MUMBAI: Suburban Mumbai has the worst student-teacher ratio, technically pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), in elementary schools (Class I to VIII) among 36 districts in the state. ThePTR in Mumbai (suburban) is 36:1, poorer than the average of 22:1 in all the districts of Maharashtra put together. Even the student-classroom ratio (SCR) in the city’s suburban schools is 43:1, poorer than the state’s average of 28:1.
Data collected under District Information System for Education (DISE) 2015-16, released recently, shows that schools in Mumbai’s suburbs are overcrowded. As many as 426 schools in the state, including 18 from suburban Mumbai, even have a PTR of 100:1 or more, reveals the data. What is worse is that 66% of the 98,213 elementary schools in the state do not even have headmasters/principals. DISE data also is an indicator forRTE compliance in schools across the country. Despite implementation of RTE over six years ago, several schools in the state have failed to meet basic norms.
Ironically, the number of teachers available for 8.37 lakh students in suburban elementary schools according to DISE is 23,309, while for the 6.45 lakh students in the city’s schools there are 36,842 teachers. Rohan Bhatt, principal of Children’s Academy School, said that most city schools have fewer students in classrooms when compared with their suburban counterparts. “Lack of space does not allow schools to expand or split their existing divisions. Schools are not allowed to hike fees, so they continue admitting students to the same divisions. Instead of having about 40 students in each classroom, many schools have 60-80 students per classroom,” said Bhatt.
The state’s overall PTR has increased marginally. B B Chavan, deputy director of school education, Mumbai region, said suburban schools are bound to have poor PTR as the density of students is higher. “On the contrary, rural schools have very few students in classrooms and enough teachers. Many classes have students in single-digit figures,” he said.