These schools offer education in eight languages: English, Marathi, Urdu, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati and Tamil. They have proven to be a boon not only for the children of migrants, but also for school dropouts who wish to resume their studies.

As part of Mission Admission, civic schools and their teachers are making extra efforts to reach nearby locations to raise awareness and identify children eligible for school admission.

“There’s a typical mentality among parents that getting their kids to school means extra expense. During visits to their localities and homes as part of the campaign, teachers explained to them that civic schools are free and, in fact, offer several other benefits such as lunches, uniforms and textbooks. Many were more than happy to enroll their children after that,” said Preeti Gawai, Chembur Camp MPS Lead Teacher at Collector Colony, who prepared an interactive mission admission flyer to distribute to local slums. .

It is this leaflet that fell into his chawl through which construction worker Milind Jaiswal discovered the school and its facilities. Her eldest son, who has never been to school, will now study directly in Class 1 due to the age-appropriate admissions system.

“We will organize relay courses for all these children from the start of the school year. The aim is to bring them to the expected learning outcomes at the age before starting the new program,” said Nishtha Waikar, Director, Ganesh Nagar MPS.

According to most MPS, it was the engagement of civic schools with children during the pandemic that really sustained the mission, with many parents wanting to move to municipal schools from small private schools where they were denied access to learning due to non-payment of fees. Many schools want to launch such campaigns earlier next year so that admission to civic schools can begin at the same time as that to private schools.

Citing an example of how the initiative has touched lives, Ambarsing Magar, Principal of Barve Nagar MPS School in Ghatkopar, said, “We have secured the admission of two children who live under the subway bridge and who never went to school. Our teacher, while sensitizing the surroundings, met these unschooled children and made their parents aware of the need for school.

BMC Education Department plans to hit the target of 1 lakh new admissions under the campaign. “We are already seeing the impact and this has just been phase 1. After the summer break, the mission admission campaign will resume in June to enroll more eligible children in schools,” said Rajesh Kankal, BMC Education Manager.

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